A tired two-story in Beaumont, Texas, becomes a modern marvel with help from a savvy designer and her team at M. James Design Group.

Text: Andrea Fanning
Photography: Michael Hunter

As soon as Wes and Leigh-An Sonnier purchased a fixer-upper in one of Beaumont’s established neighborhoods, they contacted designer Melinda James for help. Dark walls, dreary carpet, and tired wallpaper ran throughout most of the house, along with beige tile that did little to prevent the structure from falling into the “outdated” category. So James was tasked with bringing the interiors into the present day with fittings, fixtures, and finishes that would suit the young homeowners and their lively, posh preferences.

“The house had good bones,” James says of the Sonniers’ property. “Wes and Leigh-An were actually living in one of my previous client’s homes when they purchased the Oakleigh house, and I had worked with them on their bedroom there. So we already knew we liked working together when we started this project.”

That established relationship gave the Sonnier family confidence in James’s ability to work some of her trademark magic in their new abode. While James and her team from M. James Design Group began their transformation plans, the family stayed away and gave the designers full access—with the exception of one demo-driven moment. “Before we had really gotten started, I had a call from Leigh-An,” James says with a laugh. “She told me she had already torn down the wall of the existing laundry room and couldn’t wait to show me.”

“We are in love with the pecky cypress ceiling and spent many hours on its details during construction,” says James. The living room also features carefully chosen accents that add curve and texture to the space, including an antique side chair in cotton velvet, Le Tigre pillows from Scalamandré, a Tibetan lamb throw, and a Lucite side table by Spectrum.
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