This Colorful Houston Home Makes the Case for a Pink Dining Room

houston dining room with wicker chairs and peach walls
Photo: Molly Winters Culver

Designer Mary Patton chose an unexpected color palette and high-low furnishings as a way to transform her 1938 abode.

01 of 08
exterior shot of white houston home with ivy
Molly Winters Culver

Texas-based interior designer Mary Patton is no stranger to home renovation projects. In fact, she's completed three of her own over the eight last years. Her latest—the transformation of her three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom family home near Rice University—resulted in the perfect mixture of a traditional-meets-modern farmhouse. "We found the house because my best friend actually lives next door," Patton tells Martha Stewart Living. Though she and her husband had moved just six months prior, they couldn't pass up this property. The palatial, 4,400-square-foot home "was charming with original plaster and sloped walls, but it was really the yard that got our attention," she says. Sitting on half an acre (something Patton says is very rare in the Houston area), she knew it would be the ideal space for entertaining—and would give her daughter, Violet, plenty of room to play.

Inside, Patton was met with interiors that were well-maintained but spoke to early-2000s standards. "In a way, it was a clean slate because the aesthetic of the house was fairly neutral," she explains of the project's origin. So, she set out to maintain the integrity of the original architecture, modernizing and elevating the interiors as needed. The first orders of business? She focused on repainting the whole house, adding an awning out front, replacing fixtures, and choosing an unconventional color palette that was surprising yet cohesive. Careful not to skew too traditional or modern, Patton created a home that features an array of colors, textures, and vintage finds.

One of her best tips? Prioritize that awning. "On the front part of the house, there was a cement entryway cover," says Patton. "I changed the façade, painted it white, replaced the roof, and replaced the windows. I love awnings and added one over the front door. It's a great way to add softness to the exterior of a house. Plus, we have Boston Ivy. It's very pretty—but it actually attracts squirrels."

02 of 08

Don't Be Afraid of Color

houston dining room with wicker chairs and peach walls
Molly Winters Culver

"I've always wanted a pink dining room," Patton says. "It's my favorite color, and while it was originally a point of contention, my male interior design friend says it was okay, so my husband finally agreed to it. At night, it actually reads as a neutral, and when you are having a candlelit dinner everyone looks really good in that color."

Patton punched up the pink with a portrait she and her husband found in San Miguel and Schumaker drapery lined in coordinating blush.

03 of 08

Mix High and Low

white living room with leather chairs and blue accents
Molly Winters Culver

Don't be afraid to mix casual and elevated pieces, says Patton, even in a space as curated as the living room. "For over the fireplace, my husband found an artist in Scotland that does printmaking—the piece only was $200. Obviously, budget is an issue for everyone and mixing high and low makes a space feel less stuffy."

04 of 08

Splurge Carefully

blue and white modern kitchen in houston home
Molly Winters Culver

In the kitchen, Patton stayed true to the TV room's blue; the rooms are on opposite sides of the home's first floor, so she she felt that using the same color created balance. The bright shade may be the kitchen's focal point, but her favorite detail is actually the marble countertops. "This was my biggest splurge in the house," she says. "I got Calacatta Gold Marble. I believe it's Oprah's favorite countertop."

05 of 08

Add Youth with Modern Touches

breakfast nook with wood table and white chairs and natural light
Molly Winters Culver

"How can I make this space feel younger?" is the question Patton asked herself when ideating the kitchen's breakfast nook. "The table is 100 years old and is from my great-grandmother," she explains of the room's focal point. To make the old feel new, she surrounded the antique with chairs from Kartell and suspended a West Elm chandelier overhead.

06 of 08

Punch Up Basic Color Schemes

white master bath with black accents and gray tile
Molly Winters Culver

The master bathroom was a construction challenge with a large, "very 90s shower that was close to nine feet long," explains Patton. Plus, the closet was tiny. To trouble-shoot, the designer added a freestanding tub, a shower, and two sinks—and expanded the square footage in the closet and added some beautiful, unexpected black-and-white details. "I like the combination of the Schumacher 'Pyne Hollyhock' drapery with black hardware," she says. "It creates a more layered look that is feminine and delicate."

07 of 08

Elevate Your Kids' Spaces

lavender and white bathroom with light pink accents
Molly Winters Culver

Patton's daughter's bedroom and bathroom are some of the most colorful spaces of the house, but they also exude a style that is suitable for any age. "Designing for kids is my favorite thing to do and it doesn't have to be toned down or babyish," she says. Her daughter asked for a purple bathroom—a testament to her name, Violet—and that is what she got. "Paint is easy to change," the designer adds.

08 of 08

Take Your Creativity Outdoors

outdoor patio with yellow accent chairs
Molly Winters Culver

The designer's backyard includes a simple, inexpensive touch that anyone can DIY: string lights. "At night, we can see them from our TV room," she says.

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