When Houston-based designer Sally Wheat first met her dream client in 2013, she was excited to learn that the young family was game for giving their sweet colonial a fun and daring facelift.
“They were just willing to do anything,” says Wheat. With a penchant for vibrant colors, plush textiles, and loud patterns, Wheat filled their happy home with rich textures and vintage furnishings. “Not like we went crazy, but for Houston, that’s out of the box.”
But when the same couple discovered they’d be welcoming their fourth child years later, their quaint and quiet abode just didn’t cut it anymore. A traditional new-build with ample square footage and plenty of room for each of their little ones to roam proved to be the perfect fit. Once again, the wife asked Wheat to reimagine their blank canvas.
“The house was beautiful, but it wasn’t her style,” Wheat tells Domino. “She wanted that ‘wow factor’ when you walked in the door.”
Playful, powerful, and overflowing with personality, this art-filled Texas home steers clear of quinnessential Southern charm; instead taking full advantage of graphic accents, vintage light fixtures, and a seriously cool art collection.
“We started out near the front door in this tiny little parlor-type room,” says Wheat. In the small sitting area just off the entryway, breathtaking black walls serve as an appropriate backdrop for the family’s loudest pieces—like the striking graffiti settee (a piece Wheat sourced years ago from a junk store) and a vintage Sciolari chandelier.
“I tried to choose as much of the furniture that they had as I could,” she recalls. While the once-bright-yellow sofa charmed the living room at the owners’ previous home, Wheat quickly realized that the piece would need to be reupholstered for it to pack a bold punch in the new space. “I found that fabric from Timorous Beasties,” says Wheat. "Everything kind of went off of that.”
Vintage Dorothy Draper chairs and matte black accents serve as elegant counterpoints to the room’s more playful elements and accessories.
In the entryway, the home hits a lighter note with crisp white walls and metallic touches. The quirky copper pendants from FLOS add sculptural fun to the space.
Much like in the parlor, painterly accents serve as the focal point in the media room where a stripped Missoni rug stuns the surface.
No matter how stylish your home, four kiddos, dogs, and dirty shoes can take a dreaded toll on your belongings. Keeping the day-to-day chaos of a young family in mind, Wheat opted for darker and more durable textiles in each room.
In the main living room, for instance, she used perennial fabric for the two grey chesterfields. “They’re indoor-outdoor; indestructible,” she says.
Eye-catching works of art—from cool contemporary sculptures to enormous abstract paintings—make their way into almost every living space.
“Art is huge in a room. If it’s not the number one, it’s close to being the number one thing that affects the mood of the whole room,” explains Wheat. “I usually like a large-scale piece and I like it to be really bold.”
In the glam dining room, a watchful Kate Moss by Robert Mars and cozy sheepskin accents introduce a sense of whimsy to formal feasts.
Upstairs, a stellar super hero-inspired nursery awaits for the family’s youngest boy. “I think the baby’s room is my favorite,” says Wheat. “That was really the only room that we didn’t need to keep some element that was already there.”
A fearless Batman mural, graphic black and white rug, and Sally Wheat Interiors fur sheep adorn the spacious boys’ room that is, at once, vibrant, chic, and decidedly badass. Proof that dark hues and larger-than-life art can work wonders in a nursery, the kid-approved dwelling pulls together a variety of textures, colors, and patterns—a tricky feat for most.
“I always have to find balance in the room. If you’re going to use a certain color in a room, you have to match that color in another place sometimes to make it feel cohesive,” Wheat explains.
The two additional children's rooms also experiment with vibrant shades and large-scale art. Her secret to a timeless, exquisitely curated kids’ room? Stay away from themes.
“My personal style leans toward doing something fun and modern, rather than cute and baby-like. You can put really nice pieces in a kids’ room and then the little things can be kid-like: the pillows, stuffed animals, or accessories,” says Wheat. “You don’t want to keep redoing it.”
Falling hard for this artful Texas abode? You can keep up with Sally Wheat’s projects on Instagram.
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