Nice Balance of Eclectic

Nov 14, 2011

Architect L. Barry Davidson modeled this classic home after a historic Dallas house built in 1915. When the homeowners found the home 18 years ago, it was 80% complete, allowing them to add their own personal touches. But two kids and almost two decades later, homeowner and designer Diana Humphrey decided it was time for an update with some new finishes and furniture. I love the brilliant mix of artwork, eclectic furniture and architectural elements that Diana incorporated to add character and interest. As she likes to say, it’s “classic with a twist!”

The entry hall makes a lovely first impression, providing a glimpse of the family’s personality in its decor. “It shows that I am instantly drawn to contrast,” Diana says. The gray piece hung over the stairwell – an old French photographer’s backdrop from The Gray Doordepicting Saint Bernadette – has so much character. It’s the perfect contrast to the dimension imparted from the white sculptural pieces that Diana created herself. She loves to play with scale too through her fun accessorizing like this assortment on the entrance piece of a painting on wood, raku pottery and a lamp made from aged metal pieces. The walls in the entrance were plastered in a textured gypsum plaster–my favorite- which is a great balance to the smooth paneling on the bottom staircase wall. This brought in the warmth to the space that Diana was looking for!!

This comfortable yet sophisticated dining room has served as everything from a place for family gatherings and bridal showers to a study space for Diana’s son. Her theme of contrast continues here with the combination of four creamy white French Art Deco chairs from Shabby Slips and the two upholstered chairs on the ends. She also integrated some of her favorite existing pieces that held special memories like this mirror from Carl Moore Antiques which the homeowners purchased when they first moved in and the burl-inset dining table they purchased as young newlyweds 37 years ago! To keep the space clean and fresh, Diana didn’t put a rug in the room. There are so many beautiful elements, but to me the finishing touch is the wonderful coral from Twenty Six Twenty that’s placed off center on the table. Superb!!

Diana’s favorite part of the room? The ceiling!!! We stenciled an intricate pattern in silvery tones on the ceiling to encase the whole space and “wrap the room in the beauty of a silvery warmth.” I love that Diana didn’t shy away from mixing patterns! She installed this beautiful wood grain Schumacher wallpaper 18 years ago and has now added a subtle contrast with the stenciled ceiling.  Also love her trademark accessorizing again!

There are so many great, unexpected twists in this formal living room. The space presents a wide range of antiques, like the 1950s Steinway, and contemporary pieces, such as the eglomise silver leaf coffee table with hand-forged legs from Hien Lam.  After inheriting several quilts made by her grandmothers, Diana began collecting Depression-era quilts and was also drawn into Victorian designs. Constructed of three different colored fabrics in three different intensities for a dimensional effect, this one above the fireplace is a silk Victorian tumbling block quilt. Another idea to add dimension: layering this small cowhide rug from IKEA atop the large antique area rug from Matt Camron was such a wonderful way to clearly define the sitting area and ground the room. Diana has kept the same stenciling on the walls that her then faux artist E. Kay Holmes, now retired, did 15 years ago. “I felt that since the room was so large, the subtle but over-scaled stenciling provided interest without overwhelming the space.”

This family room, functioning as a gathering place for both family and large parties, needed to feel comfortable but still offer ample seating. The architectural columns naturally separate the space without obstructing the open feel. This antique French iron base with the beautiful green jardiniere dually serves not only as a side table for the two chairs from Custom Creations but also as a focal point when entering the room from this direction. A blend of gray and green fabrics together creates a surprisingly calm neutral that showcases the art and one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.

Diana is so talented at developing soft, subtle contrast. I love the way she plays with different textures! When she changed her drapes to this sheer from Pindler & Pindler, the previous Conrad shades were painted to match at a fraction of the cost of ordering new ones!! I love the asymmetrical arrangement of art on the fireplace mantle, two pieces of art and the vase!  The beautiful green painting by Francis McCormack is an abstract interpretation of a vase of flowers from Jack Meier Gallery. The photograph is a detail of the Fayette County Courthouse in LaGrange, where Diana’s father spent a lot of time working when she was young. It’s wonderful that she incorporated personal elements that are meaningful – it really makes a house a home!!!

This sunroom was formerly an open  brick outdoor space that the homeowners closed off 15 years ago. Segreto recently plastered over the brick and totally changed its look at a fraction of the cost of changing the brick with other alternatives!!  As Diana says, “the plaster in the sunroom transformed the space from rough exterior brick to this beautiful slick gray surface that provided a background for my collection of vintage loving cups, pewter plates, oak table and black steamer trunk.” She discovered the beautiful patinated cups and vintage trunks at the HADA show, and the pewter plates are from the Marburger Farm Antique Show. I love the color assortment here: the grays and whites and then that bright splash of green in the pillows!!!

                 Stay tuned next week for a tour of the breakfast area, kitchen and master suite of this beautiful home. This house makes me want to go back over and over to really study how she has combined and placed her accessories and art in a room, creating interest and warmth but still maintaining clean lines in her design. Thanks Diana, you are such a talent!!!     With the holidays coming poeple have been calling about giftwrapping the book so we are happy to giftwrap any books that you are ordering on line and shipping to your friends and family through our website Just make sure in the message put that you would like it gift wrapped!!  For Houston pick up we are wrapping the books in burlap, again put in the message that you would like it gift wrapped.  Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors also can now be ordered on Amazon as well.

The book signing this week is Meet the Designers! This private book-signing and cocktail party will be hosted by Muffy Buvens, the book’s graphic designer. Enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and get design tips from several of the book’s featured interior designers.  Leave with a book or two, signed by Leslie …Christmas is around the corner!  November 17, 2011 – 6:00pm to 9:00 pm   Private Event. For more information email Muffy at

Have a great week everyone, its starting to cool down here in Houston!!  Yayyy!! xo  Leslie

1 Comment
  • eclectic revisited
    Posted at 20:38h, 10 December Reply

    classic with a twist is a lovely description of this stunning home..
    the colors and lighting evoke an enveloping ambiance that wraps you in luxury..
    simply beautiful,

Leave A Comment