Memorial-area home’s update strikes right balance for family

DIANE COWEN | www.houstonchronicle.com

Visiting show homes and flipping through pages of Architectural Digest and other shelter magazines paid off for Amy Roddy.

After she and her husband, 46-year-old Jason Roddy, an engineering manager in the energy industry, moved to a larger house in Wilchester West near Memorial and got their kids through the tear-things-up stage, it was time to build on the furnishings she’d already bought and remodel the bathrooms in their 1960s-era home. Just as they neared their September 2017 start date, Hurricane Harvey handed them a new timetable.

They were working with Meg Lonergan of Meg Lonergan Interiors and had finished selections for paint, wallpaper, tile and other finishes for the bathrooms, and chose nearly all new master-suite furniture and updates for their living room, dining room and entry — a big sweep through much of the house.

Amy, 39 and an executive at an off-shore drilling company, grew up with an artist mom who appreciated style and design and always had shelter magazines in the home. Over the years, she went on home tours and invested in things she loves, art, blue-and-white porcelain and antiques that are sprinkled throughout the family’s home.

She’s drawn to classic English style and loves the warm and welcoming feel of Southern homes, too, so an eclectic mix of traditional, vintage and antiques is what feels like home to her.

After living in the house a few years, the Roddys — both natives of Texas — knew it was time to update the bathrooms that last got a re-do nearly 20 years ago by a previous owner. Though the hurricane’s flooding set the project’s timetable back several months — and made some of their selections unavailable — it gave them time to think about doing even a few more things, including adding stools and changing furniture. (Though nearby neighborhoods flooded, the Roddys’ home did not.)

They decided to renovate all of their bathrooms so their job would be more appealing to contractors drawn to bigger projects. But they didn’t do them all at once, so they didn’t have to move out of the house.

“Amy had already done a nice job of putting their house together — it was impressive. She has good taste, and you could tell she was thoughtful about what she purchased,” Lonergan said.

Lonergan and Roddy speak the same language, design-wise: They both like eclectic décor that’s not so matchy-matchy, and both think you can’t go wrong with blue-and-white porcelain — anywhere.

“When she looks at shelter magazines and I’m looking at shelter magazines, we’re both appreciating the same things,” Lonergan said of their shared style.

And it’s the mix of old and new and the feeling that things in a home were collected over time — regardless of when you actually bought them — that is Lonergan’s trademark.

“I describe to clients that it’s yin and yang. It’s also that the tension of something dark needs balance with something light. Something matte is balanced with something shiny. I often work off of that principle, large-scale and small-scale prints or that kind of juxtaposition. To me, that’s what makes a room feel comfortable,” she said.

“If you walk into a space and have no idea what makes it feel comfortable or nice, it’s the balance. For example, in the bedroom, the chair fabric is a mohair, but the headboard is antique linen with a distinct rich texture. And then when you put that very light, tea-stained damask floral pillow between the two, it makes it all harmonious.”

At the front of the Roddy home, Amy describes her old entry as an empty white box — a nice light fixture and white walls. Now, though, it greets visitors with an antique Swedish dresser full of character with blue-and-white porcelain jars, a funky framed mirror and wallpaper with an elongated vine-like stripe.

In the dining room, the Roddys had a table and chairs, a rug, art and a nice chandelier — but she described the room as only half done.

Lonergan added blue grasscloth wallpaper and draperies and reupholstered the dining chairs. The details elevate the room to a place where people want to gather for good food and great conversation.

“We love to have people in our home. We really do get our china out at the holidays, so having a nice dining room is important to me,” Amy said. “Our daughter had to write an essay in her language-arts class about what her favorite season was. She was the only child in her class who picked winter, and she picked it because of all of the special times that happen around that season. She wrote about having special dinners in the dining room and having people over at the holidays and getting out nice dishes and decorating the house. I read it and thought, ‘Oh, you’re my child!’”

In the living room, Lonergan guided the Roddys toward a new sofa and a couple of stools that add a pop of muted red. This very large space has room on one end for a second seating area, which the family didn’t quite know what to do with, except let their children — a 6-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter — use it as play space.

Now it has a roomy sectional sofa that hugs a corner, and Lonergan found an antique tapestry to hang overhead. That leaves plenty of space for their kids to play while the grown-ups sprawl on the sofa to talk or read.

It’s all covered in performance fabric or other fabric that’s been Scotchguarded because Amy doesn’t want to constantly worry about spills.

The powder room may be a small space, but it was central to all of the bathroom remodeling because it seemed to be Grand Central Station for the home’s plumbing, which was all repiped.

Because they had to rip out the walls in that room to deal with the work overall, the Roddys decided to do something special with the new walls — using a cute botanical wallpaper that was perfect for a small space. They finished by painting the cabinet blue and topping it with a creamy stone counter.

The master suite got a major makeover, starting from scratch except for a pair of dressers that serve as nightstands and nice blue draperies. They added a canopy bed, a pair of blue chairs, a rug and — on a back wall — an antique chest holding more blue-and-white porcelain.

In the master bathroom, parquet marble tile covers the floor and works well with leafy wallpaper, both in shades of taupe. Gray-veiny Calacatta marble covers the counters and frames a big mirror that holds two slender sconces. A muted blue-green paint brings color to the otherwise neutral room.

Though the large pieces of furniture are neutral, the Roddys’ home isn’t without color or pattern, both of which show up in every room in different ways.

Draperies brought prints into the living room and dining room, and wallpaper brought prints, color and character to every space they were used in.

“I love color. We went out of town, and I realized that all of the clothes I packed matched the colors Meg put in our house,” Amy said. “I wanted the house to feel restful and calm, and so I gravitated to a base of softer neutrals for that reason. But I like color — the cranberry red and orangey-reds and blues and interesting green that Meg uses a lot.”

The design project is over, but that doesn’t mean Amy is done thinking about it.

“I do love design and love to play with my house and change it around. I can change out the paintings and move accessories around,” she said. “I told my husband that now we need a vacation house so I have another one to decorate. It was fun.”

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