A reader sent me a link to a house that I missed on my last post - Small Stylish Houses. Well, the house is not exactly small, but it is stylish. And it’s not a Mac Mansion – that’s even more important. This house is located way outside the loop in an area where ranch burgers are being redone by young couples with small children. Again, the basic premise is this: it doesn’t take a lot of money to have a stylish house – with the advent of price friendly stores like Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel you can get basic, good looking upholstery and add your own touches like art work and accessories. If you can’t afford art work – buy a set of white dishes from Ikea and hang them on the wall around a mirror – a wonderful trick that I recently used on a job. Two blogs Copy Cat Chic here and Nick Olsen here both celebrate chic cheap and where to find it. And I do mean chic. Today, I will show you a few more houses – much smaller and less expensive than the usual dream worthy ones, but to me – these are just as dream worthy – because they are attainable for almost everyone. And at the very end is a special surprise from another reader. Here we go:
House #1: A reader alerted me to this house: Built in 1965 at 2400 sq. ft. – the house is sale pending for $499,000. As always, curb appeal brings in the customers. Is it any wonder that this house is sale pending, while dozens of similar ones are still on the market?
The entry hall – gives the second clue – someone with style lives here. A simple console – not an expensive piece at all, yet it looks fabulous here with a French ottoman under it. I love the dark wall color which pops against the wainscot; the front door is pretty too.
Not my favorite room in the house – but it COULD be – with a rug and slips on the chairs this room would be smashing! I love the chandelier. OK, I know I sound like a broken record, but I just think with dining room chairs like this – they look so much more youthful with pleated skirts on them. Obviously this owner disagrees with me. I like how she used the space – this is actually the living room. It’s the typical Houston ranch burger, living room, then a smaller dining room. Today – young couples are mixing the two rooms around – putting the dining room in the living room and turning the former dining room into a study. BTW – someone asked me if we have basements in Houston. NO!!!! We are close to sea level, no basements in Houston at all except in a few turn of the century houses and even those aren’t your typical northern basements.
The family room – aha! Here is where the ottoman in the entry hall came from. Very nice, very quiet, very chic and very doable. Ballard Designs sells chairs just like these. Classic French bergeres make any room look wonderful. While the seagrass isn’t custom cut, it is big enough to still make a statement. The bar area opens up the kitchen. At one time there were probably overhead cabinets where the pendant lights are – but those have been removed. All in all – very, very pretty!
And looking the other way. Nice TV treatment – hanging over a pretty painted console. Just lovely!
Most of the houses in this neighborhood have updated kitchens. The owner probably removed cabinets over the bar to open up the area to the breakfast room. Stainless appliances add a lot as does the updated granite and backsplash. The cabinets are probably original. What more could anyone really want or need?
The cabinets over this area looking into the living room that were probably removed too. I’ve been in this floor plan a million times – and that is how it always is. I like the cabinets removed – it opens up the area.
Charming! The breakfast room has a built in banquette with lots of cozy pillows. Love the shades, the hanging shelf and the chest.
The master bedroom is a departure in a light blue – very serene and very soothing.
Updated bathroom with shower and marble. The owners probably added that center cabinet which is nice touch.
Cute stripes in the daughter’s room.
And the son’s room. If something looks good – why not repeat it?
The backyard. You can see how small the house really is from this picture – the half story has two bedrooms, the master is on the first floor. This area is called West Memorial and is heavily wooded which adds to its appeal. But at $499,000 asking price – which I’m sure they are negotiating down somewhat – it’s a lot of house for the money.
House #2: This area is called Briargrove and it is much closer to town than the above house, but still outside the inner loop. Hugely popular with young families just starting out, the small ranch is typical for the neighborhood. Many of these smaller houses are being torn down and replaced with, you got it – Mac Mansions! UGGGGGH. Charming curb appeal.
Built in 1960, at 3100 sq. ft, this sold last year in the $600,000s – more expensive but only because Briargrove is such a hot, sought out location near the Galleria. The houses are exactly the same (if not smaller) as the first house in West Memorial – but because of the location they go for 100,000 to 200,000 more! The living room is actually being used as the living room for a change! Very tailored and pretty. Thisssss coffee table and varieties of it are very popular in Houston – made so by Renea Abbott and Randy Powers, two very influential designers who each have their own version of it. I like the height of this one.
Grass cloth wallpaper and slipped monogrammed chairs are paired with a farm table.
Here it is – a typical Briargrove angled fireplace, though this was has been updated and refaced in travertine. I am not a fan of angled furniture, but these fireplaces are hard to work with. Myself, I would have ignored it. This house was definitely either owned by an interior designer or one was hired. Beautiful custom sofas with nail heads and velvet pillows. Custom cut seagrass paired with a layered rug. The walls are fauxed here and in the living room. Similar tailored sofas like this could be bought at Mitchell Gold, Crate and Barrel or Lee Industries.
Typical Briargrove houses are often added on to at the back, like this. I would suspect a previous owner used this area as a dining room. Velvet antique armchairs and oriental console. While this furniture is definitely upscale, copies of this chair can be found for much less than antiques. The seagrass is custom cut – remember: it is cheaper to cover up hardwoods with seagrass than restain them which may be advisable if you don’t plan on staying in a home longer than five years. This couple probably knew this was just a starter home. What a nice starter house, huh?!!!
Updated kitchen, but not updated recently. The black appliances say to me this was last updated in the 90s.
I love these chairs – I am so in love with nail heads these days!!! But wouldn’t the cabinets look better if there was chicken wire instead of wood – or if you could see inside them?
In Briargrove houses, the master bed usually can only go in front of the window – this owner handled it nicely – framing the bed with the curtains and the shutters then become the headboard. Very pretty. I love that dust ruffle!
The sitting room was probably another bedroom with the wall removed between them.
Well, I’ve never seen custom cut seagrass in a bathroom before! Hmm. It’s pretty, but not sure how practical.
The daughter’s room is too adorable – I love the bedding and the canopies.
House #3: This house is also in Briargrove. It’s actually new construction – replacing a small ranch. In this neighborhood, usually the houses built actually look like the former one – they are 1 1/2 stories. This house is the most expensive and the largest one shown today, but it doesn’t fit in the usual multi million dollar fantasy category, so I am including it here because I’ve always liked the decor.
An idea at any price range – wallpaper! How pretty this foyer is with this paper in it. Lighted sconces can be had at any price and I think that they add so much romance and style to a house, I always encourage clients to use them.
The dining room is so pretty – but why? The curtains!!!! Silk can be found at any price these days – I’ve seen it for less than $20 at Glicks and High Fashion in Houston. The rug is gorgeous, but a much cheaper seagrass would be just as pretty, IMHO! I love this room – I know it’s higher end, but I do think it’s attainable and worth copying. After all – this is a copy of a much more expensive room itself. Remember this:
A house designed by New Orleans great – Gerrie Bremermann. I would bet my last dollar that this dining room inspired the Briargrove house shown above. Don’t you agree? And what a fabulous version too. This just shows that you can get a similar high dollar look for less. If you like this room, study this and the Briargrove room and see how you can recreate it on a tighter budget. The biggest obstacle would be the painted chairs – but surely there are cheaper copies out there.
Simple and tailored slipped chairs at $149 might be good to replace the expensive antique painted chairs. Here.
On these chairs from Wisteria on sale for $322. might be just the ones to use! Here.
The family room has darling top tied curtains and pretty French chairs. Again – Ballard Designs has a similar one at a good price.
Pretty island – very pretty house.
I love the bedroom. Would this be hard to replicate on a budget? The headboard is upholstered and could easily be copied. The bench also could be sourced for a lot less. What is so pretty in here is the mixture of the browns and the blues. I love the armchairs (Lee Industries, Crate and Barrel) and the fabric on it. Notice the ceiling is painted blue. Very pretty.
Great dust ruffle – notice the blue tape on the hem, little details that add luxe. The ceiling and bookshelves are also painted the soft blue. Very very pretty! I really wish I could see where this couple lives now and what their house looks like – the owner obviously has great style and taste!!!
Could we duplicate the major elements this bedroom? Here for $649 at Wisteria is a nice chair with wood legs and casters.
$715 at Ballard Designs
$475 ottoman at Ballard Designs.
Wisteria: coffee table ottoman - $494. Beautiful piece of furniture. Fabulous price.
Headboard, king sized Ballard Designs $515
$647 at Ballard Designs in chocolate velvet.
$249 at PB in king size, what a steal! Slipcovered. Urban Outfitters have velvet tufted headboards for extra cheap prices too.
For the end of the bed: $249 at Ballards. I do think you could recreate the bedroom on a budget – as long as the colors were right. The important parts to get right are the headboard and the chair fabric!
Again, the wallpaper makes the room. But the owner went a step further and made shades and the shower curtain out of matching fabric. When looking for wallpaper – check the back of the book to see if they have matching fabric. It adds such a nice finishing touch. Love the antique bench too!
Great study – this is the same carpet that Sally Wheat used in her house. Love the curtains. Really nice space for the man of the house.
Back patio – pretty and low key.
House #4: Built in 1956 with 32oo sq. ft. (though the garage was made into a playroom) this house is technically not in Briargrove or Tanglewood, but in Del Monte. This is still for sale in the low $700,000s. Again, the location accounts for the extra $200,000 tacked onto the price compared to the first home IMHO. I’ve had my eye on this for a long time but never could fit it into a story – until today. I’m surprised this hasn’t sold before now, but it was recently reduced, so good luck to the owners. I’m thinking the owner is an interior designer. They are a young couple with young children. I’m anxious to know where they are moving to! As usual, curb appeal sets the stage. Just charming.
The front door looks the same as the one in the first house. I love these long wooden benches we’ve seen today. Here, the walls look like they are a creamy white. I’m sure it’s a Martin Senour paint though. This house has the Houston Designer Look – and Martin Senour is the paint they all use. Myself, I use Pratt and Lambert.
I don’t know why - but I love this room. I wonder why? ha! First there is a simple, but beautifully made sofa. This is custom – not Pottery Barn folks. I can tell just by the way the skirt casually drapes the floor – just beautiful. And it’s not slipcovered – it’s a waterfall skirt – made to look like a slip, but it’s not – you can tell by the gathered arms. Beautiful ticking fabric – looks like it might be Rogers and Goffigon. The chair and ottoman might be slipped – they probably are. Simple chest with blue and white porcelains and a French chair. The blinds are not Target – they are the real deal, tortoise bamboo blinds. Beautiful custom cut seagrass and a wonderful muted screen. The person who lives here likes quality. And she is waiting for it. She is not going to junk up her house with just anything. If she can’t afford it now, she will wait for it. This is Carol Glasser style decorating. I’m jealous of a person like this because I always want it all NOW and I don’t like to wait, so I junk up my house with things I can afford instead of saving for what I really want. Lesson to be learned here. I realize you are probably looking at this and think I am crazy – but I understand this. To me – this is beautiful, quiet, first class, casual and youthful Houston decorating at its’ best. And trust me – in a few years this room will be full of stuff. She’s just waiting.
Well, you know I love this too – a skirted table made out of what looks like Bennison roses in blue. I love the way the skirt is sewn – just like Pam Pierce would do it. And the chairs are beautiful – Os de Mouton. I love the silver candelabras on pedestals. Where’s the mirror? It’s coming, trust me. She just hasn’t found the perfect one yet or is waiting until the nest egg gets a little bigger. Same with the chandelier.
And look what I have found – reproduction Os de Mouton chairs for just $395. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here. Don’t say I’m not nice to you!
The charming eat-in kitchen with a loooooooong table that doubles as an island. All the upper cabinets were removed to make room for a glorious window that is the focal point of the room. Wonderful. I love all the botanicals and ironstone. Through the door you can see what was once the garage and is now a huge playroom for the kids.
Instead of upper cabinets – two antique doors were added to create pantries. Wonderful idea!
Another view. You can see the other screen door pantry on the left.
I die! The rug!!!!!!! OMG – I love this rug. OK – here she is filling in until she can really furnish the family room. But I love the Pottery Barn sofa. It looks great with the rug and the coffee table. In the future two club chairs are probably coming in and curtains with tortoise blinds. She has a great foundation to work with. I wish I could see what her new house is going to look like. I love her style.
The powder room – notice the cute hanging light fixture in the mirror. Quiet, simple, very nice.
The master bedroom, all white bedding and again no headboard – no one uses headboards anymore! The custom cut seagrass is perfection. I love how it just hugs the wall. Beautiful curtains. And I like the dark furniture. I would have painted this room very dark gray/brown, but that’s just me.
OK – how cute is this?? Lavender. And did you even notice it’s a wicker daybed, probably from PB? I love this more than I can say! And notice the cute slipcovered chair in lavender. The bolsters are divine. And finally there is a darling little chandy for the little princess!
If I lived here, I would make this my master bedroom and turn one of the bedrooms into a playroom. You could add on a bathroom and closet. That’s what I would do – it’s too nice of space to waste on a playroom!!!!!
The back yard is so big. You can see the playroom right there with all the windows - and you can see to the left where you could add on a bathroom to make it a master suite. That’s what I do would if I owned this. Lesson to take from this house: if you can, if you have the willpower – wait, wait wait to get what you really want instead of wasting money on inferior quality just because that’s all you can afford now. I need to write this lesson down and repeat it every morning when I wake up: “Wait, wait, wait for that Bennison. Wait for those ‘real’ tortoise shades. Wait, wait, wait.” I think Mr. Slipper Socks Man will like my new attitude, if it lasts.
House #5: This house is in Briargrove – built in 1957, 3200 sq. ft. – this is currently for sale about the same as the above house. The yard is much smaller but the neighborhood is considered just a bit more prestigious.
Small living room with an even smaller dining room that is now an office. I like the gray paint and the zebra and the armoire. Something about white slipcovered furniture just attracts me like a moth to the proverbial flame. I need to get over this!!!!!
Aw, there it is – the corner brick fireplace. Half the houses or more in Briargrove have this distinctive feature. I like how they handled the fireplace – ignored it! It’s so hard to decorate around. The only other solution would be to flank chairs – which would be nice in the winter. The area behind the sofa was all added on which is typical of these small houses.
The two chairs just walked across the room! I love that Buffet a deux and notice the child sized chair under the coffee table. I like to use chairs like that in living rooms. I think I would have added curtains to this space to soften up the hard edges. As it is now, it’s hard to distinguish the outside porch from the living area, don’t you think?
Totally new kitchen – pretty.
Love this table and chairs and the chandelier – love that! Again – the French Os de Mouton chair which really is so beautiful.
Love this – I adore the headboard which is really a huge antique trumeau. This is a great idea to duplicate with a large oversized mirror – it doesn’t have to be antique. I also like the side chests and the dust ruffle which matches the curtains.
I am a sucker for toile. I know, I know! Get over that too!!! But I can’t. I love this wallpaper.
And finally, the last house today. I received a sweet email from a reader – Jenny Hayden. Jenny, like me is from Houston but, poor thing, she and her husband moved to Ft. Worth. I know, I know, Ft. Worth is a great town, but Houston is better!!!!! ha ha!!! Jenny writes that she is a young married woman with a 2 year old very active little boy. She really enjoyed the Small Stylish House post and could totally relate to it. She lives in a small house – much smaller than those shown today. I won’t even tell you what they paid for it – you’d be green with envy, that’s all I’ll say. Jenny has been busy decorating for the past few years and wanted to show me her house – she thought I would like it. I think you’ll understand why!!!
Jenny’s charming cottage in Ft. Worth. Isn’t this adorable? I love the chairs and look at her mail box below:
What a cute idea! A basket for the mail. Originally Jenny only sent me two pictures of her house and I asked her to take a few more. She didn’t have time to style anything and she was quick to tell me her better things are in her storage shed until her son gets a little older – right now he is a tornado on two legs.
Isn’t this wonderful??????? The sofa came from PB and the chairs were inherited. The shades are from PB too. I love the dark hardwoods and the color on the walls – it really makes all the white pop. And the plates are great! It looks like they are white antique ironstone – which is really affordable at flea markets and antique malls. I love her console table and the large mirror paired with it. And facing the sofa – you can barely see it - is the mirrored dresser from Z Gallerie. What a charming room. Jenny told me she is dying to get custom cut seagrass but she needs to first convince her husband. Actually this looks nice as it is, IMHO. I think this truly illustrates – it doesn’t take a lot of money to decorate with style. This is magazine worthy – I could see this room pictured in Country Living or Romantic Homes.
You can see the TV and the dresser in this picture. Here is the Z Gallerie one:
Everything is on sale - at least 20% off - now at Z Gallerie. So if you like this, now is your chance here.
Jenny got so flustered about being in the blog, that she didn’t concentrate on her pictures, hence the cut off chandelier. We forgive you this time Jenny!!!! But it does look cute with rattan shades. The monogrammed slips on the chairs with the cute pine table look great and I love the creamy plaque on the wall.
Granite and stainless – amazing!! I wish I could tell you how much this house cost!!!! You’d be stunned this quality came with the price tag. And this is a really nice neighborhood too.
Rustic antique piece in the entry paired with a pretty mirror and an Aidan Gray lamp – I know because I have that exact lamp myself!!!
Nice, nice, nice – beautiful!!!! White shades, one mirrored chest and one skirted table – no headboard either! And beautiful Aidan Gray lamps. The mirror is the perfect size – just perfect! You’ve done a great job Jenny – you should be very proud!!!!
Picket fence, too cute. A little patio area off the kitchen.
Jenny said when they moved here, she wanted to get rid of the shed immediately. But it’s air conditioned and has electricity and is now a little hideout! All I can see are the possibilities. I would knock out the front wall and put in a large double French door and make it look this:
Isn’t this adorable?
Or this – too cute!
Or Jenny can turn it into a office – there are so many possibilities – I wish I had room in my backyard for a garden shed. Thank you so much Jenny for sending in pictures of your house – it is too adorable and you did a great job on it! If anyone else out there has turned a bungalow into a chic place – send in your pictures and let us all enjoy your hard work.
Next – I did some virtual shopping, looking for bargains with a great look. Here is what I came up with today.
Chic Finds On the Cheap:
I almost flipped at these prices – $ 799 for a chair and an ottoman! It’s painted black – but for those prices, you could just paint it white. What a deal!!! here.
At $159 – a pair of these would be great as nightstands or to flank a window in a living room. Here.
A marble top! I would remove the bottom glass shelf. But wouldn’t this be great in an entry hall? All different sizes under $249!!! here.
At $ 749 – this would be wonderful in a living room, bedroom or foyer. I love the lines, here.
If $749 is too high, how about $399? Here.
A real suzani ottoman, $279!!! Here.
OK – this is on sale for $12.98!!!!!!!!!! These would be great tables at the side of club chairs – I’d use two in a room. Unreal price – can it be correct? Here.
It’s a dining table with a leaf, but I would use it as a desk too! The price? $249. Let me know what it is wrong with it?????? It is just too cheap. Here.
If you can’t afford zebra or are against them on principle, get a graphic black and white look with this rug from West Elm: $200 - $600. Ikea has a great wool rug similar to this for even less. Visual Vamp bought one herself. Here.
Cute outdoor lantern – I would bring it inside and use it in a family room, hallway or I would put a pair in a bathroom. Love this! Here. $79.
Wisteria is without a doubt my favorite catalogue. The Newsoms have great taste and they get extra help with their designs from mother Jane Moore, one of the better interior designers in Houston! Almost everything I like is now on sale at Wisteria – hurry.
Beautiful sconces from Wisteria – these look like antiques, but are just $119. Here.
The best looking lantern for the price I’ve seen – and look how big it is - just $249!!!! Here.
On sale for $1614 now – unreal price. In the stores you would pay double or triple for this style. Here.
This is on sale now too for $1118. In the stores – you couldn’t find something this inexpensive with such a great look. Here.
I love this for a coffee table – two together would be adorable. On sale for $419 here.
Perfect Gustavian chair with checked fabric – just $187 – I know I keep saying it, but this is a steal!!!!!! Here.
A tall lamp at $229, much cheaper than the similar Aidan Gray ones. For the table and there is a floor model below. Here.
I would flank a sofa with these two floor lamps. And I love that green chest, it’s on sale too.
And finally, loyal reader Linda, Belle’s Mom, sent me this from Wisteria – a true replica of the French ladder from their main library. I’ve lusted over the original for years but couldn’t afford one – this is a great copy! Just $124 here.
I hope you’ve gotten plenty of ideas today for ways to create a stylish home on a budget. These items from Wisteria and other catalogues show us all that there is plenty of merchandise available to get a look without spending a small fortune. Unless of course you want to follow me on my new adventure: Wait, wait, wait - for the real deal! Don’t buy junk just to fill in when you can’t afford what you really want. Save up for quality. Somehow, I don’t think this is going to last very long. It’s just not my nature to wait. I have a secret: I really don’t care about having the finest – I just like the “look” and the cheaper the better for me!!!! Quantity over quality seems to be my motto. Ssssshhhhhhhh!!!!!