New Family Home in University Park, TX Blends Traditional and Modern Design

By Cathy Lara of Houzz

Home builder Ellen Grasso‘s clients, a family in University Park, Texas, wanted a new take on traditional style without getting too far into eclectic, modern or contemporary design. So throughout the design and building process, Grasso aimed to create a balanced, wide-open space while organizing the home in a conservative, traditional way. The result is a house with rooms in expected places that have sophisticated and fresh details and decor.

“It’s no wonder that the house is a magnet for friends and entertaining,” says Grasso, adding that a few charitable events have been held in the home, reflecting the family’s desire to give back to the community.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their 3 girls of varying ages
Location: University Park, Texas
Size: 7,500 square feet
Designer’s “aha!” moment: Learning that the “fresh take on traditional” style actually had a name: “new traditional.”


Floating shelves above and on both sides of the fireplace give the family room a clean, crisp feel; the strong horizontal lines of the shelves are repeated in the mahogany ceiling beams. “My clients didn’t want the rustic look of old beams and really love the crisp look of these mahogany beams,” says Grasso.

Turquoise throws and earth-tone glassware add splashes of color to the otherwise neutral palette. Natural light floods the space through two lofty windows and wood panel doors.

Curves dominate the dining area. The backs of the table, rust-tone orb chandelier, archway and tufted chairs all bend and arch; even the reflection of the staircase in the oversize mirror adds to the curves.

Chandelier: Casual Dauphin Small Orb Chandelier in rust, Currey & Company

Grasso says that the exterior of the house conceals the new traditional interior, so there’s an element of surprise upon entry and exploration of each room. The clients wanted their house to “fit comfortably” into the traditional neighborhood.

The kitchen is anything but plain Jane. The space receives plenty of light, and the modular, stainless steel appliances echo the metallic sheen of the kitchen island pendant lighting.

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Range hood: Imperial; countertop: Alaskan white granite

This craft and study room is beloved by the clients’ three girls. Grasso says, “My client was the one who drew the craft table in the middle,” adding that the girls love that their craft supplies are all within arm’s reach. The room will transition nicely into a hangout and media room when the kids are older.

Four-person desk: custom; tabletop: granite

Everything about this room speaks the language of a cool teenager; nothing in the space feels childish. One of the most important decor pieces is the oversize mirror; Grasso says that “every teenager needs a full-length mirror.”

Perhaps the most modern space of the three girls’ rooms, the middle daughter’s bedroom has cool aqua and green shades that reflect her personality.

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“Kudos really go out to Delaney Warren, the interior designer,” says Grasso. Taupe and pink make a sweet color pair in this room, which belongs to the youngest daughter.

The laundry room has plenty of cabinets and is swathed in hues of crisp, airy white and buttery yellow.

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The linen ceiling, velvety tufted headboard, lush drapes and gold motif of the luxurious new traditional master bedroom create a relaxing space for the clients. Hidden LED lighting can be dimmed to a soft glow, adding a romantic and soothing touch.

The media room is the husband’s favorite room. It’s equipped with a full bar, a microwave, a dishwasher and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, and has an insulated ceiling that blocks outside sound.

HouzzLogoHouzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. You can also find Houzz on Facebook and Twitter.

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