A Traditional, French-Country Inspired Houston Ranch Home


Traditional Cream Bathroom with Bronze Mirrored Table

An antique bergere chair and a bronze, mirrored table from Vieux Interiors add palatial glamour to the master bath, which is appointed with his and hers vanities, a soaking tub and a steam shower with body sprays. The shower is framed with the same Walker Zanger white Carrera marble used on the floor. A pendant from Circa Lighting provides an ambient glow.

Traditional Cream Bedroom with Cathedral Ceiling

A beamed cathedral ceiling gives the illusion that the master bedroom is tucked in the attic. The Tracy-designed headboard, botanical prints from Foxglove and drop-front secretary from Antiques on Dunlavy speak of France, while the linen duvet from Bella Notte brings in a hint of romance. The antique Oushak rug is from Carol Piper Rugs.

Traditional Cream Studio with Marble-Top Table

The family studio was designed to promote a host of activities that the homeowners and their children can do together. The simple, flat marble-top table from Joyce Horn Antiques is well-matched with the custom-made, ladder-back chair by Tracy and provides the perfect surface for crafts, flower arranging and even homework.

Traditional Brick Loggia with Lantern Pendants

Outside, a French harvest table from Chateau Domingue and chairs from Boxwood Interiors bask in the heat of the Vieux Interiors fireplace, whose recessed mantel houses an architectural piece. White-washed antique jugs from Foxglove line the way to the entertaining area.

Traditional Neutral Dining Room with Candle Chandelier

Faux-finished walls by The Fine Creations and Faux Finishes give the dining room an Old World look. The custom-made table from Foxglove paired with the antique chairs from Antiques on Dunlavy—as well as the Trumeau mirror from Chateau Domingue and the wool-and-silk rug from Carol Piper Rugs underfoot—create a rich heritage look particular to French country style.

Traditional Neutral Kitchen with French Windows

A bank of windows by the sink brings light into the kitchen, whose French-inspired accents include a custom copper hood, from Tile Roofs of Texas, and end-cut vintage oak flooring, from Custom Floors Unlimited. Cabinetry from Guillermo Arias is topped with countertops from D & R Granite & Marble. The breakfast area achieves its clean, streamlined look through furnishings custom-made by designer Maria Tracy and an abstract painting by Katherine Jeans.

Traditional Brick Front Elevation with Bay Window

A wooden cantilevered porch on struts gives weight to the front door by Magnolia’s Artisan Millworks, which is flanked by a pair of small, leaded-glass Kolbe windows and gas sconces. Brickwork by Masonry Custom Design provides a stunning façade, giving the home a sense of permanence and history.

Traditional Neutral Hallway with Arched Brick Entry

A table made of antique Gothic Revival arches leads the eye through a hallway that passes through the great room and by two 18th-century benches from Kirby Antiques on the way to the front door. Reclaimed wood flooring from Custom Floors Unlimited in Houston provides consistency throughout and works well with the abundance of antiques.

Traditional Brick Rear Elevation with In-Ground Pool

“I wanted to try a style that had a different look, and I wanted the house to feel as though it had been there a hundred years,” says Brian Thompson, of Houston-based Thompson Custom Homes. “This was the right opportunity for me to do the Louisiana vernacular style of architecture, what’s referred to as French Acadian.”

Set amid the mid-20th-century ranch houses of Houston’s The Villages, there’s a new home whose freeform style, weathered bricks, slate roof, dormers and columns speak with a charming Louisiana accent that hints of France. “I wanted to try a style that had a different look, and I wanted the house to feel as though it had been there a hundred years,” says Brian Thompson, of Houston-based Thompson Custom Homes. “This was the right opportunity for me to do the Louisiana vernacular style of architecture, what’s referred to as French Acadian.”

The ¾-acre corner lot allowed residential designer Robert Dame, of Robert Dame Designs in Houston, to site the two-story house, complete with a garage and a loggia with a fully equipped kitchen, back from the street and create a large side yard that takes advantage of the southeast breezes that assuage the brutal summer heat. “What’s fun about this kind of architecture is that every house is different,” Dame says. “There’s not a rigid stylistic form. There is a variety of elements in a single composition. Getting the perfect mix of materials was the real challenge.”

In this case, Dame blended reclaimed red brick, cypress siding, a main slate roof, a copper roof over the bay window, wooden and classical-style PermaCast columns and batten-board shutters. Some of the same materials, including the brick, were repeated in the interior, where the first floor is made up of the great room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast room, game room/bar and family studio. The second floor, which houses another game room and a utility room, is reserved for the five bedrooms. To create a cozy feeling in the expansive house, Dame made the ceilings only 11- and 12-feet high throughout and designed a floor plan that divides the space into intimate settings. On the first floor, a long, wide corridor of arches travels along the side of the house to take advantage of views of the 16-by-32-foot saltwater pool that defines the yard.

Houston interior designer Kalista White added warmth with a soft, neutral color scheme and hardware, including polished nickel faucets, that blends old and new styles. “We continued the exterior’s distressed look,” she says. “But we also wanted a crisp and clean modern vibe.” A prime example of this balancing act is in the kitchen, where the wooden flooring is cut to look like brick and a copper hood presides over the stove. The washed gray color of the central island, which resembles a piece of furniture, stands in contrast to the weathered, warm-brown cabinetry in the rest of the room.

Maria Tracy, an interior designer based in Houston, arranged antique and period-style furnishings into “lifestyle vignettes” that have French country flair. “I used the furniture to draw the eye down the long first-floor corridor,” she says. “I placed the seating in small groupings, and I mixed in a pop of contemporary to give a modern edge to the French generational pieces, many of which are painted.” In the great room, for instance, Tracy followed Dame’s lead and broke the space into two seating sections defined by area rugs that leave a path on the reclaimed, wide-plank pine floor leading to the corridor and the dining room. A pair of contemporary abstract paintings nudges the antiques into the 21st century.

“I don’t have a favorite room per se,” Dame says. “The composition as a whole is my favorite. That’s how I know it’s a successful design, because, if there’s a space I’m more comfortable in, then I haven’t balanced it out properly.” The new owners—a family with three college-age children—couldn’t agree more. They snapped up the house and made it their own as soon as it went on the market. “The house is unique and special,” Thompson says. “When people walk in, they go, ‘Wow!’”