Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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Architect Dillon Kyle designed this stone and stained cedar shingle Houston house for a young couple with three children who wanted a reminder of summers spent in Maine. With a slate and copper roof, painted wood columns, and bluestone porches, the house appears to have its own ways of keeping cool. Inside, Houston designer Ann Wolf ran with the idea of creating fresh spaces: Bright colors imbue the public spaces with a sense of playfulness, while a muted palette in the bedrooms invite peace and quiet.

Photography by Casey Dunn, except as noted.

Photo by Casey Dunn

Just visible from the entry hall, the family room is punctuated by a vivid French blue ceiling (see more, below) that’s anticipated in the blue painted table tops that flank the entry.

Wolf likes to use color in Houston houses for one simple reason: “It’s hot here for three out of four seasons, and these greens and blues feel cool.”

The homeowners wanted a place to read in every room, so Wolf made room for a sofa and chairs in the breakfast room. She paired the Saarinen “Tulip” table, a mid-century icon, with French bistro chairs. Wolf is partial to strong, clear color, and advises that it works best in high-gloss enamel, as on the ceiling in the breakfast room: “It feels so young. I’m always looking for places to use it.”

The separation between kitchen and informal dining is signaled by the change in ceiling color. Photo by Casey Dunn

Wolf pulled the blue-and-cream color palette in the formal living room from the rug by Beauvais Carpets. The velvet on the love seats is Nancy Corzine‘s “Corsica.”. Slipper chairs are covered in Hinson‘s “Connelly” chenille. Curtains are Holland & Sherry‘s Shetland. Room & Board stool.

The dining room walls are painted a custom green from Fine Paints of Europe  and give the formal room major impact while keeping the effect fresh. Designer Wolf covered chairs in Malabar’s Pasha, because she loves the synergy of green and blue. The homeowner inherited the mahogany table from her grandmother; Wolf stripped and bleached it for a new look. Wolf’s client wanted to get rid of the glass lamps in the dining room, which she’d had for a long time. The designer convinced her to change the shades and used a fabric by Lisa Fine to create a modern look for the lamps.

Detail of the lamp shade fabric by Lisa Fine.

A Tibetan jute rug from Creative Flooring plays off the cool feel of the natural ash ceiling. “Light Drizzle” chandelier from Ochre. Painting by Claudia Zemborain. Photo by Casey Dunn

Detail of the chandelier.

Wolf added a Greek key border to the dining room curtains, which the owner already had and liked, to give them a graphic punch as well as to save on the considerable expense of buying new curtains.


Dark blues in the family room are “sippy-cup-proof,” Wolf says. The print is Schumacher‘s “Samarkand Ikat.”

Wolf quieted down colors in the master bedroom, painting the walls Benjamin Moore‘s “Gray Owl,” a soft gray with a hint of blue.

The skirted table, in Claremont‘s “Grouse Eau de Nil,” has a flap on the bed side that flips up to reveal a hidden bookshelf. A custom-made bench sits on a Stark Hallmark carpet. Photos by Casey Dunn

A huge fieldstone fireplace makes the screened porch an inviting outdoor room even on the coldest days. Cushions on the Janus et Cie “Marrakesh” chairs are in durable Sunbrella; throw pillows in “Flores II” by China Seas.

Photo by Casey Dunn




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