Text: Sherry Moeller
Photography: Julie Soefer
Styling: Jessica Holtam
Art and antiques are ingrained in Chandos Dodson Epley’s life. Studying art in Italy and traveling to the UK during the summer where she perused antique fairs with her mother established her love of all types of art, as well as vintage finds and contemporary pieces. As founder of Chandos Interiors and C2 Art Advisors, Epley feels the art you choose expresses who you are more than any other item in the home.
This is especially true in her own mid-century modern home in Houston that she shares with her husband and twins. Though this house wasn’t her first choice for a new residence—she had spent years working on plans for a new custom home—it was the right choice when a breast cancer diagnosis made her pivot and find a house they could renovate and move into quickly. “It worked out the way it was supposed to,” she says, moving in the day she finished radiation treatment.
Designed by architect Preston Bolton, this 1963 one-level dwelling is a typical midcentury design—modern on the exterior with a more traditional interior—which was an ideal match for some of the recent purchases Epley originally made for the custom home. Plus, she knew the architect’s work well; their previous house was also designed by Bolton.
“All of Preston’s homes have lots of personality, and in Houston, that’s hard to find sometimes,” she says. One of the best things about the house is the interior atrium that streams sunlight into the spaces all day long. The 3,300-square-foot, T-shaped home includes exposed brick walls in several rooms, a signature Preston Bolton element, as well as 11-foot ceilings. Epley finished the walls in white plaster, not only to create ambiance and make the house feel larger but also to establish a backdrop for art, giving the spaces a gallery-esque feel.
Among her favorite art is Green Africa by Dorothy Hood, which she purchased with money she won from a single Las Vegas jackpot. “My husband and I always buy art if we win in Vegas,” Epley adds. “After all, what’s better than art?” Hood was a pioneer of American Modernism and an important figure in Texas art. The artist is best known for her large-scale abstract paintings from the 1960s and 1970s. This particular piece with its saturated green color hangs in Epley’s living room.
“The beautiful thing about midcentury design is that anything looks good in it, from super modern to very traditional,” she says. “Incorporating pieces I have and love works for my family and for me aesthetically.” Epley has a top-down approach to design, often focusing on details first to establish the foundation of her work.
The home’s partial renovation included the small kitchen, which turned out to be one of the more challenging rooms to remodel. Because her husband is an “appliance junkie,” she had to make the space multipurpose. They took out the island, added a double oven, and created plenty of storage for pots, pans, and gadgets. “It’s a nice cockpit of a kitchen,” she says, and it stays true to the home’s midcentury charm. Finishing touches, such as a hood that matches the counter material and sconces that are the “jewelry of the home,” make all the difference.
The family room’s design evolves the most often, from changing pillows and side tables to reupholstering the sectional. But every room gets a refresh from time to time when Epley rotates art from place to place. “The house is pretty neutral, so you get more color in the art than in the furniture,” she says. Having accents of color in certain areas, such as the home office, playroom, and children’s rooms, prompts the eye to look around and take in the settings.
“It’s a great family home, not too large, but it feels really spacious,” Epley adds. “Being one story is so nice; there aren’t enough of these types of houses anymore.”