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W hen Kevin Spear- man was in col- lege, he had his fortune read as a lark on spring break. The tarot card reader told him he had the perfect balance be- tween Venus and Mars, yin and yang, masculine and feminine. "That's not what you want to hear at 19," Spear- man says, laughing. "But she turned out to be right, I do love a good bal- ance in a room." At his firm, Kev- in Spearman Design Group, the principles of yin and yang — or the way opposites com- plement each other — is an important ingredient in the alchemy of great design. "A room can easily tip over the edge to be too pretty or too gritty," he says. For a newly built Tudor in Houston's leafy Tangle- wood neighborhood, Spear- man struck the right balance by taking the interiors in an unexpected contemporary direction. "I love a tradi- tional home," he says. "But instead of doing the expected, we gave the traditional bones an edgier and more sophisti- cated feel." The choice of a cool, rather than warm color palette sets a relaxed modern PERFECTION DESIGNER KEVIN SPEARMAN CREATES PUSH AND PULL, TENSION AND SERENITY WITH MASTERFUL FURNISHINGS, SCALE AND EDITING. tone with gray stone on the exterior, gray-washed oak floors, and black marble fireplaces. The black-and-white marble kitchen is one of Spearman's fa- vorite rooms. "A contemporary kitchen in this traditional home is a juxtaposition and surprise," he says. "I wanted it to feel like a young, well-traveled couple bought a 100-year-old house and updated the kitchen, so that the house ap- pears to have evolved over time." He used black and white throughout the house, tempering the high contrast with warm woods, including an- tique French oak floors and Danish furnishings. "We call it the perfect trifecta — black, white, and natural wood. Wood adds warmth, richness, and patina — otherwise the house would feel cold." The interiors are relaxed and sophisticated. "The house is full of personality. That comes from being collected, rather than decorated," he Left: In a hallway, a vintage Italian chest and worn leather chair contrast with an abstract painting and 1960s marble sculpture from The Window, Los Angeles. This page: In a play of scale and composition, a small antique French painting from Kay O'Toole hangs over a muscular marble fireplace in the family room. The 1940s Fritz Hansen lounge chairs and ottoman are from Galerie Novella. WHEN IMPERFECT IS

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