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A Comfortable and Functional Design with Family in Mind

Couple’s Design Choices Reflect Good Taste And Life With Young Children

After Drew and Anna Zizinia married in 2016, she moved into his Houston area home. It was a modest three-bedroom home, about 2,000 square feet, with a great pool. However, the couple – now parents to 18-month-old Charlotte and 3-month-old Lexi – knew they wanted to move when they started their family.

“The home was perfect for the single life and for newlyweds,” said Anna. “We also loved hosting all of our family and friends there, but we wanted our next home to be our forever home with plenty of space for our kids to grow.”

The Zizinias had a blueprint in mind. They wanted something elegant and beautiful; they wanted a large kitchen and a big backyard for entertaining and for children to play; they wanted a comfortable, functional, family-friendly home with plenty of seating in the family room and dining room; and they wanted an aesthetic that would fuse the home’s design elements.

Anna looked at homes on HAR months before they actually decided to move and found one close to both her and Drew’s parents. When they hired their realtor, the home was still available, so they made an offer. After making sure that it didn’t flood in Hurricane Harvey, the couple closed on their new home.

Although neither the couple’s new home or their first home received hurricane damage, Drew’s brother’s home in Braeswood did, so the brother and his family moved into the home the Zizinias were selling. They also lost all of their furniture so the Zizinias decided to leave everything they had in the house for them. Since they were going from a fairly small house to a much larger home, the idea of starting fresh with a blank slate was easy.

The house was in great shape when they bought it. The previous homeowner had previously updated the kitchen and bathroom, so they felt they could make those work. But since the couple had no furniture when they moved in, they needed to decorate and furnish the 4,000-square-foot home, so they hired designer Lacey Michalek.

“It was an easy choice to hire Lacey,” said Anna, “since she is not only an amazing designer, she’s also married to my brother. We honestly relied on Lacey for 100 percent of the project. I was pregnant and home with a six-month-old baby, so I needed all the help I could get. Lacey would present ideas, and I would approve them. She ordered and tracked everything, made sure nothing was damaged when it arrived and then installed it all. I didn’t have to do anything except say ‘yes,’ and the end result was beautiful.”

When Lacey initially saw the house, she wanted to paint the exterior white.

“It was such a nondescript brown,” she said, “but at the time, the home’s exterior wasn’t really the priority. Also, there was some beautiful ivy growing on the front that no one wanted to part with.”

Fast forward a month, and the couple was forced to do some foundation repair, which forced them to reconsider painting the house.

“Since the ivy was already pulled off due to the repairs, we went ahead and painted the exterior,” said Anna, “so now we’re just waiting for the ivy to cover the columns again.”

Inside the home, Lacey’s primary goal was to decorate and furnish all of the rooms, maintain a variety of unique spaces and create a light, airy and cohesive aesthetic.

“The Zizinias wanted everything to be kid-friendly and comfortable,” said Lacey, “but also wanted it to look like adults lived there. We made choices that were beautiful, yet sturdy and without too much fuss.”

To prepare, Anna spent time on Pinterest, comparing different styles that appealed to her. She found that her main inspiration came more from color than any specific design. With preferences leaning toward feminine hues, the design throughout the house features pinks, blues and greys. Each room has a variation of this color palette achieved through floral pillows, botanical prints, abstract art, bold wallpaper and printed rugs. Using different shades along with prints keeps the design interesting while unifying the different rooms.

“I think some shade of pink shows up in almost every room except for the study where we went decidedly more masculine,” said Lacey. “Anna was very open to prints so we were able to go bold with the damask wallpaper in the dining room and the paisley chairs in the family room. The master bedroom has that same soothing color palette with the blue tufted bed and pink velvet throw pillows. We even did a blue antelope bolster for the bed which is a nod to their passion for hunting.”

Other than the color palette, each room had a different jumping off point. For the dining room it was the wallpaper. With a large wall space to fill, they selected a timeless print in a more current color scheme that would never go out of style. For the formal living room, the tufted velvet chesterfield sofa set the tone for the room’s design, and some existing chairs were reupholstered in a cool pink indoor/outdoor fabric to coordinate with the couple’s art and some custom pillows. In the master bedroom, several blue fabrics were considered before settling on the perfect one for the tufted bed. Because the family room would get the most wear-and-tear, an indestructible seagrass rug and slipcovered furniture keep things relatively simple.

Beyond the color selections, ano­ther important consideration was implementing kid-friendly design without sacrificing style. Fabric choices were key. In the formal living room, Crypton indoor/outdoor fabrics provide a degree of luxury while allowing for a mishap or two; slipcovers that can be easily removed and washed protect the sofas and chairs in the family room; and the cushions in the breakfast room can be cleaned with bleach in case a little one spills something. Though function came first, each space is sophisticated and polished.

Along with making sure the house will accommodate their young children, Anna and Drew wanted their home to be comfortable for gatherings of family and friends. The home’s common areas reflect a design centered around entertaining. Guests can lounge in the family room and have drinks in the formal living room or a big family dinner in the dining room. Everywhere you turn, there’s a comfortable spot to gather.

“My dining room is my favorite room,” said Anna, “because that’s where all the conversations happen and where all the memories are made eating together as a big family. I love cooking and hosting so it’s the perfect landing spot for everyone.”

“Even our neighborhood is family-friendly,” added Drew. “I grew up a few houses down from here in a house my parents built. It’s really nice being so close to both sets of parents. We are also in walking distance to Charlotte’s school, which is so convenient. It’s just a happy neighborhood and we love living here.”

In their new home, the Zizinias now have all the space they need to grow their family in a place where they already have some roots.

Text by Cheryl Alexander | Photography by Colleen Scott Photography | Interiors by Lacey Michalek Interiors

(top image caption: The open concept living room is outfitted with a large sectional from Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams and a contemporary cowhide rug. Large Fleetwood retractable sliding glass doors allow an inviting view into the courtyard.)

A mirrored credenza in the formal living is simply styled with two white gourd lamps and an orchid that will last all year.

White glossy vases are arranged along the center of the dining table ready for a flower or arrangement or to just stand alone.

The elegant dining room is elevated by the damask wallpaper and the large gilded lanterns. The front of the chairs was kept neutral with a solid lavender fabric, and  a coordinating pattern was used on the chair backs to add interest.

Classic black windsor chairs contrast the white and grey kitchen. It is the perfect spot to sit and chat with a friend while making cocktails or dinner.

The living room is bright and casual with easy-to-wash slipcovered sofas and a large indestructible coffee table. This is where the whole  family gathers to watch TV and casually hang out with friends.

Floral pillows in the living room brighten the gray sofas.

Living room coffee table is styled with a mix of modern coffee table books and accessories and earthy green moss balls.

Living room bookshelves feature an antique bowl holding green moss balls. A photograph of the Zizinias’ favorite hunting spot, Zella, leans against a watercolor abstract.

The breakfast room is for everyday living with indoor outdoor fabric on the seat cushions and an easily wipeable cowhide for spills.

A custom blue velvet upholstered bed is the showstopper of the master bedroom. Two silver leafed Greek key ottomans in a contrasting pink printed fabric frame the end of the bed.

The custom blue study is Drew’s oasis, hosting his baseball memorabilia from college as well as displaying his favorite hobbies of smoking cigars and hunting.

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