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Southern Charm

| August 1, 2017

The custom designed mantel and over mantel are by Christina Graci Javanmardi. The fireplace surround is painted brick. Select shades of salmon and burnt orange adorn the space. Silk taffeta draperies with an extra wide key tape trim provide the luxe factor. The antique carved wooden chairs flanking the fireplace are upholstered in a hand-painted fabric and gold metallic trim. Custom-made European chandelier.

Greek Revival Home Exudes Deep South Style

Text by Cheryl Alexander | Photography by Wade Blissard | Interior design by Christina Graci Javanmardi, Graci Interiors | Construction by Fairway Companies | Architecture by Marshall Porterfield

Despite what images the term might conjure, “Southern” features more than one style of architecture. Some styles are grand; others are more modest. But Southern homes typically have certain commonalities. Their structures are de­signed to handle the South’s hot, humid weather. They include porches that foster Southerners’ sense of community. And whether new or old, these homes include classic architectural details that add timeless elegance and a sense of history.

One easily recognizable Southern architectural type is the plantation style home. In the United States, this architecture is the neoclassical architectural style characteristic of the 19th century Southern U.S., especially the Deep South, from after the birth of the country with the American Revolution to the start of the American Civil War. Antebellum architecture is especially characterized by Georgian, Neoclassical and Greek Revival style plantation homes and mansions.

When the couple featured in this story began looking for a home for their young family, they found that Greek Revival options available in the Houston area were extremely limited. After shopping for an existing home, they were unable to find anything to fit their lifestyle and design preferences, so they instead focused on the area where they wanted to raise their family. They soon found an appealing neighborhood with large lots and enormous trees. They also like that the community feels a bit remote, yet is well-connected to all that Houston has to offer.

Once they identified the neighborhood, they found the lot they wanted, demolished the existing structure and began working on designing their home. Their plans included exterior architectural details that are distinctively Greek Revival: a commanding façade with symmetrical elements, such as large, white columns, a balanced display of windows and a centered entry; front and rear porches featuring classic blue-painted bead board ceilings both up and downstairs; French doors leading onto the porches and patios of the home; gas lanterns; a slate roof; and even the requisite large oak tree out front.

Indoors, too, they desired a traditional Southern aesthetic. To accomplish this, architectural elements such as brick walls, brick fireplaces and brick flooring, as well as wide-plank wood flooring, rustic wood mantles, a wooden staircase and a traditional wood balustrade were incorporated into the design. The couple also wanted to make sure their home design was fresh and youthful. “With all of these architectural embellishments, the aesthetic can get really heavy and serious,” explained Christina Graci Javanmardi, the interior designer. “We kept things modern with bright, vibrant color everywhere.”

Southern interiors, too, typically include bright white walls to create an open, airy feel, with lots of patterns and colors to intensify charm. “The homeowners wanted exuberant colors,” said Christina, “but tailored to suit the traditional framework of the home. We used bright corals, yellows, pinks and blues for a great result.”

Examples in this young family’s home include the wallpaper in both powder baths: in the more formal space, birds and florals keep it traditional, but its vibrant color moves it forward; in the smaller powder room, a playful blue and white chinoiserie toile colors the room with whimsy — a classic Southern trait. In the master bath, surrounded by wide and slender stripes on the window coverings, a floral-patterned bench blooms brightly. In the daughter’s room, checks and florals in pinks and raspberries keep everything sweet.

There’s an adage regarding Southern design: “A room shouldn’t look like it all arrived on the same day.” In other words, one’s furniture and accessories should look like they’ve been collected over time; some pieces may even have visible imperfections. These details evoke nostalgia, even soulfulness. Antiques and family heirlooms will be found in every Southern home and will blend seamlessly with new furniture that resembles antiques or even more contemporary pieces.

This family’s kitchen perfectly illustrates this aesthetic. The overall interior of the kitchen is reminiscent of a circa 1900 staff kitchen — generous in size, while super simple. Ceilings span to 12 feet and cabinets reach the ceiling. The white marble countertops and custom hood are kept uncomplicated. Glazed arabesque backsplash tiles and vibrant blue checks and patterns on the chair fabrics keep the space current; the lighting offers interest. A wooden-beaded chandelier (as opposed to crystal) speaks to the informal tone of the room, while the simple lines of the lanterns balance the more intricate chandelier.

In early Southern kitchens, a keeping room would be adjacent and would serve as both a place for staff to lounge when not preparing meals as well as a place for them to easily monitor the family’s children. In this home, the keeping room serves as a kid’s den and is separated visually by an arched bricked wall. The furniture is comfortable and functional, and storage options keep toys out of sight.

As well, the kitchen is open to the formal living room where the furniture again fuses old and new. New chinoiserie mirrors above the chest of drawers and a new chandelier with an antique design complement actual antique chairs flanking the fireplace. French bergères are updated with new upholstery and are well-suited across the room from more modern pieces: an opaque, white glass waterfall console, side tables and a stone top coffee table.

Building a home is a huge undertaking that requires extensive planning and professional experience as well as tremendous foresight. Finding a lot, demolishing an existing structure, then building from the ground up is a project that any couple might find daunting, and many couples are married for decades before they are ready to settle in a home they might want to live in forever. Yet for this couple in their 30s, this project represented an opportunity for them to cement their relationship, establish themselves in the community and watch their family grow.

The result of their effort has gone above and beyond their expectations. The large, classic, plantation style home makes a grand statement and offers a timeless presence in an impressive neighborhood. And inside, the young family has plenty of room to grow in comfortable, elegant and fun spaces that flow seamlessly together, weaving past and present with a very bright future.

TOP IMAGE CAPTION: The custom designed mantel and over mantel are by Christina Graci Javanmardi. The fireplace surround is painted brick. Select shades of salmon and burnt orange adorn the space. Silk taffeta draperies with an extra wide key tape trim provide the luxe factor. The antique carved wooden chairs flanking the fireplace are upholstered in a hand-painted fabric and gold metallic trim. Custom-made European chandelier. (Photo – TK Images)

The formal living room design was inspired by Oushak rug from Matt Cameron Rugs.

The formal living room design was inspired by Oushak rug from Matt Cameron Rugs.

In the kitchen and breakfast area, the coordinating cornflower blue and white fabric patterns served as inspiration for the pattern and color used throughout the home. The backsplash tile, a homeowner favorite, features handmade arabesque porcelain tile. The simple lines of the lanterns complement and balance the more intricate wooden beaded chandelier. Custom cabinetry. Custom hood by Christina Graci Javanmardi.

In the kitchen and breakfast area, the coordinating cornflower blue and white fabric patterns served as inspiration for the pattern and color used throughout the home. The backsplash tile, a homeowner favorite, features handmade arabesque porcelain tile. The simple lines of the lanterns complement and balance the more intricate wooden beaded chandelier. Custom cabinetry. Custom hood by Christina Graci Javanmardi.

 

Playful chinoiserie toile wallpaper in the informal powder bathroom echoes the color scheme from the kitchen and breakfast area. Custom bow front sink basin is by Christina Graci Javanmardi. Fixtures are polished nickel; Custom mirror, painted lampshades and sconces.

Playful chinoiserie toile wallpaper in the informal powder bathroom echoes the color scheme from the kitchen and breakfast area. Custom bow front sink basin is by Christina Graci Javanmardi. Fixtures are polished nickel; Custom mirror, painted lampshades and sconces.

 

The homeowner’s preference for subtle animal prints is exhibited in the family room rug by Stark Carpet. Custom color handmade glazed lamps were inspired by the artwork above the sofa. Lime green Ikat print on the Bobbin chairs and ottomans provide a nice mix of pattern. Custom wrought iron light fixture by Christina Graci Javanmardi; mantel is a simple antique wood beam.

The homeowner’s preference for subtle animal prints is exhibited in the family room rug by Stark Carpet. Custom color handmade glazed lamps were inspired by the artwork above the sofa. Lime green Ikat print on the Bobbin chairs and ottomans provide a nice mix of pattern. Custom wrought iron light fixture by Christina Graci Javanmardi; mantel is a simple antique wood beam.

 

In the formal powder bath, the wallpaper is distinctly Southern featuring florals and birds. Modern colors add new life. Custom vanity cabinet adorned with brass hardware and antiqued mercury glass mirror by Christina Graci Javanmardi; quartizite counter top; antique Louis Phillipe style mirror.

In the formal powder bath, the wallpaper is distinctly Southern featuring florals and birds. Modern colors add new life. Custom vanity cabinet adorned with brass hardware and antiqued mercury glass mirror by Christina Graci Javanmardi; quartizite counter top; antique Louis Phillipe style mirror.

 

The warm, muted peachy gold paint defines the dining room from the rest of the home, and the yellow damask on the painted dining chairs offer a scale pattern that matches the Oushak rug from Matt Cameron Rugs. The antique chandelier and the draperies feature a tiny silk check adorned with silk tassel trimming.

The warm, muted peachy gold paint defines the dining room from the rest of the home, and the yellow damask on the painted dining chairs offer a scale pattern that matches the Oushak rug from Matt Cameron Rugs. The antique chandelier and the draperies feature a tiny silk check adorned with silk tassel trimming.

 

Shades of pink and raspberry were meticulously selected for the Swedish style headboards, bedding, walls and traditional ottomans in this girl’s room. Cream-colored Belgian linen draperies are highlighted with pink trimming. Matouk bedding and patterned shams are custom.

Shades of pink and raspberry were meticulously selected for the Swedish style headboards, bedding, walls and traditional ottomans in this girl’s room. Cream-colored Belgian linen draperies are highlighted with pink trimming. Matouk bedding and patterned shams are custom.

 

A playful, floral fabric on the bench served as inspiration for the master bedroom. Lime greens and coral tones are featured in the upholstery, drapery, bedding and custom-colored handmade pottery lamps. The starburst mirror is antique and adds a warm element to the space.

A playful, floral fabric on the bench served as inspiration for the master bedroom. Lime greens and coral tones are featured in the upholstery, drapery, bedding and custom-colored handmade pottery lamps. The starburst mirror is antique and adds a warm element to the space.

 

The master bathroom tile is a mixture of both gray and white marble. The custom floor features a gray field and white marble cabochons. Custom doors by Christina Graci Javanmardi with oversized knobs set the tone upon entering the space. The custom chair height paneling contrasts perfectly to the high barrel vaulted ceiling.

The master bathroom tile is a mixture of both gray and white marble. The custom floor features a gray field and white marble cabochons. Custom doors by Christina Graci Javanmardi with oversized knobs set the tone upon entering the space. The custom chair height paneling contrasts perfectly to the high barrel vaulted ceiling.

 

Custom draperies positioned over the tub offer a nicely scaled pattern. Polished nickel fixtures and custom Matouk linens provide elements of luxury.

Custom draperies positioned over the tub offer a nicely scaled pattern. Polished nickel fixtures and custom Matouk linens provide elements of luxury.


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