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Interior DesignWe spend of good part of our lives collecting – antique china, crystal figurines, sports memorabilia, old pottery, Christmas ornaments – the list is varied and unique to each individuals’ taste.  Sometimes vacations and excursions are primarily focused on adding to our collections.  When we get home and review our collectibles, we think, “Now what am I going to do with this?”.  Read the entire article HERE. Bryan Pule Interiors. 303-399-8866.

While other areas of the country have seen unprecedented foreclosures and significant loss in property values, we in Central Texas have been very fortunate to be in a much better real estate market. In fact, the slight down turn in real estate values that we have experienced has created a perfect opportunity for some homebuyers to buy or build homes in neighborhoods that they could have only dreamed of before. If you are one of the fortunate who is considering a new home, consider which architectural styles will be the best choice over the coming years.

As recently noted by Roy Braswell, accomplished architect of Braswell Architecture, Inc., buyers of upper-end homes are no longer going for traditional brick that was once the standard in the U.S.  Instead, styles that reference other countries and or periods of history are the looks that sell.  I agree with builder Mike Holloway that the Tuscan design which has been so popular over the past few years is here to stay. It just works for San Antonio, and is a classic design for the Hill Country as well. Roy Braswell, in his recent comments in the San Antonio Express News, stated that he thinks another Old World look that high end buyers might successfully replicate is Spanish Colonial, which has a long history in San Antonio, and is used successfully in older neighborhoods like Olmos Park and Monte Vista. Other styles mimic Mediterranean architecture from California. California has always set the trends for designers and builders in Texas. I will say that lately I have seen a slight trend toward more modern looks but those that seem to work well in our area are more classic with simple, clean lines.  However, remember that it is only 1% of San Antonio that want modern homes.

When you have decided which architectural style best suits you and your lifestyle, consider which interior elements will best complete the house of your dreams.  For any style, and especially the Spanish Colonial look, come and let us draw, design and manufacture that perfect entertainment center or bedroom group for your home. And remember, drawing to delivery is less than a month on our custom wood furniture made from the finest Canadian Alder. As I have always said, “If you can dream it, we can build it”.

I could go on and on about remodeling and decorating, and I will! Look for new trends and great ideas in Urban Home, or give me a call at “Catrina’s at the Ranch,” 830-755-6355, IH-10 West in Boerne, and look for our new store, “La Catrina,” which is Spanish slang for “all dressed up,” coming to 1604 in October!

-Catrina Hoelke, Catrina’s at the Ranch & La Catrina    830.755.6355

Visiting Catrina’s at the Ranch in Boerne is like going on a treasure hunt – you never know what you’re going to find, but you know it’s going to be well worth the search.


 “There’s an abundance of merchandise,” says Catrina Hoelke, award-winning designer, entrepreneur, and owner of the 6 1/2-acre furniture and design compound that bears her name. “The look in the store changes day by day.”


And what a look it is. Every corner of the 7000-square foot main building is brimming with one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, hand-forged chandeliers, artwork, tableware, tribal rugs, and eye-catching accessories from all over the world.


Hoelke grew up in the furniture business, working as a designer and buyer for stores in Texas and Colorado. It was during her recovery from a broken neck in 1998 that she decided to strike out on her own, opening Catrina’s Closet – a used clothing and furniture store — in Camp Wood, Texas.


“I started with five hundred dollars,” she says, sitting on one of her comfy custom-designed sofas replete with fringed pillows.  “That’s what my husband gave me, jokingly, when I said I wanted to start a business. He said, ‘Here you go, baby. Run with it.’”


She did – from the Camp Wood store to Catrina’s Western Center in Uvalde to a store in Sabinal, eventually finding a small space on Boerne’s Main Street until she found the present property on IH 10 West in 2004. There was one small snag: the building (ironically the former home of the Loft Restaurant, one of Hoelke’s first design jobs 35 years ago)
was condemned. City officials told her it was a scraper – there was no way to fix it. “I told them to hide and watch. I was a determined woman.”


That’s putting it mildly. Hoelke is a whirlwind, dealing with staff, taking calls, showing a visitor through some of the dozen or so display rooms at her showroom, and talking the whole time about the journey that brought her back to Boerne and the passions that fuel her jam-packed life.


“I work seven days a week. That’s what it’s taken to build this business.” She’s drawn as well to charities close to her heart – the new battered women’s shelter being built in Boerne, the American Cancer Society, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, and the San Antonio Zoo.

In addition, there’s a new passion in a new town – San Antonio, to be exact. In October, Hoelke opens her new store, La Catrina, off 1604 and Babcock near The Shops at La Cantera.


“It will have a more European look mixed with contemporary,” says Hoelke, adding that it will be a perfect complement to the Texas Tuscan look of the ranch store.  “La Catrina will give customers a whole new selection and choice.”


La Catrina will also carry on the tradition of providing the ultimate in customer service, especially Hoelke’s signature custom designs that allow clients to help create the perfect look. “They can select their own fabrics and styles so that their choices are unique and
fit their home décor.” They can also take home whatever they see at the store, unlike
some other high-end furniture stores that make you wait six to eight weeks while they order a sofa you saw on the showroom floor. “Anything you see here, you can buy.
We won’t make you wait.”


Others need Hoelke’s expert advice on site. A design call involves a visit to the home or business to photograph the space, then sketching out designs for suggested pieces.
“We price it all out in a list, room by room, so they know exactly what they’re spending.” There no additional charge for custom designs either, whether it’s one piece or a whole room. 


Hoelke is mindful of the rarefied image custom furniture has as being inaccessible to the average consumer. Not true, she says.  “We save money here. Other stores might mark up an item three times with freight. We don’t do that. People love to fix up their homes, but these are hard times and we appreciate that. We give them great value here.”


Hoelke shares the wealth in other ways, never forgetting how she started out and paying
it forward by mentoring other women with business dreams of their own. “I want to be the message to women that they can do it too. Start small and persevere. Find something you enjoy and diligently work at it.  Don’t give up and don’t look back.”



Catrina’s at the Ranch is located at 31300 IH-10 West in Boerne. To learn more about custom furnishings and accessories, and the new La Catrina store opening soon, call 830.755.6355 or visit

Tucked among the treasures of West Hildebrand Avenue’s antique row, looms a large oasis on a corner lot. Breezy open fencing surrounds a mystical contemporary garden filled with pottery, statues, and most importantly, bamboo. Big Grass Bamboo has been the go-to spot for San Antonio’s eco-conscious cognoscenti since 2006. Owners John and Duang Hanesworth, “bamboo enthusiasts on a mission” as they call themselves, have established the company as the premier source for sustainable, elegant, stylish and globally friendly merchandise in South Texas.

A recent name change, from Big Grass Bamboo to the more simple Big Grass™, helps reflect the diversity of products available. While Big Grass carries everything from silk textiles to antiques to lanterns to hammocks, the store’s selection ultimately reflects a high-end design sensibility.  
“The Thai have a very refined sense of style. Many of our pieces are handcrafted by trained architects who became furniture designers,”
says John Hanesworth.

Already well known for outdoor room furnishings and garden decor, Big Grass is promoting two indoor furniture lines this season that integrate well with different design styles. Both product lines are made of distinctive, long-lasting bamboo. Loi™ (which means “flowing” in Thai)
is fashioned from laminated bamboo strips that are clamped and formed into fluid, contoured pieces. “It’s not instantly recognizable as bamboo,” says Hanesworth. “It actually has a very Scandinavian, contemporary look.” The Sabai™ line is made from solid core (not hollow) bamboo, giving it an appearance much like wood. Big Grass has a full complement of Sabai pieces: living room, dining room and bedroom furniture all featured in-store. Big Grass is the only US source for both furniture lines.

Big Grass may be best known locally for the innovative Ong™ jar. In a region with water shortages and the level of the Edwards Aquifer a major concern, rainwater collection and recycling is becoming increasingly mainstream. With the Ong jars, it can be beautiful as well. The jars are handmade in Thailand from dense concrete, and then custom-stained to match your décor. They can collect hundreds of gallons of water per rainfall, more than enough to water your landscape during the next drought. The only supplier of Ong jars in the US, Big Grass is so committed to rainwater conservation that it has donated several Ongs to area non-profits.

Beyond the sustainability of the objects they sell, Big Grass has another admirable aspect – a commitment to artisans. Working directly with skilled international artisans, the Hanesworths manage to ensure fair compensation, keep local traditions thriving, and maintain competitive prices for South Texas customers. “Many of our artisans are single women running their own businesses, or husband/wife teams. We love exploring Thailand and finding new artists to work with,” adds Hanesworth. In Big Grass, South Texas has the source for authentic, sustainable, stylish objects that are good for the planet.

Big Grass is located at 637 West Hildebrand in San Antonio, Texas. To learn more about their inventory, the artisan families they work with and to get tips about sustainability in practice, call 210.735.7999 or toll-free 877.735.7999, or visit their website at

Stark announces a new division – Stark Paint, colours by David Oliver. This long-awaited four year collaboration with London based color specialist and designer David Oliver has resulted in an extensive and contemporary designer palette that spans the color spectrum with 240 rich new paint options. We spoke with Ashley Stark and David Oliver about this creative venture.

Why paint?
Ashley: A paint division completes the jigsaw puzzle. Our company has always been a leader in the home furnishings industry, providing outstanding product to designers. We provide carpets, rugs, fabrics, furniture and wallcoverings to our designers. Many of our clients navigate the showroom by color. Often, a desired color initiates the designer’s choices. Paint was a natural progression, and allows us to broaden our spectrum.

Who is David Oliver?
Ashley: David is a published author with Rizzoli, dubbed “the rock star of color” by the New York Times. He is the Design Director of the Paint and Paper Library. He is a leading authority on color and its use in interior decoration.

How did the collaboration between Stark and David Oliver come about?
David: Stark Wallcovering was the North American distributor for the Paint and Paper Library. I had been traveling in the US and visited many of the Stark showrooms while promoting my book. Stark had been in the research and development stages of producing a paint line.
Ashley: When we saw the color palette, we realized David had an extraordinary eye for color. His vision was not to select one color, but rather create a symphony of colors. He created a palette by orchestrating a collection of chromatically arranged colors. They work individually or in succession, to create a coordinated, beautifully simple color scheme. Our discerning clientele would respond to this. His use of color was very different than any American paint manufacturer. His palette creates ease in color selection, and as he says, “eliminating paint analysis paralysis”.

What is VOC FREE? Why is so much emphasis on zero VOC in the base and colorants?
David: Our goal was to make an impact on your walls not the environment. We went through great lengths to find a high quality paint manufacturer that would create a VOC free base that would use organic colorants and natural tints.
Ashley: These ingredients are more expensive than the conventional paint lines that are sold in the “Do It Yourself” stores. Though they may start out zero VOC, once the color is added it is no longer a pure product.

Stark Paint, colours by David Oliver is formulated to be earth friendly and ecologically responsible. When completely dry, Stark Paint, colours by David Oliver is safe for children and pets, protecting our environment and your home for years to come. We continue to strive for quality and excellence, a mission that my grandparents started over 65 years ago. We are a great American company committed to providing eco friendly products that are manufactured in the USA.

For more information, contact Stark Carpet at 704-588-8842 or visit

Here are some elegant and thoughtful holiday decorating ideas, from Serena and Lily, on how to comfortably prepare your home for guests, this holiday season!

5 Festive Ways to Create a Comfortable Guest Room with Serena and Lily products:

1. “Pimento Sheets”- Start getting your guests in the holiday mood with festive and colorful sheets.

2. “Kuta Tin Boxes”- Offer you guests a gorgeous place to store their cherished belongings.

3. “Throw Pillows”- To promote a relaxing atmosphere, make sure everyone has a soft pillow to cuddle.

4. “Lucky Stools”- Creatively accommodate your guests luggage with seasonal sophistication.

5. “Chunky Throws”- Make sure your guests are warm and cozy with large, soft blankets.

For more information about these trends and products please visit

1. Thou shalt embrace maximalism.
Thou wilt find minimalism to be something of a bummer in thy abode. Thou wilt grow tired of an endless sea of beige and thou wilt long for a splash of color & a dollop of pattern! Bargello pillows, Furnace bottles, and rustic modern lamps – these shalt be the accessories that add some panache to your pad.

2. Thou shalt not deny thyself hotelish comfort at home.
Thou shalt furnish thy rooms with paw-pampering, hand-loomed llama wool rugs, luxurious lighting and our fabulous furniture.
Thy rooms shalt feel like the most opulent hotel rooms in which thou hast ever stayed.
Thou art worth it.

3. Thou shalt buy an X-Bench.
Then, thou shalt buy another. Thou shalt use them in pairs, perfect under thy console or placed near thy sofa. Thou shalt rest thy feet upon them & so will thy guests. In fact, thy guests might even fight over who gets to rest upon them. Therefore, thou shalt establish house rules about thy X-Benches. Perhaps thou should consider a sign up sheet.

4. If thy nest needeth zest, consider thy crest!
Thou shalt emblazon with thine initials wherever possible.

5. Thou shalt mix fancy with frisky.
Thou shalt not be overly formal, for if thou art, thou will be sad. Conversely, thou shalt not be overly whimsical, for if thou art thou will not feel chic. Therefore, thou shalt embrace a mix, pairing the chic classical foundation – excellent proportions, classic furniture – with a layer of playful punctuation. Then thou shalt rest.

6. Thou shalt honor the funsters of yore.
David Hicks, Alexander Girard, Piero Fornasetti, Bonnie Cashin, Bjorn Wiinblad – if thou dost not knoweth them, thou should. Thou can use Google Images to learn more about them and thou shalt channel their fun, idiosyncratic, playful spirit in thine own interiors. Thy home will be fun, happy, and chic.

7. Thou shalt not commit murder,
…unless thou art murdering for a decorative accessory.
If thou should find thyself at one of our stores and seeth the last bird bowl on our shelf, thou shalt feel free to use whatever means necessary to obtain that special something.

8. Thou shalt not be afraid of orange.
Thou shalt use orange copiously in thy interior, whether it beeth in an orange breakfast room or via the zing of an orange lacquered box. Thou might even consider painting thy front door orange to pique thy neighbor’s curiosity. Thou shalt also covet chocolate brown.

9. Thou shalt play ping pong.
Better still, thou shalt have a ping pong table in thy living room. Then, lo, thou shalt play ping pong with thy spouse rather than sitting around watching thy tv.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.
In fact, after following these 10 commandments, thy neighbor might covet thy house. So there.

For more information about current decorating trends and tips please visit our website at

With a return of family togetherness, smaller living spaces have U.S. families adjusting to new household realities.

Things are getting tight in the American household, and it’s not just the recession squeeze.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2007, the number of parents living in an adult child’s household increased by 67 percent. At the same time, a recent Pew Research Center report (Nov. 2009), shows that one in 10 young adults ages 18 to 35 say the poor economy has forced them to move back in with their parents. Add to that the fact that for the first time in nearly 15 years, the size of new homes in the U.S. is shrinking, (down 7 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau), and it’s clear that the American household may be getting a little too cozy for comfort.

Whatever the cause of these new phenomena—whether it can be blamed on job loss or the more positive signs of Americans’ desires to build closer family bonds during increasingly insecure times—forward-thinking designers, architects and builders are being called upon to consider “proximity with privacy” solutions that will take some of the pressure off crowded households.

The need to relieve tension and stress and promote independence and interaction, yet also provide the much-needed personal space within multigenerational homes, has become a necessity for sandwiched families.

Many experts agree that separate living quarters, which may include a second master suite and even a second kitchen or cottage, are the best solutions for third- and fourth-generations living together. However, with major conversions being out of reach for many financially strapped homeowners, experts such as JELD-WEN, a leading manufacturer of windows and doors, are offering simple solutions designed to work with the many different needs that an extended family may have.

Peace and quiet
There’s no doubt about it: the more people crowded into close quarters, the more noise increases exponentially.

“Most people don’t pay attention to interior sound control,” said John Downs, JELD-WEN
product marketing manager. “However, they may subconsciously experience general discomfort or uneasiness in an area of their home and not realize the impact doors can have to improve this issue. Unfortunately, that means many people are still living with thin, hollow core interior doors that do next to nothing when it comes to blocking sound. Yet switching out interior doors is one of the most cost-effective changes you can make to increase living comfort.”

For a few hundred dollars, replacing interior doors with the latest sound-reducing technology can drastically help control noise.

JELD-WEN’s ProCore® The Quiet Door® is up to 50 percent quieter compared to a hollow core door, effectively blocking out many common household sounds. It also delivers the heft of an all-wood door and is available in a wide variety of stylish designs.

Other lower-cost tips for instilling peace and quiet in the home include testing the sound emission of appliances and household items such as vacuums before purchasing them. Many sound-reducing models cost no more than other new versions, yet won’t significantly contribute to household noise.

Experts also say that at least 25 percent of noisy rooms should have sound-absorbing materials like carpet or wall coverings to prevent loud footsteps from carrying throughout the home. Finally, consider designating a “quiet zone,” such as a spa-like bathroom retreat or a reading nook in the farthest corner of the home, that is free from noisy electronics and the hustle and bustle of family activity.

An increase in household energy
A household full of family members undoubtedly raises the energy level. More people typically means a bigger energy load, as the home is working 24/7 to try to keep up with different schedules and individual demands. That means more household electronics, laundry loads, and heating and cooling needs. This can be an unexpected financial drain on families who may be working hard to conserve limited resources.

One of the best ways to offset the increase in energy demands is to incorporate more energy-saving features that will also increase the home’s comfort level. Highly energy efficient, affordable JELD-WEN® Vinyl windows that are ENERGY STAR® qualified can help reduce utility bills over the long run, saving money month after month. Under the government’s new economic stimulus plan, families can also take advantage of federal tax credits of up to $1,500 for qualified energy efficiency improvements related to items including windows and doors. JELD-WEN has made it easy to determine the specific requirements and which products qualify for the tax credits by visiting

The federal requirements stipulate that qualified products must be installed between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010.
Different needs, universal solutions
As children boomerang back home after college and elderly parents move in with their children, home designs and operations need to function well for both the young and the old.

Safety, including easy-to-operate and secure window and door locks, as well as wider doorways to accommodate increased traffic flow and potential mobility issues, are important considerations. Making sure family members check to ensure fire alarms and fire extinguishers are operable, develop an emergency evacuation plan and create a centralized place for updated emergency numbers are key priorities.

Above all, most experts agree that multigenerational living can be a joyful, rich experience—it simply requires some planning and a shift in what has been the “typical” American lifestyle.

“Americans have gotten so accustomed to bigger houses and bigger spaces, this may be a bit of an adjustment,” said Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and host of Today’s Homeowner television show. “The good news is, there are plenty of things you can do within an existing home to make it more comfortable and accommodating, no matter who ends up coming back home.”

If you have window and doors needs for a multi-generational household, visit The Design Center, a completely new retail concept in the Ballantyne Area outside of Charlotte offering JELD-WEN windows, doors, garage doors as well as professional installation services all in one showroom.
The Design Center is located at 9484 Old Bailes Road, Fort Mill, SC, 29707. The phone number is 800-276-0411.  For further information please visit our website at

When it comes to home improvement, there’s no doubt homeowners will be pickier with their pocketbooks in 2010 and 2011.

In fact, according to leading sources such as Meredith Publishing, homeowners with limited discretionary funds are weighing their priorities this year, picking and choosing among home improvement projects that will make the cut.

But not all home improvements are created equal when it comes to the best investment choices. Take windows and doors. With hundreds of styles, options and performance combinations, the decisions can be daunting. With that in mind, JELD-WEN, one of the largest manufacturers of windows and doors, offers “insider tips” on where homeowners should look to save, and what features might be worth the extra splurge.

Where to Save

Materials make a difference. When it comes to windows and doors, experts say materials do make a difference. In general, for windows, vinyl will typically cost less compared to wood. Although if you need to replace old wood windows, JELD-WEN offers replacement wood window sash kits that can be installed in existing wood frames and can be very cost-effective.

Good taste can come standard. Custom trim, style and hardware options will typically cost more. It’s always worth asking first whether there might be a standard design option in an alternative material so a particular look can be achieved without sacrificing style. For example, JELD-WEN offers more than 100 panel designs as part of its interior door line, many that mimic classic and traditional solid wood styles, but cost far less. The company’s standard line of  hardware options also gives homeowners variety when it comes to finishes, colors and designs, without having to pay more.

Maintenance requirements can be the “X” factor. Save by looking for pre-primed, prefinished options that can help reduce costs over the long run and protect the initial investment. Choices such as vinyl windows or fiberglass doors mean minimal maintenance requirements year after year.

Efficiency is in the bank. For long-term savings, insist on windows and doors that come standard with energy efficient, Low-E glass. JELD-WEN offers highly efficient models that don’t cost extra, and energy saving models that qualify for tax credits. The U.S. Department of Energy says that homeowners can save an average of $125 to $450 a year on energy costs by replacing worn-out windows with more efficient models.

Where to Splurge

Don’t scrimp on style. Homeowners don’t have to pay big bucks to achieve a great look, but experts agree that if you don’t love the style or if it doesn’t fit with the character or architectural design of the house, it’s not worth the investment, no matter what the price.

“Windows and doors make a huge difference in terms of the overall look of a home—considering there is at least one of each in every single room of the home,” said John Downs, JELD-WEN product marketing manager. “As a homeowner, these are product categories where you can’t afford to have something that detracts from the overall style of the home or your taste in décor. Today there are so many choices that can reflect personal style and theme. Doors and windows give homeowners a major opportunity to get creative and make a décor impact throughout their home, often at a fraction of the cost of other home improvement projects that focus only on certain areas.”

Go for major impact. Don’t sacrifice on main focal points. Homeowners with limited budgets may want to put the majority of their dollars into areas that are going to make the biggest impact such as the entry door, garage doors and the rooms they spend the most time in. And don’t forget about resale value: respondents in a JELD-WEN nationwide survey of real estate agents estimated that a typical 2,500-square-foot home with updated entry and garage doors is worth, on average, an additional $16,000.

Consider performance features as well. For example, spending a few extra dollars on a
JELD-WEN ProCore® The Quiet Door® interior door to reduce sound between the laundry room and the rest of the house may be worth the peace and quiet.

“It’s increasingly common to see homeowners splurge on a custom wood or fiberglass entry door, for example, and save by putting affordable, energy efficient vinyl windows in the rest of the house,” said Downs. “When it comes to balancing the budget, it’s a matter of prioritizing in a way that’ll deliver the most bang for the buck. For literally a few dollars, more homeowners can impact the décor, design and their own peace of mind throughout the entire home.”

Little extras well worth it. It makes sense to invest wisely in areas that’ll provide a strong payback. Cladding, which is essentially a prefinished metal layer for the exterior of wood windows, provides great weather protection and never needs to be painted. As a result, according to JELD-WEN, nearly 90 percent of homeowners choose the clad wood option, recognizing the long-term value and payoff, even though it costs slightly more than primed wood.

Above all, do your homework. There are literally thousands of choices when it comes to windows and doors. Compare features, benefits, warranties and style flexibility, and choose products that will stand up over time.

“It’s worth spending the effort in order to get the maximum return out of your investment,” said home improvement expert Danny Lipford. “In today’s market especially, that’s essential no matter what your budget or your priorities.”

If you want to save or splurge, energy efficient and stylish windows and doors are currently available through The Design Center, a completely new retail concept in the Ballantyne Area outside of Charlotte offering JELD-WEN windows, doors, garage doors as well as professional installation services all in one showroom.
The Design Center is located at 9484 Old Bailes Road, Fort Mill, SC, 29707. The phone number is 800-276-0411.  For further information please visit our website at

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