PaperCity Magazine

September 2019- Houston

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105 J ust like the art patrons he ad- mires, architect Ben Koush took a cue from the de Menils for the home he designed and shares with husband, Luis de las Cuevas. The couple's domestic space, which nods to the ver- nacular, is sited in a modest, gentrifying neighborhood on the Near Northside — a place where family homes, typically of the bungalow type, pass down through generations. For an architect, designing one's own home is both a blessing and a curse. It's also the calling card of one's practice. When clients meet in Koush's office, it's at the front of the property, in a simple frame structure connected by a dogtrot porch to the adjoining house — a nuanced pream- ble. After discussing a future commission, perspective clients are frequently invited into the home that bookends the property, privately screened from the street by the gentle footprint of the architect's office and an open-air garage. Bungalow Meets Shotgun House "We didn't want to tear anything down. We were looking for an empty lot," says de las Cuevas, a risk analyst in the oil- and-gas industry whose evenings and weekends are dedicated to his passion, painting. (The home's second bedroom, transformed into a studio, testifies to the energy executive's commitment to the practice of portraiture.) Both Koush and de las Cuevas had peripatetic early lives, so the concept of home is important. Particularly this home — the first they've each contributed to as a couple — which is contemporary yet rooted in a historic Houston commu- nity. Koush was born in New York City, attended high school in St. Louis, lived in Atlanta and Portland, went to Colum- bia for college, then moved to Houston, where his dad was an executive for the May company. Not a fan of Manhattan, he attended Rice University for architecture school. De la Cuevas' journey began in Havana; he and his nuclear family left there, not even telling grandparents for fear anything could go wrong. At age 12, he arrived in Houston, where he attended Lamar High School, then Rice. The couple met in 2014, dated for almost four years, and have been married for two. Their previous house, a historic A MODERNIST ROW HOUSE WEARS A MANTLE OF MODESTY BY CATHERINE D. ANSPON. ART DIRECTION MICHELLE AVIÑA. PHOTOGRAPHY PÄR BENGTSSON. ARCHITECT BEN KOUSH'S SHOTGUN HOUSE NESTLES INCONSPICUOUSLY INTO ITS NEAR NORTHSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD. IT'S A TALE OF LESS EQUALS SO MUCH MORE. Ben Koush

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