Youthful patterns and surprising pieces give a nearly 100-year-old Texas cottage a boost.
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Bob Davis started it. His family's deer lease near Fredericksburg, Texas, has drawn him to the area since he was a kid. One day, he brought his girlfriend, Linda, on the hunt and proposed. A marriage, two daughters, and a few decades later, they made it official with a fully updated 1920s cottage just off Main Street.

Architecturally, the home is a break from their full-time place about six hours away in Longview. For their primary residence, a casual ranch, it's all about rustic decor. "I wanted this house to be different," Linda says. Comfort and clean lines, however, were both still essential.

But she didn't have to say any of that to her designer. Maddie Hughes, along with her decorating partner, Alex Lutz, is a go-to in Dallas for putting a fresh, color-splashed face on traditional interiors. She's also Linda and Bob's daughter.

Alex Lutz and Maddie Hughes Design Team out of Dallas, TX
Alex Lutz (right) started as a client for Maddie Hughes (left) before they decided to make their design collaboration permanent.
| Credit: Alison Gootee; Styling: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

"I knew Maddie would know what I like but also that she'd push me," Linda says. For her part, Maddie was ecstatic. The home's pitch-perfect architecture—the original shiplap walls, the local limestone floors in the kitchen and on the porch, and an English-style kitchen remodel—felt like a playground.

Linda's conservative-meets-funky wardrobe inspired pared-down classic furniture silhouettes (with deep seats to accommodate Bob's tall frame comfortably). Flame stitching, pinstripes, and geometrics lift the neutral upholstery. Linda's favorite hue, chartreuse, shows up in the pillows and other accents to keep it exciting. "We really liked that the fabrics weren't matchy-matchy and made the spaces seem not so planned," Maddie says.

Antiques with European origins capitalized on the vibe set by the living room's marble fireplace. Each space received at least one signature piece simply because it evoked Linda's personality, not just to fit a prescribed scheme. The vivacious Schumacher fabric in the kitchen, for example, upped the cool factor in a way that Alex says is "so Linda."

The couple visited the area frequently before, but now they just can't stay away, heading down almost every weekend to unwind or to host special family events, such as their younger daughter's bachelorette party and wedding brunch last year.

"It's really our refuge," Linda says. "And I can't imagine that ever changing."

Entry Console Table with Blue Lamps
Credit: Alison Gootee; Styling: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

Include Items Only You Have

This is a weekend place, so to help make it feel more like home from day one, Maddie commissioned two paintings from Ryan Gilliam, a family friend. One is the portrait that hangs above the Theodore Alexander console in the hallway. It's based off a photo of Maddie and her sister, Carly, when they were young. "It's one of my favorite pieces," says Linda. "And through the art, we brought in some color on the walls."

Neutral Living Room with green accents and marble fireplace
Credit: Alison Gootee; Styling: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

Make Room for Family

The living room sofa hides a bed for when both daughters come for the holidays. Other creature comforts include a reproduction coffee table that's large enough for everyone to prop up their feet.

White Kitchen with Marble Backsplash and Vintage Table Island
Credit: Alison Gootee; Styling: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

Be Open-Minded

Despite Linda and Maddie's genetically enhanced mind meld, they differed on a few details—at first. "I kind of didn't want an island and liked that the room was open," Linda says of the kitchen. But Maddie disagreed, thinking that the small island would give her mom a place to set groceries and do light meal prep. They stumbled on this tiny French one at an antiques shop in Fredericksburg. "It brings out the yellow in the window treatments, which I love," Maddie says. So does her mom."Now, I couldn't think of not having it," says Linda.

White Kitchen with Farmhouse Sink and Soapstone Countertop
Credit: Alison Gootee; Styling: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

Keep the Character

The designers suspected the kitchen pendant was original, so they held on to it for its charm, rather than swapping it out as they did the rest.

Bedroom with canopy bed and vaulted wood clad ceiling
Credit: Alison Gootee; Styling: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

Follow the Lines

"When we saw the ceiling in here, we knew we wanted to go in a Spanish direction," says Maddie of the back house's vaulted beams. Linda picked up a colorful throw on vacation in New Mexico, inspiring a palette of fiery red and cool green. A group trip to Round Top yielded the arched mirror, the trunk, and a pair of mismatched nightstands. "This room was really fun but a little scary to create," recalls Maddie.

Screened Porch with Teal and Green Ceiling and Wicker Furniture
Credit: Alison Gootee; Styling: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

Capitalize on Oddities

For some mysterious reason, the porch's ceiling was painted aqua blue on one side and green on the other. "We can make this cool," Maddie thought, earmarking green wicker furniture for the seating to pull the color down to floor level. The door to the hallway often stays open, as the family spends as much time outside as in.

Backyard Fire Pit with Adirondack Chairs
Credit: Alison Gootee; Styling: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

Embrace Your Yard

The cozy outdoor space makes the teeny house live much larger than it actually is, the designers note. "That was the one thing we let Bob be in charge of," says Linda of their addition of a copper firepit to the already manicured landscape. "He did do a good job." Come winter, it's where the family gathers to roast marshmallows, says Maddie.