Remember this beautiful townhouse that I showed you a few months ago?  Decorated by Ginger Barber and located in Houston, the house was designed in neutral shades of soft colors that defy labels. 



The house was truly gorgeous and I was just a bit tongue tied as I toured it.  Overwhelmed, might be a better word.  I was soaking up every detail – and there were so many details to soak up, I could barely get a word out.   I was intrigued by how Ginger had used closely matched colors to create interest, and then used the different weights of the fabrics to create texture.   The effect was so subtle - it reminded me of brush strokes on a fine oil painting.  Each stroke of different colors blends together with the thickness of the paint to create a finished canvas – and this is exactly how Ginger used the layers of hues and fibers to create these interiors.  

I used the time spent with Ginger to listen and learn and when I left, I felt like I had taken a master class.  To her, it was nothing, just another job very well done.  To me, I was the eager student, lapping up every word she uttered.




Photograph of horses, by Skeeter Hagler


And while all I wanted to talk about was interior design, Ginger, I soon found out, had different interests – mainly horses, and mainly abused horses – starved almost to death, mistreated, and abandoned. Her involvement with these forgotten animals started a few years ago when she came upon one such starving and abused horse, locked up in a stable near Galveston. After calling the police, she was directed to the rescue organization Habitat for Horses, who gladly took in the horse and nursed him back to health. Instead of forgetting about her unfortunate escapade, she developed a near obsession with the organization and began volunteering for them – mucking out stalls, gathering hay, and also, raising funds.

Throughout the day we spent together, Ginger kept talking about Habitat for Horses and proudly showed off a photograph of horses in a field  taken by the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Skeeter Hagler.   Hagler had generously agreed to donate photographs for a future fundraiser that Ginger was planning.    She asked if I would like to talk about the cause on the blog – and of course I gladly agreed to.  

I don’t know about you, but a starving horse, or dog, or cat affects me to the core.   Imagine being chained up and unable to go find water or food – the very basic necessities of life.  It’s too horrible to even think about, yet it happens to these forgotten horses more often than one knows.  

Habitat for Horses was started in 1997 with just one horse, a horse that was being starved to death down the street from the good Samaritans who wanted to save him.   Back in those days, law enforcement didn’t take action against owners of these large animals – they were placated when often told, “he’s old, that’s why he’s so skinny,” or “we were just going to get him feed.”  Once Habitat for Horses alerted the necessary agencies that they were now offering these abused animals sanctuary, things began to quickly change and they were routinely called by officials to come take a look at yet another starving horse.  After they obtain the necessary court orders, the horses are brought back to health and then hopefully adopted out.  If they are unable to be adopted, they live out their lives on the property that Habitat for Horses is located on.

With the huge success of this organization – there have been growing pains.  The original leased land is no longer large enough to sustain the operation and a hunt was begun to find a larger and permanent tract of land for Habitat for Horses.  To this end, Ginger Barber and Jill Brown, owner of BROWN, along with Skeeter Hagler and Kathy Oliver, another noted photographer, are hosting  “Greener Pastures – A Land Fund for Habitat for Horses.”  The evening event will take place at Brown on November 8th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.  Entertainment will be provided by Texas musicians Shake Russell and Michael Herne. 

Space is limited, so if you would like to attend this event, please go to or by email at

If you are not from Houston, or are unable to attend, please, please consider making a donation to the cause.   Any amount you would be willing to donate would be very much appreciated.  To donate, simply go HERE.

With donations from people like you, Habitat for Horses has been able, since 1998, to save 5,178 horses from starvation and neglect.   They have adopted out 4,660 of these rehabilitated horses.  For more detailed information of what they have accomplished – please see their web site at

And since this is a design blog, I wanted to share with you the darling Press Kit announcing the event that was delivered to my house!   It always amazes me how creative some people are:



The Press Kit came in a plain cardboard box, wrapped with twine and a horseshoe.  Ginger wrote a personal note to me, hoping to make the next blog story – a personal note is always such a nice touch.



Inside, lying on a bed of florist moss was this large burlap bag.



And inside was the Press Release, along with a CD donated by Shake Russell, the much beloved Texas musician.   What a cute invitation- you’re not likely to forget an event when you get something like this!   And that’s the point.  I popped the CD into my laptop to listen to while I wrote this, getting into the mood.

To listen – double click on the arrow:

Aw, Shake Russell! Nothing makes me think of days in Austin at college more than listening to this song “You’ve Got a Lover.” How many times did we see him and Dana Cooper at the Armadillo, back in the early 70s? The words to this beautiful song are really so bittersweet, you wonder whatever happened to the girl he wrote this song this about?


So, whoever designed the Press Kit really did a great job, making me all nostalgic for Texas music and Texas Lone Star, and Austin, and the Lake, and horses.  


Sweet Captain, my daughter’s horse that lives in Chappell Hill at my brother in law’s ranch.  He has the easy life - he’s happy, he’s fed, he’s loved and is rarely even saddled up anymore - which makes it so hard to understand how someone could abuse such a gentle, kind animal.



Look at this cutie!   Not all horses at Habitat for Horses are adopted out.  Some remain at the ranch forever – these are their sanctuary horses.  This horse, Pete, was their first rescued horse  - it took one entire year for him to heal up from his injuries, and another to become acclimated to other horses.  Now, they say he is a very spoiled, much loved horse.




Here is a group of other sanctuary horses.  Notice the eyes on the horse at the far right – so beautiful! 



Other horses, like Wolke, are available for adoption.  On the web site, there are pictures and extensive histories of all the horses ready right now for adoption.  If you can’t adopt a horse, you can always sponsor a sanctuary horse!


There’s a special place in heaven for people who donate their time and labor to helping the less fortunate.  Habitat for Horses is run by such people, like Ginger and others, who volunteer their time, helping out at the ranch and trying to find others who want to help too.



If you can, please think about attending the Greener Pastures event.  Or, if you are able, please consider donating to Habitat for Horses.  Every little bit helps.

To purchase tickets to the Greener Pastures event, go to: or by email at

To donate to Habitat for Horses, simply go HERE.

To visit the Habitat for Horses web site go HERE.

Thank you so much for allowing me to talk about this with you.