Newlyweds Create a Chic, Modern Houston Haven

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Chris Gilliland and John Field didn’t want or need a lot of square footage, but what they had, they wanted to be comfortable and stylish.

They already had a weekend getaway at Round Top, a more relaxed, farmhouse atmosphere where they can get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. In Houston, however, they needed help moving from a small apartment to a 1,500 square foot condo at Highland Tower in the Galleria area about a year ago.

Their new home would be clean and simple, a low-maintenance, turnkey lifestyle so they could head out into the countryside every weekend without worries.
Their condo had only one previous owner, and since the space was well finished, they didn’t need to do messy jobs like changing the floor or remodeling the kitchen or bathrooms.

They both already loved the modern, mid-century modern style and knew they wanted color, so they didn’t need any help choosing furniture. But they turned to interior designer Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design – on the recommendation of one of John’s colleagues – to help them fill in the gaps and apply the finishing touches.

The apartment walls had faded, so they freshened them up with paint, and the kitchen cabinets were still a deep reddish brown wood tone, so they also painted them and added some new hardware store.

Despite the condo’s large windows, the rooms felt dark and isolated with the existing heavy drapes blocking light everywhere.

Patton’s response was new sheer drapery panels paired with motorized blinds in the living room and new draperies in the master bedroom and guest bedroom, which the couple use as a TV room.

Field, who has stronger opinions on the design of the house, had been warned about the sticker clash of the custom draperies. But Patton assured that their price tags don’t have to be outrageous.

“I can’t control labor prices, but I can control fabric prices,” Patton said of the cost of custom draperies. “There are a lot of good fabrics that cost $20 a yard, and that’s one way to make the price more reasonable. We don’t need to spend $300 per yard when they have high ceilings and we need a lot of fabric.

“I’m very aware that hiring a designer is a luxury, a big deal in itself. A good creative challenge is to find things that aren’t astronomically expensive but still look good,” she said.

The two met in Los Angeles in 2016 and married in Houston in July 2021. They already had beautiful things and they had purged duplicate furniture when they moved in with their 11-year-old rescue dog , Maggie.

After they met in Los Angeles, Chris moved to Houston and John went to New York for different jobs. They maintained their relationship at a distance. Tired of the commute, John joined Chris in Houston in February 2020, just before the pandemic took hold.

Field, 43 and a native of Lubbock, works in marketing for Phillips 66 and Gilliland, 43 and a native of the Oklahoma City area, works for the same company in alternative energy.

Gilliland was grateful for Patton’s direction on things that seem simple but aren’t, like choosing paint colors.

“It was helpful to have a way to bring a vision to fruition. It’s amazing how different all of these shades of white are,” he said. “The number of color options of white and their complexity, I had never known that.”

Their main living room has a small dining area, where they have a round table with a cluster of chairs, and their living room has an emerald green velvet sofa with two mid-century style chairs, a Wassily chair covered in cowhide leather brown and white and the other a white leather chair.

“Mary was very good at saying, ‘I like this. Let’s do this with this and adding a few bits here and there,'” Field said. “She could take our stuff and make it work.”

To finish off this area, Patton recommended a new coffee table and side table, both Knoll’s Warren Platner designs, and a variety of accent pillows.

Since Field and Gilliland didn’t need a spare bedroom, they converted it into a TV lounge. Patton usually likes to use darker colors – deep grays, blues or greens – in a media room, but since they already had white furniture, they opted for monochromatic white in this room.

She found a white chandelier thanks to Janet Wiebe, a former Houston antiques dealer who now lives in Italy and finds European antiques for all kinds of clients through her online store, Source: Janet Wiebe. Wiebe also sells his antique inventory to Round Top antique shows, and that’s where Patton found the chandelier.

It goes perfectly with the white armchairs placed on a leather carpet assembled in herringbone pattern.

In the master bedroom, new drapes have had a big impact. They also added new bedside tables, art, a rug, and lamps. When they met, the pair bonded over a shared admiration for aviation, so a retro-style piece of art featuring a Pan Am plane sitting above a small cabinet makes a statement. statement about them both.

“We both enjoy flying and airplanes, and although I’ve never flown Pan Am, this (represents) the golden age of aviation. It means something to us,” said Gilland.

While some of Field and Gilliland’s mid-century furniture is original or licensed new pieces, some of it isn’t — and that’s okay, Patton said, because many people appreciate the styles without being collectors of often expensive original products.

“There is a way to do it and not be a snob. Most of my clients don’t care who the designer is,” Patton said.

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