Mark’s Comfortable Contemporary in Houston

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Name: Mark Salvie, plus roommates Rob and Jeff and dog Bubs
Location: The Heights; Houston, Texas
Size: 2,188 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Owned

Mark is the guy with all the cool stuff. Everywhere you turn, there is something interesting to look at. The thing about Mark’s house, though, is that it doesn’t feel cluttered or crowded. It is, as Goldilocks would say, just right. He has that mysterious knack that stylish people have — the ability to put together a bunch of disparate things and have them hang together in a way that feels cohesive and comfortable.

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Dining room. The tabletop is made from an old gym floor. (Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)
(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

From the outside, Mark’s townhouse in Houston’s Heights looks a lot like its neighbors, but the interior is anything but cookie cutter. Since moving in a year ago, Mark has painted walls and replaced fixtures and really made the place his own. If you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll notice enviable lighting in almost every room — including the oddly anthropomorphic floor lamp in the living room, which came from an autopsy room (by way of an antique store). Mark’s mix of antiques, unique new pieces, and quirky art (much of it from local artists) gives his home a sense of history and a laid-back, easy style.

A lot of Mark’s pieces have personal meaning for him, too; much of the furniture came from his mom, who passed away shortly before he bought the house. Mark cites her as a major influence on his style — it’s easy to see that she was a lady with very good taste.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Contemporary, comfortable, and cheeky.

Inspiration: My mom and her impeccable taste, traveling, Liz Lambert’s hotels, my hip friends’ Instagrams, old movies, and Manhattan Nest.

Favorite Element: The open layout of the first floor. The kitchen, dining room, and living room are essentially one big room, which encourages high-quality hangs and allows parties and get-togethers to feel more natural and laid-back.

Biggest Challenge: Turning a cookie-cutter, zero-lot, patio house into something unique and memorable. I wish I could have afforded one of the many beautiful, historic bungalows in my neighborhood, but it wasn’t in the cards this time around! Also, a lot of my walls have curved edges, which makes multiple paint colors rather tricky.

What Friends Say: “Is this beer free game?” and “I’m going to steal your dog” are the two I hear most often.

Biggest Embarrassment: I forgot to seal the bathroom tile floors when I moved in and now it already needs to be regrouted. Amateur move Salvie!

Proudest DIY: Converting a recessed light in the dining room to a chandelier. Well, my uncle did the majority of the work, but I helped A LOT.

Biggest Indulgence: Installing fancy astroturf in the backyard. The real grass wasn’t growing very well, so I took a leap of faith and installed this awesome turf called SYNLawn. The turf drains like normal grass, so my dog can do his business on it. Plus, it comes with a 10-year warranty!

Best Advice: I read somewhere once that a “room should feel collected, not decorated”, and that advice stuck with me ever since. Don’t try too hard and only buy stuff you love…the rest will just fall into place!

Dream Sources: In Houston, Reeves Antiques and Kuhl-Linscomb. Elsewhere: TRNK NYC, Garis & Hahn, and We Are 1976.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Resources of Note:


  • Sherwin Williams: Versatile Gray (Entire House)
  • Benjamin Moore: Polo Blue (Master Bedroom Accent Wall)
  • Benjamin Moore: Artichoke (Living Room Accent Wall)


  • Brass Chandelier- Etsy
  • Rabbit Painting- Reeve’s Antiques
  • Kofod-Larsen Penguin Chair- Reeve’s Antiques
  • Antique buffet with mirror- Gift from Mom
  • Antelope taxidermy- Reeve’s Antiques
  • Airport Painting- Reeve’s Antiques
  • Rug-


  • Leather sofa- Thrive Furniture
  • Grey sofa- Gift from Mom
  • Custom glass coffee table- Native Citizen
  • Media console- Ikea
  • Knockoff Milo Baughman chrome and glass bookshelf- Native Citizen
  • Side table next to couch- Reeve’s Antiques
  • Painted side table- Thrift Store
  • Rug- Ebay
  • Orange lounge chair- Cool Stuff
  • Crazy chrome floor lamp- Native Citizen (It’s from an autopsy room!)
  • Silver lamp next to couch- Kuhl-Lincomb
  • Black lamp on shelf- Target
  • Vintage painted metal box- Cargo PDX
  • Flower grenade print- We Are 1976
  • Hopi Indian painting- Reeve’s Antiques
  • “Get Lost” screen print- Reeve’s Antiques
  • Vintage circus poster- We Are 1976
  • “Jean-Michel Basquiat” painting- Glassell School of Art Student Sale
  • Blue landscape photo- Tyler Metcalfe
  • Fake emu head “taxidermy”- Kuhl-Linscomb
  • Wall bank- MOMA Store
  • Hank Williams/Ziggy Stardust print- Napkin Art Studios


  • White chandelier- West Elm
  • Old basketball court table- Dumptruck Design
  • Eames shell chairs- Craigslist
  • Black chairs- Roommate’s
  • Wall box- Ikea
  • Skeleton portrait- Matt Tabor
  • Shoe on fence post photo- We Are 1976
  • African mask- Thrift Store
  • Other art- Gifts


  • Turquoise pendants- Barn Light Electric
  • Barstools- Crate and Barrel
  • Rugs- Flor
  • Vintage desert photo- Thrift Store


  • Paul McCobb dresser- Reeve’s Antiques
  • White Chesterfield sofa- Gift from Mom
  • Vintage A/V cart- Thrift Store
  • Tan leather recliner – Gift from Bernadette
  • Bedside tables- Reeve’s Antiques
  • Bedside lamps- Circa Lighting
  • Mint green file cabinet- CB2
  • Desk- Blu Dot
  • Desk chair- Pottery Barn
  • Desk lamp- We Are 1976
  • Rug- West Elm
  • Floor pillow- West Elm
  • Coffee table- Homemade
  • Headboard- Pottery Barn
  • Bedding- Restoration Hardware, Joinery NYC, Crate and Barrel
  • Big red painting- Reeve’s Antiques
  • Wall mirror- Thrift Store
  • Punk rock dog paintings- Trip to Thailand
  • Beth Hoeckel Cosmic Collages
  • Christopher Marley bug art- Kuhl-Linscomb
  • Debbie Carlos B&W prints
  • Large B&W photo of NYC- Ikea (with added splatter paint)
  • “Cy Twombly” painting over bed- Glassell School of Art Student Sale


  • Cage lights- Home Decorators Collection
  • Orange and white “sea creatures” print- We Are 1976
  • Mirrors- Ikea
  • Other art- Thrift Store/Gifts


  • Big B&W American flag in hallway- Urban Outfitters
  • Yellow chair on balcony- Ikea
  • Other chairs and table on balcony- Gifts from Mom
  • Harri Koskinen Block Lamp on balcony- Kuhl-Lincomb
(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Thanks, Mark!

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