Michelle’s Warm and Elegant Houston Home

published Sep 3, 2015
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(Image credit: Katy Cartland)

Name: Michelle and Stephen Taussig
Location: Garden Oaks; Houston, Texas
Size: 2,632 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Owned

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Michelle’s home is big, warm, and very beautiful, but it also tells a story — or rather, several. With its mixture of heirlooms, thrifted items, impressive art, and smart design, Michelle’s home is elegant, cozy, and endlessly interesting.

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View from the entry of the formal living room (Image credit: Katy Cartland)
(Image credit: Katy Cartland)

Michelle, a real estate agent at Houston’s The Reyna Group, is one of those girls who always looks amazing — her clothes and the effortlessness of her beauty have always been inspiring (I’ve been lucky to know her for 10 years!). Therefore, it was no surprise to see that the home that she and her husband Stephen have had for a year was exactly the same: reflective of her warm hospitality, developed taste, and elegance. Perhaps what stood out most to me, however, were the stories behind each item in her home. For some of us, design is all about aesthetics, but for Michelle, the sentiment which she carries for her home is touching.

The house boasts large square footage, and there so many windows lining the back of the house that you get a panoramic sense of the back yard. Michelle mixes colorful rugs with soft and warm colors throughout her home. With a few pops of cool tones and black and whites, she really finds a sense of balance in every room that both differentiates each space while also keeping the whole house cohesive enough to feel as though it is all one big room.

My favorite details in Michelle’s house are the ones that she picked up while traveling — the pom-poms on the cow skull are especially fun. I love every pop of color, every large scale painting, and every unexpected pattern in her home.

(Image credit: Katy Cartland)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I am not sure I could pin down my style with an exact one or two word description, I just do what feels good. I would say a mix of old oddities and some new clean lines to make sense of it all.

Inspiration: I have been collecting pieces for this home for more than a decade. Vintage finds, mid-century finds, modern pieces that I would find at fire sale prices, trinkets and art from travels. Anything that caught my eye and seemed interesting to me. I just knew someday I would have the space for them to all live in perfect harmony together. My husband used to threaten to torch the garage in our old home if I didn’t stop my little growing collection. Thank goodness I called his bluff!

Favorite Element: This home was built in 1938 and taken down to the bones and completely remodeled just before we moved in. In a city like Houston, it is hard to find a “special home”, something with character and modern functionality. From the first time I stepped foot into this place, I knew that kind of magic lived here.

Biggest Challenge: Making a decision on coverings for some of the 26 windows in this house, I have yet to commit and conquer this dilemma.

What Friends Say: When’s the next party?

Biggest Embarrassment: Not quite an embarrassment, but at first I was not in love with our cork floors in the kitchen. Every square inch of this home was so well thought out and it’s the one design choice that did not sit with me. After seeing them become more broken-in over the last year with every nick and ding from dropped utensils or kitchen fiestas, I have grown to love them.

Proudest DIY: Redoing my grandmother’s 1960s French cane dining table and chairs. I stripped them of their old honey glaze, roughed them up a bit, white washed, and roughed them up some more. They look pretty perfect to me.

Biggest Indulgence: As far as furniture is concerned, it would be my two Florence Knoll coffee tables — circa 1960 — that I bought at an office building liquidation. They provide the perfect symmetry between our two open sitting rooms.

Best Advice: I try my best to remind friends and clients to only buy pieces that they have a special connection with, not just something that you think will look cool in this room or that room.

Dream Sources: Any art gallery in San Miguel, unlimited credit to go crazy with at Design Within Reach, and a trip to a real Moroccan rug souk.


(Image credit: Katy Cartland)


  • Living room: Restoration Hardware Butter
  • Dining room: Restoration Hardware Butter
  • Bedrooms: Restoration Hardware Cappuccino

(Image credit: Katy Cartland)


  • Cane chairs: inherited from my parents
  • Rugs: Rugs USA
  • Fireplace screen: Crate & Barrel
  • Wall mirror: High Fashion Home
  • Painting above fireplace: David Hardaker
  • Lamps: Horchow
  • Drapes: Pottery Barn
  • Photograph above piano: Katy Anderson
  • Coffee table and side chairs: Vintage Drexel Chinoiserie Collection
(Image credit: Katy Cartland)


  • Rug: Pottery Barn
  • Drapes: Pottery Barn
  • French cane table and chairs: inherited from my grandmother, redone by yours truly
(Image credit: Katy Cartland)


  • Vintage monkey cookie jar: thrift find
  • Espresso machine: Breville
  • Cake stand: Crate & Barrel
  • Cork floors and cherry cabinets: made on-site
(Image credit: Katy Cartland)


  • Bedding: West Elm & Pottery Barn
  • Pillows: Z Gallery
  • Rug: thrift find
  • Curtains: Ikea
  • Brass lamps: inherited from my parents
  • Painting on dresser: Gary Parkins
  • Dresser: Horchow
(Image credit: Katy Cartland)


  • Rug: Ikea
(Image credit: Katy Cartland)


  • Lobster rug: Rugs USA
  • Coffee table: vintage Knoll
  • Hanging lamp: Z Gallery
  • Table lamp: Z Gallery
  • Painting: Patrick Medrano + Katy Anderson
  • Coffee table tray: Z Gallery
  • Wall candle hangings: picked up in Puerto Vallarta
  • Cow skull: Z Gallery
  • Bombones (hanging from cow skull): picked up in Sayulita, Mexico
  • Small painting: Joseph Cohen
  • Sofa: West Elm
  • I [heart] Texas Pillow: Blue Print Modern
(Image credit: Katy Cartland)


  • Blue/braided pillows: Pottery Barn
  • Colorful accent pillows: Z Gallery
  • Coffee table: vintage Knoll

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Thanks, Michelle!