Throwback Home Tour: An Antique Dealer Creates a European-like Dwelling in Texas
In central Houston, Kay O'Toole creates a palace in three elegantly proportioned rooms.
When Houston antiques dealer Kay O’Toole decided to build her dream home, she knew exactly what she wanted: “I was striving for elegant simplicity and the patina of age,” she says. With the help of architect Kirby Mears and builder David Black, she designed a three-room Mediterranean-style residence—located in the courtyard behind her shop, Kay O’Toole Antiques and Eccentricities—that gives the impression of an expansive old-world villa.
Constructed and furnished with O’Toole’s vintage finds, the house features salvaged wide-plank pine floors with an inlay motif reproduced from an image of an 18th-century Swedish library she spotted in an issue of World of Interiors. The marble found in the kitchen and the bathroom was rescued from a demolished Houston post office. Even the windows throughout the home were recovered from an estate built in the early 1930s.
Contributing to the home’s serene ambience are the artworks, trinkets, and found objects scattered throughout, including a collection of 18th-century Madonna crowns and a bronze bird’s-nest sculpture made by local artist Lisa Ludwig. “I define my style as dramatic and personal,” says O’Toole, “with plenty of breathing room!”