Remember the West University Home Tour this past spring? I was hoping to show you all the houses on the wwatour, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to because several are up for publication. The first house from the tour that I showed was Heidi Dugan’s house designed by Ginger Barber HERE. The comments about Heidi’s house were overwhelmingly positive. Thank you all for that. I always appreciate all the comments you leave – I know it takes extra effort and for that I am most thankful.
Today’s house from the tour is different than Heidi’s in one key way. Heidi’s house is new, custom built for her. Today’s house, built in 1940, is original to the neighborhood, which is unusual for West University where many houses are torn down and new, larger houses are built on the small lots. Today’s house, is also unique because its lot size is much larger than the norm and it is located in one of the prettiest sections of West U. Most houses on this street are original: to tear down one of these beauties is almost a sin.
The house’s beauty starts with its curb appeal. It has a brick clad facade that is now entirely covered in romantic ivy. Inside, the appeal continues. The owner, interior designer Mary Jane Gallagher, lives here with her husband and children. Mary Jane has a definite style and the entire house is her canvas. She describes the décor as “casual elegance.” The biggest surprise is found out back. Several years ago, the Gallaghers hired noted architect Kurt Aichler who built a “casita” in the backyard. The casita really sets the house apart – its main room is two stories tall with a balcony that overlooks the first floor.
I am crazy about this house – I love everything here, the design, the furnishings, the accessories. I swear, give me a suitcase and I could move in here today without taking a thing from my own house! Enjoy!!!
You can tell that a designer had a hand in this house before even stepping foot inside. I love the way the black slate steps are repeated with the black painted Georgian door and the window trim. The ivy is neatly clipped around the windows – emphasizing the red brick. On the front porch with matching lanterns are two concrete angels and two French pots filled with box. The landscaping is all green, rows of box extend from one end to the other. Driving by this house, you would definitely slow down and try to look inside, it’s curb appeal is undeniable.
Mary Jane’s style starts at the first room – the living room. The floors are stained a dark brown/black. The plaster walls are a soft white. The décor is a study in brown and white. There is no clutter or small accessories, instead there are several large pieces placed around the room commanding attention. The rug, a zebra skin, is the only pattern here. A large painting, flanked by iron sconces, rests on the floor, standing behind two antique chairs covered in white linen. The pillows are brown velvet with antique metallic trim. The sofa is slipped in white linen.
Looking the other way at the front window, textured blinds hang behind the curtain panels. A large dark stained table stands in the front window along with a tall pot and an even taller gilt lamp.
Closeup of the statue in front of the large painting. The peeling paint adds to its appeal.
On the opposite wall of the large painting and two antique chairs, a tall gilt mirror reflecting the vignette.
A close up of the velvet pillows with the metallic trim.
The dining room is between the kitchen and the living room, with views to the backyard and the casita. The table is a round, gathered skirt made of linen. The antique chairs have nail heads and are covered in green velvet.
On the dining room table sits a gilt crown holding white roses.
The entire room is reflected in another oversized gilt framed mirror with views of the living room and the nearby family room.
Large French doors open to the back yard. Through the arches is the living room and next is the family room.
In this close up of the façade, the living room is easily seen where the large pot sits in the window. The room on the extreme left side of the house is the family room.
The family room sits next to the living room. Furnished in similar colors and style to the living room, the decor flows from room to room.
Here, a white slipped sofa with a beautifully curved back is mixed with wicker and crystals and gilt. The large window with the textured blinds and flowing white sheers overlooks the front yard. A zebra rug sits on top of the seagrass. I love the gray and white striped pillows.
I love the oversized accessories Mary Jane has placed around the house, like this sculpture that sits next to the chinoiserie lamp in the family room.
A fireplace sits in between built in shelves filled with antique books, coral, glassware, and framed maps. I love the gilt lamps. A large Louis Philippe mirror reflects the sofa. In front of the back windows sits an antique slipcovered settee.
I love the way Mary Jane accessorized her shelves with a mix of antique books and coral.
Closeup of a collection of glassware found in the shelves in the family room.
Here is a glimpse of the stairs leading up to where all the bedrooms are located. Another large gilt Louis Philippe is flanked by two antique architectural elements.
The casita – designed by architect Kurt Aichler. It looks like a miniature version of the “big” house – with the red brick, the black windows and doors – and large box filled pots.
I adore the awnings!!! More box woods and lanterns.
Inside the casita, the main room is set up as a dining room with a long wood table and benches, perfect for entertaining. Upstairs is a guest room.
A set of black and white photographs of busts hung close together act as one large piece of art. Love those photos!!!!
The seagrass covered stairs with iron balcony lead to a landing which overlooks the entire room below. I really love the French doors with panes that don’t go all the way to the floor.
I hope you have enjoyed the Gallaghers house as much as I did! I am so crazy about Mary Jane’s style. I love the way the rooms flow together aesthetically – the white walls, the dark floors, the large accessories, the white slipcovers and the dark velvet fabrics. The only pattern found throughout is stripes – the zebra stripes and the stripes in the pillows in the different rooms, including the casita. I don’t know this, but I would assume the Gallaghers like to entertain a lot which is why they use the casita’s main room as a dining area. I would probably use it as a second living area – since I NEVER entertain!
Mary Jane and I exchanged emails and I am hoping that she will allow me to show more of her design work in the near future. I am dying to see the houses that she has designed!!!! A huge thank you to Mary Jane for letting me show these pictures. Thanks again Mary Jane!
To contact Mary Jane, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org