By Hebe Hatton
With its elegant antique furnishings, classic European architecture, expansive stones floors, and burnished plaster walls you could easily mistake this place for a historic French property, nestled in the fields of Provence. It's actually a new build, in Houston, Texas. But it's thanks to interior designer Marie Flanigan that the home feels decidedly not like it's situated in one of the biggest cities in the U.S and instead has an air of an elegant French farmhouse.
Despite this modern home being filled with so many beautiful, unique pieces, the home has almost a pared-back feel. The architecture, the shapes of rounded doorways, the vaulted ceilings, the stone floors, and natural materials used in every room are the focus, more than just a backdrop for the furniture but an equal part of the home's interiors. The result is a very calm, serene vibe, that fits perfectly with that Mediterranean feel.
The spacious entryway sets the style of the home up perfectly. Light floods in from the arched windows, bouncing off the pale limestone floors and plastered hand-burnished walls. Furnishing in here is kept to a minimal, with just a dark marble tulip table standing in the center and 17th century Flemish Aubusson tapestry hanging on the wall. An ornate Murrano glass chandelier hangs above the table, cleverly reflected in the glass top.
The entry flows into a more formal living room, with the same limestone checkerboard floors continuing to link the two spaces. The overall feel of this space is one of antiquity, but once the eye has focused, you can see it's actually an eclectic blend of styles. A contemporary, oversized aubergine-hued sofa sits with an Italian antique wood Savanarola chair and a 19th-century guild mirror, and on the other side of the room, a bold abstract expressionist painting contrasts a carved stone side table. There are so many layers going on here, and yet all the pieces naturally fit together.
- Be inspired by more modern living room ideas.
The kitchen blends a kind of french rustic charm with something more modern and industrial. It's a style that's hard to pinpoint, with the mix of metal-clad cabinets and their exposed hardware, and the copper pot collection, but like all the rooms in this home, the mix works and feels like it's always sat in this space.
The white marble worktops give all the natural materials a modern, more glamorous twist and lifts the dark steely blue of the cabinetry. That beautiful limestone flooring can be found here too and is taken up onto the huge limestone surround, adding even more texture to the space.
- See all our modern kitchen ideas for more inspiration.
In the dining room the soft, pale plastered walls turn slightly dark and moodier, changing the ambiance to something more dramatic and atmospheric, perfectly suited for a space that's designed for entertaining.
A custom-made oval dining table sits in the center, with an oversized sculptural chandelier mirroring the oval shape. Far from the more traditional designs, this is made from antiqued two-way glass and steel and was designed for this space to be the sole focal point. However, amongst all this modernity there had to be a nod to the French influences, so an antique carved mirror, French candlesticks, and rustic pots were used to add subtle decor to the room.
Near to the dining room is the dramatic black marble bar. The wooden cabinets soften the look but it still remains a very sleek, sophisticated space.
One of the main features of the family room is the reclaimed beams, adding that authenticity to the house that only encourages the idea this new build is in fact a much older home. The second most striking element is the antique Coromandel screen from the 1940s – the perfect backdrop for the plush velvet sofa. While feeling cozier and more inviting than the more formal living room, this space still has that same quirky mix of old and new.
Behind a solid custom reclaimed oak door is the downstairs powder room. Layers of texture add all the interest that's needed in this natural space – the limestone floors, plaster walls, marble countertop, raw stone sink, antiqued glass, all work together to turn the smallest room in the house into one of the most stunning.
Upstairs in the master bedroom, the limestone floors meet a custom parquet walnut floor, chosen to add warmth to this vast room. To counteract the vaulted ceiling, and make the room feel more intimate, a matching walnut screen surrounds the custom-made bed frame. Ornate accents have been added in the form of the 19th Century gilded Italian mirror.
Antique reclaimed marble floor leads into the spacious master bathroom. The curves of the doors are mirrored in the curves of the window, next to which sits a striking circular freestanding bathtub, positioned to make the most of the views into the courtyard. The Italian giltwood mirror in the Rococo style adds those ornate shapes that can be found in each room, and an antique milking stool has found a new life as a place to prop a towel.
The guest bedroom has a distinctively more contemporary, Mediterranean feel with the gauzy canopy floating around the simple black iron bedframe. There are however subtle antiques throughout the room, like the giltwood mirror and the French Empire Style Swan side table that's been repainted in a lighter ivory shade with gold edging.
The guest bathroom has the same contemporary feel – a sleek white tub, simple wooden cabinetry, and modern light fixtures. The rustic oak stool and vintage rug add in texture and a slightly rustic touch.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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