PaperCity Magazine

March 2015 - Houston

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MARCH | PAGE 55 | 2015 operative word was "ish": "Grayish, brownish, taupe- ish," says Lyons. If there's a color he likes — Farrow & Ball, Benjamin Moore — he tends to tweak it by adding black or white, depending on the light in the room. The elegant fabrics and window coverings play off the same subdued color palette and lay a neutral foundation for their extensive collections of books, antique furnishings and art. Many of their acquisitions were brought back as souvenirs from two decades of traveling, particularly when the pair owned Gilded Monkey Antiques in Houston in the 1990s. "We would hit the flea markets wherever we were — Paris, Bangkok, Istanbul, Geneva," says Lyons. They returned with Ming porcelains salvaged from a shipwreck, 15th-century Buddhas, silver relics, sculpture fragments, vintage textiles and silver- and gold-threaded bullion tapes and trims, which Lyons incorporates into pillows and chairs. " We just returned from Venice and brought back several meters of Fortuny fabric in browns and golds to make throw pillows." Next up for the pair: a trip to Napa and an excursion to Asia in 2016. S mith's obsession for bejeweled cigarette cases and boxes was ignited after he purchased several from a local collector. Most in his burgeoning collection are from the French, American and Austrian Art Deco period and made by the world's leading jewelers — Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Dunhill. They're clad in precious metals (some in solid gold) and studded with rubies, sapphires and diamonds. Some have fascinating provenances. A sterling Tiffany & Co. table box, given by Elizabeth Taylor to her publicist and friend Chen Sam, is engraved: "Dearest Chen, with all my love, Elizabeth, 12-25-89." A black enamel and 18K gold Boucheron case once belonged to the Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild and bears her initials in rubies. "They are like pieces of jewelry," says Smith, a gemologist whose jewelry emporium sells his custom designs, estate and vintage pieces by JAR, Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and others. Lyons' collection of portraits runs the gamut from contemporary to old master. Austin artist Ray Donley's hauntingly spooky baroque and Renaissance-inspired figures (acquired from Laura Rathe Fine Art) in the dining room add subtle edge to the refined surroundings, while a French 18th-century portrait of Louis XV's grand marshal — clad spectacularly in armor and ermine — holds court in the library. A late-19th-century version of Jacques-Louis David's famed 1800 portrait of Madame Recamier was painted by Marie Magdeleine Réal Del Sarte, while seated in front of the original at the Louvre, as was the tradition In the main living area, an 18th-century French mirror hangs over a travertine marble fireplace, which is original to the house. Pair of custom chaises by Nancy Corzine were made for the house and are upholstered in wool and bamboo. Gucci throws. Nancy Corzine table and lamp in Venetian silver finish. Gold-leaf polychrome torchière. Eighth-century Tuscany side table. French 19th-century discus thrower is a Grand Tour souvenir. Painting at left is signed Edward Hopper, purchased from a River Oaks estate. The 19th-century still life at right is by Dutch painter Henk Bos; late-17th-century portrait is by Sir Godfrey Kneller. In background on right, a gilt Italian mirror from the 1500s, discovered in a junk store on Westheimer. Flooring is Italian porcelain designed to look like travertine marble. Artwork in the library includes a French 18th-century portrait of Louis XV's grand marshal and paintings by late-19th-century Impressionists Eugène Boudin (with the books) and Louis Edouard Toulet (over the TV). Sofa designed by Dennis Lyons with pillows in Donghia velvet. Seventeenth- century Italian chest from Janet Wiebe serves as a coffee table. Art Deco-era chairs in silver leaf. Metallic glazed garden seats from Krispen. Wool-and-silk Tibetan rug from Rug Mart. Deco-style nickel shades and glass lamps from Shabby Slips. Turn-of-the-19th-century French bench.

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