A Texas home gets a modern makeover with gold accents


Cue the Contrast in Houston

A design-savvy homeowner looks for outside guidance to give her Katy house a modern edge.

Artful Zebra Entry Foyer with Flowers and Mirror

A chest from Marburger Farm Antique Show and pieces by C. Gregory Gummersall and Daniel Long, both from Artful Sol Gallery in Vail, Colorado. Chairs from Memorial Antiques & Interiors wear Schumacher fabric. The Aerin lamp and John Rosselli pendant are from Visual Comfort & Co.

Cheetah Animal Print Pillow Living Room with Television and Chandeliers

Interior Designer Contreras outfitted the great room with Mr. & Mrs. Howard for Sherrill Furniture consoles, Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort & Co. lamps, footstools from Memorial Antiques & Interiors in Kelly Wearstler for Groundworks Channels fabric from leejofa.com and—atop white linen Verellen sofas—Scalamandré velvet-clad pillows fabricated by L’Atelier The Workshop. The Jonathan Browning Studios chandelier is from David Sutherland.

Black and White Artwork with Matching Curtains and Flowers Dining Room

In the dining room, Contreras paired a Karina Gentinetta painting with draperies in Kelly Wearstler for Groundworks Channels fabric from Lee Jofa. A chair in Schumacher fabric with Samuel & Sons trim from Culp Associates tops a rug from Creative Flooring. Designer Ashley Wetzel of Ashley Wetzel Design had previously selected the York Wallcoverings grass-cloth wallpaper from Design House.

Mirror and Chandelier Neutral Dining Room with Flowers

The dining room’s custom hostess chairs mingle with Suzanne Kasler’s Amsterdam side chairs for Hickory Chair in Schumacher velvet, surrounding a table from Vieux Interiors. Thomas O’Brien’s Elizabeth chandelier speaks to the Aerin lamps—both from collections for Visual Comfort & Co.—on a Century buffet custom-painted by Sheema Muneer. The vintage mirror is from Kuhl-Linscomb.

Chrome and White Kitchen with Chandelier Dining Area View

The breakfast room features Roman shades in Lee Jofa linen trimmed with Schumacher banding. Arteriors’ Zanadoo chandelier lights a Knoll Saarinen dining table from AllModern, with chairs from Found. The kitchen rug is from Creative Flooring, and the cabinetry hardware is Sugatsune.

Dome Overhead Lamps Above a Stone Island Kitchen with Flowers

Aerin for Visual Comfort & Co. pendants crown a kitchen island featuring Statuary marble from Cangelosi; the Kohler faucet is from Ferguson. C.A. Custom Design & Upholstery covered Lee Industries barstools—from Pizitz Home & Cottage in Seaside, Florida—in Nassimi vinyl. In the adjoining breakfast room, art by Bonnie Fuchs is also from Pizitz Home & Cottage.

Gray Sofa Den with Lamps and Magazine

The den houses a custom-size New Yorker slipcovered chaise sectional by Quatrine, which holds custom pillows fabricated by L’Atelier The Workshop.

Child's Blue Room with Geometric Artwork and Lamp

Contreras embraced color on the walls of a child’s room with Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue. The desk lamp is by Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort & Co.

Black and White Hexagonal Tile Master Bathroom

Tile from Mission Stone & Tile in Nashville covers a wall of the master bathroom, where Calacatta marble appears on the flooring from International Granite and Marble and on the countertops from Texas Custom Granite. A Visual Comfort & Co. chandelier overlooks a Victoria + Albert tub with Kohler fixtures from Ferguson, accented by a table from Memorial Antiques & Interiors. Lone Star Glass custom-antiqued the mirror.

Black Bedroom Nightstand Chest with Lamp and Artwork

In the master bedroom, a Modern History chest mixes with a Suzanne Kasler for Visual Comfort & Co. lamp, art from Memorial Antiques & Interiors, a custom headboard covered in Schumacher velvet and Williams-Sonoma Home bedding.

Master Bedroom Corner with Black Lounge Chair and Lamp

A David Hicks rug from Creative Flooring inspired the look of the master bedroom, which is home to a Lawson-Fenning lounge chair and an Aerin for Visual Comfort & Co. floor lamp. G&S Custom Draperies used silk-taffeta from High Fashion Home to fabricate the draperies.

The house was already very pretty, but there was a disconnect between what was there and how the client wanted her home to look and feel,” says designer Paloma Contreras, referring to the Katy residence of Lori and David Underwood and their two children. A design enthusiast herself, Lori was a longtime follower of Contreras’ widely read design blog and knew the Houston professional would be the right fit to help achieve the look she desired. “I wanted someone with a similar style who could take it to the next level and challenge me to make bolder decisions,” the wife says. 

Lori had worked with the design-build firm Partners in Building to distinguish the home’s architecture and interior layout, incorporating elements such as white stucco siding and a beamed cathedral ceiling in the great room, but she stopped short of fully realizing the interior design. Then, three years after the family moved in, “I had a fire sale on all of my old things and hired Paloma,” she says. Contreras credits her client’s great sense of style for providing a clear idea of the design vision: a high-contrasting black-and-white palette punctuated by graphic patterns, gold accents and modern yet sophisticated finishes. 

The first order of business was the master suite. “Since becoming a mom, I have never completed a master bedroom for my husband and me,” Lori says. “It was always at the bottom of my list.” Contreras gave the couple’s room top billing with a geometric rug by David Hicks, one of Lori’s favorite design icons, and hung two black-and-white paintings—among many the wife had accumulated over time—above chests flanking the bed. “With the white walls, we needed something to ground the room,” Contreras explains. “Because everything else is modern, I also thought it would be nice to layer in a neoclassical shape using traditional chests as bedside tables.” As a dramatic gesture in the adjoining master bathroom, the designer used black-and-white mosaic marble on the tub wall, which plays off the adjacent room’s David Hicks rug while also dressing up the area’s otherwise plain windows. 

Downstairs—where the open floor plan’s foyer, dining room and great room are all in view of each other—the goal was to create a cohesive look. “We wanted each room to feel distinctive and special on its own, but we also knew each space opens to the others—which meant they needed to tell a story and share a color palette,” Contreras says. To create a consistent scheme in the foyer and dining room, the designer once again mined Lori’s collection of black-and-white paintings, this time placing a series of small works over a chest in the foyer. And in what she calls a “lightbulb moment,” she brought a larger work from the family room into the dining room to complement the Kelly Wearstler for Groundworks Channels material selected for the draperies. “This fabric is similar to the wall tile in the master bathroom,” Contreras points out. “This is our unexpected moment.” As a bonus, there was enough leftover drapery material to cover three footstools in the neighboring great room, which adds another element of continuity. 

In the towering great room, Contreras continued to amplify the home’s drama with rigorous symmetry. The roof line and replace create a dividing line between identical 9-foot-long white sofas, gilt-trimmed consoles topped with bronze-and-brass lamps, antique mirrors purchased on New Orleans’ Magazine Street and charcoal-velvet club chairs. At the center of the room, an oversize glass-and-brass coffee table speaks to an equally large brass chandelier hanging above. “We needed to beef up everything to make it work in the large scale of that room,” the designer explains. 

Contreras opted for a more intimate setting in the den, making it the only public area that doesn’t showcase the black-and-white palette established elsewhere. Instead, she based the color scheme on a large charcoal gray sectional Lori had custom-made, while a colorful abstract painting from Lori’s collection serves as an equally compelling focal point on a wall. The designer punctuated the space with a white Eames lounge chair and ottoman, items the wife had always coveted. An organic coffee table made from a tree trunk in Mexico balances the white-lacquer console and blue-velvet ottomans behind the sectional. “The space needed to reflect the home’s overall vibe and aesthetic,” Contreras says, “but also feel cozy with durable fabrics that stand up to heavy use.” 

As Contreras proceeded from one room to the next until completing the home’s interior design, her client found comfort in the certainty of the designer’s choices. “She doesn’t waver, and that’s something I’ve always struggled with,” Lori says. “At first, my friends didn’t understand why I hired a designer; they said, ‘You can do this yourself!’ But it’s the best decision I ever made.” 

–Jennifer Sergent