11 OCTOBER 2009

BROWN Hosts Garden & Gun

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The darling - and let me repeat that for emphasis – the darling Haskell Harris, Associate Editor of Garden & Gun magazine said it best: “BROWN and Garden & Gun are simpatico.” I couldn’t have said it any better.

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Haskell Harris, Associate Editor, Garden & Gun magazine

But wait, who, what?

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Thursday night BROWN, my favorite lighting and decor store in Houston, hosted a party to welcome Garden & Gun, the newest Southern lifestyle magazine on the scene – or, as they say of themselves - the “Soul of the New South.” The two companies styles could not have meshed visually and philosophically any better – they are simpatico. Thank you, Haskell. BROWN and Garden & Gun just look good together.

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Blow-ups of former G&G covers were strategically placed around the shop, along with stacks of the current issue, each neatly tied with twine.

Jill Brown, proprietor and designer of BROWN, planned the get together and every detail was perfect, it truly seemed as if Garden & Gun and BROWN were actually run and owned by the same people. Jill’s style is incredible and it really showed on Thursday night – starting with the menu (and all made by Jill herself) – the sweets and food all a nod to every Southern favorite: bourbon balls, molasses cookies, beer cheese, and turkey sandwiches – to name just a few of the delectables. Drinks included Belgian Beer and the historical Tait Farm Shrubs. Instead of using platters, the tables were set with Jill’s fabulous collection of antique copper pots and pans. Bread that looked like stone blocks chiseled with large G&G’s were an extra visual touch.

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Bread branded with G&G in wire baskets – every detail a visual treat.

The flowers, there weren’t really flowers in the sense you would think, instead Jill found someone somewhere in the Carolinas that provided tobacco leaves – in honor of Garden & Gun , because as Jill put it “tobacco is Southern, a part of our heritage, textural, and Brown. Jonathan Andrew Sage arranged all the tobacco leaves and various plants in Jill’s old galvanized buckets. Other “floral” details included cherry tomato stalks that Sage incorporated into the mix. Anything that had to do with the South, it seemed Jill had thought of it.

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Sweets and treats were placed in galvanized trays. Autumnal colors mixed well with BROWNS’s decor.

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Some time ago Jill found a substantial cache of 100 year old copper pots and pans. She put them to good use at the party.

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Live music – inside and out. Notice the gorgeous painted wood floor! Squares merge into stripes.

A band – the acoustic Across The Water played inside - while a lone saxophonist, Edmond Baker, Jr. added a moody vibe outside. The large store was filled to capacity with many of the great interior designers in Houston – I saw Babs Watkins, Ginger Barber, Sharon Perry, and Carol Glasser mingling in the crowd. Cote de Texas favorite Sally Wheat was there too.

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The General Store on the front porch of BROWN.

The front porch was set up like a general store, except nothing was for sale, it was all there for the guests to take home. (I took home a little sign, ok – three tiny signs!!!) Little chalkboards were purposed as signs, both outside and inside. And throughout the store were “Haskell’s Picks” – things that the Garden & Gun style maven found especially appealing. Haskell, who has the cutest dimple in the world – only one, I asked! - gave a talk about the history of Garden & Gun, their vision and where they want to take the magazine. She spoke about authentic design and heirloom quality – passing down things from generation to generation. Haskell is just as darling as you would expect and watching her star rise, first at Cottage Living and now here at Garden & Gun, you know she will have a long and successful career. Her mother was an interior designer – the very house where Haskell was raised was also where her mother’s shop was located, so you can safely say Haskell ate and slept interior design - and it shows. When her redone Birmingham house was featured in Southern Living, everyone loved it - but she’s in a new home now in Charleston where G&G is headquartered. Besides editing the magazine’s style features, Haskell also writes a charming blog HERE.

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Stacks of the current issue were there for the taking. Jill also graciously bought subscriptions for all of her guests. Thanks, Jill!!

You don’t have to be southern to enjoy Garden & Gun – there’s a mix of food, music, art, travel, and sporting culture in each issue. And G&G is one of those rare magazines that men love as much as women. When I got home, Ben immediately confiscated my issue and promptly bought gift subscriptions for his brother and partner. And with Haskell Harris in charge of all things stylish, there is plenty of ink on interior design and gardening to satisfy all feminine leanings. To order Garden & Gun go HERE. To visit BROWN, go HERE.

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Now that it’s all over except for the memories, Jill Brown, whose incredible eye has solely created the unique and visionary BROWN, graciously refused to take any credit for the party, giving Angela DeWree of Design and Inspiration, total thanks for the night. Somehow, I think Jill is being a little too humble, but that’s just part of her endearing charm. Make no mistake though DeWree is incredibly talented – her abilities in event planning, branding, PR, store staging (you name it, she does it) are legendary in Houston and she really shined Thursday night along with Jill. To contact DeWree, go to designandinspiration.net

Spotlight on Heights Business Member: Design & Inspiration


Spotlight on Heights Business Member: Design & Inspiration


We continue with the newsletter feature “Spotlight on Heights Business Member” -- this month spotlighting Design & Inspiration. You may have noticed that recent newsletter issues have been focusing on a local business. These businesses are drawn from business cards collected at the Houston Heights Association Business Mixer. Stay tuned for the next Quarterly mixer in January.
Angela DeWree is principal of two companies: Design & Inspiration and PartyProps2go. Angela, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area of California, moved to Houston with her father’s oil company transfer. Interestingly, the date of Angela’s move to Houston involved many seven’s - she moved here on 7/7/77, also her birthday. Angela has family who live north of town. Prior to settling in the Heights, Angela lived in the museum district and Montrose.
Angela moved to the Heights fifteen years ago. She was driving around, not really thinking about the Heights, when she drove down the Boulevard and saw the house that became her own. Her parents and grandparents had lived in bungalows in California, so she was attracted to this Heights bungalow. The attraction of the Heights is the authenticity of the old houses and trees for this ‘tree hugger.’ Angela took it as a sign that this house was meant to be hers when she closed on her birthday and found a key left beside the sink on a key ring bearing the name Shirley, also her mom’s name.
Angela’s first Houston Heights Association contacts were Chris Silkwood, Julie Pettit, and Kelly Simmons. For those of you involved with the Boulevard Reforestation Project, you’ll remember Angela’s sign that measured the fundraising progress, which was located at 11th Street and Heights Boulevard. Through Julie and Kelly, Angela was recruited to help with spring and holiday tour collateral and to run for the Heights Association Board of Directors, where Angela currently serves. The acquisition of 1414 Ashland began Angela’s involvement with the tree counting projects.
Angela career includes Neiman Marcus in the Fashion Office and Visual Manager in Houston, Dallas, and Bal Harbour; Marshall Fields as Visual Manager of the Texas Division; and Tootsies’ Creative Director for 10 years. Angela’s event work has taken her throughout Asia creating galas and holiday décor for Hyatt Asia Pacific, grand openings for luxury clients across the country, and parties galore for art groups & museums. In 1995 she opened her own business. That is why she was perfectly suited for decking out the former Kaplan’s-Ben Hur with the mannequins for the 2006 Spring Tour Candlelight Dinner. Some Heightsites got a laugh when they saw the dusty mannequins being ‘bathed’ at the power car wash prior to ‘dressing’ for the event. You can see one of those Kaplan’s mannequins in the Karen Derr office today.
Away from work, Angela enjoys meeting friends for Friday night dinner and Sunday morning breakfast. The same Friday night dinner group has gathered for the last twenty years. 
As for Angela’s pets, they include Kitty DeWree, an 18-year old half-Siamese, half-tabby and finches. Angela acquired the finches after a Gala Party where they were placed in a wonderful Asian birdcage collection to decorate the venue. Following the fundraiser, Angela adopted all of the finches.
Next time you need advertising, merchandising or displays, please support Heights business member Angela DeWree and her company Design & Inspiration. If you’re a business member, remember to check the calendar for the next Houston Heights Association Business Mixer and come and meet Angela and other business members at the meeting.