Since I have always admired architect Tom Wilson’s www.tomwilsonarchitect.com work, I was so excited when designer Lisa Dalton brought me in to look at a home that she and Tom worked on. The architecture makes this beautifully decorated home all the more spectacular – the large windows in almost every room bring in great natural light and each space has a purpose so that even the hallways and nooks are special. Asking new clients to give both written information and pictures that show which aspects of a home they find appealing, Tom discovers, through an in-depth process, what his clients are really looking for in a home. He wants to know how they will use the house – who cooks; where do they eat; do they have full time help; how do they entertain; are either of the adults light sleepers; do the adults tend to have the same sleep patterns; where do they watch TV; do they like to be outside; etc. Often with couples, one will prepare the notes for Tom and, when the other one reads them, they discover that they have very different ideas about the new house.
To the left of the entrance, this combo living room and dining room space offers a warm and inviting welcome. It is unusual in the sense that while it’s close to the kitchen, it’s not adjoining it. This is a rule that Tom breaks a lot because very few people entertain formally, and even when the dining room is used, guests often serve themselves. If someone is working in the kitchen, you don’t want to hear all the noise while you’re seated at the dinner table. Tom’s wife likes to run a load of dishes during dinner and doesn’t want the guests to hear the noise. I personally love this concept. Although my home has a formal dining room, we love the openness of the breakfast-den area better at our home so we typically aslo use our dining table with larger parties as a buffet. This way, the guests can serve themselves and have plenty of places to sit and visit.
Lisa adores this house and had such a great time with the furnishings and accessories! “The natural light in several of the rooms is wonderful,” Lisa states. “The large French doors with transoms on three sides brings a fabulous feel to the living room late in the day, and the simplicity of the house allows the accessories and artwork to really shine”. The painting above the fireplace by Houston artist Greta Zimmerman provides a brilliant pop of color while tying in beautifully with the fabrics and accessories!
Hunting for interesting pieces with personality is Lisas fortay – finding unusual objects and grouping them simply. The round wooden objects were formerly an industrial gear and wheel, and the painted wooden vessel is actually an antique bowling pin in its original condition. Wow who would have guessed!!
Because the coffee table is so large, Lisa chose to do smaller groupings on it. The use of baskets in these instances work perfectly, giving a bit more definition to a large surface area. She also uses succulents, like those above from Thompson + Hanson, in accessorizing. Their wonderful colors and textures become an interesting addition that complements both the modern and the natural feel of the home. Hopefully, Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors will make it onto some lovely coffee tables like these. It is at the press now!! Yippee!
This cozy study, opposite the living and dining area, provides more space when entertaining and functions as a great retreat to curl up with a book. With floor to ceiling bookshelves and one of those great library ladders, this room has so much charm. I love how the small shelves on either side of the fireplace and windows house one accessory each, creating an artful display that nicely frames the fireplace and painting.
This kitchen-breakfast area is a wonderful multi-use space. While large, the kitchen itself has a small footprint, but with great design efficiency. There are multiple pantry areas behind the doors as well as a coffee bar pull-out and hidden service areas. Lisa uses a lavender plant on the table in a similar way to the succulents we saw earlier. When picking plants, look at their composition – they’re most interesting when there’s a bit of an architectural element to them.
I love the additional seating that the banquet provides in this area – comfortable, cozy, built right into the staircase and full of extra storage underneath!!
These unexpected interior windows on three sides of the stairwell overlook the space and bring in such an open, airy feeling! The architectural interest Tom’s design provides in the rooms and hallways is a welcome change to the closed-off feel of most stairwells – each space feels much larger.
Spending a lot of time with the homeowners to see how they want to use the home, Tom always tries to tailor his houses to his clients’ lifestyles. When the household includes children, he also tries to zone the house in a way that controls noise so that the adult areas remain calm and quiet. This is the upstairs game room that serves as the division between the children’s area and the adults’. The TV sits across from the sofa, and a table and bench rest to the right of the chair in front of even more windows. The rooms on the side of this TV space are the kids’ rooms, while the parents’ retreat lies behind the staircase!
Entering the master suite, you get a very calm feeling. The height of the dark, wood-clad ceiling, blended with the openness of the beautiful windows, creates a wonderful sanctuary.
The minimalistic furnishings in a soft color palette enhances the room’s architecture, carrying a spa feel through the room. This painting by artist Charles Schorre offers the only splash of color, drawing the eyes in with its unexpected bright hues.
This hallway that leads to the kid’s bedrooms is functional, comfortable and beautiful. During Tom’s modernist education, he was taught that halls are wasted space and should be minimized. Most 50’s era ranch houses reflect this philosophy clearly. But Tom’s viewpoint has completely changed over the years with his realization that large entries can provide great stand up party space and allow the other rooms to be more intimate. When hallways have room for furniture, they become more humane and can provide functional additional spaces. He even implemented a kids’ study area, not shown. One cubby. given a great window, housed two desks, offering a functional work space in a small area.
The windows in this room are wonderful, but how do you furnish a space like this? Lisa’s arrangement is genius!! Rather than place the bed on the wall opposite of the built-ins which provide such great storage, she pushed the bed against them and let them serve as the headboard and lamp tables. This allows additional space on the wall to the left for a desk and opposite the bed for a chest and TV.
This college age daughter’s bedroom is furnished with great heirloom furniture from her grandmother. Although difficult to see in the photograph, the organza overlay on the bed skirt gives such a soft romantic look and completes the sentimental pieces.
Even in the heat of Houston, this is outdoor living at its best. The beautiful gardens were created by Thompson + Hanson Landscaping, and Lisa purchased clean line teak furniture for the outdoors to continue the modern and natural feel of the inside. With temperatures that neared 105 last week, that pool looks pretty amazing! gardens created by Thompson + Hanson Landscaping
This screened-in porch that rests off the kitchen and adjacent to the pool holds the outdoor kitchen, perfect for enjoying the outside bug free!!! The outdoor furniture here came from Restoration Hardware. Great job, Tom and Lisa!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful home with me! The only thing I would suggest for the next owners is some plaster – with its natural light, stone and wood elements, the depth and reflective qualities of natural gypsum plaster on walls and ceilings would give this home a whole new dimension. Currently for sale in the Tanglewood area, this gorgeous house is listed by Ruthie Porterfield of Martha Turner Properties. Go to the following link to see more wonderful photographs of the home: http://search.har.com/engine/dispGallery.cfm?mlnum=3099626
Have a great week!! And join me next week for a highlight on the amazing Jill Brown of Brown, a wonderful lighting and antiques store. Sporadically throughout the year, I will feature inspiring women who followed their passions, started a business and became great design influencers locally and otherwise.