Spoiling guests is an art form at this home in The Heights
Ahh, to be a pampered overnight houseguest, snoozing beneath sumptuous, fine linens. Your hosts insist that you make yourself at home. The kitchen is at your disposal. And how about hanging out on the front porch after dinner for a glass of wine and conversation?
Spoiling guests is part of the fun at Marcy and Scott Pryor’s “Country French meets Traditional” two-story charmer in The Heights. But soft sheets and great food aren’t the only perks.
Overnight visitors receive a “Pryor Hostel” T-shirt.
“We’ve had so many guests that we had T-shirts made. When you spend the night, you get one,” quips Marcy, pulling one from the guest bedroom closet. “But I think we might be out of size Large right now.”
Yes, comfort is key at the Pryor abode, very much part of its design dictum. It’s an inspired home, made all the more so by Marcy’s keen eye and talents. She’s been known to transform furniture by paintbrush and capture brilliant family moments through her photography. Some of her pictures adorn the house. Bottled-up creativity bubbles over in her upstairs craft room where she tackles all manner of projects to pass on as gifts or use as home décor.
In short, the woman has a creative knack.
The result is a warm, relaxed, anything-but-contrived home that reflects this empty-nester couple’s generous hospitality.
“More than anything else, we wanted this to be a put-your-feet-up kind of place,” explains Marcy, who especially loves when their grown children — Connor, 21, a junior at the University of Mississippi, and daughter Jordan, 24, attending a physician’s assistant school in Pittsburgh — are home. Comfy bedrooms await them both, Connor’s is decked out in all things lacrosse, a sport he will play for Ole Miss next spring. “I took many a picture of him playing lacrosse over the years,” says Marcy, pointing out a favorite.
She couldn’t wait to get her hands on this house. It was 3,800 square feet of studs and sheetrock when purchased, awaiting design input. “I had definite ideas in mind. Paint colors, light fixtures, surfaces, hardware… Basically, all of that we got to choose. I love that sort of thing and had started a binder of ideas before for a house we were going to build in The Woodlands, but didn’t. So I was good to go.”
And go she did, employing plenty of thought about how best to use color. She opted for a largely neutral palette throughout (Crushed Ice, Sherwin-Williams) and furniture with uncluttered lines to allow accessories and art to shine. Scene One Interiors in The Houston Design Center customized draperies and helped with scale. A variety of patterns and textures keep the rooms casually connected.
Crisp white crown molding and cabinetry mark most of the home, a nice contrast to red walnut floors in ebony.
Pops of accent color provide interest. A harlequin-patterned orange and white shade in the kitchen contrasts nicely with neutral surfaces, for instance. Matching draperies in the den similarly add zing to that room’s neutral tones.
A Peppercorn gray (Sherwin-Williams) kitchen island matches moldings and shelves of the same color in the front living room. A small workstation off the den cleverly employs shiplap on its wall, a keepsake from the original house that once inhabited the property. “I originally wanted to keep it the original raw wood color because of interesting marking on it,” she explains. “But it got the Peppercorn treatment too since we had some paint overspray on it. I like the way it turned out.”
In the dining room, walls of Sherwin-Williams Patchwork Plum add drama to the mix. A crisp white cabinet anchors one wall, a piece transformed thanks to Marcy. “It was originally green and the hardware was black.” Table and chairs from Laurie’s Antiques round out this room.
Cast your eye to the butler’s pantry between dining and kitchen and you’ll find a standout feature, a chandelier made from wine bottles. “I wanted something really fun and different,” she says. “All of those wine bottles are wine that we drank. Originally I had saved a bunch of clear bottles and it was going to be a clear-colored chandelier, but when I put it up it just looked weird. So I just took out some of the clear, we drank some more wine and put it back together again.”
Family memories inspired some home details too. Scott’s grandfather’s Diamond Dot Farm is paid homage through a harlequin tile pattern in the powder bath and daughter’s bathroom. The same pattern exists in some curtains and on rugs. “If you look outside the window here, there’s a white diamond on our fence. We lost the little dot that goes in the middle of it over the years, but it’s from his grandpa’s farm. We have diamonds everywhere in our house. It just sort of worked out that way.”
The family is especially attached to a single-cushion sofa in the living room. “We’ve had it so many years. So comfortable!” Marcy says. Originally with rolled arms, it was cleverly cut down to accommodate a space between bookshelves. The piece was transformed from Army green to a beautiful grayish-taupe and gold damask.
The living room, with its view of the trees beyond, is a favorite gathering space. It’s calm, yet elegant, but not in a froufrou way. It’s grounded with a felt rug and lively art that speaks to this family. A large piece by Heights artist Kelly Devine constructed from pages of the book, The Purpose Driven Life hangs on one wall. Sid Dickens tiles that Marcy has collected over the years are arranged over the sofa.
Upstairs, the master suite indulges a good night’s sleep with electronic blackout drapes. One click of a button and forget the outside world. “Scotty’s idea,” she says. Plush bedding, two swivel-and-rock linen chairs and a fireplace for winter nights add to this calm mix. A coffee bar just off this space is at the ready upon waking.
Moving to The Heights, just minutes from Scott’s downtown office, was the best decision they ever made, says Marcy. “ I think we’ve added 10 years to my husband’s life. He doesn’t have to get on the freeway, he’s home in five minutes. He can come home for lunch if he wants to. Houston has added so many people to its community the past several years and it’s really showing up on the roads.”
Indeed, Scott has time before work for a morning run or walk around the block with their Belgian Shepherd, Gracie. In the evening, the couple strolls to restaurants and takes in the rhythm of the neighborhood from their front porch.
“We’re out there all the time,” Marcy says. “Ever since Scotty and I were married we wanted a house with a front porch, but in the six or seven times we’ve moved we never had one. People walk past with their dogs, couples walk by. It’s like living in a small town. You have that interaction. It’s just great — you can’t beat it.”
Text by: Cathy Gordon
Photography by: Susan Friday Photography
Builder: Whitestone Builders
Interior Design: Scene One Interiors
TOP IMAGE:Crisp white cabinets and molding and walls painted in Sherwin-Williams Crushed Ice make for a neutral background for pops of color. Scene One Interiors made the home’s draperies, including these in the den that add fun contrast to timeless furniture in linen. The sofa table in chalk paint is not only beautiful, but functional.