PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston December 2021

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Page 91 of 125

HOUSE ULTURE C BY REBECCA SHERMAN. PHOTOGRAPHY LISA PETROLE. ART DIRECTION MICHELLE AVIÑA. G a b r i e l l a a n d R e n e F e l i u s w e re B r a n d o n Fontenot's first clients when he opened his design firm in 2016. The couple, who have two teenage sons, initially needed a few things done to freshen their mid-century modern house in Memorial, including introducing new furnishings to complement the Italian antiques Gabriella brought with her from northern Italy, where she grew up. She and Rene, who is from the Netherlands, prefer to let their interiors slowly evolve over time, in the European way. So Fontenot's first clients have also become some of his most loyal, enlisting his design help periodically over the BRANDON FONTENOT SLOWLY ADDS LUSTER TO A JEWEL-BOX MODERNIST HOME IN MEMORIAL — A PROJECT YEARS IN THE MAKING. years. Meanwhile, the 30-year- old designer's design business has boomed, with current interiors projects throughout New England including old brownstones in Boston and Brooklyn. He's also getting national press attention: Last year, a Houston project of his design was published in Architectural Digest, and in September, Fontenot was included on AD's list of the country's emerging design stars. For Gabriella, working with Fontenot was a good fit from the beginning. "Brandon understood immediately what I was looking for and connected the dots with what we already had," she says. "His style is similar to ours — we don't like too much stuff; we like simple things that are beautiful and made from natural materials." Recently, Fontenot returned to redesign their kitchen and powder bath, aided by general contractor Paolo Cammarano, who is also Fontenot's partner. Cammarano grew up in Italy and spent a number of years in Milan, so there were lots of energetic conversations in Italian with Gabriella. The house, which is increasingly surrounded by newly built mega- mansions, looks like something from another era, another place. Designed in 1950 by Houston architect Hermon Lloyd of Moore & Lloyd — who is credited with building more than 84 houses in nearby River Oaks — it's a jewel box of modernist architecture set along two lush acres that terrace gently into Buffalo Bayou. The swimming pool, added in the 1970s, is intensely private and reveals itself some distance away (Continued) 80

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