Here’s the challenge: A client wants you to design a home from the ground up with practically no color. Could you do it? When a Houston couple offered that exact mission to designer Marie Flanigan, she accepted, choosing to see the directive as “a desire for freshness.” Her solution for bringing the medley of pale tones to life was pretty simple—texture, texture, and more velvety texture.
Given the dearth of color, says Flanigan, “I thought, Why don’t we make some grander structural statements?” She points to the home’s curved ceilings in particular: While no cinch to pull off, they were well worth the effort, in her opinion. “A series of barrel vaults was just going to [allow] the light to wash across the plaster, creating movement and making this space much more dynamic,” she says. Additionally, new oak floors were bleached and stained to look antique, and a motif of white, slurry-painted brick is repeated from the home’s exterior.
The furnishings add another layer of touchability. Take the kitchen, Flanigan says, and its five Serena & Lily chairs lined up in front of the island. “This really big, open-weave fabric adds so much warmth to the white color. Then we brought in depth using the velvets, and the veining in the marble, and then the texture of the brick.”
When color does appear, in art or pillows or accessories, it’s often a cool taupe or soft rose. “Dusty pink is definitely a color story of the home,” Flanigan says. “Blush almost acts as a neutral.” But rather than sink into the background, these detours into more saturated territory to highlight luxurious details throughout the home, like the soaring main bedroom, cloaked in a rich, stone-colored Phillip Jeffries silk wallcovering.
While the overall vibe is casual elegance, says Flanigan, the designer did indulge in a few show-stopping moments. In the dining room, a central table seating up to 14 is surrounded by hand-painted Porter Teleo wallpaper, an abstract floral pattern in pinks, creams, and metallics. “We had planned to layer artwork over it, but then we loved it so much we decided to let it stand on its own as a work of art,” the designer says. One modern brass chandelier wasn’t enough to fill the vertical space, so they added another directly alongside.
As Flanigan explains, “The room was just asking to be dramatic.”
Designer Marie Flanigan used grand gestures—like this barrel-vaulted brick ceiling—to add drama to the neutral-hued rooms. Ceiling paint: Alabaster by Benjamin Moore . Chandelier: Apparatus Studio. Curtains: G&S custom, in Kravet fabric. Table: clients’ own. Chairs: custom, The Joseph Company, in Architex fabric.
Plaster shelves filled with objets d’art flank the fireplace. Art: Neutral Swirl 2, via Lam Bespoke. Paint: Alabaster by Benjamin Moore. Coffee table: custom, The Joseph Company. Chair: Vanguard, in Zoffany fabric. End table: Gabby.
Visible from the front entry hall, the dining room “needed to make an impact,” says Flanigan. Wallcovering: custom, Porter Teleo. Chandelier: custom. Table: Baker, with custom top by The Joseph Company. Chairs: Lee Industries in Kravet fabric. Mirror: 1stdibs.
The gray stools draw attention to the the veins of the marble. Counter stools: Serena & Lily. Pendants: Circa Lighting. Chairs: Lee Industries in Arabel silk. Rug: custom, Rug
Mart Houston. Doors: Rehme steel.
There's Magic In The Air
Barrel vaults require a new build, reconstruction, or tearing down Sheetrock in an older home and hoping there’s an arch hiding underneath. But the exposed brick? That can be imitated in a few ways, says Flanigan, because here she actually adhered a layer of thin brick veneer. “You install it much like you would a tile,” the designer explains. The project size determines the ultimate price tag, but it should cost around $20 to $30 per square foot, she estimates.
Slabs of marble line the walls around the tub to protect from splashing. Blinds: Horizons woven wood in Brookfield pattern. Curtains: G&S custom draperies in Kravet linen.Drapery Rods: Peck & Company. Windows: Marvin. Paint: Decorator’s White
by Benjamin Moore. Bathtub: Jason. Tub filler: Rohl. Table: Lam Bespoke.
Wallcovering: Latitude Silk, Phillip Jeffries. Lumbar pillow: custom, in Jane Churchill velvet. Bedding: RH. Bed, in Schumacher cotton, chair, in Pindler fabric, bench, in Rubelli fabric, dresser, and mirror: custom, The Joseph Company. Rug: Madison Lily. Fan: Fanimation. Sconce: Urban Electric.
Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.
You Might Also Like