PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity_Houston_June 2021

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In the living area, leather-and-ceramic stools by Christophe Delcourt. Walter Knoll sofa. Hiroshi Sugimoto photo- graph, sourced by Anne Bruder from Marian Goodman Gallery, NY. built on lot number 5 — the Putmans' new house — was no exception. It was originally built for James L. Autry, who co-founded The Texas Company (later known as Texaco), and once included a large greenhouse and tennis court. Inspired by the era's popular Mission architecture movement, the interiors are as majestic as Autry's stature in the community would have required. Broad oak wainscoting is found throughout, including Autry's private office, library, and the family dining room, which also has a massive floor-to-ceiling oak fireplace. "The house is so grandiose. We wanted to make it feel less daunting and more like a family home," says Ashley, a graphic designer who has also created interiors for restaurants such as Emmaline. She and Steve, a corporate general counsel, have two teenage boys. The couple spent two years renovating the house, including restoring an upstairs sleeping porch that spans the south end of the house. They opened up the kitchen and created a casual dining area, along with a separate breakfast nook behind antique beveled-glass doors. A century earlier, the Autrys would have never set foot in the back service areas, but this family loves to hang out in the kitchen — especially when Steve cooks. Even when guests stop by, the family prefers to take visitors up the service stairs. "The kids who lived in this house originally didn't even know there were back stairs," Ashley says. "We're lucky — we get to use the whole house." A shley and Steve Putman love old houses. They previously lived in a 1930s house on Sunset Boulevard, and until recently, they owned an old farmhouse near Round Top. "Old houses just have soul," Ashley says. At 108 years old, their Courtlandt Place residence is their oldest yet, and it came with a few welcome surprises. "The woman who owned the house before us collected antique wicker furniture that she repaired," Ashley recalls. "When we came through the house to look at it, she had a ton of it. The sleeping porch was full of wicker furniture, and the basement was full of intricate Victorian wicker furniture. I love wicker and bamboo, so she let me buy some of it." A downstairs enclosed porch — or fernery, as it would have been known in 1913 — is now furnished with many of the previous owner's wicker pieces. And Ashley inherited another gem: the formal dining room's original crystal chandelier, which had been neglected on the basement floor for decades. "It had been passed down with every new owner, but was just left there gathering dust, broken, with missing crystals." They had it restored, and it now presides in all its glory over the table. As a graphic designer, Ashley is skilled at creating striking and harmonious compositions. It's a talent that easily translates to interiors, she says. "They are so closely related; with graphic design, it's just a different type of arranging. I can spend days or weeks just fiddling and rearranging every vignette and wall in the house. It's an obsession — I can't help it." The entryway's grand proportions 49

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