PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston May 2021

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The resulting interiors, conjured by Gin Braverman's Gin Design Group, are unexpected, intimate, and alternately moody and enchanting, mirroring a certain Montrose bohemianism. The Garden Bungalows — as they've been christened, an adjunct property of the historic hotel — are already being compared to the fabled L.A. lodgings, Chateau Marmont with its racy, splendid Hollywood history. Braverman — known for her interiors for the groundbreaking James Beard Award-winning restaurant Oxheart — has a respect for the past as well as a staunch commitment to preservation, coupled with an ability to make time-steeped interiors feel fresh, edgy, and modern. The deal was sealed after Steve Zimmerman and his son, Dan Zimmerman, worked together with Braverman on another restoration: downtown's turn-of-the-century Raphael and Dorrance buildings, reborn as Main & Co. at 110 and 114 Main Street. The bungalows were originally laborer apartments built in the 1940s. "There was no patio or landscape areas. They were updated a bit in the '60s to rent to Montrose singles," Steve Zimmerman says. "I purchased the property around 1993 to add more hotel extended-stay options with kitchens and a patio that would also allow for pets. I was getting Medical Center clients who wanted more of a townhouse feel and larger quarters. I went back to my New Orleans roots and brought over cornstalk wrought iron and Bevolo gas lights to build second- level balconies and create a typical New Orleans courtyard ambiance." Of the decision to create the Garden Bungalows, he adds, "When we began the Hines-Zimmerman project, we felt it was better to stay quaint and romantic rather than add another tower. Outdoor space and garden feel were important to Gerry Hines and to me. We completely renovated them to be of the same standard and quality as the rest of the project." Braverman was given carte blanche during the year- and-a-half bungalow revival project. "There was a point where at the very beginning we were going to design more in line with what was going on at the tower, and then we just decided, 'This is its own thing,'" Braverman says. "We shifted direction completely — and then it all started to really come together and get exciting." Contributing to the vibe are artworks from the Zimmerman Collection and deft touches with small objects meticulously placed by Becki van der Oord of InstallationsAntiques. The furnishings were custom- created for the bungalows by Gin Design Group's sister company which is devoted to furniture design and procurement, GEWL. (Pronounced "jewel.") The furnishings reference post-war modernism — responses to that time period, rather than slavish copies. Upholstered in sumptuous velvet, leather, or bouclé wool, they're sourced from artisans and factories that Braverman works with in Mexico, China, and Turkey. "Every last stick of furniture we had made," In Villa 2, kitchen wallpaper designed by New York-based abstract painter Domenica Brockman. In Villa 1, a mid-century vibe. 81

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