Houston Lifestyles & Homes March 2010
Text by Cheryl Alexander Photos by J Pamela Photography Interiors by Taylor and Taylor Designs
The de Jong home in Tanglewood offers a true representation of a family who is
dedicated to hard work, high standards and notable achievement. The
8,400-square-foot residence houses Brent and Mariella de Jong and their blended
—his two daughters, Madeline and Grace; her daughter, Gabriella Mahan, and her
son, Brandon Mahan; and their daughter, Keira. Obviously, they need a big house
and a lot of balance to make their busy lives work. The beauty of the French
country home comes in the form of the aesthetic of the place and the aura
permeating its walls.
The spirit of the home is unmistakable. These are folks who work hard in order
to enjoy fulfilling and interesting lives. There is evidence everywhere: global
art, significant souvenirs and fascinating furniture attest to the travel and
cultural diversity this family affords. The art is simply amazing.
Every room downstairs features attention-grabbing work collected from the exotic
destinations this family
’s lifestyle allows them to visit—whether for business or pleasure. From the Dutch seal prominently centered on
the huge antique Indonesian shutter in the formal living room
—his family is Dutch—to the Peruvian art tiles and the Aymara Indian portrait by a friend of the
—she is Peruvian—in the study, or the red Chinese vases in the master suite that were collected
during business trips
—both of them work in energy infrastructure in the Emerging Markets—the details of the home easily speak a museum-like quality. Even the rugs are
The floor in each room is covered with an exquisite piece of textural, fabric
The size of the home speaks to the balance required to manage the number of
people who inhabit the dwelling. Due to the merging of the two families, there
Mariella says, “It was very important to us when we got married and began looking at homes that
everyone would feel equal
—ownership, belongings, space and activities are most definitely equally divided
in this home.
Each child has their own bedroom, private bathroom and walk-in closet. The size
of each is ample and uniform. Brent adds,
“There is an over-riding feeling of mutual respect between all of us, and our
private and shared spaces underscore that respect.
Aesthetically speaking, the home’s exterior is beautifully balanced. A stunning, stucco façade is softened by textured paint, the curving driveway, a wrought-iron gate and
Just inside the foyer and front room are two hand-painted French 18th century
chandeliers with flickering light that offers the perfect ambiance for
welcoming guests. Then, the stairs with their wonderfully wrought-iron rails
pour at once, fluidly and splendidly, from the second floor, landing gracefully
amid an equally fluid front room. In fact, nowhere in this house will you find
sharp corners. Soft corners, soft colors and soft touches rampantly refine the
Throughout the abode, spacious and comfy family rooms provide more than enough
area for family and friends to gather. The most obvious place, the kitchen, is
large and welcoming. The sleek, blond finish of the cabinets, the creamy shine
of the travertine floor and the glossy Viking appliances are a few of the
reasons why this room (along with the wine grotto) is Brent
’s favorite room. “I love to cook for all of us.”
Mariella admits, “He has a passion for cooking, and when Brent cooks, we always get the best
ingredients and the best recipes. Everyone admires his culinary skills.
An expansive French country table with a long bench on one side defines the
“The kids love the bench,” says Mariella. Proportionately overlooking the table is an antique European
hotel dish rack where ancient plates are situated between the slats. Even
The formal living room, which opens fluidly to the outdoor entertaining space,
offers this family more than ample room to gather comfortably with friends.
Remarkable details like the antique Indian boat masts, which seem to float from
the walls, the wooden folding chairs or the Indonesian shutter panel with the
authentic Dutch seal in the middle can be found throughout the home. The rug is
the de Jong
’s most prized—a Persian, peach in hue. Furnishings from Noel. ˙ The home’s foyer welcomes guests with arches and neutral colors. ˙ Period pieces authenticated by the accessories atop them add to the rustic
beauty of the French country home.
There is evidence everywhere: global art,
significant souvenirs and fascinating furniture attest
to the travel and cultural diversity this family affords.
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Fort Bend Publishing Group 2008