The words modern and industrial conjure up city lofts, the dwellings of urbanites unburdened by considerations of practical comforts. So, when Nina Magon and her crew at Contour Interior Design were asked to design an edgy yet comfortable “modern ranch” home for a young family with three kids in leafy Magnolia, Texas, she accepted the challenge.
“The homeowners envisioned a super unique design – they wanted a mix of modern and industrial, with a little bit of ranch; but also, a place they could relax after a long day and spend time together as a family,” describes Magon, the Houston-based designer. The owner, a hunter and outdoor enthusiast, looked to bring in elements of the three-acre property’s wooded, lakefront setting.
The client reached out to Magon’s team during the architectural phase of the new build, allowing her to take full control of the project. “We did all the hard and soft finishes,” she notes, which included “the millwork, the floorplan, even the exterior.”
“They wanted a place where wow would be an understatement,” comments Magon.
That’s certainly the experience most visitors have when entering the property. Magon notes that “It starts as you come through the gate; the house is at the end of a long driveway, with a notable entrance. It really feels like a resort.”
A metal pivot door leads into the cavernous foyer, centered around a rounded table and shelving custom designed by the team. Further in the living room, a fireplace exterior clad in the same stone as used in the exterior brings in a sense of organic continuity. Low-profile seating and sculptural B&B Italia chairs complement the twinkling Bocci lights suspended like raindrops under the exposed, dark-stained ceiling beams.
“We really focus on lighting, not just decorative but also in temperature and theme, and this was an amazing installation,” shares Magon. “We had the option of removing the beams and chose not to because they’re so beautiful. We wanted something a little rustic, and with the lights, it’s a very mixed look that enhances that ranch feel.”
According to Magon, many of the design decisions were conceived entirely “in their heads.” Such was the case for the kitchen, which showcases not one, but two islands. “It’s very different from anything we’ve seen before,” she comments. The front service island is inlaid with a wide band of metal running down the center, and cantilevering down on one end; a style, Magon says, that they imagined entirely from scratch. In the adjacent pantry, sheetrock was intentionally left out to expose the rawness of brick, which is featured on the dining room wall, too. There, like a ballroom dancer twirling his partner, it shows off an ethereal white feather wall sculpture. In front of it, a similar scene plays out, with airy MFK chairs framing a solid wood table.
“The house exemplifies all these opposites,” explains Magon. “Rough against soft, feminine against masculine, industrial against modern.” The strong, bold lines of the architecture and clean, sleek furnishings play counter to plush textiles and delicate artwork; enigmatic black-and-white prints, most sourced from local artists and collections, infusing a decidedly female energy.
“They wanted big impact,” continues the designer, who enjoys coaxing clients to expand their comfort zones, driven by ideas she gathers from around the globe. “What the rest of the world is doing is very advanced compared to the US. We try to push the envelope as much as we can. Here, we had fun with the interesting art pieces.”
Holding its own with the artwork’s visual effect is the tile, showing up in over a dozen shades, textures and patterns. The powder room gets a glam uplift with a wall of mirrored patterned glass tile cornering a concrete-like grey one. But the star of the show is undoubtedly the spellbinding La Nova tile, with its abstract art-like motif, wrapping the wall behind the master bathtub. “It just looks like a big piece of art,” Magon says. “It makes such a big impact right when you walk in.”
With its predominantly grey-and-black palette and sharp forms, it would be easy for the space to slide into the overly stark category, yet it is anything but; it remains warm, approachable and extremely livable. “It’s a good mix of various styles, of high-end and affordable, and of masculinity with comfort,” concludes Magon. “The perfect juxtaposition of the him and the her. It doesn’t feel too cold or too modern. It’s a very cool house.”
Photography by Julie Soefer.
For more like this lakefront Texas home, be sure to check out this lakehouse in Connecticut designed by Sara Touijer.
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