Just as they put the finishing touches on their dream home in Louisiana, a vibrant couple with three daughters found themselves moving to Houston because of a job transfer. After settling into their new city for a decade, a home in the Tanglewood community caught their eye. Perched atop a large sloping lot, it looked out onto breathtaking views of the Houston Country Club golf course. Although the house itself was nice, its Georgian-style architecture and embellishments weren’t to the couple’s taste. “The older I get, the more minimal I get,” says the wife. But they loved the site enough to buy the house and redesign it. “The couple wanted the home to reflect their Louisiana heritage, and also their love of beautiful things,” says interior designer Sandra Lucas. “They love to entertain and wanted to enjoy the home with their family.”
Architect Dillon Kyle drew up plans that would transform the house, inside and out. “The plans really altered everything from the exterior wall material and roofing to the location of the staircase, all interior rooms and garage,” says Kyle. Adds home builder Jed Goodall, “We ended up tearing down the whole second floor and keeping part of the first intact.” Catering to the owners’ appreciation of such architects as A. Hays Town and Al Jones, who mix clean lines and repurposed materials, the new design was kept traditional yet simplified, and includes rustic elements such as antique beams. The new layout offers a better flow for entertaining, with the kitchen now open to a family room. Every bedroom got a bathroom, and Kyle created a large study with a seating area. “In our previous home, we tended to congregate in the study,” says the husband. “I would be in there working at night, and everybody else would come in.”
When designing the interiors, Lucas chose a subtle palette and relatively simple lines. “The color scheme helps bring the outdoors in, and the simplicity of the design was done with the purpose of not competing with the views,” she explains. With the revised floor plan, those vistas are now maximized; in the original home, visitors entering the front door would be looking down a hallway. “The couple wanted to see through to the scenery, so someone would be drawn through the house,” Kyle says. “Therefore, the entry access was moved from the front of the house to the side.”
Upon arriving via the new side entry foyer, visitors now turn to the left and are presented with stunning panoramas of the golf course and rolling topography through large back windows. “There aren’t many views like this in the Houston area,” says landscape architect Kevin Steed, whose team, including Rick Dunn, installed evergreen plants as a privacy screen between the pool and the golf course beyond. “If you’re sitting around the pool sunbathing or enjoying family, you don’t want to feel like you’re in a fishbowl,” he explains. Steed also incorporated some of the homeowners’ favorite plants into the design, including camellias, gingers, redbuds and crape myrtles.
Lucas and the woman of the house furnished the interiors with a mix of family antiques and new furniture pieces that were reupholstered and restyled to work in the new home alongside a selection of modern art. She commissioned several one-of-a-kind pieces that give the home a unique vibe. “The coffee table in the family room was made by local artisan James Dawson, and it has a wonderful hand-hewed wooden top that gives a lot of warmth,” Lucas says. For the dining room, the designer, along with the owners, commissioned a wall-size piece of art by Robert Rector, who happens to live near Baton Rouge.
The home, which incorporates just enough Louisiana flavor to give the couple a sense of their shared heritage, has become a popular gathering place for the whole family. “Our children are now grown, but we come back together for family meals,” says the wife. “It’s a warm, comfortable home. There aren’t rooms that are off-limits or that you can’t touch. We live in it, and we live all over it.”