Since 2010, a Houston couple had happily lived and raised a brood of four kids in their renovated 1960s ranch-style house in the Memorial Villages. But, “over time we simply needed more closet and bathroom space to accommodate our growing children,” explains one of the owners. So, when the lot directly next to them became available, “we jumped at the opportunity to be able to design a custom home where we could stay put in our neighborhood,” they explain.
For this sprawling dream abode, courtesy of Goodchild Builders and Newberry Architecture, the owners turned to Chandos Dodson Epley, founder of the local firm Chandos Interiors, to invigorate each room. Given the husband and wife’s divergent tastes—she desired “softness and comfort,” whereas he has a decidedly “more modern edge,” says the owner—Dodson Epley had a challenge on her hands. “I needed to find a center path, wobbling between those worlds to create a cohesive look,” she says.
Immediately upon hearing the couple’s vision for the home, Dodson Epley was reminded of a trip to Los Angeles several years back, where on a visit to MJ Atelier’s Van Nuys studio, she was struck by a bas-relief sculptural wallcovering depicting an elegant floral vignette. “I knew I wanted to use it in this house. I’d never seen it done in Houston before, and it was going to be amazing,” she recalls. “It ended off becoming the jumping point for the entire design.”
That wallpaper, prominently featured in the dining room, paved the way for other elements both subtle and bold: hand-sawn oak doors, lacquered walls, and swaths of marble set against antiques and a slew of custom pieces. The finished product attests to Dodson Epley’s deft melding of warmth and panache.
For some two years the designer met with the couple weekly, prioritizing their design preferences such as a sleek wine room, a bevy of free walls so that they could organically expand their art collection over time, and open, free-flowing spaces that would be welcoming to the numerous friends and family dropping by for a constant stream of celebratory fêtes they planned to host.
Plentiful lighting fixtures—there are around 135 sprinkled throughout the house—are a collectively powerful addition, purposefully placed to buoy the art and furniture selections. To ensure the lighting scheme was both “efficient and dramatic,” Dodson Epley brought in a specialist, a reflection of her “top-down decorative” approach. “We considered every detail—the tiles, vanities, paneling, door casings, to make this a cozy and beautiful but functional family home,” she says.
Dodson Epley’s own laser-cut flooring installation—comprised of Arbescato Altissimo, Bardiglio Dark, and Grigio Carnico marbles—sets a sophisticated tone in the home’s entry, making a strong first impression. “The hand-done tile reads both contemporary and classic,” explains the designer.
Floor: Chandos Dodson Epley. Sconce: Circa Lighting. Buffet: Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques. Stair Runner: Stark. Art: Tony Magar/Laura Rathe Fine Art.
Two steel doors and walls of streamlined cabinetry add a sense of symmetry to the kitchen, where cooking takes place underneath a custom hood and a reclaimed wood ceiling is elevated by classy splashes of Calacatta marble, zinc, and brass.
Pendants: Avrett. Hood and Island: The Lonestar Range Hood Company.
Stools: The Wicker Works and Holly Hunt. Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Hardware: Rocky Mountain Hardware.
The blue-and-gold dining room is a showstopper, starring the sculptural wallcovering Dodson Epley fell in love with years ago. “It’s a modern take on scenic wallpaper,” she points out, while the owner, who deems it “one of the most creative elements of the house,” adds that it “looks like a work of art.”
Wallcovering: MJ Atelier. Chandelier: Circa Lighting. Paint: Fine Paints of Europe. Chairs: Thomas Pheasant Collection for Baker, Fortuny (fabric on backs), and Dedar Milano, (fabric on face). Buffet: Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques. Rug: Creative Flooring. Drapery: Larsen (fabric) and Holland & Sherry (trim).
Stools that belonged to the owners prior to the renovation fit right in in the soaring, art-filled Great Room—including a painting by Rick Lowe, the artist and community organizer behind Houston’s Project Row Houses—which highlights antique chairs and an elaborately carved mirror.
Art: Rick Lowe/ C2 Art Advisors and Hiram Butler Gallery and Margaret Evangeline/Dimmitt Contemporary Art. Sofas: Lee Industries and Lark Fontaine (fabric). Rug: Stark. Center Table: Bunny Williams Home. Cabinet: Chandos Interiors and The Joseph Company. Floor Lamp: Circa Lighting. Slipper Chairs: Lee Industries and Jim Thompson (fabric). Coffee Table:Paul Ferrante. Chairs: Moxie. Mirror: Shabby Slips Home. Console Table: Chandos Interiors. Lamps: Circa Lighting.
Formal Powder Bath
A Venetian mirror that already belonged to the owners takes center stage in the formal powder bath, where it is set against a backdrop of blue shagreen tiles. “It’s especially beautiful in this room when you see the vanity reflected in the antique mirror wall with brass tacks,” says Dodson Epley.
Floor and Tile: ADR Tile and Stone. Wallpaper: Ann Jackson. Sconces: Vaughan Designs. Vanity: The Furniture Guild. Paint: Sherwin-Williams.
“This isn’t your traditional study,” says Dodson Epley. “The owners wanted a sexy place where the adults could gather for cocktails.” The lacquered blue walls, custom chairs, and fireplace, all lend the room, adds the owner, “a chic, nightclub feel on those nights away from the kids.”
Ceiling Fixture: Allan Knight. Sconces: Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques. Sofa: The Joseph Company and Osborne & Little (fabric). Ceiling wallpaper: Donghia. Window Treatment: Dedar Milano (fabric) and Samuel & Sons (trim). Paint: Fine Paints of Europe. Art: Natasha Law/C2 Art Advisors and Voltz Clarke Gallery. Chairs: The Joseph Company and Kravet.
Flanked by whitewashed brick is the petite bar, fashioned out of vein-cut Gunsmoke Onyx and complemented by a medley of brass, glass, and acrylic.
Stone: Walker Zanger. Shelves: Peck & Company. Sconces: Circa Lighting (shelves) and Jonathan Browning (bar). Chandelier:Kelly Wearstler for Circa Lighting. Stools:Muniz Plastics.
A modernist Murano “Virgole” chandelier, flaunting two tiers of gold-leaf and glass, hangs over the master bedroom’s custom bed.
Bed and nightstand: The Joseph Company. Headboard fabric:Schumacher. Bedding: Longoria Collection. Chandelier: Sourced by Janet Wiebe. Chest: Memorial Antiques & Interiors. Lamps: Christopher Spitzmiller for Circa Lighting. Mirrors:Arteriors. Window treatment: Fabricut. Rug: Stark. Sofa: Ferrell Mittman, Schumacher (fabric), and Janet Gust (pillows).
The wife longed for a crisp white marble bath, and she got it, in the form of Calacatta Vagli, but the husband also wanted to ensure the monochrome room had a masculine touch. By weaving in an ottoman, Art Deco light fixture, and mosaic tiles, “we made the room warm and interesting,” says Dodson Epley.
Floor tile: Marble Systems. Sconces: Hudson Valley Lighting. Mirror: John-Richard. Ceiling Fixture: Sourced by Janet Wiebe. Ottoman: The Joseph Company. Ceiling wallpaper and ottoman fabric: Schumacher. Drapery fabric: Ralph Lauren.
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