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By Jessica Elliott | Photo: Michael Hunter | February 1, 2017
A California couple bring their sunny dispositions and modern sensibility to a cheerful Houston-area home.
It took one drive through the tree-lined streets in The Woodlands to convince Californian Kim Menzie that her family belonged in Texas. The optometrist and her consultant husband, Mark, had been looking for a change of pace and a more familial neighborhood in which to raise their two children.
“It was a big decision to leave our home in the Bay Area—we had lived there for 15 years—but it was so beautiful and green in The Woodlands,” Menzie says. Plus, they could attain a much larger home in Texas, something they had been longing to find. “It’s so competitive in the Bay Area—you are lucky just to get a house,” she notes.
But Menzie struggled with where to begin—homes available on the streets she coveted didn’t speak to her long love affair and familiarity with contemporary architecture. “I noticed the homes here weren’t as modern as they were in Cali,” she says. An arduous search led her to Novi Home Builders, which happened to have blueprints for a rectilinear structure already drawn up. “It was a design unique to The Woodlands, and it intrigued me,” Menzie says. “I thought: This is a house we could really love. It’s different from everything else in the neighborhood.”
With 15-foot ceilings, an abundance of natural light and unobstructed views of a lake abutting the property, the 5,000-square-foot home would be an ideal backdrop for the peppy, vibrant furnishings Menzie envisioned in the space. “I have always gravitated toward clean lines and bright colors,” she says. With plans to bring only a few pieces from California—including her first major furniture investment, a cheery yellow American Leather sofa purchased two decades ago—she began devising the interior design.
During a Houston visit, she browsed modern design store Cantoni. “I fell in love with their furniture,” she says. There, she also met longtime Cantoni design consultant Gena Sylvester. “We clicked right away,” Menzie says. “She completely read my mind.” The homeowner knew she needed Sylvester’s help to achieve her lively, airy vision.
Menzie’s first musts were the Big dining table by Italian company Bonaldo—with bold, angular legs that Sylvester ordered in custom shades—and a playful entryway bathed in teal. “I knew then that we were going to go everywhere with the colors,” the designer says. Sylvester tapped Cantoni’s resource library to artfully employ varying shades throughout each room, in the form of multihued glass sculptures from SkLO in the dining room, turquoise Bonaldo chairs in a downstairs seating area and custom chartreuse bar stools in the kitchen, tempering each space with warm caramel or neutral white. “I wanted to strike a balance,” she says.
In the master bedroom, varying soothing shades of blue play off the pool and lake just outside, and the Dreamscape bedding mirrors ripples across water.
“I probably would have made it look too wild if I didn’t have Gena’s help,” Menzie says, laughing. “She kept
Minimal—but still unexpected. “I’ve never done a house with this much color in it,” Sylvester says. “It really was a lot of fun.” More important, the family is content in their new home—and new city. “It makes us very happy,” Menzie says. “For where we are in our lives with raising our family, this is definitely where we need to be.”
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