Houses are often full of very happy memories. And this ranch, one of the world's best homes, built in the 1980s north west of Houston, certainly is – it's a beloved family home that two brothers inherited as a vacation home.
'The brief was to update and expand it so both their families could enjoy it,' says Sarah Eilers of Lucas/Eilers Design Associates. 'They wanted a comfortable, modern interpretation of a ranch house.'
The design concept for this ranch retreat developed from the family’s Texan roots, combined with their eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary styles. With plans to accommodate large groups for entertaining, the ceilings were raised and walls were knocked through to connect the primary areas of the space. 'The rustic earth tone palette created the backdrop for a beautiful blend of materials and textures throughout the home,' says Sarah.
'When the brothers' mother visited the house for the first time, she began crying and said, "you kept the house the same". It’s not the same at all, but it still feels familiar, and that’s what we were trying to do.'
Sarah Brooks Eilers is a partner, along with Sandra Drews Lucas, in Houston-based Lucas/Eilers Design Associates. A fifth generation Texan, Sarah grew up around gracious homes, timeless antiques, and beautiful gardens. Inspired by her southern heritage, Sarah’s design philosophy respects the past and embraces the current. Her designs can be described as timeless transitional, with an eye on today’s demand for comfort and versatility, and this stunning ranch project exemplifies that.
Living room ideas include introducing an earthy palette to complement the wooden ceiling and exposed stone wall. The room’s Oushak rug from Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries helps establish the scheme with sofas covered in a soft olive Schumacher wool. A Paul Ferrante coffee table with custom stone top is the perfect finishing touch.
Sarah has created a dramatic entertaining area. Dining room ideas include a statement custom light fixture by Iron Accents made from an antique scale over the classic dining table and elegant chairs that combine leather seats with upholstered backs for extra comfort.
During the renovation, the ceiling was raised and walls were knocked through to connect the kitchen and primary living areas. 'For this large family, it was important to maintain an open concept,' says Sarah. A large island, with a striking steel range hood, has ample counter space for gathering and swivel arm counter stools. Other kitchen ideas include steel windows to frame the breathtaking view, while live-edge shelving along the windows add charm.
Soapstone countertops and a granite sink add texture, while Urban Electric sconces provide stylish task lighting. A reclaimed concrete backsplash tile from Chateau Domingue makes a stunning focal point.
Main bedroom 1
Among Sarah's bedroom ideas were incorporating two Minton-Spidell Louis XVI lounge chairs in Schumacher mohair velvet to provide a cozy place to read. Subtle pattern is injected with the draperies and rug.
Bathroom ideas to create a statement space include a Devon & Devon polished chrome freestanding tub with a backlit onyx slab above it.
Custom iron vanities inject an industrial touch against the rustic wooden backdrop.
Main bedroom 2
The serene scheme features a soft blue Hickory Chair bed. Reclaimed lumber nightstands enhance the rustic feel.
A statement hand forged iron Jan Barboglio bed creates the wow factor. Pattern is introduced with a GP & J Baker fabric on the draperies and shams and a striped Pine Cone Hill area rug.
Interior design/ Lucas/Eilers Design Associates
Architect/ Natalye Appel + Associates Architects
Landscape Architects/ Dawson Estes Landscape Architects
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Interiors have always been Vivienne's passion – from bold and bright to Scandi white. After studying at Leeds University, she worked at the Financial Times, before moving to Radio Times. She did an interior design course and then worked for Homes & Gardens, Country Living and House Beautiful. Vivienne’s always enjoyed reader homes and loves to spot a house she knows is perfect for a magazine (she has even knocked on the doors of houses with curb appeal!), so she became a houses editor, commissioning reader homes, writing features and styling and art directing photo shoots. She worked on Country Homes & Interiors for 15 years, before returning to Homes & Gardens as houses editor four years ago.
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