The Past Transforms the Present in a Provencal-Style Houston Home


Simply Evolutionary in Houston

French elegance merges with contemporary class for a timeless home design in Houston.

Burst Chandelier Light Living Room with Sofa, Chairs, and Glass Doors

An Arteriors chandelier illuminates the living room of this Provençal-style home in Houston. Designer Meg Lonergan added the sofa, which wears Pindler velvet and Holly Hunt trim from Decorative Center Houston; the pillows are from Area. Holly Hunt fabric covers a pair of chairs by Accents in Iron sitting near a Reworks Home accent table and an Ochre coffee table from David Sutherland. Underneath the pieces is a rug from Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries. L’Atelier The Workshop used Kerry Joyce fabric to make the draperies that frame Andersen windows from Mirror Gallery.

High Style Vintage Dining Room with Mirrored Wall and Circular Table

Vintage dining chairs from M Naeve—upholstered by Inman & Company Upholstery Shop in Cowtan & Tout fabric from Culp Associates—surround Egg Collective’s Henry dining table with a Navona travertine top and bronze-faceted base, also from M Naeve. The 19th-century Italian Empire-style gilded-wood chandelier is from Watkins Culver, while underfoot is a reproduction antique Oushak rug from Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries.

Abstract Dancer Sculpture Atop a Chest with Checker Patterned Flooring

Builder Marvin Morris, who worked with partner Steve Hullinger, paired reclaimed 18th-century yellow terra-cotta French tile with white limestone from QDI Stone in the entry flooring. The 19th-century Swedish cabinet is from Kay O’Toole Antiques and Eccentricities, the antique French mirror is from M Naeve, and the Classic Cloth drapery fabric is from George Cameron Nash.

Antique Touch Dining Room with Contemporary Artwork on Mirror Wall

A commissioned art piece by Donald Martiny from Dimmitt Contemporary Art is displayed against the dining room’s antiqued-mirror-paneled wall fabricated by Frame Tek Art Services. The reclaimed 19th-century French limestone fireplace mantel is from Les Matériaux Anciens Jean Chabaud in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France.

Brick Curved Kitchen Ceiling with White Cabinets, Island, Bar Stools, and Lighting

The Woodshop of Texas fabricated the ceiling beams in the kitchen. Tech Lighting cable from Lighting Unlimited and sconces from Barn Light Electric in Titusville, Florida, illuminate Holly Hunt leather-clad barstools from Los Angeles’ Lawson-Fenning, countertops from Alkusari Stone and a La Cornue range from Factory Builder Stores. The Dubois USA knobs and Newport Brass island faucet are from Fixtures & Fittings.

Green Butler's Pantry with Marble Backplash, Sink, and Glasses

Morris designed and constructed the butler’s pantry’s handcrafted leaded-glass doors and cabinetry, which is painted Benjamin Moore Gettysburg Gray and wears Hamilton Sinkler knobs. A marble countertop from Omni Surfaces edges a Copperworks sink with a Barber Wilsons & Co. faucet from Fixtures & Fittings. SES Design Group oversaw the home’s automation.

Open Dining Room with Plastic Chairs and Artwork

In the breakfast area, a Caravaggio pendant by Cecilie Manz for Lightyears from Brown hovers above a 19th-century Swedish trestle table from Alexandra in Charleston, South Carolina. Kartell’s Victoria ghost chairs by Philippe Starck in a custom rose hue are from Nest; art is by Gary Komarin.

Neutral Soft Chaise Lounge Chair Library and Art

For quiet color in the master bedroom, Lonergan placed books in reverse on shelves, to which she affixed sketches from MAI Houston. The Windsor Smith Home chaise wears Pierre Frey fabric from Culp Associates, next to a brass side table from Area. L’Atelier The Workshop fabricated draperies with Kerry Joyce fabric from George Cameron Nash.

White Checker Tile Floor Master Bathroom with Freestanding Tub and Mirrors

A master bathroom chandelier from the Marburger Farm Antique Show lights a Victoria + Albert tub and Newport Brass fixtures. Flooring features white Carrara marble by Interceramic with French antique concrete tiles. Barbara Barry for Visual Comfort & Co. sconces from Circa Lighting flank RH mirrors, which reflect a Hartmann & Forbes’ shade from The Shade Shop and Danielle Nelson Mourning photography from Weston Gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California; sink faucets are Horus.

Neutral Gray Hand Plastered Master Bedroom with Antique Furnishings

In the master bedroom, plaster walls hand-troweled by Imago Dei complement antique chests from Area holding lamps from Boxwood Interiors. A custom iron bed by Lonergan features Sabina Fay Braxton fabric from Allan Knight and Associates and D. Porthault bedding from Boxwood Linens. A bench from Mecox tops a rug from Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries.

Once upon a time, in a rural bastide in the South of France, there was a farmhouse kitchen with a mélange of terra-cotta and rose-colored ceiling tiles that infused the space with a warm, cozy glow. One hundred years later, those same tiles traveled 6,000 miles to be reincarnated in the ceiling of yet another kitchen, this time in a new Provençal-style Houston residence. According to designer Meg Lonergan, it was details such as these tiles—coupled with integrated color stucco walls, a door surround carved from 18th-century French limestone and the symmetry of perfectly shaped boxwoods lining a gravel walkway—that had everyone talking about the spec house on the corner. “It was all the buzz around town,” she recalls. “It was not your usual spec home, and everyone was wondering whom it was for.” 

Curiosity continued to mount as builder Marvin Morris and partner Steve Hullinger–who handled the home’s architectural design and construction–forged ahead without posting a For Sale sign. “We wanted to create the classic, romantic, collected feel of Provence and see it through without anyone questioning what we were doing,” Morris says. “We also wanted there to be a sense of timelessness and a mixture of old and new that implied the house evolved over centuries.” Making that happen mandated several trips to the French countryside, where Morris handpicked every stone and filled three 40-foot containers with items sourced specifically for this project. “The star of the house is the roof,” he says, referring to the blend of reclaimed 18th-century tiles purchased from a vendor near Avignon. “The mix of pinks, yellows and oranges sets the tone.” 

The meticulous attention to detail continues inside with hand-troweled mottled plaster walls. “They are a truly living, breathing entity,” says Morris, who also designed a traditional checkerboard entry-floor-with-a-twist by mixing 18th-century tile from Lyon with pristine white Austin limestone to reinforce the idea of layering over time. Similarly, the home’s wine room is clad with ancient limestone on the walls and enclosed with 21st-century glass doors. 

As all this work was being done, phone calls inquiring about viewing the project were pouring in—including a few from a young couple with one child, who have since welcomed a second. “We finally convinced Marvin and Steve to let us sneak in and see it,” the wife says. Once they were inside, the sight of reshaped 18th-century oak ceiling beams and antique fireplace surrounds only enhanced the couple’s longing, and their initial meeting with the builders proved providential. “For some reason they liked us, and we bought the house right away,” the wife laughs. 

Serendipitously for Lonergan, the new owners were previous clients who immediately tapped her to outfit the interiors. “Meg was the natural choice,” the wife says. “She already knew our taste, and she and my husband even went to high school together in Singapore.” All agreed they should follow the established contemporary-meets-old-world theme. 

Calling on her signature ability to mingle different genres, Lonergan juxtaposed the living room’s vintage sofa upholstered in velvet from the couple’s previous home with the modern lines of iron-framed armchairs. In lieu of color, she layered textures through shagreen-wrapped side tables, waxed-linen draperies and a soft wool-and-silk Tibetan rug. “The homeowners wanted to marry their different aesthetics, and the variety of materials was one way to balance the masculine and feminine,” the designer says. 

In response to the wife’s desire to keep the interiors neutral-colored and kid-friendly, the predominantly white family room features washable-linen-slipcovered sofas and a massive concrete coffee table, both meant to prevent things from seeming too precious. “This is a relaxed space where you can put up your feet,” Lonergan says. Elsewhere in the home, the designer answered the husband’s request for Oriental accents, inspired by his years living in Singapore, through deep blue leather on the kitchen-counter stools and antique Chinese nightstands in the master bedroom. 

The yin and yang continue in the dining room, where Lonergan stepped beyond Houston’s borders to procure the expansive oval travertine table with a cast-bronze base by New York’s Egg Collective and surrounded it with chairs unearthed from a 1950s London hotel. “I’m driven to find things that aren’t typical to the area and that haven’t been used before,” she explains. 

When it came to artwork, Lonergan delivered with modern pieces offering an invigorating contrast to the old-world backdrop. In the family room, for example, a painting by artist Gregory Hayes is a colorful counterpoint for the stone fireplace, and in the dining room a sculptural painting by Donald Martiny—whose work also hangs at One World Trade Center in New York—is a breathtaking foil for the wall of antiqued mirror glass. “Meg was able to find things to suit my personality that I never would have discovered on my own,” the wife says, continuing with high praise for the entire team. “If I were building a home myself, this is exactly what I would have done. It’s absolutely perfect.” 

–Mindy Pantiel