From Urban to Suburban Living - The Bend Magazine

From Urban to Suburban Living

Close knit families, a sense of community, and a thriving art scene stole the heart of the James family

By: Jaqueline Gonzales  Photos by: Jason Page

After deciding to leave DC, Suzette and David James knew they wanted to find a home in Texas. With so many houses and neighborhoods to choose from, they agreed that a decent sized, one story home near the water was tops on their list. As they set out to find their dream home, they learned of a gorgeous residence in Lamar Park that just happened to be on the market.

Most people find the switch from fast-paced urban living to a small town, community-centered lifestyle a bit strenuous. For the Jameses, making this adjustment definitely had its ups and downs, but they soon grew to love and call the Coastal Bend home. After living in a condo, where Suzette’s three kids all shared a bedroom, a 3,000 square foot house gave them a whole new project.

To assist with this transition, Suzette and David enlisted the help of designer and architect, Court Koester, to kickstart what ended up being a very collaborative renovation.  

It was imperative that the house express the family’s humor and endearing eccentricities while simultaneously radiating the comfort they bring to the table. After simplifying and opening up spaces, the house exuded a clean, fresh, fun aura that brought the vision of Suzette’s dream home to life.

Artistically, the home is rife with color and local talent. The Jameses, active supporters of Coastal Bend artists, display diverse pieces from Caro Jackson of Rockport along with vibrant pieces from Daryl Tanner, Susie Grossman, and Chelsea Beck, all from Corpus Christi. The key piece is a commissioned painting by Diane Weiner, which incorporates chickens, succulents, and the children’s names in bright, happy colors. Artwork from family travels, including pieces from Thailand, Bali, Argentina, and Brazil, add to the eclectic decor, allowing the animated personality of the James family to shine through.

The celebration of individuality stands out the most in the Jameses’ home. Each area of the house reflects the likes of each family member while maintaining a clean, simple, yet fun vibe.

Suzette had her heart set on a long dining room table because she loves to entertain family and friends. She was determined to do whatever it took to make the table fit. With Suzette’s vision and Court’s talents, the project was underway. The logical choice was to remove the wall separating the living area from the kitchen. In its place, she added long brick columns that still separate the two areas but allow accessibility through the open floor plan. The best part – the table would now fit.  

The long, teak wood dining table from BABA, reminiscent of furniture in Indonesia, is accented with Tolix chairs in kid friendly shades of red, black, yellow, and blue. The vintage charms of the dining room table combined with the pops of color add a quirky touch to the area.  Hanging from the ceiling is a geometric chandelier, creating an iconic contemporary setting.

Every party host needs a spacious, user-friendly kitchen. Suzette’s is equipped with modern appliances, quartzite countertops, and two dishwashers. The bright teal interior of the open cabinets pop in contrast to the white exterior, while stainless steel appliances add an appealing touch.  The size and design of the kitchen gives Suzette ample space to engage in family conversations while cleaning or cooking.

Even the kids got in on the decorating. Their bedrooms are decorated like something straight out of a catalog. At the request of all three of her children, Suzette added the “sky beds”.  Sky beds are loft beds, with the legs removed, suspended from the ceiling. The beds are a bright, fun shade of white with bedding in cheerful colors and prints. The sky beds are brilliant, and maximize the play area for the kids. Let’s not forget about the hammock swings! It’s like having their very own floating beanbag – super comfy and super cool!

What was previously a sitting room was transformed into a small workspace for David, a software developer. The French doors allow for accessibility and comfort but still give him enough privacy to work. Farther along is the guest room, complete with a creatively designed stage for the girls to play dress up. The closet doors behind the stage open to reveal an array of costumes, allowing them to achieve celebrity status, even if for a few moments.

Every corner and every room in the Jameses’ home reflects the spirit of each family member. They’ve blended in with the congenial vibe of the Coastal Bend and hit their stride, nailing a personally reflective infusion of edge, warmth, and good humor.