This house in River Oaks, one of Houston’s oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods, needed an update. “My clients were looking to make it lighter, brighter and more welcoming,” interior designer Marie Flanigan says.
The homeowners, a couple with young children, appreciated her background in architecture, as the scope of the work went beyond just decorating. She helped them swap around a few spaces for the way their family lives — adding built-ins for toys, media and other storage; placing new light fixtures in key places; and creating a lovely freshened-up space that can stand up to the wear and tear of little ones.
This large, open space was part of a previous addition not original to the home. Flanigan helped the family lay out the space for the way they live. This part of the space is a comfortable seating area complete with built-ins that conceal the TV. All of the fabrics are durable; Flanigan chose washable indoor-outdoor fabrics for most of the upholstery throughout the home.
One of the homeowners also works in architecture and loves rustic wood, as seen on the beams, floors, and oak parquet coffee table top. “It was about balancing the soft fabrics with these more rustic touches,” the designer says.
Replacing the existing heavy drapery played a big part in lightening up the space. Large triple-sash windows bordered by new window treatments let in the light. Flanigan picked up on the color of the beams that line up with the windows via the top of the two-tone drapes.
To make the home’s floor plan work better for the family, Flanigan flipped a few rooms around. This room used to be the formal dining room but now serves as a study. It is next to the great room and kitchen. In here she replaced the existing ornate fireplace surround with a more streamlined one, made of vintage travertine.
The desk is an antique library table. The designer brought in a geometric touch via the pendant light overhead.
Flanigan transformed the breakfast room into a comfortable lounge (this shot was taken from where a sofa sits). It is open to the kitchen, so the homeowners can cook while their kids play and watch TV here. New built-ins offer plenty of space to stash toys, games, media equipment, and books.
The room also overlooks the backyard and provides an easy connection between the kitchen and the outdoor entertainment area through the French doors.
The formal dining room used to be the formal living room, a space the family, with its casual lifestyle, didn’t need. The custom trestle table has a diamond-patterned oak top. The chairs are two-tone, with ring handles that are strong enough to allow pulling the chairs out without touching the fabric (though Flanigan used indoor-outdoor fabric, again, so they can stand up to the harshest of Cabernet-spilling debacles).
The walls are covered in a bright white linen wallpaper, and the rug is another antique Oushak. Overhead, Flanigan added the more modern geometric elements the homeowners are so fond of via the chandeliers.
“In the master bedroom, we wanted to make it masculine and tailored but with a feminine feel via soft, inviting linens,” Flanigan says. Silks, linens, and cottons make up a luxurious bed, while neutral colors create a calm space. The artwork is pressed leaves.
For the nursery, the homeowners collected charming Etsy drawings to represent some of the cities where they have lived. The casework will easily transition from changing table to grown-up dresser.
The room’s colors were inspired by the work of The Rifle Paper Co.; star wallpaper adds a playful touch on the ceiling. The cushy sofa, chair, and ottoman provide soft spaces to lounge and hang out with the baby.
Flanigan maintained the house’s gracious appeal while updating it to a soft, light, bright, and more inviting home.