April 20, 2019


Even as a little girl, Denise loved rearranging her room. Now she pores over shelter magazines, tours new home showcases and keeps a digital camera in her car to document the never-ending ideas that inspire her work as Potomac's design partner. We asked her how she makes a speculative home seem custom-built.

Denise, what are some of the details that go into a custom look?

The answer starts with the design. No boxes! When we first started building homes, it seemed as though every new home in Houston looked the same except for the color of the brick. I insisted that every home be unique to itself with an interesting roofline, signature front door and front porch. Where we are able, we customize the placement of the house on the lot to maximize views, light and shade. Recently, I positioned windows along a curved staircase inside one of our homes to frame a beautiful neighboring oak tree. Every view from every window matters.

Inside, the flow of the house has to be intelligent. I always ask myself things like, "Where are they going to put their Christmas tree? Where is the trashcan going? Where will the kids play? Where will they study?" Just asking the questions ensures that you'll get a usable, workable flow to the house, along with some very clever innovations.

Isn't it a challenge to make each home distinctive?

It happens naturally because I design each house for myself. To repeat myself would be boring! I always have an overall theme in mind, but every theme is comfortable. Every home is a home I would want to live in.

What are the newest design trends reflected in your homes?

Today there's a lot of interest in outdoor living spaces, which we create with summer kitchens, vaulted verandas, outside fireplaces and uniquely styled porches. I'm adding outdoor utility rooms for storage, gardening and recreation. Just a more thoughtful approach to how our owners will use the outdoors.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Ideas come from everywhere, but the inspiration is deeper. We all carry a personal life story made up of the images and memories of growing up. When I design a house, I imagine the family that will live there and the kids that will always remember it as home. That's an awesome responsibility and the most inspiring part of my job.

It is quite unusual to have people come knock at your door and tell you how beautiful your house is, but I am getting used to it.

~ Braes Heights Homeowner

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