Real Estate / Houses

This Showcase Piney Point Village Home is a True Designer Dream House — How Nicole Zarr Created Magic on Farnham Park Drive

Get a Closer Look at a Design Wonder in One of Houston's Most Coveted Areas

BY // 12.03.20

Piney Point Village is an architecturally interesting enclave — and one of Houston area’s most coveted places to live. Homes in Piney Point Village come in a wide array of styles, ranging from Mediterranean to Colonial, and from Modern to Southern Planation. But even in this exclusive city within a city, a few special homes truly stand out from the rest.

One Georgian style home on Farnham Park Drive is one of those, a true designer’s dream home. It is currently on the market, listed in the $7 million range, and its interiors are beyond compare.

Houston’s own Nicole Zarr of Nicole Zarr & Associates was the interior designer who was proud to put her stamp on nearly every inch of this lush manse.

A native Houstonian, Nicole Zarr grew up steeped in the world of design. Her mother ran Triangle Interiors until her death in 1997. When Nicole took the reins of the firm, she changed the name to Nicole Zarr & Associates, and came into her own ― bringing her inherent sense of color and style to a new slate of clients. Her professional services include home styling, construction and art consulting, and the Farnham Park Drive home allowed her to do all three.

With this sprawling home, Zarr found the ultimate canvas. She had more than 15,000 square feet to let her creativity and imagination run wild. The results are a master course in pushing the envelope and taking risks — all while retaining cohesion and flow. Now Zarr is taking us on a tour of one of Houston’s most stylish residences and revealing her design strategy along the way.

“I’ve known this client for over 25 years,” Zarr says. “So she let me run with it, giving the home a transitional flair without being trendy.”

Farnham – Formal living room is subdued with Gracie wallpaper and splashes of yellow and pink
The formal living room is subdued with Gracie wallpaper and splashes of yellow and pink.

First stop on our tour is the entry hall with openings to the formal living and dining on either side. What could have been an after-thought is dressed up with a central table and four benches wrapped in Scalamandre tiger print fabric ― hinting at the bold design to come.

On your left is the living room, whose traditional symmetry called for a soothing palette. It too does not bely the riot of colors that you’ll find elsewher throughout the home. Zarr chose a shimmery metallic, floral, Gracie wallpaper and added yellow draperies and pink accent pillows to punch up the otherwise subtle space.

“The homeowner has and incredible art collection. In the formal living, we commissioned two pieces especially for the space from Houston’s Dimmitt Contemporary Art,” she says.

Farnham – Dining with cobalt blue lacquered ceiling and rock crystal chandeliers
Dining with cobalt blue lacquered ceiling and rock crystal chandeliers.

To the right is a room that draws you in ― the formal dining room with a striking ceiling, lacquered in cobalt blue, that appears wet. Oscar de la Renta print fabric adorn a pair of side chairs, and a dramatic pair of matching chandeliers add even more drama to the space. With their brushed gold limbs and dangling rock crystals, they add a natural element that balances and softens the space.

“I eat, sleep and breathe color and pattern,” Zarr says. “My mother always said no one can teach you about scale or color, you are just born with it.”

One of the home’s many powder rooms is simply remarkable. The marble topped sink is dressed with a custom nickel and Lucite base. What appears at a glance to be geometric wallpaper is actually crafted from inlaid stone.

Farnham – powder room with custom nickel and Lucite based marble sink and inlaid stone wall. That’s not wallpaper.
One powder room with custom nickel and Lucite based marble sink and inlaid stone wall. That’s not wallpaper.

A long butler’s pantry connects the dining room to the kitchen, ideal for service pass-throughs and catered meals. Zarr chose bold Schumacher blue floral wallpaper to liven up the space. Its distinctive black cabinetry boasts gorgeous brass fittings and grills.

“I always begin with a cohesive color scheme,” she says. “One of my biggest rules is to create spaces that flow. I’m not talking about anything that’s matchy-matchy, but running specific elements from one room to the next, adds balance. Sometimes the smallest details draw everything together.”

Every aspect of the home’s design flows. The kitchen is no exception. It opens into the family room, which is cozy, even with its soaring vaulted ceiling. These spaces share a limed brick, double-sided fireplace and similar vaulted height.

Farnham – Den opens to the kitchen and has three sets of French doors to the patio
The family room opens to the kitchen and has three sets of French doors to the patio.

The family room has three sets of French doors, opening onto the patio and manicured grounds beyond. Zarr grounded the space by painting it black and played off the greens in the adjoining kitchen, bringing the outdoors inside.

The heart of this home is a dream kitchen topped with two bistro chandeliers from Ralph Lauren Home. Zarr used a mix of metals, starting with custom hood, which is clad in stainless steel and brass, and the huge central island is an enviable expanse of Calacatta marble.

Just beyond you’ll notice an eye-catching green bar. It is shiny and bold, adding another unexpected element to the design ― with green lacquered cabinets and walls, Zarr employed open shelving, with brass fixtures and bar sink.

“Sometimes I tend to go more formal, and nothing dresses up a space like shiny brass or shimmery mirrors,” Zarr notes.

Farnham – the bar makes a statement in shiny green lacquer with open shelving
The bar makes a statement in shiny green lacquer with open shelving.

Of the many bedrooms in the home, one is especially appealing and cohesive. The guest room is yummy with its chocolate brown walls and stunning Stark carpet. Zarr added many custom details to the space like the handy swing lamps positioned by each of the beds, and pops of coral on the headboards and in the décor.

The master bedroom is serene in a dusty gray blue. The fireplace has a luxurious marble mantle and a pair of antique mirrored side tables flank the bed. Zarr added a pair of chaise lounges to the space, upholstered in blue velvet with a white racing stripe up the middle.

“I always like to add some playful elements to keep rooms from looking dated,” Zarr says.

The master bedroom’s adjoining sitting room plays off the blues and whites of the bedroom, and connects it to the most show-stopping space in the home ― its two-story library.

The library is filled with hunting trophies, as the home’s current owner is an avid African hunter. The menagerie includes a crocodile and a baboon. With so much taxidermy on display, Zarr chose to tone it all down and brighten up the giant room, which was formerly all cypress wood ― with blue paint. She kept the integrity of the millwork, with its elegant coffered ceiling in its original wood tone, but added blue paint and draperies to soften what could easily be an overly masculine space.

Farnham – library can be utilized as a second dining space should the need arise
The library can be utilized as a second dining space should the need arise.

“Layering is especially important in large space,” Zarr says. “It makes big rooms feel more intimate and cozier. We also added ample seating throughout, which makes the home seem not so vast.”

A second story landing leads down a custom Stark cheetah print runner, unfolding to a Roi James 3-D artwork at the bottom of the stairs.

While Nicole Zarr’s design work did not extend to the back elevation of the home, this outdoor wonderland is an oasis of its own. The pool and spa are graced by a modern sculpture and wrapped by the L-shaped back of the home is its warm red-brick. An outdoor kitchen and patio extend the indoor/outdoor feel of the home. Finally, when you tour it, save a moment to relax by the tranquil koi pond as well.

Ruthie Newberry Porterfield of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International has this private Piney Point dream home listed for sale. For more information or to tour, contact Ruthie Porterfield.