PaperCity Magazine

Round Top_June 2021

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The Ice Plant Cometh … TO LA GRANGE, TEXAS FROM CONCRETE BUNKER TO ETHEREAL WEDDING VENUE: THE STORY OF SAVING A HISTORIC SMALL-TOWN ICE PLANT. Written and photographed by Tamara Muth King T hrough a serendi- pitous series of events, La Grange has become home to one of the (literally) coolest event venues, The Ice Plant Bldg. Hidden behind a humble concrete exterior is an ethereal and majestic space that's equal parts visual crispness and warmth It all started in 2015. Los Angeles photographer Dani Brubaker — who's shot for Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Vogue Italia, and whose client list includes Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith, and Calvin Klein — was on assignment in Texas, photographing an editorial in the rolling pastures of Fayette County. She instantly fell in love with the land. Brubaker had been longing to leave California for quite some time, but she hadn't found a place to put down roots that "just felt good." The Oklahoma native, a self-proclaimed Zillow junkie, soon was spending hours each day combing through listings for ranch houses nestled between Houston and Austin. In 2018, the photographer spotted what she called an ugly building that was listed as a house for sale in La Grange. It was essentially a concrete bunker with no windows and 20-foot-high walls, but the photos offered the slightest glimpse of a coffered concrete ceiling. She bought it sight unseen. The concrete structure that Brubaker purchased was actually an old ice plant built in 1888. Her concept was to renovate the building and turn it into an event space or wedding venue. She already had a portfolio of commercial properties that she'd renovated in L.A., so she was no stranger to the process. "Over time, everybody puts their own makeup on the building, and when you take the makeup off, and you 16

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