Sophisticated. Well-mannered. Youthful. Serene. The words Reagan Miller uses to describe the architectural style of Holly and Jeremy Taylor’s River Oaks home also fittingly describe the couple themselves. “They didn’t come with any preconceived ideas about style,” explains the architect. “Both had a sensitivity to fitting within the historic eclecticism of the neighborhood, but they also wanted to express their own personalities.”
That said, it was perhaps yet another word that had the most influence on the home’s ultimate modern Regency design. “We wanted it to be crisp,” says Holly. “Not too formal and with clean, classic lines.” Architecturally, the concept translates into a symmetrical exterior typical of the Regency style with light-colored and hand-troweled stucco walls, a slate tile roof, a straightforward window fenestration and a petite pair of dormers. Oversize windowpanes and steel doors infuse a more modern feel. “We tried to be respectful of scale with simple devices and surrounds,” says Miller. “The dormers were more or less obligatory,” he adds with a laugh.
Inside, meticulous attention was paid to the profiling of the millwork, such as baseboards, crown molding and doorframes. “I don’t think there’s a curve anywhere inside the house,” asserts Miller. “Everything was reduced to a fine line, a 90-degree right angle with a very defined edge.” Achieving that look was up to builder Scott Frasier, who brought in a team of carpenters, painters and other finishing pros early on. “It was important to plan ahead and consider the end result,” he says. “The workmanship needed to be very precise.”
Softening the effect was Holly’s attention to furnishings and finishes, which she meticulously researched and procured through local design centers and shops. It began with the predominantly gray, black and white color scheme. “I have enough stimulation in my outside life,” says Holly. “When I come home I want my surroundings to be very serene, calm and Zen-like; I don’t want to see a lot of shocking color or clutter.”
A perfect example is her study/office, a true respite with glamorous and girly furnishings from Shabby Slips and Custom Creations, and views out to a magnolia tree. “It’s my favorite room to hang out in and eat lunch or read e-mails,” she says. More communal spaces include the kitchen, which features a sleek Calacatta marble island and stainless-steel Dacor, Sub-Zero and Miele appliances. “My husband is a trader, and we entertain a lot,” Holly says. “People always end up in the kitchen, so it had to be functional and attractive, too.” Positioned within the inside corner of the L-shaped house, the kitchen offers views to adjoining rooms as well as to the backyard, where the couple’s two pre-teen daughters often entertain their friends in the heated saltwater pool.
While an ample table in the kitchen is used for casual family meals, more formal events are hosted in an elegantly appointed dining room. There, Farrow & Ball’s The Lotus Papers wallpaper (hung upside down for visual effect) provides an Arts and Crafts-influenced backdrop for the highly polished Trosby table. “One day we’ll allow our children to eat in there,” Holly jokes.
Before dinner or for cocktails, guests commonly gather in the bar hall, which is complete with a grand piano and a recessed wet bar. Jeremy’s billiards room, a manly space with wool pinstripe curtains, tufted leather chairs from Nest & Cot and a pony hair rug from Custom Flooring, is another popular spot.
Clearly, the success of the home is the result of a seamless—and respectful—client-architect relationship. “I can’t say enough good things about Reagan,” Holly says. “He’s a pleasure to work with, and being able to interpret my ideas and make them beautiful is a real talent.” In turn, Miller notes: “Holly has a terrific eye and was great at responding to what the house was telling us it should be. Working with folks like her and Jeremy is joyful. It makes me realize what a wonderful job I have.”