House Tour: This interior designer’s art-filled home in Texas isn’t your typical ranch-style house
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Based in the Big Apple, where she has been at the helm of her eponymous studio since 2003, Sara Story finds inspiration in travel, fashion and contemporary art. According to the interior designer, her style is “eclectic and constantly evolving. It is actual, but it always references the past.”
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Born in Japan, Story grew up in both Singapore and Houston. Texas means a lot to the designer, who has good memories in the Lone Star State. Now that she has three children —one girl and two guesthouse, a pool house and boys—it has become even more important for Story to share this experience with her family.
To create her dream home, the interior designer placed her trust in Lake Flato, the architectural firm Story’s father had hired 20 years ago. Among some of Story’s main requests was to create an unconventional project, a departure from the style of traditional ranches.
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Located atop a 200-hectare plot, the property spreads over 4 hectares and comprises the main two-storey home, a guesthouse, a pool house and a tennis pavilion.
Using pure lines, the architecture is clearly contemporary, built from massive blocks of Texas Lueders limestone, along with glass, wood and steel. Large outdoor verandas were made possible by the broad overhanging roof.
The main house—which hosts six bedrooms and one master suite—comprises the airy and bright great room where a steel fireplace framed in eggshell veneer panels by Chapeau Design is the focal point. The double-height ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows highlight the main protagonist in this project: the peaceful view.
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Story furnished all the rooms with vintage and modern pieces, which mingle with a large collection of contemporary art and sophisticated finishes. She chose some furniture from the 20th century including a Raymond Loewy credenza and leather chairs by Jacques Adnet in the dining room. A pair of Rene Gabriel chairs covered in white cowhide adds a modern touch of Texas chic.
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Every space is adorned by art, including a pink painting by Andro Wekua and a contemporary surrealist painting by Tomasz Kowalski that overlooks the living-dining room, complemented by the Fragile Future chandelier by artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, made of dandelion seed heads, concrete and phosphorus bronze.
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In the kitchen furnished with custom-made stools by Wyeth, the glamourous breakfast area features a marble table, a Paavo Tynell ceiling lamp from Craig Van Den Brulle Gallery, a white banquette in Moore & Giles leather and vintage Thonet chairs.
The mostly beige master suite is adorned with a painting by Kati Heck, a black, 1970s-era Eileen Gray Transat chair, wall panels covered in perforated suede and a carpet by Marc Phillips Decorative Rugs.
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More playful than the rest of the house, the kids’ rooms were decorated with a higher dose of colour through decorative accessories such as de Gournay wallpaper and curtains with Claremont fabric (both yellow), a green Karkula chair and a multi-coloured and floral-patterned chair covered in a Josef Frank linen from Svenskt Tenn.
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In addition to the main home, where Story and her family typically spend holidays and weekends, a guesthouse— decorated with contemporary art by Ellen Berkenblit—includes two bedrooms, an indoor and outdoor living room and a wine cellar.
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Pictured: The outdoor living room
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All exterior areas were also carefully designed with the help of landscape firm Studio Outside. The pool house is a tribute to the Barcelona pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929.
Despite its large scale, this house features an intimate and warm atmosphere where comfort and art have become part of the same creative concept.
Photos: Eric Laignel, Robert Relic & Taylor Jewell