PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston September 2020

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Page 89 of 99

88 Opposite page: The living room chairs are Napoleon III, re-covered in ochre-color wool. Brown made the coffee table from an antique coromandel screen. Bottom left: In the bedroom, the vintage rug is Turkish. Curtains are Ralph Lauren fabric. Painting from Belgium. Bottom right: In Brown's bath, the fl oor is antique encaustic tiles from an old house in Belgium. the embellishment off the top." She placed them next to a pair of faded red crushed-velvet wing chairs she bought in Belgium and had seat cushions made from gently frayed fabric that belonged to his mother. Brown is passionate about fabric and pattern. A handsome antique crewel fabric that hangs at a window in her bedroom was destined for the landfi ll when Brown discovered it 30 years ago in a trash pile in front of a Michigan estate belonging to founders of the Packard automobile company. She took the fabric home and turned it into draperies, which she's used in many of her houses over the decades. Interior designer David Brantley helped her source new fabrics and rugs. "He would bring a big bag full of samples to dig through, and I would get so excited the night before we met that I couldn't sleep," she says, laughing. Among Brantley's finds is an embroidered Pollack fabric — a charming riff on a classic American alphabet sampler — which she used to cover the chairs around the library table. The alphabet sampler holds a particular fascination for Brown, who is charmed by anything to do with didactics and schools. "When I lived in Belgium, I'd do the markets very early looking for art," she recalls. "I'd pull out folios of kids' schoolwork and drawings — anything that is authentic and shows the work of a maker." She also discovered portraits by unknown or under-the- radar Belgian artists, many of which she's hung throughout her country house. A bedroom for her sons — her favorite room in the house — is decorated with quirky portraits of men and boys collected from her time overseas as well as an oil painting of Foster's great-grandfather, Roderick Random Butler. Brown's passion for uncommon, deep wall colors was reinforced further while she was living in Belgium, a country known for austere interiors awash in sumptuously brooding hues. "In Brussels, I stumbled across Agnès Emery's shop, and I still remember how my heart skipped a beat," Brown says. Painted in the rich "dark and toasty" colors Brown adores, Emery's store sells hand-tinted paints and artisan tiles, fabrics and wallpapers. "Her colors are complex and beautiful — I have them in my Houston house, too, and it's the chart I pull out most for projects," Brown says. In her country house, toasted ochre and deep- caramel walls embrace rooms and their cherished contents like a warm hug. Colors, fabrics, furnishings, and art all remind Brown of where she's been and people she's loved. "We are building memories in this house," she says. "I think about things like that when I hear my granddaughter's feet in that attic room above. This is what life is about." A Napoleon III ebonized table doubles as a workspace and dining table in the library. Embroidered Pollack fabric on the chairs is reminiscent of an American alphabet sampler.

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