Soulful Relics Meet Modern Details In A Houston Home


light blue sunny breakfast nook...

In the breakfast room, a channel-stitched vegan leather banquette by The Joseph Company and klismos-inspired chairs from Four Hands surround a custom pedestal table by Doorman Designs. A schoolhouse pendant from Visual Comfort & Co. hangs overhead.

white dining room with chandelier...

The dining room’s hand-painted tromp l’oeil paneling offers a modern alternative to traditional wainscoting. A 19th-century table from Karla Katz Antiques grounds the space, its gravitas offset by the whimsy of the sculptural CB2 chairs and seven-arm plaster chandelier by Bourgeois Boheme Atelier.

powder blue living room with...

The Joseph Company custom fabricated the living room’s sofa, dressed in Rubelli’s Ombra Cielo cotton velvet, and armchairs, which wear Kelly Wearstler’s Rarity linen-blend velvet in Sky Sapphire. Millwork painted Benjamin Moore’s Comet seamlessly blends with Holland & Sherry’s Cirrus Blue paperbacked wool wallcovering.

geometric wallpaper bathroom with curvy...

Rosy hues continue through the matching bathroom, where Schumacher’s Marcel Blush clads the walls in a striking geometric print, softened by the curves of a natural bone mirror by Made Goods. A Julie Neill for Visual Comfort & Co. sconce completes the vignette.

bedroom with pink plush curvy...

A blend of pinks and patterns enlivens one of the daughters’ bedrooms. Schumacher pillows rest in front of a headboard designed by ML Interiors Group and wrapped in Muriel Brandolini’s lattice-inspired Beige #13.

light blue breakfast nook and...

Farrow & Ball’s Borrowed Light covers the walls and cabinets of the kitchen. A commissioned painting by Carmen McNall titled Persimmons leads the way to the adjacent breakfast room.

light blue kitchen with paneled...

Ceramic pendant shades hand-thrown by a family of artisan potters in Italy hover above the kitchen island topped in Olympia marble from Pomogranit + ADR. A navy O&G Studio Atlantic stool punctuates the scene; the mosaic backsplash tile is from Ann Sacks.

pink powder room with vintage...

To make the most of the small powder room, a sink is integrated into the marble countertop. Its sleek, contemporary styling juxtaposes a gilded Louis Philippe mirror mounted atop the smoky antiqued mirror wall illuminated by Allied Maker sconces.

peachy pink bedroom with botanical...

The bed in the primary room is upholstered in a handwoven rug made of silk and wool, its rich texture conveying depth against walls painted Portola Paints’ Duet in a limewash finish. A Danny Kaplan Studio ceramic lamp sits on a custom white oak table from Disc Interiors.

Impressive, but approachable. Classic, but youthful. Colorful, but calming. These were the directives given to interior designer Meg Lonergan when she set out to revive her clients’ River Oaks home. It sounds like a tall order, but the designer shines at striking such a balance. Over the years, she has gained distinction in Houston’s design circles for her innate ability to master the mix—which is the very reason this couple singled her out for the job.

“The residence had great proportions and beautiful bones, so we had a lot to work with from the get-go,” Lonergan says of the textbook Georgian-style structure. The intricate crown and dentil moldings, herringbone oak floors, arched windows and wainscoting had tugged at the heartstrings of the clients, who both grew up in traditional homes and gravitated to those details for their warmth and nostalgia.

While the house brimmed with historical appeal, it fortunately came without the headaches often associated with older homes. The redbrick abode was well-built in the 1990s, so it didn’t require major repairs or a complex, multiphase renovation. It simply needed a refresh.

“With two young children, the homeowners wanted family-friendly spaces where they could spread out and enjoy a light, airy atmosphere during their day-to-day activities,” architect Dillon Kyle explains. In response, the design team—in collaboration with builders Brad Ratcliff and Cameron Simmons—worked together to tweak the formal layout and devised a more modern, casual footprint that includes an open-concept kitchen, seating area and family room. The new fluid connection allows for the spaces to live much larger than they are and enhances their association to the rest of the home. “The edits we made bring the interiors into the 21st century while retaining a sense of timelessness,” the architect says.

Sprawling antique Oushak, Tabriz and Malayer carpets lay the groundwork for the vintage furniture, decor and art that pay homage to the abode’s architectural origins and the couple’s deep family roots. Lonergan scoured Houston showrooms for soulful relics including a hexagonal gilt-wood end table, Italian brass sconces and ball-and-claw foot chairs. Buying trips to the husband’s hometown of New Orleans also yielded French finds, such as the showstopping 19th-century Empire dining table.

Some of her clients’ most cherished accents, however, were not purchased at shops or galleries but gifted from previous generations. These beloved heirloom oil paintings and watercolors are strategically displayed throughout the house among vibrant abstracts and modern original works.

“Antiques are key to creating comfortable interiors. They have a familiarity that makes them special,” Lonergan observes. “But you can have too much of a good thing, and a room with too many antiques can feel fussy or contrived.” To maintain authenticity and prevent an overly precious aesthetic, the designer blended contrasting accents that keep the rooms looking fresh.

Custom contemporary furnishings and textiles in rich patterns, colors and textures are among the layers Lonergan piled on for panache. In the living room—wrapped in a pale blue paperbacked wool wallcovering—a cotton-velvet kidney-shaped sofa complements a pair of clean-lined slipper chairs clad in an eye-popping sapphire window-pane motif. Similarly, the dining room’s tawny velvet barrel chairs and seven-arm plaster chandelier enliven the quiet ambience, seen in the white-on-white trompe l’oeil paneled walls and the sumptuous white silk faille curtains.

What keeps such disparate elements from becoming divisive? According to the designer, it is the calming, sunset-evoking palette, which stemmed from an exercise in balance in more ways than one. While the husband’s New Orleans roots influenced a desire for bold colors and broad strokes, the wife prioritized serenity and wanted to avoid the interiors feeling too loud or trendy. The answer came to Lonergan as she was practicing asanas during an outdoor yoga class.

“At the time, I was feeling burnt-out and completely void of creativity,” she shares. “I looked up, and there was this stunning sunset, and I immediately felt at peace as I basked in the glow of its gorgeous colors.” Using that pathos, the designer selected warm blues, rusts and blushes to pervade the abode, threaded with greens, golds and cloudy grays. Another lesson in perfecting the mix, the golden-hour undercurrent elegantly weighs making a statement with fostering a sense of tranquility at home.