Aidan Gray – from their 2012 catalogue showing various products.
As you might already know, the popular décor and furniture company - Aidan Gray - is a sponsor on Cote de Texas.  Because I am such a huge fan of their company, I was thrilled when I got a message from the owner, Randal Weeks, asking about running an ad on the blog.  I’ve been using their products in clients’ houses for years and have truly always been impressed by the quality of their designs,  and their excellent customer service.
My favorite item is their Italian chandelier – HERE  - which I have placed in my own guest room and in clients houses.  The price is reasonable and the look is fabulous.

Italian Chandelier
The Italian Chandelier

Here, I used the Italian Chandelier in this client’s family room.  The lamps are from Aidan Gray too.

Aidan Gray has been successful over the years because their merchandise stays above the trend - they have just the exact product you want to buy, now.  The catalogue is updated and edited regularly so that merchandise is always fresh.  Randal has an uncommon ability to know exactly what the market desires and this ability has made the once small start up company into the large business it is today. 
There is a real person touch to the company.   This year, I was so surprised when he informed me he had designed sconces based on those he had admired in my dining room – and named them, the “Joni.”   These new sconces are now is stock and I’m curious if they will sell well.    The important message is he sees inspiration everywhere and he then acts on it.  

Joni Three Light Sconce
The Joni lighted sconce.  It also comes in a two arm version HERE.

In another instance, I casually mentioned to Randal that they needed to reproduce an antique French lantern which would be reasonably priced.  “You’d sell a million of those,” I easily promised him knowing my business acumen would never be tested.  Randal just informed me that the lantern has now been designed and will be available for sale shortly!  Oh My God!   What if it flops miserably???? 
But, this is the kind of businessman and designer Randal is.  He is willing to talk with those out in the field to get their opinions and ideas and listen to what they want, what they are looking to buy, and what they say.   Have an idea for a product?  Submit it to Randal and he will consider it.  I can’t think of another company that would be so open.     So, everyone, please order that lantern!!

A page from the new catalogue showing some of their furniture.
And so, one day recently when Randal came to me with a wild idea, I was flattered and all ears.  After all, he is the brilliant businessman, of course I would listen.  Each year, he told me, a new catalogue is produced.  And each year, Randal’s own home has been used for the photoshoot.   The Weeks house was built for the Aidan Gray line, so naturally, all the furniture looks great in it.    But, now, Randal is looking for another stage.  He asked me -  “how about we hold a contest to find two perfect Cote de Texas readers houses where the 2013 catalogue would be shot?”   Needless to say, I was ecstatic at his proposal and thought you would be too!

Randal Week’s house with its stunning steel doors and brick walls provides the perfect backdrop for the Aidan Gray line.

Randal proposed that we run a contest to find two houses for the new catalogue photoshoot.  Readers would enter their house – and Randal and I would pick the two winners.  
This is the scenario for the photoshoot:  In a few months, Randal and his crew would come to these two houses, with an assortment of chairs and tables and lamps and together with the homeowner’s own backdrop, the new catalogue would be photographed.
Randal would be at the photoshoot  continuously for the day or two that it would take.  All the homeowners possessions and the house itself would be carefully protected and cared for under Randal’s watchful eye.  The Aidan Gray photoshoot would be no different than having your house photographed for a décor magazine.  Except for one important detail – the homeowners would receive a generous compensation.
First place winner would receive a $5,000. gift certificate to Aidan Gray.
Second place winner would receive a $2,500 gift certificate. 



Randal Weeks house, as it normally is furnished, filled with products from Aidan Gray, some still in the current catalogue, other pieces discontinued through the years. 


Here, the same room, shot for the catalogue. 

The same room, pretending to be a dining room for the catalogue.

And, yet again, a totally different look for the same space created by using different products.   It’s hard to believe this is the same living room in all four photographs.   

Some photographs will be of just a chair or lamp – this picture was taken in the same living room at the Weeks house.

If you have a romantic kitchen, like the Weeks, – that would be a plus!  Be sure to include a picture of it with your entry!

Or, do you have a beautiful bedroom?   Take a picture of that too!

A small corner is turned into a stage, filled with all Aidan Gray product.

With a different curtain, the setting looks completely new.

Just an interesting table top might be enough to create several beautiful pictures.

A pool, a pool house?  Both could be assets for the photoshoot.  Be sure to include pictures of your backyard, front yard and side yard if they are beautiful or interesting.

Just a small spot in the backyard becomes a gorgeous photo in the new catalogue!

Ideally, the two houses picked for the photoshoot will be either architecturally interesting, romantic, or atmospheric.    But, if you have a cleaned-lined modern house, don’t hesitate to send in an entry!    If you have a smaller, second home on a ranch or a lake, send in those pictures.   Even if your house is small, it still could be the perfect stage.    Size shouldn’t be the deciding factor if you enter.   All houses entered will be considered.  
We are looking for an attractive backdrop that the Aidan Gray line will look fabulous in!   Perhaps you have brick or stone walls, a French fireplace, painted wood paneling, vaulted ceilings, luscious silk taffeta curtains, antique furniture or collections, stone or dark wood floors – or bleached or painted hardwoods – any of these would be an asset.   Think texture, think contrast, think interesting, eclectic, romantic, charming, exotic and picturesque.   If any of these adjectives describe your house, enter the contest.  And architects and designers, think about your clients houses.  If you know of a good one, enter it!
Remember - t’s not the size, NOR what the house is worth – it’s strictly what the house would look like with the Aidan Gray merchandise in it. 
Don’t be shy!   You never know what will catch Randal’s eye. 
Ideally, Randal would rather the two houses be in Texas, BUT he is willing to come to you if your house wins!  So, don’t let the fact that you live in New Hampshire scare you away!  Enter!!!   Perhaps you feel your house isn’t right for the photoshoot, but you know the perfect house that would be – try to get those owners to enter!!  We realize this might be word of mouth contest.
1. Take photographs, during the day only, with the lights on, of your living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, master or 2nd bedroom, and the back and front yard.   Or, just take pictures of the spaces you feel would be best for the photoshop.  If you have a cute greenhouse or laundry room – let’s see it!
2.  Upload the pictures via email to Cote de Texas at – you can use if the files are big. 
3. ONLY send in the largest images!  No small or medium images can be used!!! 
4.  The contest ends  September 12th.  You have one week to enter your house.  BUT, if you need more time to get your photographs together, just let me know!
That’s it. 
  Randal and I are both hoping this will be a fun contest for everyone who enters.  We are both so excited and can’t wait to see your houses!!!    Remember, a rustic cabin might be as perfect as a French chateau. 

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