Laurann Claridge. Photography Jack Thompson. Interior design Renea Abbott. Architectural renovation
- December 14, 2011
Searching the real estate listings for months with friend and real estate agent Rosie Meyers, Deanna Anon saw it all: homes of all styles, both old and new, as well as high-rises. But it wasn’t until Meyers insisted she revisit a house tucked away in a gated neighborhood in River Oaks that the tides would turn.
“One weekend, I got a call from Rosie, and she said, ‘I really want you to come back and see this house again,’” Anon recalls. “In the time since we had looked
at it, decorator Randy Powers and Bill Caudell had moved in temporarily while their home was under renovation and had painted walls and brought in furniture, and the place looked homier.” When Anon strolled through the doors of the previously unfurnished space again, she says, “I knew it was right.”
The floor plan fulfilled much of her must-have list, including a media room (which solved the conundrum of having a television in her living room — a must-not-do, she declares) and ample living space downstairs with a lavish master bedroom and a bath with all sorts of renovation possibilities. But what it didn’t include were the home office and walk-in laundry room that she desperately needed.
Clearly the decisive Anon recognized not only what she wanted in terms of amenities but also what she envisioned in terms of design direction, making her an ideal client. Enter interior designer Renea Abbott and architect Kurt Aichler, who were commissioned to realize her vision. Friends not only with the homeowner but each other, Abbott and Aichler had worked together on previous projects as well. With ample space — 4,000 square feet of it — to work with, the duo began tackling Anon’s wish list. High among her must-haves: interiors bathed with light, the removal of the decorative ironwork from the windows, and walls cloaked in paler shades of dove gray and winter white. Check, check and check. But they didn’t stop there.
Envisioning natural light in the bedroom and a skylight above the tub, Aichler found a creative solution for the light-challenged first-floor bedroom suite. He tapped into the roof above the attic, just a story above, to fashion a slim reveal of light that creates the illusion of electric bulbs hidden where the joints of the molding meet. In actuality, he and his crew took three days to build four walls around the perimeter of the attic that would cull light from the skylight to a tiny space cut between the ceiling joints below.
As for that office, Aichler relocated a couple of closets from one side of her bedroom to create a niche accessed through the hall. Her closet was reinvented as a galley-style space on the other side of the dramatic charcoal-gray wall behind her bed. “After years and years of living with small closets, it was important to me to have a large galley-style closet and be able to find what I want,” Anon says. She also relocated her bathroom from that spot.
She and her former spouse, Jeff Anon — owners of the Houston-born Tex-Mex concept Berryhill Tamales — remain in constant contact and hold one another in the highest regard. “He’s my rock, my best friend,” Deanna says of Jeff, who has just dropped in to say hello. Given their mutual respect and admiration, as well as the two teenage sons they are raising together, it’s no surprise they choose to live in close proximity to each other. Deanna, who works for Reliant Energy, explains,” I wanted to live within a two-mile radius of where I’d lived before, because this is my life — the Tanglewood area — where Jeff is, as well as the Houstonian Club and the Houston Polo Club, where Jeff and one of my sons play polo.”
Of course, the house is still a work in progress. Her next step will be to fluff the office space by adding a black-lacquered desk and silver-leaf ceiling, as well as acquiring investment-worthy furnishings and art. “Jeff has fabulous art pieces,” Deanna says. “The Miro and the Picasso, he gave me. We’ve always loved purchasing art together, and he knew I had to fill spaces on the walls.” She also contemplates developing some outdoor space: “I’m thinking perhaps French doors leading to a patio with a water treatment outside my bedroom.” Otherwise, Deanna’s domestic vision is nearly complete, fitting every must-have on her list.
The Lueders limestone surround (in pewter tone) and the custom mantle in the living room were created by Materials Marketing. Thomas Pheasant constellation mirror by Baker. Waylande Gregory vase from Shabby Slips. Orchids from River Oaks Plant House.
Deanna Anon with sons, Auston (left) and Pierce. The living room was transformed from dark-gray environs to a lighter-gray palette with Pratt & Lambert’s Windham. Behind the sofa, a set of 12 Swedish Braille pages in whitewood frames. McAlister Collection rug in granite from Stark. Marvin Gould charcoal-and-graphite work on paper.
A silver- and gold-leaf shell chair pulls up to an ornate desk in the living room.
Ornamental kale, artichokes and green apples make an unexpected centerpiece on the dining-room table.
Although the media room looks black, it’s actually a midnight-blue hue called Domino by Sherwin Williams. The sofa was reupholstered in Kravet crushed-cotton velvet. Mies van der Rohe cocktail table from Design Within Reach. Sconces from Circa Lighting. Portrait of Abraham Lincoln by New York artist Hunt Slonem, represented at McClain Gallery. An oil painting by Marc Chagall hangs over the fireplace, which is filled with birch logs.
This vignette in the entry showcases a work by Houston artist Mel DeWees above an inlaid chest from Carl Moore. Floral repoussé 24K-gold bowl beside a pair of candelabras.
In the master bathroom, a contemporary abstract work by artist Mel DeWees hangs above a stool recovered in a navy Fortuny fabric. Bathtub and hardware from Fixtures & Fittings. Porden patterned wallpaper by Designer’s Guild. Wall color, Zephyr by Benjamin Moore. The charcoal-gray bathroom cabinets are rendered in Blackjack by Benjamin Moore, a high-gloss oil paint. White carrara marble countertops from Color Marble Yard.
To create a comforting womb-like feel in the master bedroom, Deanna insisted on painting the wall behind the bed dark charcoal (Blackjack by Benjamin Moore) in contrast with a lighter-gray wall (Zephyr by Benjamin Moore). The silk-velvet-upholstered bed with Frette linens was designed by Renea Abbott, Restoration Hardware coverlet and a faux-mink throw from Z Gallerie. Ebony chest of drawers from Shabby Slips, painted dark gray. Silk charmeuse curtains by Shabby Slips. Pair of Miro prints above a wood bench topped by a linen cushion.