After Harvey, the Champions couple adopt a new style on the golf courses

When champion Pam and Morgan Gottsponers’ home was left with a yard of standing water from Hurricane Harvey, their decision was simple: sell and move to higher ground.

After spending time in a few rentals, they eventually found a great deal with an older home – still in the Champions area, but at a higher elevation that seemed safer for future flooding. Starting from scratch with a house and furniture, they opted for a style update, with lighter colors, larger windows and more luxurious finishes.

One day they found themselves sitting on a small patio in the back yard of their new home, they had just completed the framing and early electrical installation, and they realized they were in over their heads facing the dozens of decisions they had to make.

They had been through a year-long move to the Galleria area, where they lived in an apartment, enjoying a different social scene and a different 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 Oil and Gas Marketing and traded an hour drive for a five minute walk.

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

Pam loved the Champions neighborhoods and wanted to recapture her suburban lifestyle, so when their lease ended, the couple found a small house to rent not far from the land they had purchased for a new home. They demolished the existing house on the lot – a vacant spot for many years – and hired Jason Penberthy of Penberthy Custom Builders to create a new house that was Mediterranean on the outside but more contemporary on the inside.

It was Penberthy who saw the Gottsponers stuck and suggested they bring in an interior designer he had worked with on other projects, Lauren Grumbles of Tomball-based Lauren Grumbles Design. She helped them complete paint, tile, and lighting selections, find ceiling treatments, organize the kitchen, and furnish the home.

They were able to finish the house in December 2019, then throw a Super Bowl party in February 2020 shortly before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, 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 slightly smaller new one at 3,500 square feet with four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms.

Both Pam and Morgan are from Lakin, Kansas, a small town in the southwest of that state. They knew each other in high school, but did not meet until later, after Morgan returned from his service in Vietnam. Although they have moved around a lot for Morgan jobs, they have been in the Houston area since 1987.

They decided it would be their last home, so aging-in-place measures were also important. That means it’s ADA compliant, electrical switches are lower, doors are wider, and showers have no thresholds to step over.

Although they’re not back in full party mode, they have friends over for weekend brunch, so Morgan, who does most of the cooking, can put her new kitchen to work.

The main living area has an open concept and large windows that overlook the back yard and their wide patio with pool and hot tub, outdoor kitchen, and living and dining area that all have great views since the house is located on the 10th fairway . Jackrabbit Golf Course at Champions Golf Club.

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

A large pantry has a small wall that opens to reveal a secret storage space. Pam jokes that when toilet paper was scarce, this secret room is where she stored her precious stash, but the reality is that during a severe storm, Pam, Morgan and their Labrador retriever, Birdie, get are all squatting in this small but center-room of the house.

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

The Gottsponers use the words “dark” and “brown” to describe their old home, one that was decorated when dark decor was more popular. But they had had enough and were ready to replace this heavy style.

Most of the furniture in their house that was flooded was in ruins, so they had to start all over again. Some of the antiques and family pieces they acquired now reside in guest bedrooms with old family photos and a wardrobe full of quilts made by Pam’s mother.

The living room features a velvety blue sofa with nailhead trim and a pair of white striped club chairs. Its fireplace has a cast stone surround topped with stacked stones that run along the wall.

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