PaperCity Magazine

October 2012 - Houston

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Page 58 of 79

"When the back is moonlit and you're inside, there's a beautiful treehouse effect." It started rather slowly, in an underthe-radar sort of way. Then all of a sudden, we noticed a burgeoning urban migration west. Neighbors began to take to the road in droves, motoring out of the city most weekends, bound for the countryside and a little change of scene. One of the most stylish of the westward bound resides in a dramatic pied-à-terre in a River Oaks high-rise weekdays, then escapes on weekends to an idyllic cottage that crawls and terraces down cliffs overlooking Austin's Shoal Creek. Owner Andrew Echols searched for months before finding this charming 1932 cliff house. Like a lot of older properties, this one has passed through many owners, some of whom left their mark on the property, which makes it a challenge to figure out who made what alteration when. No matter. Andrew, with the help of designer Cathy Echols and his long-time friend, architect Michael Landrum, has made this sweet but sophisticated cottage all his own. The confident globe-trotter knows what he likes and has the means to find it here, there and everywhere. He then relies on Cathy's eye to place everything, from art to antiques, in the reimagined space, as well as to make the color selections. Andrew, Cathy and Landrum worked together to make the most of this house — reconfiguring awkward spaces, enlarging tiny closets and bathrooms, and generally bringing the eight-decades-old structure into the modern era. The walls throughout are a Benjamin Moore hue custom-mixed for Cathy to capture the color of milk. ("Whole, not skim," she notes.) The trio dressed up the kitchen with soapstone counters but left the charm of the white-painted cabinetry intact. The baths underwent a cosmetic upgrade with gleaming Carrara marble tile and polished-nickel fixtures. A guest wing OCTOBER | PAGE 59 | 2012 Opposite page: In the entry, an Oushak rug from Edgar Kelly Rugs. Antique Chinese temple from Balinskas. The black Swedish-made bicycle, imported by Sloan/Hall, was a gift of designer Cathy Echols. French bronze-star chandelier from Watkins Culver. This page, clockwise from top left: In the dining room, the tiny antique Chinese temple structure was purchased at Blackmon Cruz in Los Angeles and reconceived by Landrum as a light fixture. Belgian-linen-covered chairs are from Custom Creations, and round dining table is from Watkins Culver. Dutch ebony-framed mirror. In the entry, artist Lance Lechter's bookbinding collage from McMurtrey Gallery hangs above a 16th-century Italian marble console from Howard Hand Antiques. Wooden seats from Balinskas. Built on the side of a cliff, the back veranda extending off the living room has steps down to the pool and its multiple terraces. This is one of the "cliff houses" of Austin, so named because they're built on the cliff that overlooks Shoal Creek.

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