A Mary Nell Corson, Goodchild Builders, and Robert Dame Masterpiece: Part 1

What a treat to work with designer Mary Nell Corson and Goodchild Builders on this recent project!! Mary Nell has been in the design business in Houston since the early 1980’s and has worked with these homeowners for the last 15 years. Steve Goodchild, builder extraordinaire, has built or redone the last 6 homes for these oh-so-sweet owners!! This long-lasting client relationship certain gives tribute to this dynamic duo’s abilities.

The biggest challenge up front was deciding whether to keep the existing structure or start anew. In the end, the vast majority of the home was demolished leaving only the garage and its living quarters above intact which allowed a fresh start to include the most up to date energy efficient technologes, and much desired open floor plan. Expert home designer, Robert Dame Designs, was brought in with his right hand guy, Don Pattie, both of which did an exceptional job. This new home is equipped with beautifully detailed oversized living areas and walkways – perfect for entertaining guests which is something very important to this couple whose growing family visits often – 7 children and 16 grandchildren so far.

As you enter the home, it’s not hard to notice the breathtaking wood floors made of 250 year old reclaimed oak that came from Custom Floors. Mary Nell chose to use plaster because of its classic timeless appeal and the richness it lends to the walls. She believes “the subtle finish of the plaster adds a certain amount of elegence without being too formal. It is just so much more interesting than a solid paint color and less busy than a faux type finish.”

As you go through the photos, notice the stunning lighting used throughout the home. Unique and one of a kind pieces from around the globe really give each space personality. Above this chandelier, Segreto gave presence to this vestibule by hand-painting an intricate medallion atop the plastered groin vault ceiling.

The powder bathroom was inspired by the architectural elements found in Roundtop, Texas at Marburger and a few pieces which were converted into one-of-a-kind sconces. Mary Nell also owns a custom lamp and shade shop, so she really has a creative eye. Notice how we hand painted around the sconces to expand the size of them. The marble top is cut  from an unusually thick slab found at Mary Nell’s favorite marble source, Sweeney Marble, in Houston. Just beautiful!!!

How inviting is this study?? Although many items in the home were purchased during the renovation, the study decor remained almost intact from their pervious home since it is one of the homeowners’ favorite rooms. The tight seating arrangement makes for such a cozy place to visit with friends and family. Mary Nell comments that one of her favorite parts of the room are the appliqued crest pillows created by Marsha Henshaw on the sofa.

In the dining room, the main goal was to make sure there was enough room to house people during large parties and to include enough seating for their 7 children and respective spouses – what a big group!! The fabulous inlaid table came from Carl Akins many years ago, but needed a big of an update, so he came out to add additional leaves, a third pedestal and refinish the entire table. Now that’s what I call great customer service! The walls and ceiling maintained the same continuity of the tinted plaster throughout and the baseboards were colored to blend with the plaster. But wait, notice those doors!!

Mary Nell and the homeowners were inspired by the vintage doors they had seen but were not the right scale for the space. No worries – taking elements from many pieces they had seen and coming up with a unique design, they had their own custom doors built. We had a ball finishing them to an age old feel. Here’s a picture of the doors in progress, just waiting for the finishing touches!!


The hallway that goes to the left of the entranceway leads to a bar, the kitchen and breakfast area!! You can see the dining room on the right.

The den acts as the perfect gathering place. The wood beams and plaster accent the ceiling to bring an established feel to the room. And I just adore the floor lamps!! They were originally two antique columns from Joyce Horn to which Mary Nell had large bases, wiring, and custom shades added. Simply wonderful!!

To the left of the den, large doors lead to the sunroom. With serene-colored plastered walls and beautiful furniture, you truly feel as though you have walked into a spa retreat!

To the right of the den is this fab kitchen I love!! The beam motif is carried in from the rest of the house hinting at a slightly rustic style and creating a great sense of continuity. The custom stove hood from Lonestar Range & Hood is made from aged copper. The finishes Segreto used on the cabinets in this room really make it a feast for the eyes!! We used two different  finishes and a multitude of textures to add interest to the room but also make sure to balance the other strong elements at play here.

The breakfast room turned out to be the perfect space to display the homeowners’ extensive dish collection – they use several sets regularly when they entertain guests! I got to use my favorite Blaygeen color on these cabinets.

From the catering kitchen, you can take this hallway back to the study. Again, we see the wonderfully warm aged oak and beautiful staircase balustrades that really welcome you into the home.

That’s all for this week’s tour of this wonderful home!! Make sure to read our next post where we will continue our journey through the same home and get a peek into the upstairs and master bedroom. What fun!!

What’s New at Segreto Boutique

All of the girls at the office are loving this new collection of jewelry we just got in!! The druzy earrings are gorgeous and the vintage tassel necklaces are perfectfor layering!!

Speaking of decadent, we also just received a new shipment of antique textile pillows. These beautiful restored antique embroidered and applique velvet pillows are sure to sell quickly so come by the boutique soon!! 1414 Antoine, M-F 9-5.

I hope everyone has a great week – Till next Monday and part two of our home tour!! Xo, Leslie

A Mary Nell Corson, Goodchild Builders, and Robert Dame Masterpiece: Part 2
A Stunning Transformation with Kemble Interiors


  1. Incredible home, Leslie- what gorgeous work you do! And those floors are unbelievable- and the floor lamps in the den- just stunning!


  2. oh leslie! what an absolute dream project, the kitchen blows me away, and your blue on the cabinetry with the dishes is incredible. the stone wall in there! omg, for me, it makes the whole space. what an incredible backdrop for beautiful memories for this family.

    smiles to you.


  3. I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog so much! It has been truly inspiring. I love to come and see what's new and get inspiration for what I want to do in my own home as well as refer friends to it when I consult with them on their own homes. I referenced to your blog today because of a project I just did. Hope you don't mind. If you do, let me know. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent and that of your team. Truly inspiring!!! *hugs*

  4. All I can say is that this house just took my breath away….need CPR for all of my many "skipped beats"!!!

  5. Beautiful work!! Also, I really like those necklaces!! Where can we buy them?

  6. Where can I order a few “Segreto Style” books and how much. Thank you!

  7. Where can I purchase “Segreto Style”?