Houston-based designer Mary Patton fell in love with a nearly century-old home after being drawn to the property by its location and yard size, which is hard to find in the area. A complete transformation took place as the designer invited color and modernity into the design. “I focused on evaluating the old elements on the house and also making it more modern,” Mary says of the home, which was built more than 85 years ago and well-maintained by its previous owners. She describes her design style as elegant and eclectic, and although this home is a mark of her individual taste, it is influenced by her husband’s and daughter’s aesthetics, too.
Before tackling the interiors, Mary focused on the home’s exterior. The home was painted, windows were replaced, the entryway was updated with a new door, awning and modern gas lanterns, and Boston ivy was strategically placed on the front and back. Her inspiration? A modern farmhouse.
“My husband has a good, strong design aesthetic, and his level of style elevates mine and makes it more masculine and edgy,” Mary explains. The couple desired a balance of masculine and feminine and modern and traditional, resulting in a home that reflects Mary Patton Designs and her family. Designing for herself gave her tremendous empathy for her clients, especially as she laid awake at night thinking about grout color. “This project was similar to working for clients because of my husband’s input, but I learned the importance of consistency through a house.”
The rooms are characteristically covered in color — with hues chosen to bring personality and please her daughter, who requested a pink bedroom and purple bathroom. Mary emphasizes the benefits of involving children in the design process, and she appreciates how significant and memorable a bedroom is for kids. “Kids’ bedrooms are my favorite things to design, and I think it is important to ask them what colors they want or give them choices and let them pick,” she explains. Thus, her daughter’s bedroom is pink, and the bathroom is purple.
But there is no better display of color than the family room, which is coated in a deep blue that is also used in the kitchen. “When designing a house, I try to stick with five colors,” the designer shares. “This is not a hard rule, but it provides a range of color without overdoing it.”
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The kitchen and the family room are located at opposite ends of the house, and Mary chose to finish both rooms in the same color blue to create balance. Because she loves to cook, the kitchen received extra attention during the redesign. Mary splurged on Calacatta Gold marble countertops. “I personally think marble looks so much better, and I don’t mind the spots and rings left on the countertops because it looks lived in,” she says.
The breakfast table is a family heirloom that doesn’t feel out of place inside this updated home. When designing for clients, Mary encourages them to keep things that hold sentimental value — and she took her own advice while creating the breakfast area.
Mary says the dining room is her favorite room in the house. Thankfully, her husband agreed to blush walls that flatter anyone who comes for dinner. At night, candles and minimal lighting bring warmth to the space.
Previously a sunroom, Mary designed the family room to accommodate family time. The family-friendly sectional sits at the center of the room that’s painted in a beautiful deep blue. There is a funky mix of color, texture, and pattern in the room, but it works. And, surprisingly, Mary has not tired of the design.
This built-in was added to house a bar in the family room. Over the years, Mary has collected fashion books, and she smartly stacked them near the bar to act as a piece of art.
Although the fireplace is the focal point of the formal living room, it is a design element Mary intends to replace down the road. To save money, she decided to forgo a marble fireplace and painted the existing beige tile and mantle with automotive paint. “A lot of times, creativity comes from limited money,” she reveals.
The family piano fills a corner in the formal living room, where a more muted color palette stands in contrast to the family room.
When asked if this home is a showcase of her interior design style, Mary answers yes — and no. Her style has continued to evolve since this project, and she believes a house is a living thing that continually changes. “Nothing should be permanent, and nothing should be stressful. If you get tired of a room, paint it,” she advises. The renovation was complete four years ago, but she has since made small-but-impactful changes. She transformed the guest room into a gym and plans to wallpaper the kitchen this summer — for starters.
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When Mary and her husband were dating, he gifted her a bed that now sits in the center of their master bedroom. At the foot of the bed, a vintage ’70s rattan couch fills the space that is finished in a soothing combination of white and blues.
In addition to delivering a new design to the master bedroom, Mary reconfigured the layout by scaling down an oversized shower and vanity to accommodate a bigger closet. Now, the bathroom has a freestanding tub and shower, plus a vanity that occupies less square footage.
Although her daughter’s bedroom is painted in colorful shades of pink, the timeless design can grow with her. Sophisticated fabrics and art keep the space from feeling too “baby-ish,” Mary explains.
We can only imagine Mary’s daughter’s delight when she saw the purple bathroom of her dreams come to life.
Because she isn’t hosting guests, Mary transformed the guest room into a home gym. Before it became a functional spot during quarantine, the room featured two twin beds — an element Mary loves for a guest room.
The yard was a selling point for Mary, and this little corner is reserved for al fresco dining.
Thank you, Mary, for welcoming us into your home! Find more information about the Houston-based designer and swoon over other Mary Patton Design projects HERE.
Photos by Molly Culver Photography.
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