The Mediterranean Spanish mansion announces itself as gracefully as a ballet dancer: Entry is through an exuberant arched door that leads to a cozy and covert courtyard. The Memorial Park home is new but looks as though its sand-colored stucco walls and tile roof have lived here for generations. And that’s just the way builder Allan Edwards, of Houston-based Allan Edwards Builder, and architect Troy Campa, of Newberry Campa Architects in Houston, planned it. “We wanted something whose details would stand out,” says Campa. “And we wanted it to have the feel of an Old World house, yet function well for modern-day living.”
The architectural details—copper gutters, wooden beams and brackets on the exterior and thickened walls, stone fireplace mantels and reclaimed hardwood flooring inside—give the house style and a sense of history. “The tiles on the roof were imported from Spain,” says Edwards. “They are at least a century old. They came from churches, homes and other buildings, and their color varies from tan to red depending on the color of the clay in the village they came from.” The home’s free-flowing layout, however—the living room, kitchen and breakfast rooms form one first-floor great room—place it in a contemporary context. And the décor, which interior designers Michael J. Siller and Christopher Alexander, of Houston’s Michael J. Siller Interiors, describe as a mix of contemporary and traditional accented by a Texas twang, creates the high-end, comfortable feel the homeowner requested.
“Our intention was to have the house to embrace the yard,” Campa says, noting that the bedrooms have balconies. “We wanted it to take in the view of the pool, covered patio and summer kitchen.” These desires had a direct influence on the most distinct areas of the home—the dining room and the breakfast room. The 27-by-16-foot dining room, which opens to the front courtyard, is as big as a ballroom. “It gives a lot of flexibility because it’s really two rooms—a dining room and a sitting room or library,” says Campa. “If there’s a large party, you can seat 20. For everyday use, the sitting area can be used for pre-dinner cocktails or after-dinner coffee.”
Siller tied the two spaces together with a single custom carpet. On the sitting room side, he placed custom chairs upholstered in distressed leather, as well as Texas memorabilia—including a bronze horse statue on the mantel—to create what the homeowner, a newly single man, likes to call his “cigar bar.” In the dining area, a circular table paired with English-style chairs adds a touch of everyday elegance. “It’s a very unusual combination of rooms,” he says. “Everyone who walks in says, ‘Wow!’”
The breakfast room, which Siller furnished rather formally to complement the adjoining living room, is a glassed-in conservatory that blurs the lines between indoors and out. “It’s like sitting on the patio,” says Campa. “The stone columns are encased in glass and mimic the ones outside.”
The homeowner, who also owns a condo and a ranch in Texas, wanted the house to do double duty: It had to be a fabulous site for business events and a comfortable space for his casual daily lifestyle. “He was looking to start over,” Siller says. “So we bought everything new.” To create that new age-old look, Siller used traditional pieces upholstered in distressed leather with contemporary Asian-inspired furnishing and introduced a mix of textures—like chenille fabric and silk and velvet pillows—to add warmth to the neutral color palette that makes the owner feel at home every time he walks through the arched door.
“We even made the door look Old World authentic,” Edwards says. “We weathered the wood to make it more welcoming.”