Text: Tiffany Adams
Photography: Michael Hunter
We wanted a new house with old elements,” says the owners of this Houston residence. Their vision fell into place over the course of several years with the help of interior designer Brooke McGuyer Hutson of Brooke McGuyer Interiors, architect Michael Dreef of Eubanks Group Architects, and builder Andy Abercrombie of Abercrombie Custom Homes—all of whom were on the project from its start. Beginning with the exterior, the team blended Old World style with present-day sensibility in what Dreef calls an “English Georgian-style home with classical details.”
Inside, Hutson continued this custom blend with a symphony of antiques, fabrics, and accessories to illustrate the couple’s love of traditional manor style while giving them all the modern conveniences and warmth recently built homes afford. “They wanted a house where they could entertain but that was also comfortable and cozy when it’s just the two of them,” says the designer. To convey authenticity, a number of reclaimed building materials and timeless finishes were used. Starting in the foyer, antique wood floors flow throughout the main level, while overhead, repurposed beams from a south Louisiana farm give the structure an understated grandeur. Each of the home’s seven fireplaces were outfitted with antique mantels, and reclaimed doors were used throughout when possible. In addition, Houston-based finish design firm Segreto Finishes covered the majority of the walls with a veneer plaster as a nod to the European design influence. All of these elements work to give the effect that the home has been in place for decades, if not centuries. However, none of the features were happenstance. “The reason we were able to do this is because the couple formed such a lovely team from the start. I really leaned on the architect and builder in asking, ‘Will this reclaimed surround work with the firebox?’ and ‘Can millwork be fitted to these doors?’” says Hutson of the detailed plans.
This thoughtful approach carries throughout the interiors, where style is balanced with function and practicality. In terms of layout, having the kitchen, breakfast room, and family room open to one another was important to the owners. “They live in this area,” Hutson says of the adjoining rooms that flow gracefully one to another thanks to unifying design treatments. In the kitchen specifically, an Officine Gullo range provides all the bells and whistles a chef could want, while a coordinating custom hood and antique bell jar pendants bring the style.
“There’s a very Southern, Lowcountry feel here,” says Hutson of the space, pointing to the room’s brick surround. “To me, when you mix materials and antique styles into a home versus doing all-new pieces, you create a home with so much interest.” Similarly, the catering kitchen and butler’s pantry don’t deviate from the aesthetic: A Delft tile-inspired backsplash makes a statement in the kitchen, while the owners’ exquisite china collection is displayed as art behind glass in the pantry’s cremone-bolted, built-in storage cabinets.
As avid antiques collectors, the couple didn’t start from scratch when it came to furnishings. “Furnishing this house was like a big puzzle, because they had so many great pieces; it was all about figuring out what looked best where,” says Hutson. The collectibles were complemented with inviting upholstered pieces to convey the desired sense of comfort. For example, in the great room a pair of new custom, velvet Knole sofas are a luxurious spot to relax and strike a balance amid the room’s wooden pieces, including the flooring and beams. Upstairs in the family room, a blue floral fabric was repeated on plush upholstered pieces, pillows, and draperies to create a comfortable but polished look. “This house has a European sensibility that is met with Southern hospitality,” says Hutson. “They get all the perks of a new home, but it feels lived in and curated over time.”