A Mid-Century Modern Work Of Art
● By Jacqueline Gonzalez
By: Jacqueline Gonzalez Photos By: Jason Page
When searching for the perfect home, location is a major factor in the decision-making process. Jennifer Lee and her husband, Monty, were on the hunt for a neighborhood with a strong family dynamic, a great school district, and a strong sense of place where their children could play outside and make lots of friends.
In addition to the location, the Lees sought an untouched, un-remodeled home that would serve as a blank canvas for a design project. Originally, they were drawn to the variety of lot sizes and architectural styles of the Lamar Park neighborhood, but soon discovered a hidden gem among the Mid-century modern homes in the Ocean Drive area.
Jennifer, a Corpus Christi native, was familiar with the area, and was excited to find a small, 1959 original Paul Blanchard Mid-century modern home – tucked away in the Port Aransas Cliffs area, between Bessar Park and Lamar Park subdivisions. She was immediately drawn to its potential, and the close proximity of the water and the bayfront was a bonus!
Jennifer, owner and designer for ŌCKERLEE DESIGN, loved that she was able to see directly through the home into the large backyard, presenting the perfect canvas for future add-ons and renovations. They purchased the home in 2004, and although it was a work in progress, Jennifer and Monty lived in their home for several years until they fine-tuned the design and saved money to expand it for their growing family. In 2009, they completed two new wings, one for adults and one for kids, and a slew of additional renovations, tripling the size of the home from 1,400 square feet to 3,466 square feet.
The hard work put into their home was well worth the effort. Immediately upon arrival, guests are struck by the masterful front door curb appeal, making a personality-packed statement. The sway of the concrete entryway adds architectural interest, as guests enjoy the landscaping before being greeted by the front door, dressed in a bold shade of orange.
Originally, the house was a shade of beige that Jennifer was not happy with, but she set out to showcase the natural materials, bones, and era of the house, embracing the natural beauty and location. The color palette was inspired by the colors on the rich print of an Orla Kiely shoulder bag. The brown bag showcases a fun print, filled with shades of taupe, grey, ivory, orange, and green, Jennifer’s favorite color - it proved to be a handy shopping companion.
The Lees’ decor is best described as eclectic. Each room has perfectly displayed family antiques and heirlooms, including hand-me-downs and Mid-century modern pieces they have collected over the years. A few pieces were purchased specifically for their first home, but Jennifer’s mantra is “work with what you have,” and her vision is slowly, but surely, coming together. She states, “While we would love to fill the whole house with architect-designed furniture pieces, a tiny budget is our reality, so we have to work with what we already have and fill in the pieces we can afford.”
Inspiration for the interiors comes first and foremost from each other, random pieces they find in shops or create themselves, or any pieces they are gifted from friends and family. Two lovely Charles Eames lounge chairs sit in front of a wall of books, creating a cozy reading corner. The treasured chairs were gifted to Jennifer by her architect neighbor, the late Sam Pennington, and add the perfect touch to the area. A vintage Sputnik chandelier, purchased from their photographer friend Brenda Miles, sits atop the dining room table, overlooking the front yard. This room, often referred to as “The Library,” showcases a wall of books, and a custom-made sectional couch, making it an ideal place to spend quality time with family. Taking advantage of the darker color palette of the library, the Lees use this room to escape from the heat in the summer, host dinner parties, watch movies, and gather around the fireplace in the winter.
Although the home has a strict color palette, there are a few breaks, allowing the house to showcase a different aspect of its owners’ personalities. From Jennifer’s love of different shades of green to Monty’s minimalistic preferences, the bright colors in their daughter’s room, and the low-key, casual area where their son plays his video games, the Lee home reflects charm, family, and comfort.
Jennifer’s best advice for anyone experiencing a home decor quandary: “Define your style before you buy anything. Pinterest is a great tool, but don’t get caught up in aiming for an Instagram-perfect home - focus on the reality of your lifestyle and embrace it through the decor!”