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A Majestic Home in Memorial


A formal but comfortable living area includes a stunning water feature against the far wall, adding an element of serenity to their fast-paced lives.

A formal but comfortable living area includes a stunning water feature against the far wall, adding an element of serenity to their fast-paced lives.

Text by Melanie Saxton  |  Photography by Gary Zvonkovic

Just a bit off the beaten path in the heart of Memorial is the expansive home of Roger and Debbie Clemens. The view from their gated entrance reveals breathtaking architecture spanning over 10,000 square feet — a masterpiece of red brick that surrounds the exterior, but also finds its way into the kitchen. This use of brick inside and outside the home adds a certain warmth and reflects Debbie’s aesthetic — coziness and comfort in the midst of a busy life.

Debbie is first and foremost, a wife and the mother of four boys, who grew up in their Memorial home. Their youngest, Kody, attends Memorial High School. Second son Kory is the “creative child” and a chef who is opening Katch 22, a restaurant in Houston. Their third, Kacy, is college bound (University of Texas). Koby, the oldest, is a catcher for the Sugar Land Skeeters minor league baseball team. This is the only home any of her children can remember, although Debbie and Roger lived in Katy in the ’80s when the older boys were babies. At that time, Roger was known as the “Katy Rocket” and played for the Boston Red Sox. His steady rise as a baseball pitcher and their desire to raise their boys on acreage had them looking at property, ultimately in a serene enclave in the Memorial area.

They settled in an ideal location, large enough to host a variety of guests and eventually accommodate team gatherings for their sons’ friends and coaches. Roger and Debbie created their home with a sense of community in mind. Over the years they hosted charity events, baseball clinics and practices for youth from neighboring churches and organizations. It’s a busy household, and the family spends a good deal of time outdoors. They enjoy cooking on the patio, and although the backyard bustles with activity, a sense of scenic serenity meets the eye. Cy, a friendly Labrador,  and Rocket, a Jack Russell Terrier, patrol the yard along with their loyal grounds crew who have tended their property for years.

 

Walking Distance

At just under three acres, the property has a distinct flow. From the curvature of the driveway to the interesting architecture of adjacent buildings on the property, the layout requires physical movement. “I get a workout just walking back and forth on the grounds,” says Debbie’s mother, Jan Wilde, who is the director of the Roger Clemens Foundation and the coordinator of many of the family’s events.

A detached music studio is accessed by walking from the front entrance or out through the multi-car garage. One end of the structure is constructed in a circular shape, originally built to store Roger’s motorcycles. He converted the space  for use as an entertainment retreat which displays dozens of wall-mounted guitars owned or autographed by famous musicians. Fitted with an electric keyboard, electric drum set and four microphones, it is an ideal place for karaoke. The Jack Russell terrier often “sings” along with Roger.

French doors open to an immense backyard. A stone patio flows down and around a beautiful heated pool, and continues into pathways leading to various buildings, including the pool house. Inside there is a mounted display of deer heads and antlers bagged during hunting expeditions. To feminize the space,  Debbie had the kitchen area tiled in bright colors, mixing greens and turquoise and vibrant hues to compliment the festively painted table and chairs. Acrylic barstools provide additional seating. The building also functions as a lounge and guest quarters, equipped with amenities for family gatherings.

Far back on the property is a wooden fort built for the boys. It boasts a deck strategically structured around a large tree and is home to a popcorn maker, air conditioner unit and a few remnants from the boys’ earlier years. Although her children have outgrown it, this is the perfect playhouse for future grandchildren… “When that day arrives,” says Debbie.

As the boys grew older, Roger replaced the tennis court with a massive gym, complete with basketball hoops, pitcher’s mound, weight equipment, bleachers, batting cage, whirlpool tubs and a game room. The entire family is athletic and uses the equipment routinely. Roger and Debbie are both fitness aficionados. “I believe my fitness routine should be varied, but most importantly fun,” Debbie  says, and includes a fitness page on her website with tips for staying in shape at any age.

 

Style and Design

Debbie designed the interior of her home with help of her mother Jan, or “Nana,” as Roger calls her. They purchased the furniture, lovingly appointed each room, and attended to the details, hiring specialists and craftsmen for special touches. With the help of a custom designer, Debbie had area rugs made to order and displays them throughout the three-story home.

Two bronze limited edition sculptures stand in the main entrance of the house, Être “Emerald Vase” and Être “Lovers and Idol,” each nestled on a column pedestal on either end of the double doors. Two fine oil on canvas 82-inch by 60-inch paintings, also located in the entrance, depict cathedral scenes, both painted by European artist Lentowski. Debbie had a vision for the soaring columns in the entrance, preferring unusual smooth round bases.

Arched doorways lead throughout the home, each inlaid with tile. In fact, stone and tile work compel the eye and unify the flow from room to room. The foyer  ceiling, also tiled, showcases an exquisite chandelier. A “serenity wall” in the formal living room has a tiled backdrop and a soothing waterfall which evokes a calm atmosphere. At the opposite end, a magnificent dark green marble fireplace draws attention, a work of art in itself. A collection of precious stones, minerals and gems is spread across coffee tables and the mantle, completing the theme.

Throughout the home, Debbie chose warm tones for the wall treatments and soft metallic hues for the trim and moldings, which is especially striking in the formal dining room. Accessible from the kitchen and the main room, the space  features a large dining room table and upholstered chairs which can easily accommodate their large family and friends. The room has notable artistic touches, including entry glass panels by Andrea Smith — “Perfect Balance” —made of star fire crystal and measuring 61 inches by 47 inches each. The “Mother & Child” pastel on paper on the wall is also by Andrea Smith. Standing at the end of the room is an urn of hand cut crystal, enhanced with 24 kt gold overlay and ormolu trim, purchased from the  Metropolitan Fine Arts & Antiques in New York City.

The light and airy kitchen is filled with appliances meant for serious cooking and baking — a necessity in a busy household filled with hungry boys and their friends. Bright ceramics peep from behind glass and wood cupboards above the bar, and a festive curio cabinet sits to the side, blending fun and functionality in a popular gathering place.

The master bedroom is a grand retreat for the couple featuring a quartzite fireplace and a large circular tub. A generous sitting area, luxurious bedding and tranquil colors are punctuated by gold accents on the bed frame and furniture.

One of Debbie’s favorite rooms in the house is a guest bedroom designated for her mother. With four boys, she was kept busy decorating in masculine themes. This feminine boudoir, frilly and filled with the dolls her mother collected for her, was a welcome change.

 

Fun and Memorabilia

“Fun” is a theme throughout the Clemens home. A sports memorabilia, or “game” room holds many treasures accumulated from an outstanding career spent in the spotlight. Autographed balls, special gifts from friends, and photographs of sports legends, celebrities and politicians fill display cases and spark conversation. Many fond memories and a few historic accomplishments, such as the seven Cy Young awards mounted above the fireplace, attest to Roger’s career in Major League baseball.

A collection of hundreds of Roger’s bats lines one hallway on the second floor, most given to him by and autographed by his colleagues. Photographs of the family and famous friends line the wall leading up the stairs, a mix of exciting and precious moments captured over the decades.

The family’s third floor movie theater is comfortable with leather seats and snuggle blankets — a favorite hangout for the boys and their friends.

Debbie and Roger enjoy watching each of their sons cultivate their own interests and career paths. Academics are important, and the home includes study areas and all the technology needed for homework and projects. Extracurricular activities are important as well, and these busy parents attend Kody’s games at Memorial High and Koby’s games at Constellation Field, rooting for the home teams. Now they’ll be visiting University of Texas as Kacy begins his college career. And they’ll dine at Katch 22, Kory’s new restaurant.

It’s not easy watching the inevitable departure of their children from the nest, but “there’s no place like home,” especially one filled with lifelong childhood memories and achievements.

On the day of this photo shoot, the Clemens family was coordinating a red and white celebration for Memorial High School athletes. The Labrador, Cy, is on "patrol," adopted during a Memorial High School fundraiser.

On the day of this photo shoot, the Clemens family was coordinating a red and white celebration for Memorial High School athletes. The Labrador, Cy, is on “patrol,” adopted during a Memorial High School fundraiser.

A circular driveway leads to this luxurious Memorial home.

A circular driveway leads to this luxurious Memorial home.

On one side of the formal living area, a dark green marble fireplace ascends to the ceiling.

On one side of the formal living area, a dark green marble fireplace ascends to the ceiling.

 

dark green marble fireplace ascends to the ceiling.  ˙  The Clemens family, in their 2012 Christmas portrait, posed with Longhorns to commemorate the season — and their ties to University of Texas. Photo by Hallie Keller.

dark green marble fireplace ascends to the ceiling. ˙ The Clemens family, in their 2012 Christmas portrait, posed with Longhorns to commemorate the season — and their ties to University of Texas. Photo by Hallie Keller.

 

 A grand entrance is submerged in natural light. The marble landing leads to double staircases  and descends into a stunning interior.

A grand entrance is submerged in natural light. The marble landing leads to double staircases
and descends into a stunning interior.

Brick coordinates with wall finishes and molding painted in soft metallic hues. The dining area was designed to be spacious, yet warm and

Brick coordinates with wall finishes and molding painted in soft metallic hues. The dining area was designed to be spacious, yet warm and inviting.

The kitchen has its own unique charm, designed with cooking and baking in mind. A floating island accommodates food preparation, and a bar area in brick has overhead cupboards of glass and wood, displaying family treasures.

The kitchen has its own unique charm, designed with cooking and baking in mind. A floating island accommodates food preparation, and a bar area in brick has overhead cupboards of glass and wood, displaying family treasures.

At the far end of the gym are lounge chairs customized with the famed UT burnt orange and white and the iconic Longhorn mascot, where athletes can relax after a workout and enjoy watching sports and playing games.

At the far end of the gym are lounge chairs customized with the famed UT burnt orange and white and the iconic Longhorn mascot, where athletes can relax after a workout and enjoy watching sports and playing games.

On what used to be a tennis court, a gym was constructed with a basketball court and pitching mound. A large mural of baseball athletes in action is a focal point in the gym. A University of Texas longhorn embellishes the wood floors.

On what used to be a tennis court, a gym was constructed with a basketball court and pitching mound. A large mural of baseball athletes in action is a focal point in the gym. A University of Texas longhorn embellishes the wood floors.

The gym includes a game room with a unique horse-racing gaming system that enables players to raise colts, train and race them.

The gym includes a game room with a unique horse-racing gaming system that enables players to raise colts, train and race them.

he exterior of the music studio is round, adding a unique design element to a family gathering place. Guitars fill the space, commemorating the careers of some of the biggest names in music.

he exterior of the music studio is round, adding a unique design element to a family gathering place. Guitars fill the space, commemorating the careers of some of the biggest names in music.

Leading to the third floor is artwork hung on the mirrored stairwell, with images of Debbie and Roger hidden in each piece. Some are framed in neon, popping with color and complementing the neon sign hanging above their home theater.

Leading to the third floor is artwork hung on the mirrored stairwell, with images of Debbie and Roger hidden in each piece. Some are framed in neon, popping with color and complementing the neon sign hanging above their home theater.

The second floor hallway displays Roger’s jerseys and a wonderful collection of bats given to him by friends and colleagues throughout his career.

The second floor hallway displays Roger’s jerseys and a wonderful collection of bats given to him by friends and colleagues throughout his career.

 Roger’s gameroom holds his baseball memorabilia and mementos. His seven Cy Young Awards hang above the fireplace, and glass-enclosed cases display a collection of autographed balls, hats and photographs.

Roger’s gameroom holds his baseball memorabilia and mementos. His seven Cy Young Awards hang above the fireplace, and glass-enclosed cases display a collection of autographed balls, hats and photographs.

The third-floor home theater is complete with a neon box office sign and comfortable leather seats.

The third-floor home theater is complete with a neon box office sign and comfortable leather seats.

The boys’ custom-built fort has a round outdoor deck built around a tree.

The boys’ custom-built fort has a round outdoor deck built around a tree.

 A vintage guest bath features a charming tiled mural.

A vintage guest bath features a charming tiled mural.

The master bedroom is a relaxing retreat, with a spacious sitting area and quartzite fireplace. Gold finishes on the furniture complement the soft metallic hues in the moldings and warm finishes on the walls.

The master bedroom is a relaxing retreat, with a spacious sitting area and quartzite fireplace. Gold finishes on the furniture complement the soft metallic hues in the moldings and warm finishes on the walls.

One special bedroom has fanciful and feminine touches, and holds Debbie's favorite dolls.

One special bedroom has fanciful and feminine touches, and holds Debbie’s favorite dolls.


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