What Segreto Did This Week – Part III And Book Give-A-Way!

Whenever I bump into friends and colleagues, they’re always curious about any exciting projects I’m working on. And lately, we’ve done so many beautiful finishes that I wanted to share a few of these with you! It’s incredible to see how finishes can change the look of doors and cabinetry. In this first home, we’ve taken all the new, wooden elements and given them a reclaimed look and feel.

Designer Mary Nell Corson designed these exquisite doors for the entrance to the dining room. Once constructed by Goodchild Builders, they were given to us in the raw wood state.  Even though they were brand new, Mary wanted the doors to have an old look as if she had found them and retrofitted them into the space. Jerry’s beginning the layering process here!

Wow, I just love how they turned out! They have an old, antique quality without looking contrived.

We also aged the custom-made, wrought iron insets – what a spectacular detail for a dining room!

In the kitchen, we started with an island that had been primed, and then used a layering and staining technique to create a rustic, pine look.

The first step was to bury colors underneath the glazes to produce a darker, more worn effect in certain areas.

It takes several glazes and extra detailing to achieve the perfect finish! In the panel, you can see the finished look, while the surrounding, lighter portion of the cabinetry shows our progress after the second glaze. By applying layers of paint and adding dimension, the island really becomes an interesting focal point!!!

The breakfast room attached to the kitchen has wonderful built-in cabinetry!  As the first step in the glazing process, we distressed the originally pale blue cabinets and added a few cracks.  You can see the final sample in front.

It turned out beautifully! I love the black grate insets and hardware that Mary incorporated to finish off the piece.  Steve’s Goodchild Builders carpentry team does magnificent work!

For our next project, we were tasked with embellishing the walls of this gorgeous entryway. Because the entrance is connected to a hallway leading into the master suite, there wouldn’t be a natural stopping point if we did an all-over, wallpaper-like stencil. Instead, we highlighted a few areas with a beautiful pattern.

The homeowner, who’s also named Leslie, loved the floor graphic we did at our office, so I suggested we create a paneled version of that design for her entry.

This was all done by hand using a template, not a stencil! Notice how the hand-highlighting and embellishments give it so much more dimension!

I adore the finished look!  We added the same paneled design to the opposite wall as well as to the wall with the door, achieving a sophisticated, dramatic entry without having to paint all the way down the hall.

In the next home, we plastered the walls and vent hood and then painted a special motif on the hood inspired by the tile. This additional touch really ties it all together and complements the wonderful work of builder R.D. Allen and designer Mollie Mercer.

This custom, built-in piece in the same room is a showstopper!!! Designed by Mollie and built by Rick, this cabinet was textured and gold-leafed, making it a statement piece in the space.

One of my favorite tasks each week is meeting with designers in my showroom and developing a finish design to match their fabrics and surfaces.  Designer Bobby Farkas picked out some beautiful fabrics, and I’m so excited about the color and finish choices we made!

I also carved out some time to create a few commissioned art pieces for my clients and art gallery. Now that Segreto is completely cleared out of my garage, I’m so happy to have the additional space to work on my art!  This piece was created to hang in our gallery. I think all the lavenders of today are so beautiful!

This work “A Happy Home” found its way into a lovely den, adding a bit of contemporary flair to the room’s traditional decor without being too out there!!

I also revisited a home where we had done all the restoration stain work in this grand corridor – so fun to see it years later!!! I can’t wait to do more work in this amazing, historic home!


In this dining room we plastered the ceiling and left the walls to flow in this open floorplan–but wait!

To complete the look we hand painted a custom medallion complementing the old world style of the fixture but bringing in the contemporary elements of the sconces. Soft but sophisticated I may have to have this design at my  own home!!

To the right we plastered the range hood around an old plaster fragment the homeowner had built in. We didn’t like the transition of the fragment and the hood so to make it look seamless we hand painted corners and a molding to create a seamless transition. Sometimes little touches make a world of difference!!!


Here is our neighbor’s little dog ready for our big trunk show event at MAI building 2!! We will be bringing all sorts of Holiday gifts from our new store!  I hope to see you all there!  See below for the Book-give-away contest!!

November 29th: Holiday Trunk Show and Book Signing at Memorial Antiques& Interiors Building 2 Time 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Segreto will be premiering a sampling of the unique items carried at our new store. Great gifts for the Holidays–come see one of a kind minerals and corals, candles, tabletop, hand carved candlesticks, jewelry, art and of course the book Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors. Coupled with many different vendors this will be a Holiday shopping extravaganza!!  Located at 8731 Katy Freeway, Houston, Tx 77024. ( MAI Building 2) www.maihouston.com

Dine+Design Luncheon- Dallas Market Center- December 4@11:30–For designers only!   For more information contact Pat Zajac | Dallas Market Center. P (214) 583-8792 pzajac@mcmcmail.com

Now for the book give-a-way!!!  It is time for me to write another article for the oh-so-fabulous magazine Antique Shops and Designers. I will send the book Segreto:Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors to any idea for a story that I decide to use!!  Just write a suggestion on a topic you may find interesting that relates to what I do!! I constantly have to write these articles so there may be more than one winner!!  Thanks so much for your help with this!!  xo  Leslie

You're Invited - Our Shop is Open!
Ceiling Love!!!


  1. Wow! Wow! Wow! I feel like I have come home!
    I would love to see ideas on painting ceiling medallions for lights that are already hung!

    Love this blog! Happy me!


  2. Hi Leslie, Stunning work as usual and the treatment of the hallway is genius. Personally, I think that would be a great idea for an article – using your painting techniques to define spaces where there is no existing architectural demarcation.
    Have a great week!

  3. amy @ Maison Decor says:

    Awesome post Leslie!! Always try to absorb what you show, its amazing how much you share. Thank you!!! I loved it all…and the artwork at the end was gorgeous~!

  4. Victoria Athens says:

    Your work is so incredible, Leslie. I especially love the painted ceiling medallion and how you incorporated the client's tile fragment into the kitchen hood…what a difference the border makes. I just noticed your link to pictures of your own home. Your rooms are beyond beautiful. There are so many ideas to adopt, if only I had your talent. One of the things you did so well was refinishing your mahogany dining chairs to update them. That gave me an idea for your next article. How about writing about how people can take furniture they already own and refinish it to make it more au courant and "green." It would appeal to DIYers, to antiques shoppers and designer who see the potential in some neglected treasures that just need a little loving attention, and to those with a social conscience about our planet who prefer to reduce, reuse and recycle.

    Have a great day.
    XO, Victoria

  5. What about folding screens? Your art finishes and mixing with faux mercury glass and aged mirrors too used in these screens. This would create a feature where a wall might not be available to bring a treasured arc top or grill work or more dimensional feature. Also fireplaces, where more detail could be brought in than the original construction has.
    Love your work, all your craftsmen are amazing! (I am on your mailing list for updates)

  6. Leslie you are so busy!! I love the entry with the overall design like you flooring. It is gorgeous.
    Your own painting; stunning! Especially the 2nd with all of the gold leafing! Let me know if you have a secret; I always make a mess with leafing!

    Art by Karena

  7. Hey Leslie, I would love to hear more about how you can use antique fragments (such as the range ornament in your post) in unusual ways. It would be great to show various examples of your own work. I've used an antique gate before and welded several gate fragments together to make a daybed for a living room. Your article could discuss which types of "fragments" could be used for different purposes. Using architectural fragments in ranges is such a fantastic, custom idea! Would also love to win the book 🙂

  8. That was so fun to see….wish I could see it in person….I bet it looks amazing!

  9. Leslie I know you're busy so I thank you for showing us your work it's amazing. You've given me some ideas that I never thought of doing before like dressing up our doors. While we're lucky enough to have solid wood doors they need a little something and I never thought of simply adding some moulding to trim them out. Now I'm going to play with one to get the look I'm after. Your artwork is fabulous, do you sell it anywhere? I've played with layering paints on frames and now I'm going to play in our home.


  10. As usual, breathtaking work. I love the way the "entry" turned out and I can't believe that was all "by hand"….amazing. Love the doors and the island too.

    As for your article, I was thinking the same thing that Victoria from above stated. I have a dining room table and hutch that was given to my husband and I by his parents (it was theirs). Sometimes I look at it and think if it were only painted in the "Leslie" way it would look fantastic and new. I am unsure when painting furniture is the right thing to do. I also think it would be fun for people to see how painted and stained furniture work together.

  11. loving the finish on those doors with wrought iron! and the carpentry and finishes are so up my alley, leslie.

    i loved seeing your artwork and can imagine how gratifying it is to have room to create now–keep painting these beauties.

    smiles to you.


  12. Leslie,

    Beautiful work just stunning. An article idea: What three things are most important when you design, re-design, and colloraboate on projects with clients and other designers.

    Have a great weekend!