Story & 2015 photos by Shelbi LeMeilleur.
Photos from 2001 by Chandler Arden, Specialities Photography
The world travelers had decided to finally settle down and built a custom home in College Station, and the house reflected the couple’s experiences while traveling the globe.
Now, almost 15 years later, the house has been reinvented to add life, personality, and color.
Ambrose Furniture Designer Josh Ortiz worked to reuse old furniture – by way of repurposing, rearranging, and refreshing – in order to give the house a bolder feel. Much of this was achieved through bright colors, giving the space a progressive, eclectic mix.
The overall effect of energy and life is built around attention to smallest details. Oritz points to the citron herringbone embroidered chairs in the living room, dramatic black chandeliers with reflective gold lining, and a mirrored cocktail table chosen to reflect and bounce the colors of the original rug in all directions as important pieces that help set the tone. “For the study, we layered [an] existing antique desk…on top of a fuschia/teal hand-knotted peshawar rug,” says Oritz.
In the living room, color was added through a variety of pieces. A chocolate-velvet custom sofa and a mirrored cocktail table were added. Globe lamps give the room the world traveler feel, as well as an elephant statue, Mahul, that continues to stand guard after 15 years.
The master bedroom and bathroom were kept clean and fresh with an Asian motif. Fretwork grasscloth was used to paper the walls in the bathroom, adding to the appearance.
The room with the biggest transformation was the study. “This room represents the modern day Noah’s Ark,” Ortiz says, pointing to the new wallpaper. Formerly plain cream walls now teem with life. Colorful old biblical drawings of lions and other woodland creatures, similar to those in children’s bibles, adorn the wallpaper.
Next to the study is the sun room, a space made for down-time. Because of this, it was especially important to add color and personality to the room with a change in furniture.
The guest rooms were given a facelift, adding texture and color similar to the rest of the house. Art has become a central designing factor in many of the rooms. Ortiz worked with newly selected pieces of art from catalogues and designed the rooms based on the colors in the artwork.
However, some of the art in the house cannot be found in a catalog including Chinese children’s prints. Painted by children in orphanages, each child gives his or her picture a name. “[They are] amazingly creative,” says Marilyn.
The last area to be renovated was the downstairs. It has become an entertainment and workout haven. A kaleidoscope bar has been added for the grandchildren, and a movie/media room has been given a splash of color. The walls are now Kelly green and the furniture a color explosion of fun.
The redecoration project, which started in the spring of 2014, is now complete. “I love how much the new things work with the old things,” Ortiz resonates. “It looks like it took years.”
The project’s success is the work of many, says Oritz, offering special thanks to Carl Collins (painter), Becky Justice (faux finisher), Janness Payne (wallpaper), and Ray Jazisek (Ambrose Furniture) for their help creating this new space.
* Upon request, homeowners’ last names have been withheld.