Homeowners saw possibilities in a house where everything tells a story
Terrie Ward gets sentimental when talking about her League City home she and husband, Kelly, moved into three years ago.
“The house had been on the market for a year and a half, and I couldn’t understand why,” Ward said. “She was a pretty girl that nobody knew was pretty, and most people probably didn’t know what to do with the center foyer, but in my mind, I immediately saw possibilities.”
That center foyer now is a gathering place for guests who enjoy standing around the makeshift bar made from two large French wine barrels topped with a vintage fruitwood door and glass for protection.
There are many eye-catching architectural features of this pretty girl, such as the multiple arches, 12-foot ceilings and walls painted with a mix of vibrant and warm colors. A variety of striking area rugs in diverse styles, patterns, colors, weaves and sizes dominate every room.
“All the original walls were painted a cream color,” said Ward, who has repainted the entire house with a clever combination of palettes. “All the greens are slightly different and tiered with different hues of green; it’s very subtle.”
The spacious view from the front door to the back of the living area gives a sense of traveling the globe. The journey continues throughout the 4,000-square-foot home where touches of Tuscany and Old-World charm mingle with classic, Bohemian and eclectic décor.
“The main thing when shopping is to find your heart pieces,” Ward said. “Often, people buy things they like, but not things they love. My house has a grand personality, full of things we love.”
Ward’s heart pieces fill every inch of her home. Ward knows the history of every piece of furniture and art from the front door to the back of the house and where a backyard garden and neighborhood lake come into view.
In the entry, she explains where she found a console from occupied Germany, and how the bargain price intrigued her after a knowledgeable designer told her its worth. A companion piece also was in the mix, so that was a plus, she said.
A Tiffany floor lamp, pottery, ceremonial masks, a collection of sculptures, and things from Peru, Turkey and Africa are bonus pieces, with their own stories. Matching wall hangings made from dyed llama wool are of note, as well as art pieces of teak, abalone and camphor that blend in with flea-market finds from Canton, Texas.
“I love anything someone has put their hands on, so all the old wooden objects are captivating to me,” Ward said.
To the left is Kelly’s office with a Western motif and walls painted a soft mustard. A shelf holds his impressive collection of tennis trophies from the U.S. Tennis Association.
To the right of the center foyer/bar area is the library, with an oversized chair and ottoman in front of a massive bookshelf that holds volumes of leather-bound classics. A hand-carved teakwood room divider hangs on the back wall, and an old whiskey barrel substitutes as an end table. A repurposed kitchen cupboard from Qatar is nearby that holds bottles of essential oils for aromatherapy.
“This is my quiet place where I come to reflect and read surrounded by soft lighting,” she said.
Walls in the dramatic dining room are painted a rich cabernet.
“This may be too bold for some, but for me, the color is calming and grounding,” Ward said. “An old wash station from the 1920s serves as a petite cabinet, and all the items have their very own story, like the 1950s tureen from Italy, a cherub lamp I found at a resale shop, a shelf repurposed from an old boat, and a collection of masks and animal art. The china cabinet is full of meaningful items, like my mom’s Venetian glass collection and other things that tell her story.”
The open kitchen and living area with a fireplace has many treasures, like a hand-carved Mayan room divider hanging on the wall, a trunk from Thailand and a brass clock from Belgium that’s special to Ward, she said.
“The clock was one of the first things I purchased when I was working in downtown Houston many years ago,” she said. “It was the first item that talked to me. Things accidentally find a place in your home, subconsciously. Maybe you were attracted to a piece of furniture, and not sure why, but you will know when you get it home.”
A hall takes you to the master bedroom and bath, where the focal point is an iron canopy four-poster bed covered with a mid-century violet chenille bedspread. Elements of pottery, wood and art add to the warmth. One canvas in particular of four women enjoying happy hour was painted by local artist Marilyn Huston.
Two more rooms — a guest room and TV room — are filled with more treasures.
“I call the TV room my memory room,” Ward said. “My piano that I played as a child is here, along with endearing photos and other memorabilia. This is also where our dogs — Gracie, Stella and Luna — hang out.”
Ward, who owns Texas Artisan in League City, likes to listen to the music of Ottmar Liebert at the end of her day to unwind, she said.
“Coming home to my favorite things and my backyard gardens is very grounding for me,” she said. “The exterior of our home is very unpretentious, but when you come inside, the storybook unravels.”