Once upon a time, there was an interior designer who envied her neighbor’s house. Not that she was unhappy in her own home, but there was just something special about the house across from her street. Every day she would pass the stunning Sweetwater home and wish that her family could live there.
Then one day, the designer, Teena Caldwell, owner of Twenty-Two Fifty Interiors, was overjoyed to see a “For Sale” sign go up at her dream home. “I knew right then that I wanted to buy the house,” Teena recalls. “Its structure and French flair attracted me.”
And so it was that five years ago, Teena and her husband, pediatric dentist Larry Caldwell, became the proud owners of the 6000-plus-square-foot house. “The home was very dark inside, and many prospective buyers probably could not see beyond the paint,” Teena says. “Buyers should always focus on the bones of the house. The floor plan should be the determining factor, because paint and the interiors can easily be changed.”
Taking her own advice, Teena decided to remodel the house into her dream home, which remains an ongoing project. Her goal was to redesign the house while keeping intact its French panache. “The house has 17 French doors,” Teena notes. “We often call it the house of doors.” The home’s front yard was completely redone to achieve the look of a well-trimmed symmetrical French garden. “The outside of a home should flow with the inside,” she adds.
The entrance foyer features several unique accessories and a grand piano positioned near an elegant staircase. Impressive faux walls throughout the home were finished by Segreto Finishes and Decorative & Faux Finishes. Visitors also are immediately attracted to the large silk draperies that open to a beautiful view of a sprawling pool — or as the family likes to call it, the “dogs’ playground,” where pooches Dakota and Zoe enjoy hanging out. (Family pets also include Prada, a formerly homeless — and now very fortunate — feline.)
The home beautifully blends traditional, contemporary, Asian and antiques. Teena is a firm believer in mixing a variety of style elements. “Sugar Land has a lot of people who like traditional designs, but I try to get my clients to think a little outside the box and include a few contemporary pieces,” she says. A good example is her own dining and living room, which has traditional furniture highlighted by contemporary art pieces. The result is a stylish blend of eclectic elements.
The kitchen was remodeled to accommodate the family’s lifestyle. “We completely tore down the old kitchen,” Teena says. “We opened it up, added more space, and installed new appliances.” The result was stunning. Features include distressed knotty alder cabinets and Enkeboll trim, honed granite countertops and a walnut-stained island. Custom-made cabinets neatly stow appliances. A large armoire beautifully conceals a Sub-Zero refrigerator.
On the first floor, the couple’s master bedroom, with its combination of wood and travertine floors, offers a serene and relaxing refuge at the end of a long day. Traditional browns are beautifully balanced with a lightened hint of blues. A two-way-mirror truly does double-duty, serving as a decorative mirror and a television in one.
Upstairs, the house has three more bedrooms. Two serve as a home away from home for the family’s guests, and the other is for Lauren Caldwell, Larry and Teena’s only daughter, who manages her mother’s design studio. Teena recalls that Lauren danced from the time she could walk through her days on the high school dance team, so her room reflects her love for dance, fashion, and design. A custom-designed iron bed adds a graceful charm.
Another gem upstairs is the nautical-themed media room, where automatic blackout draperies provide an ideal environment for watching movies. Anchoring the room is the entertainment wall where a pair of antique sirens, once used on an old ship to scare off demons of the water, frame the television. The walls have the appearance of torn paper, and a built-in aquarium completes the nautical theme. “This room is usually where you find the family and dogs watching the latest movies,” says Lauren, as she proudly talks about her mother’s work.
Finally, who wouldn’t love to work out in a well-equipped gym that makes you feel like you’re on a balcony in Italy, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea? “I don’t really like to exercise,” admits Teena. “So when I designed the gym, I wanted it to be a place that would encourage me to work out.” Scenic views of Italy are painted on all the walls, providing a sense of relaxation and of being surrounded by nature.
So once upon a time, a designer had a dream — and it became a reality. Is it even necessary to say that the Caldwell family lived happily ever after?