PaperCity Magazine

December 2014 - Houston

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AN ELEGANT MEREDITH AND DANIELLE CULLEN'S NEWLY RENOVATED RIVER OAKS HOME It's 7:30 on a Saturday morning in early November, and Meredith Cullen is being driven to the airport to board a private plane to Aspen, where he'll go mule-deer hunting at a friend's ranch for a week. Scion of one of Texas' most legendary families — oil, gas and real estate money going back four generations that helped found Houston and fund hospitals, schools and museums — Meredith's fondest memories are of hunting with his father, Roy Cullen, who died in April of this year. "As soon as I could walk, my dad put a gun in my hand," he says. Same with boots. His mother, Mary Garcia Cullen, bought him his first pair at age 3 or 4, he says. Once they were on his feet, he didn't want to take them off," says Meredith, who still wears boots every day to work. It would be an understatement to say that hunting is a big part of Meredith's life. When he isn't running his real estate investment and development company, Cullen Realty Group, he's likely at a ranch somewhere, rifle or fly rod at the ready. During quail season, he heads to the South Texas ranch owned by his uncle Harry and aunt Rose Cullen — who, coincidentally, share the same June wedding date as Meredith and his wife, Danielle, an Amarillo native who grew up in Dallas. The two met through mutual friends and were married in 2013. "Aunt Rose threw a big party for Harry this June and was kind enough to invite us, so we celebrated our first wedding anniversary together," Meredith says. On many weekends, the couple and Danielle's two teenagers, Lauren and Luke, head to their ranch house located on the Cullen family land north of Houston in Cleveland, where Meredith keeps a pair of bird dogs. He just sent the family's lab, Sugar, off to Hendricks Kennels for four months of retriever training. "Everybody in the house is mad at me for that," he laughs. Danielle is more likely to wear a pair of Balmain lace-up boots than cowboy. She hunts, but her target isn't deer or birds. "I love to walk the fields at Round Top, looking for antiques," she says. The daughter of Dallas antiques dealers and designers Lonnie and Lanny Lenzen (Lonnie also fabricates industrial-style tables, sold at Vieux and Kuhl-Linscomb), it was Danielle who collected most of the furnishings for the couple's newly redone River Oaks home. The 1942 black-and-white Federal-style residence, which was taken down to the studs, made a fitting backdrop for Danielle's glamorous furnishings. Nevertheless, Meredith's casual, outdoorsman lifestyle fits right in amongst the gilded French antiques and crystal chandeliers, says interior designer Michael Siller of Michael J. Siller Interiors, who assisted Meredith and Danielle with their house. (Siller has also worked on several homes for Roy and Mary Cullen during the past 15 years.) "Mr. and Mrs. Cullen's house is very formal and opulent," he says. "Meredith grew up with that, so it was an easy transition, and he feels very comfortable in that setting." Inspired by a trip to Paris before they were married, Meredith was enamored with the plush but comfortable design of the Plaza Athenée, where they stayed, as well as designer Jacques Garcia's extravagant orchestration of the bar at the Hotel Costes. "I like things old school," he says. "I liked what I saw in Paris." A shopping trip to Buenos Aires with Meredith BY REBECCA SHERMAN. INTERIOR DESIGN MICHAEL J. SILLER. PRODUCED BY MICHELLE AVIÑA. PHOTOGRAPHY JACK THOMSON AND JENNY ANTILL. HAIR AND MAKEUP TONYA RINER. LAIR Hunting trophies lining the walls of Meredith Cullen's study include a bronze fallow deer head and roe buck heads, found during travels. The 1926 Louis Vuitton steamer trunk, sourced on a trip to Buenos Aires, is used as a coffee table. Custom sofa upholstered in Ralph Lauren Fenmore antique emerald velvet. Ceiling and wall panels covered in Ralph Lauren black felt fabric. Ralph Lauren Javan silk leopard fabric on pillows. The 1940s-era home in River Oaks with antique iron doors from France and custom gilt and bronze hardware made in Buenos Aires.

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