Stealing Magnolias


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House Beautiful Oct 08

Most of us swooned over these photos when they first

appeared in House Beautiful back in October of  ’08…

Jewel tones of purple, amethyst, silvered blues…

House Beautiful '08 Debra Shriver

Monogrammed valances with crown detail…

House Beautiful Oct 08 John Kernick

When the homeowner showed antiques shop-owner turned

interior designer Hal Williamson tassels she had collected in

Paris in her favorite colors of purple, pink, citrus green and blue…

he found the embroidered silk that became the bed covering, as well

as inspiration to the home interior’s color palate…

House Beautiful Debra Shriver

Per the homeowner: “…in my walled courtyard, I have my late grandmother’s

gardenias planted. We brought them over from Alabama, stem by stem, with the

roots in little jars of water. To sit near them reading the newspaper in my

pajamas while listening to the New Orleans soundtrack of crickets, steamboat

whistles, children playing, cathedral bells, and the pie lady selling pies —it’s divine.”

House Beautiful John Kernick photography

Paying homage to Ella Fitzgerald…

The quote, tabletop crown, a kaleidoscope of marbleized

folios and pink ballroom skirted drapes…

all clues to the sensibilities of the homeowner…


Debra Shriver's New Orleans Home HB '08

An antique Paris map whose street names mirror those of New Orleans’

Vieux Carré (French Quarter).  Mimi Read interviews Hal Williamson

about the home via House Beautiful here. Photography John Kernick.

Though identified in House Beautiful only as ” a southern-born media

executive ” who hails from New York…the homeowner is Debra Shriver,

who has recently published a book about the magic of New Orleans.

Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver

In Stealing Magnolias...tales from a New Orleans courtyard…

Debra Shriver weaves a fairy tale of her evolving love of New Orleans..

begun over frequent visits from New York and brief stays at the Soniat Hotel.

A dinner party in the garden district, her husband’s toast expressing the hope that

they would one day could put down roots in New Orleans, the party’ s hostess

calling with a hot tip on a nearby home the very next day, and no sooner had

a bid been entered than Hurricane Katrina struck. Rather than back out the couple

resolved to go forward, and magic and serendipity produced this treasure of a home.

In a chapter titled “The House Finds Us” …it is Coup de Foudre…love at first sight…

the moment we walked in, looked upwards at its high ceilings, then down the

hallway to its small, leafy courtyard, it was familiar to me.


Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver

The various toile images on the dining room chairs

illustrate different aspects of the city’s past…

One of the many ways that Debra weaves the history

of New Orleans into her home…

Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver

With chapters on Monograms and Muslin, Recipes and Rituals,

stories about her grandmother’s gardenias, and catching the

golden coconut at Mardis Gras, snippets on Old Paris porcelain,

a glossary of terms complete with pronunciation guides, quotes

throughout from the famous and infamous residents…

My only regret is that I did not drink more champagne

…Lord Maynard Keynes on his deathbed

…its a scrapbook, design journal, love story, travel guide…

Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver

Antique gilded Pots de Crème on matching stand…

So while your running madly through the mall…you might want to

take a moment to flip through this book…or put it on your wish list…

Other blog reviews and more photos Visual Vamp here ,

Style Court here, All the Best here



Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver

Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver

Copyright © 2010, published by Glitterati Incorporated.

Available here





Christmas Blues and Chocolate



Cool teal tones wash over every surface in the butler’s pantry

of “Swan House” in Atlanta, massive covered silver platter …

This has such an “Upstairs Downstairs” look about it,

very “Gosford Park”…

Gosdord Park


If you haven’t already seen this film, its kitchen scenes are my favorite…

You’ll want to soak up every “British Country Manor” interior feature…

and then scurry down to your scullery to order your cooking staff to

whip up these gratifying doses of high grade chocolate. Or if you’ve

benevolently given the staff a few days off, try it yourself.

Molten Chocolate Puddings

5 1/4 oz dark chocolate

3 1/2 oz unsalted butter

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

thick (double) cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 355°

Place the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the chocolate is melted

and smooth. Place the eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale. Gently fold in flour

and chocolate mixture and spoon into 4 lightly greased 1-cup capacity ovenproof dishes. Bake

for 12-15 minutes or until the puddings are puffed. Top with the cream to serve. Serves 4.


Trouvais kitchen

Individual souffle cups on my cabinet shelves…

Double Chocolate Cookies

4 1/4 oz dark chocolate, chopped

4 oz unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted

1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

9 3/4 oz dark chocolate, extra, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 320°

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir

until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar for 8-10

minutes or until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat another 3-4

minutes. Stir the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and melted chocolate. Add the

extra chopped chocolate and stir to combine. Roll tablespoons of the mixture

into rounds. Place on baking trays lines with baking paper, allowing room for

the cookies to spread, and flatten slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes until slight cracks

have formed. Cool on wire racks. Makes 16.


Both recipes by Australian based author, food stylist, editor,  Donna Hay

click for online shopping site…

Trouvais agua tones

Vintage wide ribbons and grain sacks and toile…

Trouvais grainsacks with agua

All above from post last December…but just in the mood

for chocolate…intense blues…Gosford Park screen shots…

Trouvais lantern

A few good recent finds from sample sales…

One of a pair of huge zinc lanterns from Myra Hoefer

on One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag sale

and MarieBelle gift set from Gilt


Trouvais MarieBelle tea

MarieBelle…for the chocolate…teas…

but mostly for the gorgeous packaging….here

(Just as pretty…and a free gift from mother nature…

a carpet of moss outside my dining room…)

Fabric scraps from Cote Est…

more pretty brights here


Tim Walker blues

Tim Walker…

more here and here

Feeling the blues…in a good way…


Top photo Southern Accents ’06