PaperCity Magazine

April 2015 - Houston

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WRITTEN BY REBECCA SHERMAN. PHOTOGRAPHY CASEY DUNN. PRODUCED BY MICHELLE AVIÑA. ARCHITECTURE GLASSMAN SHOEMAKE MALDONADO ARCHITECTS. W hen designer Jan Strickland decided to move to a warmer climate from Westport, Connecticut, where she'd raised her two children, she picked "the most beautiful place in America," she says. "I had one kid in college on the East Coast and the other going to school on the West Coast. So I headed to Santa Barbara. I didn't know a soul. Haven't you ever just up and moved somewhere because it was so gorgeous?" It's a rhetorical question, but a revealing one. A Houston native who studied art, architecture and design at the University of Texas, Strickland was enchanted by the area's Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture, with its monumental white stucco walls and pitched red-tile roofs, most of which was built in the early 20th century by noted architect George Washington Smith. So, when Strickland returned home to Houston in 2010, finding a house with architectural interest was a priority. "I knew I didn't want a typical two-story house with a long hallway with bedrooms coming off it," she says." There are so many houses like that in Houston. I was looking for something with an unusual layout that still felt homey." A broker showed her a pocket listing in the Museum District for a modern 5,000-square-foot house. "I walked in before it was even on the market and said, 'This is it.'" Built in 1997 by Glassman Shoemake Maldonado Architects for the late artist Pam Johnson, the house's pitched metal roof and broad, white stucco exterior reminded her of Santa Barbara architecture. "It's almost a modern version of George Washington Smith's style, with its front a fortress of stucco, few small windows and the mystery of what lies inside," she say. "The front architecture does not hint to the internal layout." Neighbors had nicknamed it the "coffee can house" because of a front feature that pops out in a semicircular fashion to coddle a winding staircase — SCRATCH THE SURFACE OF DESIGNER JAN STRICKLAND'S PALEST TONAL-GRAY MUSEUM DISTRICT HOUSE, AND YOU'LL FIND MORE WHISPERS OF GRAY AND WHITE … AS WELL AS TEXTURE, WIT AND EXQUISITE CRAFTSMANSHIP. The architectural curve of the staircase creates a natural nautilus shape, with the dining area at the bottom. B&B Italia's Seven dining table with Cappellini slipcovered chairs. Foscarini Twiggy ceramic lighting pendant. White porcelain animal sculpture on table is a flea-market find, discovered by Strickland's daughter.

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