With three young kids, a pair of large dogs and two cats, one Houston couple enjoys a life brimming with abundance. However, the close-knit brood began to feel hemmed in when it came to space, and they dreamed of having enough room to bring everyone they love together. “They really wanted a house that would both allow their family to feel comfortable and welcome guests,” says interior designer Katie Davis, a LUXE Next In Design 99 honoree. After they found a promising candidate in this rambling midcentury ranch-style residence, they called on the designer to have a look. She quickly cosigned on its creative potential, recognizing the raw possibility of its generous rooms and soaring ceilings. As part of an early suburb constructed in the 1950s, “Homes here were originally built on several acres, some even with horses,” Davis muses. “And today, you still get that comforting, country-house vibe.”
The designer channeled this relaxed ease, imagining a family homestead that felt “traditional yet comfortable,” she explains. “This is a house meant to be lived in.” Joining builder Bryan Vaughn, Davis reconsidered everything from the ground up, starting with the millwork. To gracefully welcome visitors inside, paneled walls, columns and crown molding adorn reception areas like the all-white foyer. “As you go through the house, however, the molding becomes simpler,” Davis notes. It’s as though the home drops architectural formalities as one gains greater intimacy with the interiors.
This approachability is evident elsewhere in the form of engineered hardwood floors carefully distressed in a kiln. Moreover, richly grained white oak panels line the kitchen’s peaked ceilings, stained a caramel brown to emphasize “that white oak warmth,” describes Davis, whose team included designer Mary Kate Carl and design assistant Anna Shirley. In fact, you’ll find finishes like these throughout “that will gain a natural patina the minute you use them,” the designer notes, pointing to the mudroom’s terra-cotta tiles as well as the kitchen’s unlacquered-brass hardware and aged-brick fireplace. “We wanted this house to feel loved and lived in, something those natural products help achieve.”
A similar blend of gentility and nonchalance defines the furniture plan. Davis juxtaposed grand antiques with modern silhouettes and traditionally upholstered pieces with playful patterns. This is notable in the dining room, where antique Louis XVI-style commodes mingle with a farmhouse-style table and wicker dining chairs—all against the backdrop of a bold floral wallpaper. A Davis signature, this adept layering of patterns also filters into the vast window-lined great room, which was conceptualized by Vaughn and architect Marcelo A. Gonzalez. Here, skirted English-style armchairs pair with boxy sofas, enlivened with a cheeky blend of checks, florals, stripes and paisleys. At the same time, bedroom schemes were tweaked to suit the individual: An eclectic mix of pastel gingham and graphic flowers for the daughters and matching floral draperies and pillows for the parents.
The designer carefully considered not only the family’s aesthetic tastes but also its more routine needs. As a result, storage proves equally beautiful and practical—from the mudroom’s pale gray lockers for wet boots and jackets to the primary en suite’s illuminated vanity with enclosed shelving. “We always make sure we understand where everything goes,” Davis explains, “whether it’s the everyday Tupperware or the baking pan that’s only used once a year on Christmas.”
Rooms also cater to various forms of gathering. “I love creating spaces where a family can assemble outside of the great room,” Davis says. The home’s original dining room, for example, was transformed into a debonair library paneled in rich white oak. Plush blue armchairs huddle around a carved Nero marble fireplace, providing “a more intimate setting where the couple can invite their friends. It’s geared a little bit more for the adults to hang out,” the designer continues. In contrast, the children have claimed the game room as their personal fort, which was by design with its oversize ottoman and pillowy custom sectional. “Quite literally the moment after we installed it, the kids were jumping and lounging all over it,” Davis recalls with a laugh.
The whole family now has more than enough room for domestic sprawl. They diligently fill every corner with laughter and the pitter-patter of feet (both the two- and four-legged kind). “They are just the kindest and most loving people,” Davis shares. “And the house speaks to that. You walk in and immediately feel their warmth.”