Monday, December 14, 2009

Proust Would Be Proud

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Marcel Proust would be proud: Tall Husband and I made madeleines tonight. He browned the butter as I grated the lemon rind and mixed the batter. We always use Julia Child's recipe...we've tried numerous others but find that nobody does it better than Julia. After baking them in their madeleine pans and sprinkling with powdered sugar, we ate them warm with tea.

Note: This fragrant tea is from Beadboard Upcountry in Brenham, Texas.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Houston, We Have Snow!

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Snow at My Ranchburger

Can you believe it? It's snowing in Houston, Texas! Of course, we know that this doesn't qualify as Snow in more Northern climes but to a Texan this is reason to close schools and hunker down.

So, I'm off to hunker with Tall Husband!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Anne Breux's Tribute to Pierre Paulin at Ligne Roset

"Pumpkin" chair by Pierre Paulin (Click on any photo to enlarge.)

Anne Breux, French Interior Architect, taking questions from members of her audience who are seated on Pierre Paulin furniture; A Pierre Paulin poster for her lecture at Ligne Roset, Houston, Texas

The dramatic video that accompanied the lecture

Guests at the Ligne Roset Lecture Series
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Anne Breux, well known modernist French Interior Architect, was at Ligne Roset in Houston last night to present her tribute to the late French Designer, Pierre Paulin. Anne is an exceptional speaker, so her lecture generated great interest, culminating in a spirited discussion about Pierre Paulin's life...personal, political and professional.

Among the guests at Ligne Roset were Jean-Louis Breux, French Art Dealer; Jacques Barry, contemporary French artist; Frank Fuzzy, Parisian designer; and Gema De Santos, owner of the fine arts photography gallery De Santos.

Oh, I forgot to mention that rocker Rod Stewart arrived after the lecture...
I lie...that's really Bruce Wolfe, owner of Ligne Roset Houston, in a Rod Stewart wig!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge: Houston

This isn't your grandma's bowling ball!

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Click on photos to enlarge.

Felix Hernandez of Behind the Garden Gate here in Houston has connections, so he got my camera and me invited to the huge opening party at Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge. When Tall Husband saw the lines, he groaned that we would never get in. Not so...I flashed my blog card and before you could yell "Strike!" we were in the door sporting the orange wrist band issued to members of the press.

Lucky Strike is definitely not the bowling alley of your birthday party days as a kid. The place is all modern chic and hopping. There are lanes, lounges, pool tables, deejay music, drinks and great food. Oh, and it's a great people-watching place.

(Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge is located in the Houston Pavilions, Downtown Houston.)
Don't live in Houston? There are 21 Lucky Strike locations throughout the United States.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Viva Vitra

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Vitra Design Museum Miniatures Collection: LC1 Sling Chair (Photo by Annie Sitton.)

Don't you just love the Vitra DesignMuseum's Miniatures Collection? This tiny Le Corbusier is one of my favorite souvenirs and is from a visit to Corbusier's famous Villa Savoye near Paris. Cassina is the licensed maker of the daddy of this chair, Le Corbusier's Sling Chair, LC1.

Vitra's Miniatures Collection encompasses almost 100 designs. These miniatures are sought by collectors, as well as academics who use them in the teaching of design.
And children love to offer a seat to Barbie or GI Joe.

Outside Link:
If you are a Lego Loony, go have a look at a wonderful Lego model of Villa Savoye by Matija Grguric, an architect student in Zagreb, Croatia.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Austin's Ligne Roset Boutique in Elle Decor Magazine

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Photo: Elle Decor Magazine cover, Photography by William Waldron

The chic, French Ligne Roset Boutique in Austin, Texas is featured in the September 2009 issue of Elle Decor Magazine in their What's Hot! shops, page 36. Congratulations to Ligne Roset, Bruce Wolfe and staff for the deserved recognition.

Ligne Roset Boutique, Austin, Texas: Opening Night

To see My Ranchburger blog coverage of the Ligne Roset Boutique's opening, click here and here.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hometta Show

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Photo courtesy of Hometta

If you are in Houston this weekend, go see the Hometta Show, Welcome Hometta, at the New World Museum. This is the final weekend for the Show before it moves on to San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Boston.

Hometta is based here in Houston, Texas and is a collaborative of designers, architects, builders, writers and editors who care about modern architecture and access to great design. According to their website:

"Founder Mark Johnson and partner Andrew McFarland joined forces with four core architects and designers, whose vision has guided Hometta’s development. They, in turn, have helped recruit the several dozen studios who have contributed home plans to Hometta’s first stage of life (with more to come!)."

Hometta Show at New World Museum

5230 Center St.
Houston, Texas 77007

FREE! Admission to New World Museum is free due to the generosity of museum supporters.

Thursday - Sunday
Noon to 5 p.m.

You may remember My Ranchburger's coverage of one of Hometta's early projects. Click here to see a wonderful residential design on which they collaborated.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

le cinéma

The cinema ticket.

Our seats?

And le cinéma?

The other evening, Ligne Roset Houston had one of its really chic in-store cinema events. The cinema was À Bout de Souffle (Breathless) with Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo and English subtitles. I know you've never had seats such as these in a theater or French spirits and hor d'oeuvres as you watched a hip black and white.

But who could concentrate on the movie...even if it's Belmondo and Seberg...while mentally redecorating one's pad with all those wonderful Ligne Roset designs?

Friday, July 24, 2009

harbenger.duo at DWR

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At the Design Within Reach Houston Studio last night harbenger.duo, AKA the Josh and Audrey Hardesty design team, exhibited their wonderfully designed and beautifully constructed line of contemporary furniture.

Spotted in the huge crowd (not seen here, as Tall Husband and I arrived early to shoot) at DWR were well known architects, designers, international retailers, plus one of my favorite Bloggers, Carolina of Carolina Eclectic.

Note: Click on photos to enlarge. These are only a few of the harbenger.duo designs. For order information go to You can also follow this duo on their blog, harbenger.duo.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Adolf Loos and His House for Josephine Baker

This tiny maquette of the never-realized house that Adolf Loos designed for Josephine Baker in 1928 sits on a bookshelf at My Ranchburger. It was to have been built in Paris on a corner of Avenue Bugeaud in the 16th arrondissement.

The facade was to have been covered in black and white marble.

The original maquette, along with a number of drawings, is in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. This above maquette: Model design: Paul Groenendijk and Piet Vollaard. Scale: 1:100; copyright, Elsie Altmann-Loos.

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I constructed my little model from the pages of this book, Adolf Loos: Huis voor/house for/maison pour/Haus für Josephine Baker by Paul Groenendijk and Piet Vollaard. The publication was found at the Bookstore & Gift Shop, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston some years ago.

Josephine Baker has inspired generations with her great intelligence, talents and charm. Looking at this maquette of a house she inspired, makes me smile, as I imagine her living there, swimming in the indoor pool, dancing across marble floors in her banana skirt, or walking her pet leopard around the neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fete Nationale 2009

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Happy Bastille Day to all our French Friends!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Art Deco Redo

This Art Deco console, attributed to Wolfgang Hoffmann, was found in less than pristine condition at a local antique shop.

Tall Husband and I collaborated on the refinishing of this Art Deco manicure table turned console. I had searched for a table like one that had been in my clipping notebook for years...then one day we walked into an antique shop in Houston and there it stood, doing duty as a place for the shop's business cards and signs. It was painted a bright turquoise with pink, white and black showing through.

The shop owner told us that the late 1920's to early 1930's piece had been a manicure trolley in a beauty salon and its design was attributed to Wolfgang Hoffmann, son of the famous architect and Wiener Werkstatte co-founder,
Josef Hoffmann. Inside its small drawer was evidence of its previous life...numerous spills of nail enamel in various shades of red, hardened into a stubborn, bumpy veneer.

Discovering that there was Bakelite beneath layers of paint was a delight. Legs, hinges and pulls were re-chromed at a metal plating shop and reproduction casters were sourced.

The little trolley's chromed legs and pulls were beginning to rust through the chrome. A corner had been severely damaged and there was all that paint, inexpertly applied. It's casters were broken and crumbling. It was love at first sight. Once we got the piece home, I wondered aloud, "Whom can we trust to refinish this?" Tall Husband pointed at me. "Me!?"

A manicure trolley in the early decades of the twentieth century, it now holds drink coasters and gray linen cocktail napkins.

So with racing heart, respirator, paint remover, and proper ventilation, I began. Tall Husband did some research and found a metal plating shop that usually did chrome on antique car bumpers and motorcycles. Off came the legs, pulls and every little screw. At my request, Tall Husband constructed a metal angle and with it I began to build up a fine corner with wood filler. We tested several black paints and, surprisingly, the best looking one was a can of black spray paint from Sherwin Williams, called Almost Flat.

I tackled the top of the little table last, using a hand sander with a fine sandpaper. Well into the job, I smelled a strange odor and noticed that the surface was becoming mysteriously shiny. Throwing off my mask and gloves, I ran to my computer and searched for Wolfgang Hoffmann. That's when I learned that most of his tables were topped by Bakelite. Tall Husband came out to my work area and in one sniff identified phenolic resin, an odor that is emitted by Bakelite when its heated (e.g., sanded with an electric sander.) I immediately switched to fine steel wool and a gentler touch. At one point in refinishing the surface, the shine of the ebony Bakelite popped out in all its glory.

Returned to its original chicness, the Art Deco table now resides in our living room and stands ready with gray linen cocktail napkins and black coasters from Ligne Roset.

And would you believe it? There is another one like it, this time covered in paint the color of red nail polish. We spotted it in the window of Luther's, a hip boutique in Austin, Texas.
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