Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors is in high demand because of her reputation for designing spaces that celebrate sophistication and innovative simplicity. Her passion for beautiful style and form led her first to training as an architect, then to founding her own interior design firm.
Recently, she and her husband renovated a 1920s Craftsman-style bungalow in the Houston Heights neighborhood, creating their own modern sanctuary. We were thrilled to get the inside story from Marie about her home and why it’s so meaningful to her family.
Tell us a little about your home.
“We live there with our young son, John, and take great pride in the fact that this house has stood its ground for nearly a century serving as a shelter to so many. The spaces we lovingly crafted bring us a great deal of comfort and joy, and the entire experience left us feeling intimately connected to the heart and history of our city.”
We can see why your home is your modern sanctuary. It’s lovely!
“Thank you so much! Our team loves Modern Sanctuary, so it’s quite an honor to have my own home featured!”
How long was the renovation process?
“We purchased the house in 2012 but spent two years remodeling its structure and designing the spaces within. The renovation was complex because we wanted to maintain the home’s historic charm while making significant structural changes, like raising the roof and expanding the floor plan from 1,300 square feet to 2,300. Needless to say, we were thrilled when the time finally came to move in and start enjoying the spaces we created!”
It’s hard to believe that when Marie and her husband purchased this bungalow it was in dire need of a transformation. They were excited to restore it, unveiling its natural beauty.
“In order to give this timeworn home a fresh lease on life, we decided to focus on architectural updates that would lend a contemporary vibe while stylishly preserving the integrity of this historic home. The roofline was extended, creating a bold new façade that spans three directions.”
Inside the home, Marie incorporated traditional craftsman-style elements, such as transom windows and coffered ceilings, to remain true to the historic architecture of the Houston Heights neighborhood.
What did you consider when making furniture and accessory decisions?
“Furniture and accessory selections were driven by the desire to effortlessly blend classic pieces with more modern ones, creating a home that is at the height of both comfort and style. Antique furnishings play an important role in the home’s design, infusing spaces with a unique sense of history that aptly highlights the property’s historic character. Notable elements are an antique Chinese high back accent chair in the living room and antique oushak rugs throughout.”
You blend traditional and contemporary furnishings beautifully. What are some things to keep in mind when using a mix of styles?
“Layering styles is crucial to creating spaces that tell a unique and interesting story, and I find that there’s a great deal of beauty in the balance of organic elements with those that are more refined. Start with a clean, timeless foundation and then build out from there using well-crafted pieces that feel special or ‘found’. I’ve discovered that no matter what you decide to throw in the mix, selecting pieces for their quality craftsmanship and the way they make you feel will always result in a stylish combination. There’s really no manual to the process because design should tug at the heart strings and we’re all unique which is what makes the journey so exciting!”
Most of us dream of having a kitchen like yours. Do you cook and/or entertain often? What were the important features for you when designing your kitchen?
“We really enjoy gathering with family and friends and I wanted an entertaining space that would feel open and airy, allowing us to prepare meals while visiting with our guests. Achieving that in a bungalow can be difficult which is why we decided to open everything up between the kitchen, dining space, and living room! This arrangement allows seating to be divided up among the various spaces when we have larger gatherings ensuring that, although guests may not be at the same table, they still feel intimately connected.”
What is your favorite room or element of the home?
“That’s such a tough question! We are three years in and still so happy with how every space turned out but it’s really the architectural elements found throughout the home that continue to captivate us. I love how transom windows and Craftsman-style millwork lend depth and interest to each space while paying homage to the home’s historic character; that’s something the architect in me simply can’t get enough of!”
One of Marie’s favorite furniture finds? A vintage Valenti leather campaign chair which has a place of honor in the study.
Your bedroom is such a serene space. What was the inspiration for its design?
“I’m naturally drawn to timeless spaces, especially master retreats that serve as a respite from the outside world. I fell in love with the two 19th century French water jugs that we converted into bedside lamps and looked to them when setting the tone for the rest of the space. In the end, a soothing color story complemented by rich, organic textures always provides a much-needed dose of tranquility at the end of a crazy busy day.”
“A reinvigorated color palette pairs nicely with timeless hard finishes including the use of natural stone and hexagonal tiling, a common sight in homes from the 20’s.”
Marie beautifully blends traditional and contemporary styles making for a home that is the epitome of timeless elegance. We can’t thank Marie enough for sharing her lovely Houston home with us.