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Flawless Fusion Distinctive Home Offers a Blend of Style and Creativity

The family room directly off the kitchen provides a cozy retreat from daily life. Custom furniture is by Hien Lam Upholstery. The lighting is from Brown and Liz Spradling. Zebra rug is from Creative Flooring and Conrad shades on the windows are provided by The Shade Shop.

When creative minds collaborate on well-planned projects, the combined efforts will likely produce a masterpiece. Such is the case at the home of Aimee and Wynne Snoots. Their home is the result of their own vision and enhanced by experts in architecture, custom building, design and décor. Each element is, of course, distinctive on its own, but when blended artistically and with regard for each individual component, the fusion is nothing short of flawless.

The Snoots began their search for a new home while living in West University where they had been for eight years. After a two-year quest that yielded little more than frustration, they decided to refine their search, looking for lots in desired neighborhoods and exploring distinctive builder spec homes. Their realtor began showing them residences built by Parker Homes Inc., and Aimee reveals, “We actually visited and interviewed homeowners of the homes that Dan had built in the neighborhoods we were interested in.”

They soon discovered a lot they felt was perfect. Aimee confides, “The lot was great, and there were lots of kids in the neighborhood.” However, when Dan showed them the blueprints for the home he planned to build on the lot, Wynne balked. “Wynne insisted that the spec home was way too big for our family of four,” Aimee continues. Dan counseled the couple, though, and stressed that they wouldn’t find a lot the size of the one they wanted in the neighborhoods they were considering with a smaller home on it. Dan suggested they move forward with that home on that lot.

After much consideration, and as Aimee says, “making sure we could actually live in the whole house, as opposed to only a portion of the house,” they decided to move forward with Dan as their builder, but elected to customize the spec home a bit to allow for their personal preferences. Altering a builder’s plans on a project of this magnitude would obviously require expertise, so the Snoots called in Sarah West, architectural consultant, to assist with the customization.

Sarah’s job began with an analysis of the family and their needs. She then added architectural design elements that truly lend an authentically lived-in feeling to a home that is brand new. For example, Aimee’s inspiration for the aesthetic of the dwelling is Tuscan/French “not country,” she explains, “but rustic.” To address this element architecturally, Sarah redesigned and reconstructed the main fireplace to accommodate a fabulous reclaimed structure, along with several reclaimed doors, distinctive archways and stone inserts throughout the home.

The reclaimed fireplace is the centerpiece of the main living area and a focal point in the open floor plan, which makes the residence a great place for gathering friends and family. Aimee admits, “This home is laid out perfectly for entertaining. We probably had 12 parties the first six months we lived here!” It’s true; the downstairs floor plan is wide open. The kitchen and informal dining area flow seamlessly into the den. This entire area is open via two sets of French doors and a wall of windows to the backyard and outdoor entertaining area, where they added a pool and putting green to complement the full-on outdoor kitchen specially wired with two flat screen TVs—“perfect for watching games year round.”

They also thought it was a good idea to have separate media rooms—one upstairs for the kids, which is attached to the playroom; one downstairs for the adults—complete with a pool table and acoustically-correct, soft, padded walls, covered beautifully in a uniquely textured grass cloth.

The beautiful finishes on the walls, beams and cabinets are another element of collaboration in this dynamic dwelling—all the work of Leslie Sinclair of Segreto Finishes. Leslie was invited to the design team in order to help make this new home look and feel as though it has been around for a long time. Leslie finished all of the cabinetry in the home with the idea that they should look like pieces of furniture that were built into the home. She explains, “In the kitchen, which is so open to the rest of the house, if we had simply spray painted the cabinets, the kitchen would’ve looked like a separate room, but since we decided to finish the cabinets like furniture, they look like part of the room—warm and inviting. As a result, the kitchen seems to flow into the dining area and den and is just as welcoming as those rooms.”

How did she accomplish that? Leslie reveals, “By layering cabinets, beams and built-ins with a series of glazes, they become furniture pieces enhancing the stone tiles and surfaces surrounding them.”

In addition to the wonderful finishes on the cabinets, beams and built-ins, the plaster walls Leslie created offer a fabulous effect along with some more practical advantages. Aesthetically, the finish is amazingly rich and luxurious with a soft sheen that is unavailable with sheetrock. Aimee says, “I love the way the plaster ‘hugs’ the architecture of the house. We have so many curved walls, arched doorways and groin-vaulted ceilings that are enormously enhanced with our decision to use plaster. Our walls have life and luster and movement.”

Leslie explains that the technique of plastering had all but fallen by the wayside until the discovery that plaster could be used as a veneer applied directly over sheetrock, which makes it much more affordable than most people realize. She continues, “Plaster offers a strong surface that resists abrasion and cracking.” Leslie adds, “One of the least known features of veneer plastering is its fire resistance. Depending on the plaster used, you can actually get up to a four-hour fire rating.” Additionally, it can also eliminate the need for window casements, crown molding or baseboards. Aimee stresses that her beautiful plaster walls don’t show dirt and grime like the sheetrock in her West U home did.

The Snoots wholeheartedly agree that another major component of the success of their home’s aesthetic came from their decision to work with Cindy Witmer, their designer. Aimee divulges, “I learned the hard way. In my previous home, I micro-managed the interior designer, and I ended up wishing I hadn’t interfered as much.” This time Aimee relied heavily on Cindy’s experience and expertise and both Aimee and Wynne completely love the outcome. Aimee also emphasizes that her decision to trust her designer eliminated a lot of the stress she felt in previous home buying and moving experiences.

Cindy and Aimee took a trip to Round Top and bought most of the major pieces of furniture and décor. She says, “Aimee was the best client. She let me do my job and really respected my abilities. On our initial shopping trip, we bought a piece for every room and almost all of the lighting.” Cindy continues, “Then near the end, we brought in some more funky, unexpected pieces like the modern art and the acrylic lamp.” She explains that this allows the homeowners’ tastes to continually evolve. “The house can retain its architectural and decorative style, but continue to grow with the people who reside in the home, like a living organism.”

The Snoots’ decision to combine the efforts of a team of experts to build, design and finish their custom home was a wise one. The result is a beautiful blend of style and creativity that lends an air of authenticity to this luxury residence, allowing room for the owners and their children to live in the home with comfort and ease, as if they’ve been here forever.

The entry to the home is grounded by a centuries old stone table found at Chatueau Domingue. Plastered walls throughout the home are by Segreto Finishes. Beautifully grand reclaimed double doors provide a brilliant first impression upon entering the home.

The nucleus of a home’s activity is ultimately the kitchen, and this home is no exception. The oversized island is honed granite with extra thick edges to create a massive gathering place for friends and family. Plastered walls and glazed cabinets by Segreto Finishes, as well as reclaimed brick backsplashes and reclaimed stone countertops found at Chateau Domingue reiterate the old world theme found throughout the home.

The breakfast room features an antique tilt-top wine tasting table surrounded by French chairs. Both table and chairs are from Joyce Horn Antiques in Houston. The reclaimed shutters add warmth and age to the room while hiding a well-placed and oft-used home office. The antique French iron baker’s rack and shutters are all from Chateau Domingue. Rug is by Creative Flooring; chandelier is from AREA in Houston.

The media room combines a little bit of Texas with the old world mix. The longhorn painting is by San Antonio artist Diana Hendrix. The painting and the gorgeous reclaimed wood coffee table were found at AREA. The billiards table light fixture is from BROWN and the custom leather and metal barstools were made by David Taylor of Antiques and Interiors on Dunlavy in Houston.

The dining room is a study in old and new, starting with the 19th century Italian painted wood tableau, which hangs above an antique Belgium farmhouse sideboard from the Vieux. Whimsical chandeliers were found among treasures at a tent in Marburger Farms during the bi-annual Roundtop Antiques Fair. Chairs are by Hien Lam and the gorgeous rugs throughout the home are by Greg Manteris of Creative Flooring. Rose Tarlow silk and Italian Fortuny fabric combine for lovely window coverings by Linda Falk.

The reclaimed limestone, Trumeau-style fireplace was found at Chateau Domingue and re-assembled piece by piece in the home. It is flanked by 18th century French chairs that are recoverd in Fortuny fabric. The antique beaded glass chandelier (18th century Tuscan) and chairs are all from Tara Shaw Antiques. All window coverings are the handiwork of Linda Falk.

Sarah’s room is lovely in lavendar and pink. A challenging window situation was beautifully remedied by Linda Falk, who seems to find a solution for every window. The wrought iron bed is custom by Daphne Scarbrough at The Brass Maiden. Bed linens are by Linda Falk and Longoria collection.

Sam’s room is all boy with a custom headboard covered in a Pindler stripe. Curtains and duvet are in a Malabar stripe, reminiscent of the stitching on a baseball, which is a favorite of Sam’s. Window coverings and bedding are custom by Linda Falk.

The master bedroom is warmed up by dramatic blue walls and beams given a wonderful old patina by Segreto Finishes. The chandelier and sconces were found at the Roundtop Antique fair, and the acrylic lamps and parchment nightstands are from AREA in Houston.

The master bath beckons one to enter and relax at the end of a long day. The cabinets were glazed with a light hand, creating an aura that matches the of the rest of the space, yet leaves an airy ethereal spa look as well. The French chandelier is from Tara Shaw Antiques. Plastered walls and groin-vaulted ceiling, as well as the glazed cabinets, are the handiwork of Segreto Finishes. Stone floors mimic the look of the antiques but are new and found at Materials Marketing.

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