Belgian design master may seem like an unexpected muse for a 1990s ranch house in Texas Hill Country, but Houston interior designer Marie Flanigan was inspired by Axel Vervoordt’s wabi-sabi approach and reverence for nature for good reason. Her clients wanted to modernize their home on a 200-acre plot on Lake Travis without obstructing the landscape or erasing its history as a family gathering place. Looking to Vervoordt, “we kept coming back to simplified details, organic textures, and an earthen color palette,” Flanigan says.
The goal of the renovation was to unite old and new seamlessly, making the home more graceful and comfortable, but just as soulful. Flanigan and lead designer Melanie Hamel expanded the existing millwork with 20-inch white oak plank floors and reclaimed beams, and added bluestone slabs to match the floors. Custom plaster gives the walls a timeworn finish. The majestic, rugged surroundings take center stage via minimalist steel-framed picture windows in the living room. To complement that landscape, the designers filled the home with a range of textured materials, Hamel says: “chunky, slubby linens, supple velvets, weathered leather, and raw edges.” In the kitchen, unlacquered brass hardware and lighting contrast with the blackened metal patina of the island.
Though there was room to make everything Texas-size in this 4,800-square-foot house, Flanigan resisted. Instead, she “paired cozy, quiet spaces with more grand openings.” The splayed front door leads into an intimate entryway, while a custom sofa set within a massive bay window in the living room offers a comfy spot to gaze outside. Throughout, “the house is a study in theories of compression and release,” Flanigan says. It’s the architectural way of taking a deep breath, and equally soothing to the senses.
Textured, neutral pieces create a timeless look. Sofa: custom, in Colefax and Fowler linen. Coffee table: Axel Vervoordt. Chair: Phantom Hands, in Edelman Leather fabric. Side table: Brigitte Garnier. Credenza: Round Top Antiques Fair.
Plush sofas and picture windows invite guests to take in the view. Sofa: custom, in Designs of the Time fabric. Floor lamp: Vaughan Designs. Pillows: Marie Flanigan for Annie Selke.
The island is topped with a reclaimed bluestone slab with fluted edges by Chateau Domingue. White oak panels conceal a pantry door. Range: Lacanche. Hood insert: Vent-A-Hood. Fixtures: Dornbracht. Island: custom metal base, Amuneal.
This spot doubles as a game table at parties. Pendant: Atelier001. Settee: custom, in Mark Alexander linen. Chairs: Cassina.
Echoing the trees on the property, the Cox London chandelier is adorned with brass holly oak leaves. Wall: custom plaster, Domingue Architectural Finishes. Table: custom, Sóha. Curtains: G&S Draperies. Chairs: custom, in Calvin Fabrics linen.
The reclaimed marble sink was hand-carved by Chateau Domingue. Pendant: Materia Designs. Rug: Turkish Carpets Inc. Faucet: Vola. Mirror: Formations.
The designers wanted this space to be “an ethereal escape,” says Flanigan. Together with the floor-to-ceiling windows, the muted gem tones and natural finishes like wool, burl, and linen make it feel like “an extension of the landscape.” Bed: Verellen, in Arabel Flanders linen. Bed cover: House of Baltic linen. Sconce: Allied Maker. Lamps: Studio TwentySeven. Nightstands: custom. Chaise: M.Naeve. Rug: Retorra.
The custom limestone Stone Forest bathtub “allows for the perfect fit and vantage point to rest and relax,” says Flanigan. Bath fixtures: Vola. Floor tile: Chateau Domingue. Dresser: vintage from Molly and Maud’s Place.
Flanigan designed an oak-planked frame to set off the bed. Sconces: Long Made Co. Side table: Hickory White. Floor lamp: Currey & Company.
This plush couch folds out into a bed, should the room need to accommodate extra visitors. Sofa: Lee Industries, in Mark Alexander velvet. Coffee table: antique, Chateau Domingue. Rug: Retorra, Culp Associates.
Styled by Jessica Brinkert Holtam.