One of the many families to seek out alternative accommodations during the pandemic, LUDC’s Houston Heights interior design clients entered into a hurried transition last year. Moving into a brand-new construction in an area filled with historic homes, the clients hoped to maintain a fresh feel while honoring the neighborhood’s past. Built only several years ago in 2017, the home is unique to an area where most homes were constructed in the early 20th or late 19th centuries. With the majority boasting Eclectic Victorian architecture or Craftsman interiors, this contemporary home was truly the odd man out before its redesign. On a tight deadline, the Laura U Design Collective team was chosen to produce the home’s interior. With Blair and Lissa leading the way — and total design freedom from the homeowners — the Houston Heights home transformed into a rich inviting space. This bold, contemporary interior effortlessly strikes the perfect balance between vintage-inspired and of-the-moment. Throughout the home, deep-toned woods and organic upholstery creates a seamless and timeless interior that is as striking as it is versatile. To learn more about this contemporary Houston Heights interior design and how it wowed its historic Texas neighborhood, follow below!
THE HOUSTON HEIGHTS NEIGHBORHOOD: STEEPED IN AMERICAN ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY
Houston Heights — an affluent enclave of Houston, Texas — boasts one hundred twenty-two sites on the National Register of Historic Places. These historic places range from public sites like 19th century churches with towering steeples and reservoirs that only recently went out of commission to private homes and community theaters. Followed closely by River Oaks, Houston Heights was the first planned community to be incorporated into the greater Houston area — founded in 1891. At this time, both the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Eclectic Style of architecture were gaining steam across the nation. As such, much of the area’s architecture dates to the turn of the nineteenth century, featuring oddities like the decorative gables of Queen Anne homes as well as inspiration from folk traditions.
EXPLORING THE HISTORIC TEXAS NEIGHBORHOOD OF HOUSTON HEIGHTS
Today a suburb, Houston Heights was once home to a whole host of different industries, saved from epidemics that swept the rest of Texas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to Diana J. Kleiner of the Texas State Historical Association, Houston Heights hosted two newspapers — “the semiweekly Houston Heights News and the Suburbanite.” Surviving the Spanish-American War, Houston Heights later became a hotspot for business, including “a pickle factory, a sawmill, a brick and tile manufacturer, and a venetian-blind factory” in the early 1900s. From the first decade of the 20th century to the second, Houston Heights’ population boomed — skyrocketing from a mere eight hundred to over six thousand in just ten years. While interest in the area declined in the mid 20th century, preservation efforts between the ‘70s and ‘90s returned the neighborhood to its former glory. Today, the area is quite sought-after.
HOUSTON HEIGHTS USHERS FORTH A MODERN RESURGENCE IN CULTURE & REAL ESTATE
Though the Houston Heights is well-regarded for its historic architecture, the neighborhood is also praised for its sense of community, exquisite dining and stunning setting in nature. Paper City Mag’s 2019 article “Houston Real Estate Star Believes in The Heights’ Staying Power, Old Neighborhoods’ Rebirth and Getting Involved in Schools” profiled Compass realtor, Holley Madden, who spoke highly of the neighborhood. Madden described Houston Heights as “the hottest up-and-coming neighborhood in Houston.” Real estate data backs up Madden’s claims, according to Houston Properties. The realty company noted in their post “HOUSTON HEIGHTS REAL ESTATE GUIDE” that “the Heights’ real estate market has been one of the best performing Houston neighborhoods over the past one, five and ten-year periods.”
The neighborhood is beloved by retirees, emerging professionals and young families. It’s know for its accessibility, many parks and trails, easy commute into downtown, incredible real estate appreciation, and strong community. Neighborhoods ranking platform Niche.com rates Houston Heights #11 in “Best Neighborhoods to Live in Houston,” lauding its diversity, nightlife and public schools. In the article “Ten Things to Do & See in the Houston Heights” for Culture Trip, Nikara Montgomery recommended families visit Donovan Park, music aficionados stop by Fitzgerald’s and art lovers pop by Casa Ramirez Folkart Gallery. In short — whether a tourist or a local resident — there is something special for everyone in Houston Heights.
TAKING A TOP-TO-BOTTOM TOUR OF THE STUNNING HOUSTON HEIGHTS MODERN INTERIOR
The clients’ primary goal for their home centered around a warm, welcoming environment in which to entertain and host friends and family after the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic lifted. In an unusual turn of events, the Houston Heights homeowners allowed Senior Designer Blair Usnick, Design Assistant Lissa Eikrem, and the LUDC team wide latitude to design their space. While the couple did not have a fully-formed vision for their home, they desired a beautifully designed space to relax and entertain without issue. As such, Blair and Lissa were able to exercise their creativity and ingenuity to find incredible pieces that wowed their clients, yet fit in perfectly with the rest of the home’s interior and architecture. Looking back on the project, the Laura U Design Collective team involved in the Houston Heights Modern interior favored wall coverings and classic furnishings thoughtfully placed throughout the home.
MOODY ORGANICS FEATURE IN FOYER’S INTERIOR DESIGN
The Foyer Welcomes You With a Wabi-Sabi Aesthetic.
A Wabi-Sabi aesthetic echoes in the foyer of this Houston Heights Modern interior. Organic tones of charcoal, sage green, burnt sienna and pale gold fill out the space with warmth and depth. A living edge console from Noir— made with reclaimed wood and a slow-age wax finish — is intended to evolve slowly into a heritage piece as the space is lived in overtime. A block table lamp created from reclaimed amber glass in Spain graces the credenza. This piece was lovingly adopted from local Houston shop Back Row Home, which specializes in antique American and European furniture, architectural and decorative pieces. A preserved Moss Mound by John-Richard sits in a glass vase on the other side of the console. This adds a bit of suspended life to the space.
PALE & DARK NEUTRALS CREATE A DICHOTOMY IN THE STUDY
Pale & Dark Neutrals Create a Dichotomy in the Study.
The chimney breast — appearing as gold-veined black marble with a gorgeous matte finish — is the true centerpiece of this space. The study also boasts a beautiful Milano Desk with Smoked Glass top by Gallotti & Radice— a historic Italian furnishings company dating to the mid-century and specializing in glassworks. This company is beloved for its organic shapes and peerless use of materials. Our desk is complemented by a channel back swivel chair from Ladco and an upholstered bench by House and Town. The Holly Hunt fabric chosen for the upholstered bench is her velvet “Interlock: Bronze Night” fabric. It is a lovely stacked L-motif in a deep brown metallic and soft ecru. A Surya rug in neutral tones and a watercolor pattern covers the floor. In addition, a Phillip Jeffries from David Sutherland cracked cork wallcovering graces the study’s walls.
FORMAL LIVING ROOM PAIRS POST-MODERN SILHOUETTES WITH ANTIQUE ACCENTS
The Formal Living Room Draws You In With The Oxblood Sofa.
The formal living room of our Houston Heights Modern interior draws tonal and textural inspiration from other spaces in the house — namely the study. A chaise upholstered by Foundation Shop in the Holly Hunt “Great Plains” herringbone fabric. Popular in the 1960s, this chaise lounges by the sleek yet monumental fireplace. A modular surf-board-style side table from Global Views pairs beautifully with the oxblood upholstery of a Kravet sofa with ebonized oak legs. A House and Town chair, Theodore Alexander cocktail table, and Noir ebony walnut side table pulls together the eclectic combination of 1930s Art Deco and late mid-century design. A David Sutherland ink blot flat weave rug offers continuity throughout the space, joining the pale Scandinavian neutrals with their heavier dark-toned counterparts. The frosted globe floor IC Floor Lamp with black hardware — designed by Michael Anastassiades from FLOS and sold by Y Lighting— and a leather and metal bench from CB2 add a hard-edge to the soft space.
DREAMY, FUTURISTIC DINING ROOM OPTS FOR BOLD SHAPES AGAINST NEUTRAL PALETTE
The Dreamy Dining Room Opts for Bold Shapes.
Though the kitchen was mostly left alone — aside from the addition of reupholstered House and Town stools — the dining room was fully redesigned. The dining room boasts one of the design team’s favorite finishes: a wallcovering by Pierre Frey from Culp Associates. Three hand blown glass Cantoni Trade wall vessels were mounted on the wall in a row acting as sculptural objects and functional vases. Cantoni Trade chairs surround the bold dining table, reflecting the dynamic, futuristic shape of the chandelier overhead. The chandelier and wall coverings in the dining room come together to create a calming yet invigorating interior. It’s shockingly alive despite its neutral color scheme. Senior Designer Blair chose the wallcovering from Culp Associates after falling in love with the finishing during another project. Alluring and fantastical, the dream-like prints by Christian Astuguevieille offer a playful yet sophisticated Japanese aesthetic. With its matte black hardware and frosted glass shades, Y Lighting’s Palindrome 6 Light LED Chandelier by Rich Brilliant Willing appears equally at home both under the ocean and in an industrial setting.
CASUAL LIVING ROOM INCLUDES COZY BOUCLE & BESPOKE LEATHER DETAILING
The Casual Living Room Includes Bespoke Leather Detailing.
With views of the pool and an inviting leather sofa, the casual living room lives up to its name without sacrificing an ounce of style. An ode to 1960s Mod design, the casual living room pops with electric blue, royal purple and mustard yellow. These brighter, more saturated tones are tempered by pale woods, sleek geometric shapes, white marble and beige upholstery. The totem from Global Views — a large-scale, highly sculptural piece in the corner of the room — brings a Cycladic feel to the room, grounding it with a soft earthiness. It also offers drama and dimension to the space. The American Leather sofa from Cantoni Trade perfectly matches the Four Hands gray concrete cocktail table and antique rust C table. Sectioned into four, the sculptural cocktail table by Four Hands recalls the modular table in the formal living room of this Houston Heights Modern interior. The bouclé chairs from CB2 offer added coziness to the space — flanked by hand-finished Sonder Living side tables. To complement the Cantoni Trade sofa and add extra seating for entertaining, a Four Hands Sonoma Black chaise was placed behind the couch.
PUNCHY PASTELS & PSYCHEDELIC PRINTS BRIGHTEN THE FAMILY ROOM IN THIS HOUSTON HEIGHTS HOME
Punchy Pastels and Psychedelic Prints Brighten the Family Room in this Houston Heights Home
Punchy and bright, this Houston Heights Home’s family room includes a Sherwin Williams feature wall in one corner. It also includes fun, oversized furniture throughout the space — from Four Hands swivel chairs to the Crate and Barrel nesting tables. A set of vibrant Lindsay Cowles Knife Edge Pillow Covers pairs beautifully with the sunny Made Goods Janson Stool side tables.
THE GUEST BEDROOM & MASTER SUITE WELCOME WITH WARM LUXURY
The Guest Bedroom and Master Suite Welcome with Warm Luxury
The master bedroom of our Houston Heights Modern interior is a hygge paradise with its metallic touches, rich yet neutral color palette, and cozy soft finishes. One of the most special touches in this space is the lighting design — including a floor lamp from Currey and Co as well as hand-blown Venetian pendants from Y lighting. The Cantoni Trade mirror acts as both a focal point and a third light source — bouncing light cast by the floor lamp and pendant light around the space. A Theodore Alexander horizontally tufted headboard and mahogany framed bed add to the Danish mid-century modern feel. Yet, it doesn’t detract from a light and airy sensibility of contemporary Scandi style.
Sleek, almost campaign-style nightstands from Restoration Hardware recall the ebonized look of other furniture throughout the house. A beige, natural velvet lounge chair from Sonder Living pulls the shape of the mirror off the wall and into the room. A plush, burnt sienna-colored ottoman fabricated by House and Town and upholstered in Kravet fabric pulls tones from the bedding — which was chosen from Tribute Goods, Zimmer + Rhode and Zinc Textiles.
FINISHING OUR TOUR WITH THE HOUSTON HEIGHTS HOME’S GUEST BEDROOM
Finishing Our Tour with the Houston Heights Home’s Guest Bedroom
The gallery wall to one side of the sleek guest bed features a twelve set piece of Josh Young Design House Noir Géométrique Collection prints. The shapes of these prints recall the Mod painting in the Casual Living Room. A neutral, subtly patterned duvet cover and shams by Matouk from Kuhl Linscomb complement the drapes and gallery wall. Floor lamps from Y lighting emit enough light for the entire space.
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