Georgian-Style Houston Home with Historic Charm


Traditional White Patio with Painted Brick Walls

A screened-in porch, located off the pool area, is perfect for morning coffee. Pearson painted the original red brick Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore. The iron settee and chairs and painted wicker seating are all from Janus et Cie.

Traditional Rear Exterior with Pool Area

The landscaping, designed and executed by A Garden’s Delight in Houston, evokes the feel of a formal European garden with its low profile plantings and structured, clean lines. Wicker lounge chairs from Janus et Cie make it easy to relax.

Traditional Cream Bedroom with Elegant Chandelier

In the guest bedroom, Phillip Jeffries grasscloth wallpaper acts as a backdrop to the custom, flax linen headboard. A pair of Arteriors lamps from Vieux Interiors in Houston grace bedside tables from Alyson Jon Interiors, also in Houston. The impressive chandelier is from Canopy Designs in New York.

Traditional Neutral Kitchen with Geometric Pendants

Originally an outdated country French kitchen, Pearson updated the look by replacing an old pot rack over the island with sleek contemporary pendants from Visual Comfort, installing grasscloth wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries above the cabinetry, and adding top-of-the-line Thermador and Sub-Zero appliances to the mix.

Traditional Neutral Family Room with Farm Table

A reclaimed wood farm table from John Holt Antiques in Houston overlooks the family room. Fireplace-flanking, antique candles from Tara Shaw Antiques, a Global Views floor lamp and a Lucite side table from Dallas' Allan Knight and Associates add personality to casual gatherings.

Traditional White Living Room with French Doors

John and Laurie Pearson have been collecting French antiques for 18 years—like the gilt Louis Philippe mirror picked up at an antiques store in Mississippi and the Italian candelabras on the mantel from Houston-based Tara Shaw Antiques. Though new, the Tomlinson sofa and custom Bergere chairs from New Orleans’ Probst Decorating fit the timeless elegance of the space.

Traditional White Spiral Staircase with Runner

Beneath the sweeping, freestanding staircase, an 18th- century English writing desk is paired with a Lucite chair. The living room beyond, with its mix of old and new, includes a contemporary painting by Michelle Y Williams from Laura Rathe Fine Art in Houston above an antique French console from Houston’s Joyce Horn Antiques.

Traditional Brick Front Elevation with Yard

The two-story, Georgian-style house in Houston’s West University neighborhood exudes curb appeal. Big yards, front and back, are ideal for the Pearsons’ three children to play in.

Traditional Cream Dining Room with Crystal Chandelier

Pearson wanted to imbue the house with her love of Southern design. “A lot of my decorating style has Mississippi Delta roots and southern Mississippi charm,” explains Pearson. “I remember going to so many beautiful homes in the Delta when I was growing up and admiring all the lovely old furniture.”

Staircases are some of the most appealing elements of grand Southern homes—think: Gone with the Wind and Giant. So when Mississippi-born Laurie Pearson saw the curved, floating staircase sashaying through the foyer of this decade-old house in Houston’s West University neighborhood, she was smitten. “I’d always dreamed of having a freestanding staircase,” says Pearson, an interior designer and antiquarian who relocated to Houston six years ago from New Orleans with her husband John and their three young children. The Pearsons, refugees from Hurricane Katrina, had originally settled in a small home in the area, but after a few years found that they needed more room to grow.

Built by Kurt Aichler and Associates and designed by the late architect Lucian T. Hood, the Georgian style, two-story residence has spacious rooms and an open floor plan that fits their needs perfectly. “We do a lot of entertaining, and it’s a great layout for that,” says Pearson. But while the house was the right size, it needed some updating and customizing to make it their own. “I knew when we moved in that I’d have to repaint the walls, change out all the fixtures, and update the kitchen,” she adds. “It was all just a matter of playing with the fun things that make an ordinary house extraordinary, from back splashes to wall treatments to new carpeting.”

Above all, Pearson wanted to imbue the house with her love of Southern design. “A lot of my decorating style has Mississippi Delta roots and southern Mississippi charm,” explains Pearson. “I remember going to so many beautiful homes in the Delta when I was growing up and admiring all the lovely old furniture.” She and her husband started collecting antiques 18 years ago, and during her time in New Orleans, Pearson even co-owned a French antiques store with well-known designer Joe Morrow.

While the couple love traditional furnishings, they didn’t want to live in a version of their parents’ houses. “My design style is more eclectic now, and I love to mix antiques with a contemporary flair. It’s younger and fresher,” says Pearson. Many of their existing antiques, including a 150-year-old Steinway piano inherited from John’s family, work beautifully in the new house. Pearson designed custom upholstered pieces, such as sofas and ottomans, and had antique chairs recovered in luxurious silk and chenille fabrics. Billowy silk draperies on the windows provide the French-influenced, New Orleans look she adores, and artisans from Houston’s Imago Dei hand-stenciled walls and ceilings in the dining room and master bedroom for an Old World feel.

Throughout the house, there’s contemporary artwork, carefully placed Lucite tables and chairs, and a few painted and mirrored pieces to keep the dark wood of the antiques from being too heavy, ensuring the rooms stay light and airy. In the kitchen, Pearson overhauled the existing, dated country French design by replacing a hanging pot rack with a pair of modern pendants, upholstering the walls above the cabinets in grasscloth, and adding a backsplash of glass and ceramic tiles.

Amid such refinement and finery, it’s easy to forget that the Pearsons have two boisterous girls and a rambunctious boy. “Everyone who walks into my house asks how I pulled off the look with three kids,” laughs Pearson. “Every room in the house is livable; nothing is off limits. The kids take piano lessons in the living room. We have rules about eating in certain rooms, but they color and paint in others. Recently my son punctured a leather chair in several places with a tack. That would have sent some people over the edge. To me it’s a part of it. It’s the wear and tear that gives our house the charm of being a home.”