This is the home of Pam Pierce, a well-known Houston designer who does French, Houston style. These photos come from the cover story of the May 2006 issue of Veranda. Pierce uses gorgeous period pieces along with non-period pieces, but, certainly, you will find no cheap reproductions here. Authenticity is the key. The look is spare, the accessories are highly edited, the mood is calm. Pierce uses lots of gold mirrors, peeling painted pieces, Santos, limestone, Swedish antiques sprinkled here and there along with an Italian piece or two, iron tables, down cushions, seagrass, stucco, and other details that when mixed together produce a visual that is breathtaking. She eschews any pattern in her fabrics and favors linens and checks.
The house is a gorgeous old Mediterranean in a very fashionable area of town within walking distance of all the great museums and the heady Rice University. Huge live oak trees, ancient hedges, and overgrown ivy all add to the Southern mystique and beauty of her circular street that lies behind an original, stately entrance. Pierce completely remodeled the house, using architectural antiques imported from France and Europe, mostly purchased by Chateau Domingue which is owned by her friend and client Ruth Gay. (Watch here for a future entry on her home to note Gay's version of French, Houston style.)
Pierce and a small number of other interior designers from Houston have carved a niche out for themselves with this style. Their clients tend to be younger couples with enormous wealth who can afford this look. It doesn't come cheap. Several stores (mostly owned by these same said designers) provide the french antiques to fill the mansions (some are Mac-mansions) these young people inhabit. The oil & gas business which is headquartered here in Houston has been very good to us and these upper level designers have ridden the waves of this industry's ups and down. When the price of oil is low, they are scratching for clients. When oil is high, these designers are living in gorgeous Mediterranean villas themselves.
This indulgence does not stop in the house, it continues outside, of course. Pierce's yard is small by any one's standards, yet every square inch is manicured and furnished with centuries old pots and statues and with a small army of faux bois and curly iron work. Danny McNair is her landscape architect, and there are several other companies who do this look just as well: Thompson+Hansen for one. Truth be told, Gardens in Austin, led the way for these others to follow. Pierce is at the top of her game; these photos are the proof.