PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas November 2023

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for place in both structures, a nod to other time periods as well as a sense of sanctuary. Hal is the grandson of a turn-of-the-century Texas Ranger, who's rarely seen on Houston's social circuit; Christy, an artist, is well-known in visual and philanthropic circles for her environmentally attuned paintings, sculpture, installations, and occasional video, as well as her support of art causes and historical and nature-minded nonprofits. Reared between Highland Park in Dallas and Mexico City, Christy has exhibited her works since the 1990s in galleries and nonprofits including Barbara Davis Gallery, Lawndale Art Center, Rothko Chapel, The Jung Center, Scope Miami, and in a Texas group show in New Delhi. From Infatuation to Romance Their rural retreat arose from a bit of acreage and a modest cabin, its fa├žade enveloped in antlers by Christy as a sort of folly. But over a period of numerous years, the property has been added to and has morphed into an irresistible way of life. Here, Hal tends to the demands of his global marine business remotely, while Christy contemplates the creative rigors of a blank canvas from her new studio. Meetings with proposed architects who didn't understand their idea of an 11th-century abbey in Provence left the couple frustrated yet determined to realize their vision. Some very real heroes with building acumen stepped up, while Hal served as general contractor and Christy devised the interiors. They credit the completion of the multi-year endeavor to locally based finish carpenter Mark Schol, who had worked for Gerald D. Hines; a team of San Miguel de Allende artisans skilled at stonework, who relocated to Round Top for two years to complete the project; and Ruth Gay of Houston's Chateau Domingue, who sourced unique, centuries-old architectural relics for the heroically scaled rooms. The McWhorters also single out Stone Zone Quarry, which supplied Lueders limestone in a creamy bisque shade from the Lueders Basin near Abilene. "The quarry owner put the stone in a tumbler," Christy says. "I didn't want it hard-edged, so this was perfect." Hal compares the intensive project with an industry he knows well: shipbuilding. "You build a ship in a shipyard, which is what my business is," he says. "Then you have all these components. With the house, we hired a draftsman. Then we individually hired each contractor. We hired the engineer. We hired the foundation men. The framers. The electrician. It's like building a ship, with a supervised team." Entrez Vous Getting to the house is a pilgrimage. On the morning of our photo shoot, I crossed paths with Hal McWhorter after pulling off the road to photograph bluebonnets. Headed to town for supplies, he offered to backtrack home so I could follow him. I demurred, feeling up for the challenge of spotting their gate by daylight. As I passed through stand upon stand of trees, from a road running through a forest to the thicket-covered turnoff to their home, I finally discerned a nearly hidden gate, which I was buzzed through. Despite having Above: In the great room is Christy's heroic painting Untitled, 2023; she changes artwork seasonally. Ruth Gay of Chateau Domingue helped source key pieces of furniture, including the antique French draper's table, 17th-century sconces from Genoa, and Italian demi-lune table from Umbria. Arched windows salvaged from Gulf Publishing Co., circa 1920s. Doors newly fabricated to match windows. 118

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