PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston September 2022

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floor — a vast open space enveloped in concrete — could become the elegant residence her clients envisioned. Concrete is a material often used in Greek buildings, she notes — her father's house had 16-inch concrete walls — but, still, inspiration eluded her. "Ray kept saying, 'We'll take down those ugly popcorn ceiling tiles and open everything up — don't you see it? Don't you see it?' I didn't see it," Lambrakos says. But as soon as the tiles came down, the project began to take shape. Hidden underneath was an astonishing coffered ceiling. This concrete structural grid was likely never intended to be seen, but Kamrath had designed it with exquisite geometry anyway. Lambrakos immediately thought of the coffered-concrete and stained-glass ceilings in Wright's Unity Temple, the very template Kamrath used for this building. "It just blew my mind," she says. "The coffers offered a whole grid and symmetry to the space that wasn't there before. That gave me a starting point." Many of the penthouse's walls and support columns are covered in concrete aggregate and were also left in their natural state. "The soul of the building is in the structure, and Diane and Ray were adamant about paying homage and respect to it — the whole reason they bought the building was to preserve it," Lambrakos says. The designer contrasted the exposed concrete and aggregate with finishes in refined materials such as white walnut, marble, book-matched Macassar ebony, and honed porcelain tile flooring from Italy. "I loved the idea of a procession through spaces using different materials in a modern and minimal way," she says. She took inspiration from architect and furniture designer Eileen Gray's 1929 French Riviera villa. "Her work has always stood out to me because she understands the careful question of approach, where you're going, and where you've moved past," says Lambrakos, who organized the Kruegers' penthouse around an experiential concept. "As you move through each room, you have a different feeling, but they still feel cohesive and unified." The penthouse's artistic flavor comes not only from the art, but from a symbiotic relationship between the architecture and interior design, including the furnishings. "Each item in a room is carefully selected and positioned in a way that speaks to the architecture," Lambrakos says. She focused on contemporary furnishings from European brands, many of them from Adam Cook's showroom, Shop, where he arranged for manufacturers to customize materials and colors to Lambrakos' specifications. Highlights include a pair of bespoke barrel-back lounge chairs from Moroso in Holly Hunt and Mokum fabrics and a 30-foot rug from CC-Tapis that was custom-colored and cut in the shape of a parallelogram. Sculptural pieces add to the artistry, such as a pair of leather Atelier chairs from Walter Knoll in Germany and lighting by Foscarini in Italy and Cinier Paris in France. Other furnishings were commissions from Houston artisan George Sacaris Studio, including a storage console made from iron and pine salvaged The dining room's table and credenza were a collaboration between Mary Lambrakos and George Sacaris Studio. CAM Studio chairs from Baxter. Vibia pendants from Light, were designed by Arik Levy and have a distinct Frank Lloyd Wright feel. 83

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