The Element of Surprise

| September 1, 2017

Living-Room

French Country Meets Modern Refinements

Text by Cathy Gordon | Photography by Julie Soefer | Builder: Jeff Paul Custom Homes | Custom Home Designer: Sullivan Henry Oggero & Associates | Interior Design: Laura U Interior Design

It’s a beauty, this house, with its stone French Country exterior and board and batten shutters. Major curb appeal. But step inside and you’re in for something a bit different, a visual feast of modern refinement.

“I like the element of surprise. When you drive past our house it looks a certain way, but when you walk in it’s not what you were expecting,” says Linda Greig of the home she shares with husband Walter. “It’s just what we wanted.”

With white walls as canvas to make art pop, this house exudes luxury. Stream­lined, airy and functional multi-use spaces accommodate every kind of gathering, especially nearly daily visits from their three young grandsons. “Grandkids are the best thing about retirement, spending time with them,” says Walter.

It makes sense that these retirees would build a home like this. Modern, efficient and void of frills.

It’s a design template they love.

Walter’s work history as president of a private equity company and then CEO of a manufacturing business kept the couple quite busy. Linda took charge of the office design at their plants in Houston, Pearland, Omaha, Saudi Arabia and China. “Kind of all over. Basically any plant with offices, Linda did them,” Walter explains. “We wound up with offices that won design awards because they were so functional. We didn’t want people to show up for work in boring environments, so when we got in discussions about building this house, we felt the same way.”

There’s nothing boring about this dwelling.

The couple considered remodeling their previous house, but caught the building bug after discovering this spacious lot in Carlton Woods. They knew the builder Jeff Paul (“Our daughter used to babysit for them”) and loved the lot’s location on a large pond backing up to the George Mitchell Preserve.

With Paul as builder and custom home designer John Sullivan on board, Linda began the hunt for an interior designer, scouring the online tool, Houzz.

“I started googling contemporary designs in Houston and Laura U Design came up on almost everything,” says Linda. “After looking at her website, my gut instinct knew she was the firm to go with.”

Walter was intrigued by the design process. “The presentations were inspirational. And the conversations we had back and forth about what we wanted and what would work for us were great,” he says. “We wanted a place that reflects how we live, a place that blends how we live with good interior design. And we got it.”

In keeping with the “design like you live” motto, the couple opted against formal dining. “We had one in our other house and never used it,” says Linda. An open breakfast area off the kitchen and living room amply serves this function. It’s eye-catching with a sleek table and custom chairs in a warm, mod navy pattern.

The adjoining kitchen is pristine in white Yukon Blanco silestone countertops contrasting with Alder wood cabinets in a Sherwin Williams Armoire Hickory Stain. Pendants from Y Living hang over a large granite island. “We fell in love with that granite and planned the kitchen around it,” Linda explains.

The granite is carried into the living room to the mantle hearth, mixing it up with stone and slate on the fireplace, the anchor for a tranquil modern setting. A cowhide Mies van der Rohe-style daybed is a favorite piece in this space with a custom sofa in neutral and cocktail table by Vanguard.

“The grandkids love to hang out on it,” says Walter of the classic modern piece.

The gameroom to the left of the breakfast area serves a dual function. First and foremost, it’s a play space for their grandsons, with comfy seating and game consoles. But a modern pool table conveniently flips into a table for crafts or dining if needed.

The master suite on the opposite end of the house evokes high style in a variety of textures, surfaces and fabrics. A sitting area as you enter is especially enticing with two sumptuous lounges for television viewing or reading. Cabinets crafted of teak wood add warmth. A sinuous sculptured wall behind the bed by PanelMax adds
contemporary flair and sophistication.

The master bathroom has a spa-like quality with marble floors, countertops and large shower. A paneled fabric wall behind the vanity adds interest. Just beyond is Linda’s closet, gleaming in chandeliers and lit storage compartments, some of which house Linda’s collection of Judith Leiber clutches.

“When we retreat to the master bedroom, it’s just amazing how relaxing it is,” says Linda. Views of the pond and infinity pool (by Texas Pools) and other outdoor amenities are a special draw in this space.

Indeed, it seems every room in this house allows the outdoors in.

Especially inviting is a cabana that always seems to garner a breeze.

“It can feel like a vacation retreat here,” says Walter. “It’s always like this with a cool breeze,” agrees Linda. “A lot of times we wind down here at the end of the day. And the grandkids love it too.”

Off the cabana is a charming pool bath with no-slip floor.

For movie watching, there’s nothing better than the upstairs media room, replete with snack bar. And down the hall the grandkids have their own bedroom with bunk beds and a trundle. Across from it is a “train room,” with plenty of empty space to get down on the floor and play.

Also upstairs is Linda’s office, elegantly simple, and punctuated with art she loves.

Walter, likewise, has a serene workspace. His downstairs office is a showstopper as you walk in the front door. “I like art deco,” he says, pointing out a curved cabinet wall in his study reminiscent of the period.

Even the utility spaces are special in this house. The couple wanted the look of metal lockers, but in wood. The result: beautiful handcrafted slate blue lockers in the mudroom, vessels for the grandkids’ backpacks and other items. Even Linda and Walter have a locker. Off the mudroom is a spacious utility room with tiled wall and an abundance of overhead bins for storage.

Not to be outdone, the garage puts on a show too. The compartment for Walter’s treasured Aston Martin is a showplace in white walls with wide pine green stripe accents, custom painted by an East Coast artist.

“This house just checks all the boxes,” says Walter.

“Yeah, we love it,” Linda agrees. “It’s like our retreat every day. On any given evening you can go outside and watch all the deer, the ducks, the beautiful scenery on the pond. It’s wonderful. We couldn’t be happier here.”

TOP IMAGE CAPTION:  A cowhide Mies van der Rohe-style daybed is a classic modern touch in the living room. “The grandkids love to hang out on it,” says Walter. A custom sofa in neutral anchors the room with a cocktail table by Vanguard..

 

White walls provide canvas for art to shine in this house. Even the staircase presents as a work of art.

White walls provide canvas for art to shine in this house. Even the staircase presents as a work of art.

 

In the garage, wide dark green stripes camouflage built-in cabinets.

In the garage, wide dark green stripes camouflage built-in cabinets.

 

Clear Alder cabinets in a Sherwin Williams Armoire Hickory stain add warmth to this modern kitchen. The homeowners chose this granite slab, planning the kitchen around it. Lighting by Y Living.

Clear Alder cabinets in a Sherwin Williams Armoire Hickory stain add warmth to this modern kitchen. The homeowners chose this granite slab, planning the kitchen around it. Lighting by Y Living.

 

A dramatic Donghia wallpaper with trees against a sea of royal blue makes this powder bath a showstopper.

A dramatic Donghia wallpaper with trees against a sea of royal blue makes this powder bath a showstopper.

 

The homeowners’ idea for a cork art wall has proven popular with the grandkids, whose creations are on prominent display.

The homeowners’ idea for a cork art wall has proven popular with the grandkids, whose creations are on prominent display.

 

A functional yet stylish gameroom with comfy seating and game consoles for the grandchildren is a favorite hangout when they visit. The pool table in the background converts into a table for crafts or additional eating space.

A functional yet stylish gameroom with comfy seating and game consoles for the grandchildren is a favorite hangout when they visit. The pool table in the background converts into a table for crafts or additional eating space.

 

This guest bedroom aims to please with plump bedding, accentuated in a soft purple. A fun rug underfoot echoes this visual assembly.

This guest bedroom aims to please with plump bedding, accentuated in a soft purple. A fun rug underfoot echoes this visual assembly.

 

Tile patterns in stripes of gold add interest in a guest bathroom.

Tile patterns in stripes of gold add interest in a guest bathroom.

 

Texture is key to this room’s beautiful modernity. A PanelMax wall behind the bed adds an elegant yet hip vibe to the mix. Possini double-shade pendants hang on either side of the bed.

Texture is key to this room’s beautiful modernity. A PanelMax wall behind the bed adds an elegant yet hip vibe to the mix. Possini double-shade pendants hang on either side of the bed.

 

The master bath is a vision in marble with elegantly styled wall and chair at the vanity.

The master bath is a vision in marble with elegantly styled wall and chair at the vanity.

 

In the kids’ room, navy and white striped bedspreads have a fresh look with orange bedding and accessories.

In the kids’ room, navy and white striped bedspreads have a fresh look with orange bedding and accessories.

 

Bright orange pendants add pop to this sleek bathroom for the grandchildren in fun beaded blue tile.

Bright orange pendants add pop to this sleek bathroom for the grandchildren in fun beaded blue tile.

 

Slate blue lockers creatively crafted from wood were designed to accommodate the grandchildren’s backpacks and other items. Their grandparents use the lockers too.

Slate blue lockers creatively crafted from wood were designed to accommodate the grandchildren’s backpacks and other items. Their grandparents use the lockers too.

 

A handsome utility room, striking in white with a tile wall, offers ample storage.

A handsome utility room, striking in white with a tile wall, offers ample storage.


Category: Featured Homes

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