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Friday, February 10, 2012

what I'm reading... Segreto: Secrets To Finishing Beautiful Interiors

I've written in the past about my love of paint, so when I listened to the interview with author Leslie Sinclair of Segreto Finishes on The Skirted Roundtable I had a strong feeling I would love her new book . And, I do!

Secrets To Finishing Beautiful Interiors
Leslie Sinclair

Leslie is the owner of Segreto Finishes- a decorative painting firm based in Houston, Texas.  Leslie named the firm after her husband's family, Segreto, which means "secret" in Italian.
The passion Leslie has for her business and for creating beautiful rooms really spoke to me.

"My philosophy is that when you enter a room, your eyes should not be drawn to any one element or finish, but instead, you should view the surroundings as a whole.  I aspire to create the perfect backdrop that enables fabrics, art and furniture to blend and establish a particular mood.  A palette developed to complement your home's architecture and design can give your surroundings a completely new perspective."
-Leslie Sinclair-

A perfect design statement if ever there was one.
This is a gorgeous book, but it is so much more- it is beautiful, inspiring and educational all at the same time.  There is a magical quality throughout- it is a book that you want to read and study very slowly, to savor and to absorb every single detail and element.  It is also a big book with exceptional photography and 300 pages of stunning interior design and finishes that will have you wanting to redo every wall in your house! 

These are not the faux finishes of the 90's... these are soft and sophisticated treatments done with a light hand and an artful eye.  Leslie explains many different finishes: Venetian plaster, gypsum plaster, plaster over sheet rock, glazes, stenciling, etc. for walls, ceilings, cabinetry, furniture and more.   She then shows you example after gorgeous example to the possibilities of each.  
If you are building a house, or renovating a newer home this is a must-have book.  The ideas in this book for new construction and how to give an old, aged feel to "new" are absolutely amazing.  I do not say that lightly.  The book gave me a great idea for a finish to use on interior shutters in the barn room!  There are creative ideas in the book for all homes- new to antique.  I have a feeling I will be turning to this book for reference often.
To be clear, this is not a "how-to" book in the traditional sense- there are no instructional directions or formulas, but more importantly, it is an eye opening collection of what can be... all with the magic of plaster, paint and finishes. 

With permission I have borrowed the following photographs in the book from Segreto Finshes...

To purchase this gorgeous book from the website click here
or visit Amazon

To be further inspired visit Leslie's company:  Segreto Finishes

Leslie's interview on The Skirted Roundtable


  1. No question they are masters with finishing..have long admired their beautiful work. I am waiting for the book to arrive as we speak and can hardly wait!

  2. Does this mean we will be watching for changes in your GORGEOUS home? You said that you "stay away from white walls"...why is that? I've been meaning to ask you this question for sometime because I so respect the thought that you put into every detail so I just know there is an educated reason for this and am anxious to know.

  3. Vicci- no, but what I wouldn't have given to have had this book when we were renovating the farmhouse which has all plaster walls!
    I actually love white walls in beautiful rooms, but in my own home I just long for a hint of color; it's just a personal preference that makes me happy. (Part of that might have been my early years as a renter when you couldn't paint all those white walls:)

  4. As I live in Houston, I have had the pleasure of seeing some of the homes that have Leslie's magic. It is a aahhh! moment when you walk into one of these rooms. Don't have the book yet but plan on getting it soon. Holding out till I can get to one of her signings. Her blog is full of lovely images also. Delightful!

  5. Debe- I can only imagine how magical her rooms are in person!! You will love the book.

  6. This looks like a wonderful book, Joan, and a great reference guide when starting on a new home. I love Leslie's philosophy!


  7. LOVE her book and the muted colors used in the plaster walls. Not everyone can afford having plaster walls. Wish she could be more 'instructional' on the color replacement from BW paints etc.

  8. Anon- What was so eye-opening for me from the book was to learn that there are actually economical alternatives to the traditional plaster over lath or wire mesh...plaster "veneers" that can be applied directly over sheet rock -no need to texture, prime or paint,and that offsets the overall cost of applying plaster.

  9. Fresh painted and simple works in some interiors. But the movement is on to inject old world charm and originality to our spaces.
    Aged and patina finishes somehow speak of much love in a space. With an older home I always imagine who lived there so many years ago. To me that speaks of love and romance in a home.

    The book just got put on my list of desires.

  10. I'll need to order this book as were are in the midst of home updates with lots of painting options. Stunning work. The first image is gorgeous!


  11. Wow! Thanks for the tip. I'm following her now... these are amazing photos and i can't wait to read more!


  12. This book looks amazing Joan! The spaces are gorgeous. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  13. I truly enjoyed these pictures of Segreto's works. Perhaps my favorite was the Victorian hallway; the atmosphere made me wonder what I was going to find in each of those rooms, and about the continuation of the building at the end of the hall.

    However, be careful about DIY decorative finishes in your own home. If not applied with taste and at a professional level (not a problem in your case)they look horrendous, and they are almost impossible to remove later when the trend has ended, or your house is for sale.
    --Road to Parnassus

  14. I won a copy of the book from the Skirted Round Table when they gave one away! It is a wonderful book full of inspiration in elegant painted finishes, as well as beautiful interiors! She is very talented!

  15. I'll have to add this to my Amazon wish list-- I can tell it's one I'll go back to over and over again. Thanks for sharing, Joan. :)

  16. That first space is amazing. I love everything about it!

    ♥ sécia

  17. I have been drooling over their work and have been meaning to buy the book. You have convinced me it is a must read. ;-)


  18. The pictures are just magical. I can only imagine actually being in the space. I loved what you wrote about how she sees the room as a whole. A fabric, a beautiful wood console, a modern lamp may make your heart skip a beat, but it's how these things are working in an overall composition that matters - without the staleness of too much matching. What amazing composition!

    You can see from the pictures, she layers the rooms with texture, color, pattern and lighting, making it a space you just want to linger in. I'm going to have to get this book! And, I'm excited to learn about plaster on dry wall!

    Thanks, Joan for such a great book review!

  19. I have this book and absolutely love it! One of the better design books out lately. Enjoy your read!


  20. Loved her interview too! Thx for stopping by RHS! Have a great weekend.

  21. Joan,
    That quote describes your home and every room in it...when you look at a photo on your blog of a room in your home you look at it as a "whole." Then as you read your post, you back and look at the details. I like this perspective.

  22. Annie- that is such a wonderful compliment... thank you so much!

  23. I had to come back to tell you that Leslie came by my blog and left me a sweet note after reading that I had won my copy from the SRT. How nice is Leslie?! I am an even bigger fan now!

  24. I love your blog! The table you found is unbelievable! I agree with you on this book. Perfection. On my list.
    have a nice week.

  25. That is a truly lovely book. The pictures show just a glimpse into all the inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing.

  26. Leslie is a personal friend of mine and she is lovely as well as talented. Her book is a treasure, for sure. I have so enjoyed the inspiration from it, and it is at the top 'o the heap of coffee table books in my house!
    Thanks for sharing...~Delores

  27. I have Leslie's book and love every page! And on top of a fantastic book, she is a very lovely person.

  28. I just happened upon her last week and fell in love!!! I gasped at the purchase price of the book though. I wanted to make sure it was filled with tons of eye candy that is just not already on her site or blog?

  29. Isn't it the best book ever? I bet it makes u homesick for Texas. Well.....maybe just a little bit!!!!!


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