It All Starts at Home
Marie Flanigan’s Houston home base is a living laboratory of understated elegance.
From the clerestory windows to the lighter wood finishes to the muted palette, this home feels like a greatest hits album of Marie Flanigan’s signature style — accented by pieces from her namesake collection.
Q: Nearly every room of your home features a piece from your collection with Visual Comfort & Co. Did you build your design scheme around the lighting fixtures or were they more of a finishing touch?
I was building this home as I designed the collection, and both efforts really called upon me to think a lot about how I want to live, so my home and collection are in a dialogue. There’s a shared vocabulary to everything I design — a language of elliptical arches used in key spaces, raw textures and refined edge details. These are traditional lines, just a little sleeker.
Q: When you're a designer doing your own home, where do you start?
In a sense, the sky's the limit.
Then again, I've been designing homes for 15 years, so I have a great perspective on what I go back to every time, and key pieces I'm always looking for. The heart of my aesthetic is understated beauty, influenced by nature and enriched texture.
Q: How would you describe the narrative thread connecting the pieces in your collection for Visual Comfort & Co.?
Every piece features organic elements
I'm always bringing the beauty of the outdoors in, and considering nature in a contemporary way. My first collection for Visual Comfort & Co. was geared toward a softer palette, which always adds a great deal of warmth to a room. The latest collection works in some stronger tones - ochre, camel, black - and mixed metals.
Q: What can you share about the process of working with Visual Comfort & Co. to bring your designs to life?
I’m lucky to live in Houston, where Visual Comfort & Co. is based.
I can bring an idea right to the product development team and sit there and sketch it out in person, and they can help me make it better. It’s incredible to work with people who have so much history and expertise in this field. I’ve been using Visual Comfort & Co. pieces in projects for years before becoming a design partner, and there’s so much talent here.
Q: What’s your approach to lighting a room, and how did it shape your collection?
I gravitate toward fixtures that could stand alone as statement pieces, but can also be layered and seem collected over time.
I’m also interested in diffusing light in interesting ways — for instance, the Menil Chandelier filters light through glass rods and the Reese Pendant has a seeded glass shade. While I tend toward minimalism, finishing details are everything. The Price Table Lamp has an alabaster base that’s elevated (literally and figuratively) by a soft brass stand, and the Linley Hanging Shade dresses up rattan with a thin edging of brass for a refined touch.
Q: Back to your beautiful home, was there anything specific you were hoping to achieve in the design process?
My background is architecture, so it wasn’t just about finishes.
It was also about the way light entered into spaces and the way vistas were captured. Given that this is a small corner lot in a historic neighborhood in the heart of the city, it was also about how to maximize the footprint, which we accomplished by building in a U-shape around a courtyard.
Q: Do you have a favorite space in the house?
The library is a special room.
The most glamorous thing anyone can give themselves is natural light, and the windows were the jewelry of this house. I also love that the library features my Rigby Chandelier. The natural stained oak paired with brass brings together elements that are both minimalist and ornate in a really striking way. I actually have pieces from the Rigby Collection in three spaces in my home.
Q: Do you have any tips for designing a family-friendly home?
Think about the life you want for your family.
At my house, it’s about having people over, hosting guests, and moments of gathering. One thing we did was adopt a low technology approach (no televisions on the first floor!) which helps to create a sense of escape and retreat. The best rooms are felt, and lighting is such a huge part of that. It creates pathways for enjoyment, entertainment, and comfort. It really is the glue.