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The Wow Factor

Interior designer Laurie Coton turns the blank canvas of a Houston high-rise into a vibrant work of art.

Most of the spaces in the airy, light-filled home flow seamlessly together, such as the open-concept living and dining area. 

In the office, an Arteriors floor lamp with burnished brass and matte black accents illuminates a Dali chair from Cantoni.

Vibrant orange cushions on two Roche Bobois chairs add a punch of color to the mostly neutral living room.  

“He wore muted and understatedly elegant clothes, while she went with color, like Pucci glasses,” recalls in-demand interior designer Laurie Coton about the owners of a high-rise condo at the Astoria in Houston. The globe-trotting couple purchased the posh unit as a vacation home and gave Coton carte blanche to make all decor decisions. The designer had a stunning blank canvas on which to mix a neutral palette with brilliant pops of color: a 4,600-square-foot space with hardwood floors and 10-foot windows showcasing spectacular views of downtown and the Galleria area.

“It was fun,” says the warm and engaging Coton, who is a third-generation Houstonian, and serves as president and lead creative director of Consilium Home. “It was like commissioning a painting.” Coton was left to her creative instincts, and the results were low-key contemporary chic matched with a little drama. In the living room, she contrasted two sofas upholstered in taupe hues with two Roche Bobois chairs covered in bold Jean Paul Gaultier fabric.

For center stage, she selected a Murano glass coffee table with an organic shaped top and sculptural base—a dazzling piece that is furniture-as-art at its finest.

Coton’s vision of mixing the sedate with the theatrical continues in the dining room. Here, a Carrera marble looking ceramic-topped table that seats 10 is surrounded by chairs upholstered in a taupe-gray color. In counterpoint to this simplicity, beneath lies a custom rug by Hokanson and Scott Group Studio that radiates with a weblike design of brilliant colors chosen by Coton. “This is a place to sit for hours and talk,” says the designer. “It’s both relaxing and invigorating.” 

The same can be said for the entire home, which Coton filled with other signature pieces and accents. In a guest bedroom often used by the couple’s grandson—whom they lovingly refer to as “the monkey”—Coton went for whimsy, placing a playful papier-mache chandelier, made to look like a mass of leafy jungle tree limbs, alongside a custom watercolor of a friendly monkey by Houston artist pat McEnery. In the media room the designer gave her clients a darkened theater space with heavy curtains drenched in shades of purple and blue, a color scheme that also appears in a plush sectional sofa complemented by another custom rug by Hokanson and Scott Group Studio, this time in a subtle bricklike design of eggplant and gray.

“When I work with a high-rise my goal is to expose the inner beauty through design,” Coton says. “And when clients, as in this case, prefer to step back and hand us the reins, it allows them the ‘wow’ experience at the end.” On both counts, Coton succeeded