PaperCity Magazine

November 2018- Houston

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80 THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE WAS HOW TO CREATE A BEAUTIFUL HOME FILLED WITH PALE ANTIQUES WITH FOUR CHILDREN IN RESIDENCE. and rent out the building, a 1930s New England-style saltbox. "I'd love for you to take it and do something with it," she urged him. The high-rise apartment he'd just rented felt sterile compared to Gibbins' 80-year-old house, which had appealing architecture and spoke to him on an emotional level. Also, "she made me a really good deal," he says. Fontenot quickly found someone to take over his other lease. His design office is now on the second floor of the former antiques shop, and he lives downstairs. "It's really a beautiful story how it all worked out," he says. The building's old architecture dictated what Fontenot would do with the interiors, including the furnishings and wall colors. "I have so many styles I work in," he says, "So with any project I start with the architecture, and that shows me what happens next." Happily, this house begged for the honed, unpolished look Fontenot prefers. The acid- washed tile floors were laid in the 1980s, but look battered enough to appear as old as the house. He kept those, along with the antique English doors and windows Gibbins had installed. Artisans were hired to hand-scrape the living room's original pine fireplace down to the wood, and Fontenot stopped them halfway through when it reached a patina he liked. Some of the rooms were given a coat of white paint or a muted putty color, but where the walls weren't in great condition — such as the dining room and powder room — he disguised the flaws with Benjamin Moore's Mount Etna paint, a deep green-black. Fontenot's rooms are calm and pensive, yet the mood is achieved not simply with wall color, but with furnishings. "I want spaces to have emotion, and that comes from the objects in a room," he Left: In the living room, the hand-scraped pine fireplace is original. Ancient Chinese, pre-Columbian, Roman, and Bactrian vessels. Pair of vintage Charlotte Perriand stools from Les Arques ski resort in France. Right: John Baldessari's mixed-media artwork. Richard Schultz prototype chair with fox-fur cushions, 1993.

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