Pops of Color Decorate This Houston Home for Christmas

Happy colors and patterns set a merry mood in this all-are-welcome Texas home.

Christmas tree in living room

Julie Soefer

Santa is a big deal at this house. On Christmas Eve, the kids leave out handwritten notes and a plate of homemade cookies, ensuring a warm welcome for the jolly old elf and his team of intrepid reindeer.

But you don’t have to be Father Christmas to get a cheery greeting at Adam and Lauren Allen’s new Houston home. “We wanted a house that’s warm and inviting,” Lauren says. “We envisioned a revolving door of friends coming and going, a place Adam and I can have friends over and so can the kids.”

Christmas home exterior

Julie Soefer

To set the stage, architect Ryan Gordon gave the family an open floor plan with a wealth of connections to the outdoors through expansive steel-frame windows and doors. Then interior designer Jennifer Martinez brought in an airy, neutral palette spiked with youthful color.

“Our previous house was very French country and had a lot of gray,” Lauren says. “I still love that look, but I wanted to be bolder, to take a few risks with color and pattern while still staying true to who we are.” White oak paneling with a clear-coat finish cocoons the study in a warm embrace. A Louis XVI chest and antique mirror sound traditional notes in the hallway.

blue dining room with pink art

Julie Soefer

Inspiration came from Lauren’s favorite color, blue, which Martinez applied in different strengths and shades throughout the house. “The bright, happy turquoise in the dining room was the launching point,” the designer says. “That and the wallpaper in the breakfast room drove the rest of the decisions. It was important to have good flow with the palette because of the open floor plan.”

In the dining room, Farrow & Ball “Blue Ground” sets a canvas for a custom wall mural by Segreto Finishes. Louis XVI chairs are clad in blush leather that plays to abstract art by Steven Alexander.

Pops of pattern on pillows and sofa trim in the otherwise neutral living room repeat the vibrant blue seen in the adjacent breakfast room. At holiday time, sapphire ornaments on the Christmas tree and fresh greenery on the mantel add to the rich color story.

wallpapered dining room

Julie Soefer

Plaster walls throughout the home imbue a warm, handcrafted ambience that makes the new spaces seem timeless. The plaster finishes, the hand-painted wall mural in the dining room, and the painted floor design in the breakfast room are all by Segreto Finishes in Houston, where Lauren’s sister works as a senior designer. “There was a lot of sister love going on with my sister, Leslie, and Jennifer’s sister, Katie, involved,” Lauren says. “It makes the house even more special.”

While all the artisan craft impresses, the dining room in particular awes. Segreto Finishes painted the floor design and made the fluted concrete table, crowned by a Paul Ferrante chandelier. “We watched the Segreto muralist paint every branch, every leaf, every flower by hand for 11 days. It makes this truly a one-of-a-kind space,” Martinez says.

A mahogany table, French chairs, crystal chandelier, and marble fireplace reinforce the classical mood of the mural while an abstract art piece in shades of vibrant pink injects a contemporary note that speaks to the energy of a young family.

blue and white kitchen traditional home

Julie Soefer

The dining room’s jewellike turquoise shade repeats in the bar that connects the space to the kitchen, where blue once again recedes to a supporting role. Wipeable barstool seats in sapphire tones provide dots of color in a sea of elegant white plaster, painted cabinetry, and marble—on counters and the backsplash. “Lauren wanted the look of marble,” Martinez says. “She doesn’t care if it stains. Each mark is a memory.” 

blue bar traditional home

Julie Soefer

Calacatta Gold polished marble stars in the white kitchen, where blue pops from seat cushions and customized lantern-style pendants. Farrow & Ball “Stone Blue” in a high-gloss finish makes the intimate bar a jewel-box space.

Christmas living room

Julie Soefer

For less formal occasions, a playroom offers extra main level gathering space and a getaway for the four Allen kids. “They’re usually sprawled across the sectional,” Martinez says. “It’s a great place for them to watch movies as a family or play Ping-Pong or board games. It’s just a really fun space.”

Upstairs, Lauren and Adam can find serenity in their well-appointed primary suite. Plaster walls and old-world antiques play to Lauren’s country French aesthetic in a way that’s clean-lined and current. Hand-painted finishes on cabinetry and swaths of marble in the bath add to the sense of luxury.

Antique mirrors discovered at the antiques market in Round Top, Texas, flank a custom headboard. Plaster walls by Segreto Finishes are tinted in Farrow & Ball “Skylight.” Segreto also made the room’s new doors look old using a distressed finish.

An antique chair upholstered in pink velvet pulls up to a vanity in Lauren’s dressing area. A vintage Italian chandelier crowns the bath, which is home to a luxurious soaking tub.

“It’s a blessing to go through the building-and-design process, come out the other side, and be really happy with how everything turned out,” Lauren says. “Having our first Christmas in the house last year was so special. It was wonderful to share a laid-back Christmas morning as a family and just enjoy being together.”

Comfortable and casual, functional and pretty, the house fills the family’s wish list for a forever home. “With kids running all over the place and everyone feeling welcome,” Martinez says, “it’s such a fun house—a really happy house.

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