The reason this came up is one of my wonderful friends and clients is building a ranch house and she needs a ton of furniture. So I have been helping her look for some and she's been looking herself. There are entire stores in San Antonio that can fulfill her every need and blank wall. And it would be really easy to go in and fill up the house at a nice store like The Rustic Gallery or Catrina's at the Ranch or any other "Hill Country," "Rustic," or "Old World" way-overpriced-and built-by-underpaid-and-probably-starving Indians-and/or-Mexicans furniture store. But to do this ranch house justice, and for it to be a reflection of her very cool self, it's going to be so much harder to do what I want her to do: pick and choose really great pieces from all over the place.
In my quest to help her find the first critical piece, something to act as the powder room vanity, this is just a taste of what I've encountered. I know, egads:
Stars are cool and we live in the Lone Star State, but let's just say my eyes are bleeding. Must we have stars on every single thing? I'm surprised I don't see stars stamped on my butter.
These tables below are apparently from India, masquerading as rustic Mexicans.
Not all of it is bad. The Rustic Gallery in San Antonio might suck your very last penny out of your pocket, but it has some very nice pieces. It's just difficult to snag pictures from their website. So to see that I know what I'm talking about, go check out http://www.therusticgallery.com/
I also like http://www.elpasoimportco.com/. They're very PC and don't stick to just Mexico or India. I've seen Polish and Russian stuff in there. Who knew?
This piece below I actually do own. We used it as the bathroom vanity in the Marathon house. It's the perfect height, the perfect width because it took the place of the dwarf's tub and shower (about 48 inches) and it looks really cute with towels rolled up on the shelves. This piece does not offend me, I'm sure you're so glad to know.
I thought this little table below would make a great vanity for the powder room, especially after I jazzed it up a bit. She doesn't have the space for the vanity above. We each had been searching and searching and then one night when my husband woke me up in the middle of the night for no good reason and then I couldn't go back to sleep, I realized that this little piece lonely down in my garage/studio was probably the exact right size. I wanted to go downstairs in the dark to measure it but I waited until the next morning. Sure enough, it was perfect in size.
My client's concern is it doesn't have anything to hide the plumbing. Her builder is one of the best so I'm sure they can figure it out. And, I've never been one to worry about the details. Once I do my thing to transform this little lonely table and then the builder's plumber installs the fabulous sink from http://www.mexicansinkconcepts.com/ onto it, there's no doubt it would be fabulous. Still, a cabinet of some sort would be the best bet.
This armoire is actually pretty. I think it's from The Rustic Gallery:
Here's why I think we need to venture into and then out of the rustic Mexican import stores. I've been to one or two houses on ranches in my life. And in all my travels, large landowners that I have known, in their houses on actual ranches with real live cows and assorted other animals, not one single one has been decorated completely rustic or western for that matter. I double-checked this with Dr. Debi Duke, and she backed me up. What you will see are lovely and well-worn antiques and even primitive pieces from the old days when maybe times weren't quite so good that are being held onto because they're fabulous and remind the home's inhabitants from where the come and what's important, hopefully. And there are feminine touches in these houses because shockingly enough, real, live women live in them.
And there are very nice, traditional pieces that are comfortable and serve a purpose. Then, there will be beautiful western art and it seems right at home there. These homes are not themed like a Parade of Homes house, as in this is our ranch house (yee-haw!) and this is our lake house (welcome to the lake!), and this is our doggy-themed laundry room. Even Elizabeth Taylor redecorated that god-awful house in the movie Giant (after her sister-in-law passed on and she made it clear who was the woman of the home).
Next post will include photos from my scouting trip to Houston, inspired by one of Cote de Texas' blogs.