Home / THE GOOD LIFE / Elegance and playfulness exist side by side in this country French stunner

Elegance and playfulness exist side by side in this country French stunner

Writer: DANNY MOGLE | Photographer: DAVID WHITE/White Photography

John and Jennifer Holt’s country French inspired home may be the ultimate case of a house with a split personality. Open the impressive wooden double doors and you’ll find gleaming marble floors and a beautiful painting. A distinctive wrought iron fixture bathes the entrance in light. It speaks of elegance, dignity and refinement.

By the time you make your way to the backyard and its inviting pool/sauna with lounge chairs conveniently resting in the water, the message is clearly “let’s have fun!”

That’s exactly what the Holts wanted for their retreat tucked away in a gated community in Smith County.

They built the house to satisfy both their need for peace and tranquility and their need to have their friends, their three children and eight energetic grandchildren over for good times.


The first floor is dominated by a great room that encompasses a kitchen, dining area and formal living room. Warm beige tones cover the walls, countertops and flooring and provide a contrast

to the deep browns of the extensive wooden cabinetry. In some places in the kitchen, the cabinetry and its decorative trim extends from floor to ceiling.

“I like to cook,” says John of spending time in the kitchen.

“He cooks and I clean up,” jokes Jennifer.

The living room is anchored by a fireplace, an arrangement of large leather couches and chairs and one of the home’s 10 large-screen televisions.

“I really like more of the formal look,” says Jennifer, who kept the primary living space open, airy and uncluttered.

Elegance is also the standard of the formal dining room, where a table with sitting for eight is positioned under a chandelier that hangs from the steeply pitched roof.

The extra wide crown molding framing the doors and windows throughout the home adds a distinctive flair and complements the ornate frames on many of the pieces of art. The Holts own original works by famed painter Thomas Kinkade.

Also on display are some of Jennifer’s paintings. An accomplished artist in her own right, she studied in Tyler, Texas, under the guidance of Penny Nichols Sanders.

Beige and brown tones

continue throughout the home, except for the upstairs media room. The walls and ceiling of this man cave are painted in a rich orange and the floor is covered in carpeting mimicking the eyecatching look of leopard skin.

The home has four bedrooms, one of which they use as an exercise room. The master bedroom features wood-plank flooring, a sleigh bed and a recessed ceiling. In the large walk-in closet is a center island, more floorto- ceiling cabinetry and yet another distinctive barrel light fixture with an intricate design.


The home’s star attractions just may be the pool and spacious covered outdoor living areas.

The Holts say their home is the ultimate setting for hosting the family gatherings and parties that they love so much.

Just weeks after moving in earlier this year, they had 40 people over for a celebration.

Guests inevitably end up around the pool and at the bar in the fully functioning outdoor kitchen – which features a handy pizza oven no less.

Multiple sitting areas and pool-side lounging chairs wrap around one end of the pool and create the ambiance of a luxurious resort.

Steps from the outdoor

kitchen is a washroom that pops in shades of turquoise and would be right at home on a tropical coast.

Jennifer and John had no trouble getting on the same page with their builder, Tom Utz of Southern Home Builders. Tom is Jennifer’s uncle and had built their previous home.

He knew exactly what they wanted and how to make it happen.

The Holts at long last have the home — part playground, part restful retreat — that they always wanted.

It’s time to relax … and party.

About Danny Mogle

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