PaperCity Magazine

November 2014 - Houston

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NOVEMBER | PAGE 59 | 2014 Brian Neal Sensabaugh James M. Scott to stay in one place for a change." That's not likely to happen — travel is in his blood. His mother was born in Shanghai and lived in Hong Kong, while his father is a Texas native. "I have family all over the world. I've traveled all my life," Bradfield says. Together, he and Black have owned residences in New York, San Antonio and northern Italy. They met in San Antonio, where Black was stationed and Bradfield was into real estate, converting old buildings into lofts and flipping them. There, he lived in what he calls a "5,000-square- foot one-bedroom home," a massive open space on the top of a 1920s bank building he owned, catty-corner from the Alamo. The historic Gibbs building (now a hotel) was so old it still required attendants to operate the elevators. The place was full of nostalgia. "There was a doctor on the third floor. There had been a doctor on that floor since 1920 — three generations. That's one reason I went to San Antonio. I love the history." Bradfield brought the antique rolltop desk he used in his real estate offices — "one of the largest ever made," he says — to their Houston house. It's in the kitchen now, finding new life as a bar table. From his loft, he brought back an early-1800s Texas cypress table, made from two long, two-inch planks that he used as a dining table. Says Bradfield, "It easily seated 16 and, again, weighs a ton! I got that on a bad debt — a dealer owed me a lot of money on some jewelry, and I've had it since 1990. It came from an estate in a small Texas town, and at the time, I didn't fully appreciate it. But I realize now that you just don't find those kinds of pieces anymore." When Bradfield and Black moved to Houston four years ago, they searched for a place that would offer a sense of history, if not a communal neighborhood feel. "We lived in three different places in two and a half years," Bradfield says, "trying to figure out where to land," including abodes near Post Oak, where their store is located. "We finally realized we were always hanging out in the east side of town in the Montrose area, going to La Dolce Vita, Cafe Brazil, Eleven:Eleven, and walking the bayou trail, which was one of the main reasons to live in the area." The house on Welch beckoned, with balconies in almost every room, including the living room, kitchen and bedrooms, and floor-to- ceiling glass walls. "It's all pretty dramatic," says Bradfield. "The way Fulton [Davenport] designed things, it lets in lots of light, but there's no direct line of sight into the neighbors from any room. You'd have to lean way over a balcony to see anything, maybe. The house is very private, yet there's this great amount of glass." For guys who sell rare and precious jewelry and objets — a survey of stocked goods reveals a $6,800 Georg Jensen bangle, a $59,000 Tiffany & Co. diamond and sapphire brooch and a $65,000 Tiffany vase — you'd expect stuffy, formal quarters rather than the chic crash pad they've fashioned, with lounge- like, tufted seating from Restoration Hardware (the massive scale is right up Bradfield's alley). "It's a free-for-all living area," he says. "Most of the time people are almost lying horizontal Restoration Hardware Soho tufted sectional; Bronze Adulescencia sculpture, circa 1925, by V. Roselli. Vintage Louis Vuitton cases, some of which are 80 years old. The skulls are Italian crystal, hallmarked silver and bone; the anatomically correct one is pewter.

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