Homeowners Kelley and Eric Anderson didn’t hesitate to enlist designer Talbot Cooley for help with their new Houston abode. Cooley, whose husband and Eric are longtime friends, had designed the couple’s previous two homes and was a natural fit for their newest one. “After the first project, we became really good friends, and working together became easy,” the designer says. Eric also knew builder Brian Thompson, who found the site of the Andersons’ future residence, an available lot on a secluded cul-de-sac. Thompson tapped architect Travis Mattingly, and together the team collaborated with the couple to devise a plan for their new home.
The resulting design features a main floor with a master bedroom, living and dining rooms, and a kitchen open to both a breakfast room and a keeping room, as well as a library and a wine room. The upper floor houses four bedrooms, including a guest bedroom, as well as spaces for games, billiards, exercise, laundry and crafts. Within these areas, “the main objective was to make their new home kid- friendly yet sophisticated,” says Cooley, who worked on the project with design assistant Blaine Gabrisch. However, the homeowners—who have three boys—also wanted to do a few things differently than in the past. They love to entertain, so this time Kelley requested a layout that would separate the kitchen and the living room. “When I’m entertaining, now I can join my guests and enjoy myself without view of the cooking space,” she says.
Mattingly gave the home an Acadian style, incorporating a steep sloping roof and gables that allow for a dramatic living room with cathedral ceilings and wood beams in the heart of the home. He lent the traditional style a contemporary update, however, through such architectural details as century-old reclaimed-oak flooring and plaster walls, both of which bestow a soft texture. “There is currently a trend toward rustic unfinished beams, old or used flooring and painted or lime-washed brick finishes with minimal trim,” he says. Other touches have functional appeal, namely the entry’s and living room’s steel doors, which open to a furnished outdoor area. “They give it not only a more modern look, because the door frame is a thinner line, but also more glass,” says Thompson, who worked with project manager John Niederhofer. The result is a sun-drenched living area.
In selecting furnishings, Cooley incorporated stately, solid pieces; ample lounge seating for the boys and their friends; and furniture—both new and existing—covered in durable or outdoor fabrics, all in a cohesive oatmeal, taupe and gray palette. For instance, in the keeping room off the kitchen, where the kids often congregate while Kelley prepares meals, platinum Perennials outdoor fabric covers the swivel armchairs and sofa. “Talbot chose fabrics with texture for interest,” Kelley says, “and we added color through art and accessories.”
Accommodating the homeowners’ love of entertaining, the kitchen serves as the central hub, with a long and wide Calacatta Gold marble-topped island. “I love it because my kids sit at the counter,” Kelley says. “The large surface areas work out well when I have a lot of helpers in the kitchen.” Cooley also designed the custom kitchen cabinets with easy access and organization in mind, focusing on drawers rather than doors. “Doors allow you to see row one but nothing behind it,” she points out. “With drawers, you can pull them out and see everything.”
Entertaining takes a slightly more formal turn in the living and dining rooms. Under the cathedral ceilings in the living area, matching clean-lined sofas covered in linen face a minimal acrylic coffee table, while a pattern-inflected jute rug unifies the range of neutral tones. In the dining room, the weighty antique table and antique French mutton chairs reupholstered in linen are original to the homeowners’ previous residence. “The one big purchase was the chandelier,” Cooley says. The crystal focal point lends the space sophistication and elegance.
The quiet palette continues into the master bedroom, showcasing deeper gray tones that coordinate with the furnishings throughout the home. The tufted linen headboard complements the fabric-covered motorized window panels. “I didn’t want a lot of pattern,” Kelley says, so they selected a rug with a more subdued design. “The ambience here is more of a retreat,” Cooley explains.
The home’s exterior also serves as a relaxing escape, thanks to landscape architect Larry Minns, who “maximized open lawn areas and ‘re-treed’ the property,” he says. This included bringing in boxwood hedges and two olive trees for the front while situating Mexican white oaks for privacy around the pool—installed by Gartin Pool & Spa Company, Inc.—in the back, per the homeowners’ request.
Now equipped to comfortably entertain every weekend, “our house is where everybody hangs out,” Kelley says. “I can have 10 or more boys over at any time, and we can cook or grill. I wanted our home to be cozy and have a warm feeling, and now I just love it.”