Art & Soul – Cherished family pieces infuse this remodeled Arts and Crafts Style home with charm
With a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright, this dwelling exudes character with its Prairie House lines, stained glass front door and sink-into connection to the landscape. But step inside and this is where the home really speaks, telling the story of family.
Favorite memories aren’t just exiled to photo albums here. Homeowner Patty Fox and husband Glenn live surrounded by what they love — treasured mementos, gifts from family, sketches and sculptures created by sons, Morgan and Conner, now busy with college careers. Even the metal entrance chandelier was artfully handcrafted by one of Patty’s sisters.
“Every object tells a story, it seems,” says Patty, a portrait photographer with one or two hobbies of her own that adds to the home’s spirited individuality.
This uncluttered house with clean-lined furniture and neutral backdrop serves as the perfect canvas for family artwork and accessories to shine. And natural textures add warmth for a kicked-back ambience that suits them.
Patty found the house in Indian Springs while searching online. “The photograph was of the house at night. It was just gorgeous. So, I called up and came and looked at it. And…well… I kind of fell in love.”
She summoned artist/designer friend Jo Cousins to take a look. “The house was beautiful but it was more closed in and had very dark treatments, the granite was so dark,” recalls Patty. “ I didn’t know if it would be possible to open everything up. But I knew if anyone would know, it would be Jo.”
Within minutes of the two getting together, ideas were popping.
“What Jo envisioned within just minutes of walking in the house is what we ultimately ended up doing in the remodel, it’s what she drew up,” Patty recalls. “She has an eye.”
General contractor Bill Hughes was hired for the job and Julie Schlegel of Haute House Interiors was consulted for furniture and accessories. The end result is a non-fussy, laid-back home where spaces flow seamlessly for functionality and togetherness, a dwelling where finishes and textures are rich and timeless.
As owner of Patty Fox Photography, the homeowner had longed for studio space. But her previous house couldn’t accommodate it. “We were bursting out of the seams with all my hobbies and photography,” she says.
“This was the first house that had any potential. And I knew Glenn would like it. It had all the things that we wanted — the possibility of a terrific kitchen, an office for Glenn, an office for me, space to work, great space to garden.”
Within nine months, the dark and closed-in house was transformed into a light and bright, open dwelling. The kitchen needed immediate attention.
“That’s the miracle of this kitchen, seeing it so open and airy and light now — and with a huge island. Before, we couldn’t even figure out how to put in a three-foot square or three-foot diameter butcher block and have the space that we need for walking around and working. Jo managed to lay it out so that from every possible angle from that island, there’s the proper space.”
The large island topped with Rainbow Tobacco granite invites visitors to circle around when the family entertains. Sporting new sleek cabinets, an apron-front sink, pendant lighting with a slight industrial edge and creamy subway tile, the kitchen is both beautiful and functional with a seamless connection to the rest of the house.
Each room takes advantage of lush views. True to the design philosophy of Frank Lloyd Wright, the home embraces nature by nestling into this slightly sloping greenbelt lot. This makes for a harmonious, earthy, almost treehouse feel on the inside, where steps lead down into certain rooms as if sinking into the landscape. The family’s Munchkin cat, Moony, is no doubt grateful for the large, unobstructed windows that allow for excellent bird and squirrel viewing.
Visitors can sense this home’s intimate hug with nature while stepping into the living room from the front entry hall. Eyes follow straight to beautiful windows framed in dark wood and the vistas beyond. Streamlined furniture, including a Marge Carson sofa, assures comfort in this room. Wood floors sweep underfoot. A floor to ceiling stone fireplace wall sports a 100-year-old piece of reclaimed wood as its mantel.
The stones were taken out and reconstructed, “and now look better than ever,” says Patty, who directed the placing of the stones.
“This was a story where one thing led to another,” she explains. “When we tore down a built-in entertainment unit in the living room, the stone didn’t go all the way around because the built-in abutted the fireplace. Thus, that project.”
The outdated built-in was replaced with a modernized cabinet that now anchors one end of the living room, adding a subtle splash of gray-green color to that wall.
To the left of the entry, the dining room beckons with a most unusual, striking orb chandelier with iron frame surrounding a cluster of crystals. An 18th century chest with inlay is also an attention-getter in this space. Glenn’s parents gave it to the couple as a wedding present. It’s topped with curvaceous Art Deco lamps Patty found on eBay.
Two settees mix with 100-year-old Honduran mahogany chairs for an eclectic look around the breakfast room table. The far end of this room received quite the transformation. A beautiful, sleek wine bar and cooler now exist where previous homeowners had installed a built-in double dog kennel.
Down the hall from this space is a reworked powder bath and an office for Patty that boasts a Murphy bed tucked into the wall, providing additional sleep quarters for guests.
Other projects were high on the list too. To the other end of the downstairs, the master bathroom, like the kitchen, was gutted and given the royal treatment. It, too, was opened up for better flow. It’s a light and bright updated version now with Crema Marfil marble and Walker Zanger glass tile finishes. Reclaimed wood from an historic Galveston house serves as shelves for a variety of accessories.
Walker Zanger glass tile replaced a black granite surround on the master bedroom fireplace, giving it a whole new look. And a small office off of the bedroom was converted into a closet for Patty, with lots of natural light.
The upstairs is equally functional with a large gameroom and a sunroom with extra comfy daybed (one of Glenn’s favorite places to relax and enjoy the views.)
Conner and Morgan’s bedrooms, to the right side of the house upstairs, have all the creature comforts, including bathrooms that have been remodeled. Morgan’s bedroom has the benefit of a balcony that overlooks a tranquil waterfall pond.
The left upstairs of the house harbors a guest bedroom with updated bathroom and Glenn’s office with views from balconies on each side. Through Glenn’s office is entry into Patty’s photography studio with cork floor. While the tools of her trade are clearly on display here, so is evidence of other hobbies. This knitter has artfully displayed colorful balls of yarn in clear-glass jars for a punch of color.
The homeowners couldn’t be happier with the house remodel.
“The hardest part about the whole thing was leaving our friends from our other neighborhood, but they’re only a couple of miles down the street,” says Patty, who loves to entertain in her new home.
“We now have the space we needed and we can imagine having our boys and their future families come here without us busting out at the seams. It’s all about family. That’s the most important thing.”
Text by Cathy Gordon | Pictures by Bookwalter Photography