What began as a floor project blossomed into a major home makeover
It all started with the floors.
“The travertine tiles downstairs in half of the house had some cosmetic issues, so we got busy trying to find a match for the rest of the flooring,” Mary Ellen Arledge said.
It proved to be a daunting task because the tile used when the League City home was built in 2007 had been discontinued. So, Arledge launched a search for something comparable.
“We never found an exact match, but we did find something similar,” she said. “We added trim to break up the two designs, so it’s hardly noticeable.”
Arledge’s husband, Jon, a commercial builder, built their home, leaving most of the interior design up to his wife and Derrick DeCristofaro of DAX Design Studio in Houston.
“Derrick is so talented, but knows how to compromise with me,” Arledge said. “I’m more traditional with my tastes, and he tends to lean toward the contemporary. I have a lot of bronze and gold and decided I would soften things up some after the floors were done.”
The two-story, 6,400-square-foot house with four bedrooms, two offices, six-and-a-half baths and third-level attic, is at the end of a waterfront cul-de-sac.
Upon entering the home through Baroque-style, embellished iron and glass doors, an impressive entry hall, sweeping stairs with open balcony and formal living room appear. Four Roman columns and 10-foot ceilings are striking architectural features, but the most eye-catching is the coffered living room ceiling with Italianate bronze light fixtures.
New silk drapes of soft gold and champagne embellished with tasseled fringe were installed by Alexandra’s Custom Draperies of Houston, and matching Marge Carson sofas — previously bronze raw silk — were re-covered in a combination of creamy cotton velvets and trim. The églomisé coffee table and chairs in gold printed velvet remain. A John-Richard hand-painted primate sculpture sits between tall lamps of Murano glass atop an églomisé table on the side wall flanked by two Christopher Guy silver leafed chairs.
Tall, impressive floral arrangements in the entry hall and living room were designed by Creative Branch in Houston.
A Venetian-inspired powder room includes hand-painted frescoes and a baroque mirror above a retrofitted chest.
The vine-covered trey ceiling above the breakfast room table is just one of many.
“My husband is a big fan of coffered and trey ceilings,” Arledge said. “And you will find many trey ceilings throughout the house.”
New ebony dining chairs, upholstered in a Chanel-inspired tweed, remarkably match the existing sofas in the adjoining family room.
The kitchen, with its massive 5-foot-by-15-foot Brazilian granite island, will stay.
“Derrick wanted me to redo the entire kitchen white,” Arledge said. “But I just couldn’t do it. I love granite and wanted to keep the browns and bronzes.”
A hand-painted mural of Tuscany is the focal point of the formal dining room, but the Marge Carson dining table that seats 12 and the bronze and crystal Italianate chandelier are close seconds. Bronze dupioni silk draped over bronze crown and finials are dramatic window treatments. The china buffet, mirror and lamps were repurposed from the entry console.
There are two guest bedrooms on the main floor — the “blue room” and a multipurpose room with Murphy bed and massage table. The former living room drapes were moved to the blue room and blend nicely with the champagne leafed mirror headboard that sits across from a champagne leafed mirrored dresser. A painting of bright blue bell flowers are in keeping with the room’s name.
The landing on the second floor — displaying two antiques vases belonging to Arledge’s great-grandmother — takes you to a sitting area that was formerly a hall.
“With the floors being redone, we lived up here most of the time, so I decided to turn this area into a TV/lounging area,” Arledge said.
A comfy recliner sofa, ottomans and a coffee bar provided all their needs and still do, she said.
Another guest room, called the “brown room,” used to be the master. Animal print chairs, an antique gold crowned armoire and touches of bronze and gold still remain.
“I told Derrick that I wanted to keep some of the bronze and gold, and he reluctantly agreed,” Arledge said.
Arledge’s office, once with walls of green and stacked with trundle beds, is now home to her writing desk, a chinoiserie secretary and side console, cream leather sofa, three-panel beveled mirrored screen and bronze drapes that puddle the floor.
The master bedroom with outside balcony is a dreamy combination of gold and white. A new chinoiserie cocktail table with courtyard design, decorated with mother of pearl maiden figures and six matching stools trimmed in gold, sit in front of the fireplace. Black and bronze drapes hang in the winter months, but changed out to gold during the summer. A stenciled trey ceiling and Victorian teester bed crown are prominent above a Maitland-Smith oversized king bed frame.
Arledge’s bathroom, with hand-embellished gold leaf moldings and trim, is outfitted with mother of pearl inlays and tile, custom Venetian mirrors, dressing table, Jacuzzi tub and shower. Jon Arledge’s bathroom, all dark mahogany and Rainforest marble, has a steam room and hand-painted barrel vault ceiling.
The third level of the home is used only for storage.
Arledge started out just wanting to redo the floors, but it blossomed. And the project is ongoing.
“I’m glad we updated and added some lighter colors,” she said. “Between Derrick, Jon and I, we’re happy with the results. But I’m always moving things around, so who knows what we’ll do next.”