Houston Lifestyles & Homes March 2010
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Tanglewood Dwelling     Defines Balance and Beauty        This
Text by Cheryl Alexander   Photos by J Pamela Photography   Interiors by Taylor and Taylor Designs
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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 family —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 family —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 remarkable.
The floor in each room is covered with an exquisite piece of textural, fabric art.
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 are seven.
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 elegant landscaping.
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 space.
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 breakfast room. “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
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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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