River Oaks Traditional Home Receives Eye-Catching Update

river oaks kitchen remodel

Warm organic tones, glamorous gold and brass accents, frosted glass and fun patterns fill this newly remodeled Texas River Oaks Traditional home. An elegant ode to the home’s history without an ounce of stuffiness or pretense, the interior thoughtfully expresses the owners’ love of entertaining. Classic shapes intermix with bold prints and unusual textures throughout the home. Some rooms were completely transformed while others were revived and refreshed. While many fresh pieces were brought in during the renovation, several existing pieces were updated or restored rather than replaced. Overall, the Laura U Design Collective team recreated the traditional space to be better suited to its artful, modern inhabitants. For inspiration in your own remodel, follow along as we discuss the River Oaks remodel below.

The Setting: River Oaks, Houston, Texas

The historic River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, Texas boasts hundred year old homes.
The historic River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, Texas boasts hundred year old homes, a prestigious country club, natural beauty and stunning estates.

The picturesque neighborhood of River Oaks in Houston, Texas is one hallmarked by both curated luxury and natural beauty. Established in the 1920s by one of Houston’s political families, the neighborhood is encircled by ancient oak trees and grand estates on sprawling lots. Nancy A. Ruhling describes the neighborhood in her article “Houston’s River Oaks Has a Charming, Old-Timey Feel, With a High-End Twist” for Mansion Global. She writes of River Oaks as “a model for planned communities across the United States.” Ruhling writes that River Oaks is acclaimed for its “its cultural offerings, its large houses and its history.” Each of these boasts both international and Texan flair. Many home interiors throughout this residential area are strikingly contemporary. However, Ruhling notes that the River Oaks neighborhood “wears its past with pride.” Historians, writers and community members believe “it looks much as it did when brothers William and Michael Hogg founded it.” Celebrated architects Birdsall Briscoe, Hiram Salisbury and John F. Staub designed many of the historic estates in the area. The latter of the three also planned the River Oaks Country Club, a centerpiece of the prestigious district.


Shortly after River Oaks’ founding in the ‘20s, homes eagerly sprung up around the historic River Oaks Country Club. Still open for philanthropic and sporting events, the River Oaks Country Club is a scion of upscale community events. The River Oaks Country Club has hosted major sports matchups as well as important art events over the last hundred years. This year, the prestigious club was slated to host the 2021 installment of the Mens’ Clay Court Championship between April 5th and April 11th. However, the club has been forced to delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The club’s near-century of community events reinforces River Oaks’ reputation as a close-knit neighborhood. Real estate listing platform Compass describes River Oaks as “idyllic” in its bio of the community. The bio notes that the neighborhood is filled with “community-bolstering green spaces” and “all the tasteful, have-it-all hedonism money can buy.” Given the neighborhood’s harmonious blend of history and modernity, the traditional home remodel featured in this post fits perfectly.

Room-by-Room Tour of the River Oaks Remodel

The owners of the River Oaks traditional home love entertaining and fundraising for important charities. As such, high-traffic areas of the home took precedence in this renovation. Throughout the course of the project, Senior Designer Shannon Smith and Design Assistant Britian Matherne worked closely with different vendors. The collaborative nature of this traditional home renovation resulted in a series of stunning, cohesive spaces each with their own distinct personality. Though each LUDC project is unique and rewarding, the River Oaks remodel was particularly special. This is because the owners introduced the team to Anderson Ranch. Anderson Ranch — a world-renowned arts center offering both community events and exceptional art education — is the beneficiary of the Mountain Lane Show House opening. Learn more about our Aspen show house and its upcoming opening event on the house’s website.


The remodeled kitchen features the original millwork of the cabinets, refinished in a new stain.
The remodeled kitchen features the original millwork of the cabinets, refinished in a new stain. Orb pendant lights and a classic checker floor in a contemporary matte finish complete the space.

The River Oaks remodel began with a much-loved kitchen in need of an update more so than a complete overhaul. Enhancing the kitchen was perhaps the most conjunctive step in the renovation of this home. This portion of the renovation involved working with a number of partners and vendors. Team leaders Shannon and Britian collaborated with Hudson Valley Lighting, Lonestar Custom Construction & Remodeling, Segreto and Shelton Builders to thoughtfully revitalize the space. Infusing the cozy yet elegant space with texture, warmth and light were primary goals for the River Oaks kitchen remodel. For more kitchen remodeling inspiration, head over to this post on the blog.


The LUDC team chose aged brass and glass dome pendants from Hudson Valley Lighting. These pendant fixtures add a metallic glow and layer light throughout the space. With a long, delicately linked tri-strand chain, Hudson Valley Lighting’s Sphere Pendants offer the newly remodeled kitchen presence and drama without being overbearing. The pendant light fixtures also pulled textures and tonal notes from the grand plaster vent hood installed by Lonestar Custom Construction & Remodeling. With its gentle slope and bold gilded edges, the vent — created by Segreto Finishes — is more artistic sculpture than utilitarian object. In the interest of preserving parts of the original kitchen and conserving its character, LUDC worked with Shelton Builders to update existing cabinets.


Rather than replace beautifully crafted pieces, the team opted instead to bleach and refinish the cabinets in a muted hickory or soft walnut stain. To compliment the elevated millwork, light tan vinyl wall coverings by David Sutherlands for Phillip Jeffries were chosen. Phillip Jeffries was the perfect choice for this home because the company specializes in natural, highly textural wall coverings. The neutral beige of the wallpaper beautifully compliments both the warm metallics and the stark white countertops. An Old Hollywood classic yet consistently in style, black and white checkered floors with a matte finish complete the space. As noted by Melissa Maria and Kelly Borgeson in a recent article for    Architectural Digest, black and white checkered floors are effortlessly elegant. They offer “easy ways to amp up the drama from the ground up.” From powder rooms to kitchens and entryways, “the classic combo of black and white makes a big impact on the floor.” The jaw-dropping pairing was ideal for this River Oaks remodel.


The powder room features Schumacher Queen of Spain Wallpaper in Black and wall sconces.
The powder room features Schumacher Queen of Spain Wallpaper in Black and a pair of wall sconces original to the home. The two are quite reminiscent of mid-century designs by Stilnovo. Above on the right is a 1950s Brass and Satin Glass Conical Wall Sconce by Stilnovo from 1stDibs.

Though it may seem counterintuitive, small spaces can often handle more punch and panache than larger rooms. To a certain extent, the square footage of a space limits the impact of the interior. This can be true no matter the combination of patterns and textures or prints and colors. Despite its small size, the powder room featured in our River Oaks remodel offers a powerful interpretation of the rest of the home’s ethos. It embodies a spirit of cheerful and complimentary juxtapositions. This space — like the rest of the River Oaks remodel — is fun yet powerful, and colorful yet sophisticated. It is elegant yet welcoming and historic yet contemporary.

As in the kitchen of this River Oaks traditional home, the rich glamour of decades past blends thoughtfully with playful, contemporary touches. The custom ecru vanity’s sculptural Art Deco quality is balanced by sleek sink hardware and a bold black marble backdrop. With their delicate teardrop shape and austere frame, the frosted glass wall sconces recall 1960s Stilnovo fixtures. This imagined origin might actually be a possibility given the sconces are original to the home. An Op Art painting hangs across the room, reflected in the Gabriella Modern and Contemporary Beveled Frameless Accent Mirror by Bungalow 5 — available online. With its winding black and white tiled forms, the painting recalls both the powder room’s Schumacher wallpaper and the classic floor of the kitchen. The mirror ties the space together, drawing color from the painting and shape from the custom millwork in the vanity below.


This poolside cabana marries a contemporary color scheme with mid-century inspired lighting.
This poolside cabana marries a contemporary color scheme with mid-century inspired lighting, postmodern Italian prints and French accents. Pictured to the right is the marble stone, frosted glass and brass Bindi Sconce from Arteriors (not pictured within the River Oaks remodel photo but present in the room).

As elegant as a parlor and as fun as a poolside cabana, this indoor-outdoor transitional space emphasizes the importance of entertaining. As such, it underscores the goals of the River Oaks home remodel. The Missoni-esque carpet — bearing the company’s “unmistakable zigzag pattern” — offers a muted alternative to the loud 1970s flair of the Italian luxury fashion house. Lovingly crafted House and Town chairs were reupholstered with a durable gray chevron fabric by Sunbrella Thibaut — ideal for indoor-outdoor living.

Their sloping armrests read Mid-Century while their curled feet recall French Regency design. Both fit well within the design scheme of this River Oaks traditional home. The small-scale chevron print closely resembles a snakeskin pattern, juxtaposing perfectly against the lumbar pillow upholstered in a blue animal print from Perennials Fabrics. A chrome light bar from Circa and a single headed wall light — the Bindi Sconce from Arteriors — set the mood for the space. The latter thoughtfully recalls the vintage fixtures of the powder room, carrying the theme of the River Oaks remodel across the home.

The River Oaks remodel respected the history of the home and the quality of the neighborhood without sacrificing the clients’ needs for their space. Perfect for entertaining proper guests and lounging comfortably, this River Oaks traditional home honors its past while looking towards the future.

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