This home was truly one of those favorite projects for me. After living in many different places, homeowner Tracy was excited about the prospect of building her own home and incorporating all the things her family loved about their previous homes as well as some personal touches to make the house suit their lifestyle. Tracy and I had a great time working together on the finishes and surfaces five months before move-in. As soon as she turned her attention to the interiors, a friend introduced her designer Cindy Witmer. Tracy appreciated how Cindy "stayed true to [her] vision and managed to pull it all together beautifully."
Inspired by the wall sample boards at my workshop and the beautiful flooring samples at Custom Floors Unlimited, Tracy began developing the backdrop of her home once the building process started. A sophisticated, creamy neutral plaster coats the walls of the main areas while the living room and dining room pull in soothing blue tones. These plasters serve as a connecting factor throughout the home, allowing flooring to change in pattern and surface without making the house feel disjointed. The soft curve of the stairwell, lined with aqua-framed Greek god sketches, greets you in this dramatic entrance. Offsetting the old European feel imparted by the stunning iron lantern from Annette Schatte Antiques, the sleek baby grand piano and custom acrylic bench elegantly modernize the look.
The living room posed a bit of a challenge because it is not a large room, yet its positioning within the house makes it so very important to the overall feel of the home. When Cindy took over the project, they tried to work in the gorgeous, custom silk sofa made for Tracy's last household, but as hard as they tried, it was just too big for the room and blocked the beautiful fireplace. The new daybed was a better solution for the space, allowing one to see across the room without any obstruction. I love the subtle variations in texture - the fabulous, ball gown-like curtains have a handmade trim while the two French chairs are upholstered in a painted velvet that Cindy had been dying to use for years. The "urns" flanking the fireplace are really pieces of folk art created with pressed paper that has an amazing texture and painted finish. The chandelier was the last thing Cindy and Tracy purchased for the room - it feels like a piece of jewelry hanging from the ceiling.
In previous spaces, Tracy would have said that she was traditional in style. With this home, she aimed to integrate contemporary elements to add interest, fun and a bit of the unexpected. "I wanted this home to feel very calm and cool," smiles Tracy, "a respite from the heat and humidity of Houston. That's why I chose shades of white and cool blues!" Adjoining the living room with its luxurious drapes and architectural chandelier, this dining room plays up a fun, eclectic style with the two end chairs covered in pale gray and white velvet zebra fabric and the patterned jute rug. While still formal, these fun pieces keep the room inviting.
The ornate powder room is a lovely example of the influence that living abroad in the far east had on Tracy's design style. Gold leafing and painting a Gracie-inspired design on one wall develops an original focal point that pays homage to Tracy's love of art. The remaining walls were matched to the blue-gray flowers in the mural.
The family room, while traditional in nature, mixes in contemporary art and fabrics. I love the artwork shown here by local Houston artist Debbie Mosely. While this piece was purchased at AREA, her work is shown at my gallery as well. Debbie's as cute and friendly as she is talented! All of the soft and comfortable fabrics complement the pale blues and silvers in the painting while the velvet material ties in with the velvets used in the rest of their home. Another jute rug gives the space definition and adds to the casual climate of the room.
Here's Tracy's favorite room of the home... the kitchen! "I love how the different elements blend together seamlessly in a serene and effortless manner - from the reclaimed Italian tile floors to the gray veins in the white marble, the soothing plastered walls and glazed French blue cabinets to the island, made from 100 year-old French white oak." This wonderful French blue is difficult to achieve in one step, so the basecoat on the cabinets was followed by two glazes, edging and dry brushing. The very functional and beautiful island from Custom Floors Unlimited incorporates a virtually indestructible surface on which kids can do homework while Tracy cooks.
The game/media room is simply wonderful!!! The wood paneling brings an English pub feel to the space, making it a great hangout place for all ages. Stenciling the walls in a tight paisley pattern with a cross hatch glaze on top gives the look of a Rose Tarlow worn fabric. With all the fur downs and pop up ceilings, this was certainly hard to do, but the finished effect was well worth the time. The area is warm, charming, interesting and different. An old photograph of Tracy's grandfather on a horse completes the room, adding a very personal touch.
Adding to the English pub atmosphere, Cindy found this really wonderful bench and made it even more unique with blue velvet upholstery on the back.
Carrying through the same finish to the media room enhances the flow of these upstairs spaces. I really like the customized feel brought in by the monograms on the blackout shades!!!
The game room bath features the cross hatch topcoat technique used in the adjoining room and media room but without the paisley pattern, giving a unique yet complementary look.
As this is Tracy's first home to design and build, she found that "the learning curve is so STEEP! There are just so many details and decisions, and it can be incredibly stressful. I was fortunate to be surrounded by very talented individuals who gave generously of their talent and time. And to all of those individuals I say, 'Thank you! We love our home.' I am also blessed to have an extremely patient, generous and loving husband. Honestly - How lucky am I?"
Tracy was such a ball to work with. I loved having the opportunity to go back and see how she and Cindy finished off the house! Hat's off to you two - beautiful job!!!
And here's Jerry now, working on our next project - the master bedroom. Adding some cool blue tones, Jerry is aging this lovely chandelier so that it complements the chosen fabrics for this room. I just can't wait to see how Cindy and Tracy complete the project! Hope everyone has a great week and congratulations to all those graduating seniors!!