There is no question that Dennis Brackeen is a maximalist, and this project is certainly no different. One look at the high-gloss, wine-color doors of this Texas estate could tell you that.
The home’s owner shares the Houston-based designer’s more-is-more philosophy. “We actually met when the lady of the house visited our retail shop,” Dennis says. “She and I felt immediately that we were the perfect fit and we hit the ground running.” Like many other clients, she had a vision but didn’t know how to bring it to fruition. “She loved color and just needed someone to give her a little push, or permission, and guidance on how to use it.”
The arched front door, painted a not-so-subtle glossy wine red, gives just a hint at the maximalist interiors that lie beyond.
The formal sitting area is a mélange of texture and style. The traditional secretary pairs seamlessly with the large-scale chinoiserie vases.
The formal living room is the star of the home. It’s as though the Mad Hatter planned a chinoiserie-themed tea party for the Queen of England. A mod shag rug in bright oranges and neon pinks is layered over a more traditional rug. Modern art hangs above Louis-style chairs. It’s a master class in the mix.
“One of my strong points has always been styling with layers,” says Dennis. “I absolutely love the relationships that can be created between objects within an environment.” The formal living room feels like it should come with a sign that reads, “Warning: Do Not Attempt to Replicate This Space Unless You Have Taken the Dennis Bracken Master Class in Mixing.” It takes a true expert to know when enough is enough. “Although I will proudly wear the label of a maximalist and say ‘layer away,’ objects and collections should never distract from the overall balance of the room and the story you are trying to tell,” he says.
The story of this home is the story of people who believe in style. They mix de Gournay wallpaper with Lucite tables and Art Deco lighting. Mod wallpaper from Elitis matches a gilded punk-inspired console in the entryway. The whole home is an ode to what can be done if you believe design should be a little fun. Says Dennis: “It is definitely a choreography of mixed styles and eras if ever there was one.”
Dennis’s choice to mix eras and styles keeps the room interesting at every turn. Layering a wild shag carpet over an Oriental rug exemplifies his maximalist nature.
The kitchen is a maximalist’s dream. The silver repoussé cabinetry features a unique floral design. “Although I would love to take credit, these were actually left in the house by the previous homeowner,” says Dennis. “I can take credit, however, for insisting that they remain.”
“We painted over all the stained cabinetry to give it a fresh look,” Dennis says. The multihue marble backsplash purposefully plays off the blue cabinetry.
Things should look collected but never unnecessary.
The den is more subdued than the rest of the house but still filled with color. “I wanted to make sure that it was welcoming and livable for long periods of time,” says Dennis. He masters the mix by pairing chinoiseries vases with a modern painting and a Southwest-inspired lamp.
In any other home, this green-and-blue moment would be wild. Here it serves as a quiet respite from the rest of the house.
Every space in the house offers a chance to layer. The entrance of the master bedroom features an ornate mirror paired with a set of decorative crane sculptures. “Things should look collected but never unnecessary,” Dennis says.
No master suite is complete without a sitting area. Here, Dennis covered the entire wall with a 12-panel chinoiserie screen. He pulls in more traditional elements with Greek key detailing on the sofa.
Dennis plays with scale in the master bedroom. An oversize headboard pairs with a tall bedside table and an even taller table lamp.
“I love the de Gournay wallpaper but wanted to make it feel fresh and chic,” says Dennis. He paired it with a graphic rug, punchy art, and a Lucite table. “The more-traditional pieces like the antique Anglo-Indian console and the Italian wall brackets help the space not to become glam,” he says.
“Believe it or not, this was the very last selection we made for this project,” says Dennis of the Elitis wallpaper in the foyer. It took him and the homeowner months to find and agree on it. “The scale and the pattern completely set the tone for what is to be experienced in the remainder of the home.”