Julie Dodson Designs a Space Where Classic Meets Contemporary

Because the homeowners are accustomed to colder climates, interior design Julie Dodson counteracted the Texas heat by enlisting a light, airy palette throughout the house.

Text: Margaret Zainey Roux
Photos: Julie Soefer

Soothing hues, crisp fabrics, and clean-lined antiques put an Oregon couple’s second home in Houston on the sunny side of style.

What do you want? It’s a simple question, but one that often yields a complex answer. So, when interior designer Julie Dodson asked clients Sue and Paul Revere what they wanted in a second home, she was pleasantly surprised by their direct, unlikely answer.

Classic Meets Contemporary

Travertine and richly stained alder wood beams frame the softly layered family room.

Classic Meets Contemporary

“Tailored, floor-length chair skirts keep the dining room from looking too ‘leggy,’” Dodson says.

Classic Meets Contemporary

The sleek, modern sofa and coffee table make unexpected but elegant additions to the living room furnished with fanciful French antiques, including pairs of painted fauteuils and Louis XVI gueridons and a gilded Louis XV ottoman.

Classic Meets Contemporary

“What gives this home its unique Southern feel is the combination of its elements,” says architect Jorge Carranza of Newberry Architects. “In the kitchen, the casual apron sink and the custom wood banquette beautifully contrast the more formal appointments such as the floral chandelier and scrolled-base French pastry table.”

Classic Meets Contemporary

The owners’ bedroom features understated furnishings in an oversized scale to convey a cozy but uncluttered look and feel.

“They told me exactly what they didn’t want—a replica of their primary residence in central Oregon,” says Dodson. “It’s a sprawling, sophisticated lodge dressed in deep reds and golds with lots of jewel-toned accents and rich wood finishes. It’s surrounded by high deserts and lakes and the Cascade Mountains, so it melds beautifully into the landscape and is fitting for the colder climate, but it’s no match for Houston’s cityscape and heat!”

The couple purchased the home to be closer to their children and grandchildren in the area. They were drawn to its eclectic location in The Loop and to the bright, airy feel of its interiors. Expansive banks of French doors and gracefully arched windows allow an abundance of natural light to flood into rooms with towering ceilings braced by handsome alder beams. The seamless flow of its footprint—paved with hardwood and tumbled stone— also contributed to the open vibe that appealed to the couple and suited their relaxed entertaining style.

Whisper-soft whites and muted shades of blue, blush, and green bow to the grandeur of these architectural elements and offer respite from the scorching Texas sun. Most importantly, they help satisfy the Reveres’ desire for a look that is fresher and less formal than that of their Northwestern abode.

“This project was right up my alley,” says Dodson. “I love the peacefulness of a quiet palette and the easy elegance that comes from mixing classic and contemporary styles. Fortunately, my clients do as well, so they were open to letting me curate a unique assemblage of textiles, art, and furnishings—both modern and antique. There were very few rules, other than ‘nothing fussy or heavy.’”

Never one to sacrifice form for function, Dodson took advantage of Houston’s premier designer showrooms to source furnishings that are on-trend but traditionally rooted. Upholstered seating in luxe linen, crisp cotton, and sumptuous silk are streamlined in profile and oversized in scale for modern comfort. On the other end of the decorating spectrum is the host of thoughtfully selected antiques collected at markets and fairs at nearby Round Top and Marburger Farm. Primarily French, Swedish, and Gustavian in origin, these centuries-old treasures lend the newly constructed home a sense of history while their chipped, flakey finishes and layers of patina speak of stories past and lives well-lived.

“Antiques play an important role in all of my projects, and this house is no exception,” says Dodson. “Our selections aren’t richly stained, ornately carved, or extravagantly gilded. They are refined and charming with loads of character and charisma and, to me, that sums up Houston style.”

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