After Harvey, the champion pair takes on a new style on the golf course

When Hurricane Harvey left Pam and Morgan Gottsponers’ Champions home with two feet of standing water, their decision was a simple one: sell and move to higher ground.

After spending time in a few rentals, they finally found a lot with an older house – still in Champions territory but on a higher elevation that felt safer from future flooding. Starting with a home and furniture from scratch, they decided to do a style update with lighter colors, larger windows, and more luxurious finishes.

One day, they were sitting on a small patio in the backyard of their new home, which had just finished framing and had only recently installed the electrics, and realized they were overwhelmed with the dozens of decisions they had to make .

They had survived a year-long move to the Galleria neighborhood, where they lived in an apartment and enjoyed a different social scene and commute. Although Pam, 69, who works for COLA, a laboratory accreditation company, has long worked from home, Morgan, now 70 and retired, worked for Apache Corp. in national marketing for oil and gas and traded for an hour drive five minutes walk.

They spent quite a bit of time looking at homes for sale but just couldn’t find what they wanted.

Pam liked the Champions neighborhoods and wanted to return to her suburban lifestyle. When their lease expired, the couple found a small house for rent not far from the lot they had bought for a new home. They demolished the existing home on the property – a site that had been vacant for many years – and hired Jason Penberthy of Penberthy Custom Builders to create a new home that was Mediterranean on the outside but more contemporary on the inside.

It was Penberthy who saw that the Gottsponers were stuck and suggested he bring in an interior designer he had worked with on other projects, Lauren Grumbles of Tomball’s Lauren Grumbles Design. She helped them finalize color, tile, and lighting choices, find ceiling treatments, organize the kitchen, and furnish the home.

They were able to finish the house by December 2019 and then host a Super Bowl party in February 2020 just before the coronavirus pandemic hit, shutting down many businesses and ending social gatherings.

The couple, married for 46 years, had previously lived in a 4,400-square-foot home and opted for a new, slightly smaller, 3,500-square-foot home with four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms.

Pam and Morgan are both from Lakin, Kansas, a tiny town in the southwest of the state. They knew each other in high school but only met later after Morgan returned home from duty in Vietnam. Although they have moved quite a bit for Morgan’s jobs, they have been in the Houston area since 1987.

They decided this would be their final home, so on-site aging measures were also important. That means it’s ADA-compliant, electrical switches are lower, doors are wider, and showers don’t have thresholds to step over.

Though they haven’t returned to full party mode, they have friends over for brunch over the weekend, allowing Morgan, who is doing most of the cooking, to get his new kitchen up and running.

The main living area is open concept and has large windows overlooking the backyard and its large deck with pool and hot tub, outdoor kitchen and living and dining areas, all of which have great views as the home is located on the 10th hole of the Jackrabbit Golf Course of the Champions Golf Club.

The kitchen features a large, curved island with plenty of space for prep and a six-burner Thermador range with griddle and warming drawer. Rather than splurge on an expensive, custom-made stainless steel range hood, they had a wooden version that was painted to look like it had a metal finish. The range hood was painted by Luxe Fine Finishes who also did some wall and ceiling treatments in other parts of the house.

A large walk-in pantry has a small wall that slides out to reveal secret storage space. Pam jokes that this secret room was where she kept her prized supplies when toilet paper was scarce, but the reality is that during a severe storm, Pam, Morgan and their Labrador Birdie all made themselves at home in this small but central spot-of -house room.

While the outside cabinets are painted white (Benjamin Moore’s “Calm”), the island and some built-in cabinets in the living room are dark gray-blue, Sherwin-Williams “Outer Space”.

The Gottsponers use the words “dark” and “brown” to describe their previous home, which was decorated when dark decor was more popular. But they were fed up and ready to replace that heavy style.

Most of the furniture in their house that was flooded was ruined, so they had to start over anyway. Some antiques and family items they acquired are now in guest rooms with old family photos and a closet full of quilts made by Pam’s mother.

The living room has a velvety blue sofa with a stud head trim and a pair of white striped lounge chairs. Its fireplace has a cast stone surround topped with stacked stones running up the wall.

One of the biggest conversations has been about having ceiling fans: Pam likes them, Morgan doesn’t. When Lauren sided with Morgan, they went in search of great-looking sconces, pendants, and chandeliers.

However, Pam wanted great ceiling treatments, so a beautiful chandelier hangs from a curved surface with art painting in her dining area. The living room has a coffered ceiling, Pam’s office has a wooden cross lattice and a back hallway has brick tiles.

In the master bedroom, they wanted a gorgeous bathroom that includes a deep soaking tub with its own artistically painted ceiling, beautiful tile behind their vanities, and both indoor and outdoor showers with stone walls.

The couple enjoy vacationing in the Caribbean, and Morgan said there’s an outdoor shower almost everywhere they live, so when planning their new home, he wanted one here, too. The bonus is that it works as a simple dog washing station with minimal cleanup.

A natural stone sink that Pam fell in love with set the tone for the powder bathroom in which they used granite with dramatic gray and white veining, more dark blue paint with a metal grille on the cabinet and a pair of pendants with clustered lights, which looks even more dramatic against the wall mirror.

The playroom doubles as the family room, and the layout of this room was changed after Grumbles came on board. It was originally designed for a full service bar with a counter for prep work, but it would have taken up so much space that they might not have had the space for a seating area and table and chairs either.

They downsized the bar to cabinets along the back wall with a sink, leaving more room for guests. This is the room where the Gottsponers watch TV, so automatic blinds on the windows and French doors keep it dark if they want. A fold-up coffee table also doubles as a place for the couple to dine when there is just the two of them at home.

diane.cowen@chron.com

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