PaperCity Magazine

March 2016 - Houston

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H ouston native Sara Story's booming NYC-based inter- national design practice put her on the global map years ago. A former protégé of Victoria Hagan with a master's in interior architecture and a namesake firm in Manhattan, Story has projects in Aspen, the Hamptons, Central Park West, Beverly Hills, Singapore and beyond. She has two wallpaper collections represented through Holland & Sherry and a lighting and furniture collection in the early stages of discussion. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Veranda and Vogue Living among others. But the Sara Story Design breakthrough was in 2014, when Architectural Digest devoted 12 pages to the strikingly contemporary Hill Country ranch house she created for her young family with architecture firm Lake/Flato. She had just turned 40. "It was a huge sense of accomplishment because I'd always wanted to be in AD," says Story of the 500-acre ranch that abuts an even larger spread owned by her father, London-based SOCO International oil-and-gas baron Ed Story and his wife Joey, located in the Hill Country outside Austin. For their daughter, building SK Ranch (its name formed by the initials of Sara and her husband, Ken) wasn't just another prestigious feather in her cap; it was her refuge. "I love New York, and I can't imagine living anywhere else. But I need to leave frequently," she says with a laugh. "Texas is where I go to recharge." Story was born in Japan and grew up in Singapore and Houston. She's a grad of Memorial High School and remains close to her Houston pals. Her sister Katie Story lives in Dallas and is managing director of the global investment firm Forza Partners. "Texas is home for sure," Story says. It's not uncommon for all seven bedrooms at the ranch to be filled with friends and family, including her husband, hedge-fund mogul Kenneth Garschina, their daughter Dagny and sons Edward and Duke. When friends from California come out (her undergrad degree is from the University of San Diego, and her master's is from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco), they often spill over onto her dad's property next door. "The ranch is all about family and spending time with people I love," says Story, who often hits the hard-scrabble trails hiking and riding, much as she did as a child on the property her parents owned. Her own ranch is home to animals both domesticated and wild, including llama, sheep, chickens, turkeys, javelinas and white-tailed deer, and has all the amenities of a rambling Texas homestead but without the cliché. More Mies than Marfa, the tennis court's sleek stacked limestone and cedar pavilion is outfitted with a Gloster sectional sofa and cocktail tables, a spectacular infinity- edge pool is circled by B&B Italia chaises, and the breathtaking glass pool house takes inspiration from van der Rohe's 1929 Barcelona Pavilion. The two-story L-shaped main house harbors contemporary New York and Texas art (she's on the board of Ballroom Marfa, the contemporary art foundation and gallery), as well as Danish lighting, custom furnishings of her own creation and vintage classics by mid-century masters Eileen Gray, Thonet and Pace Collection. A modernist showplace in the rugged Texas hills to be sure, the ranch is nonetheless a home away from home. "I want my children to feel like Texas is part of their blood, because the quality of life in Texas is so great. The people are genuine, down-to-earth, honest and hardworking. We're tough in a way — we can go hiking, get dirty and be strong. I always tell people, 'Texas is so good for the kids', but my friends are always reminding me, 'It's so good for you, too.'" YOU SPENT PART OF YOUR CHILDHOOD IN SINGAPORE, AND WE HEAR YOU PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP POLO THERE — ON ELEPHANTS. I've been playing elephant polo in Thailand at the King's Cup for about 10 years. Sara Story Design has a team each year. It's great fun, full of characters from Sara BY REBECCA SHERMAN. INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN SARA STORY DESIGN. ARCHITECTURE LAKE/FLATO. PHOTOGRAPHY ERIC LAIGNEL THE STORY OF The pool house at SK Ranch. In a living area at SK Ranch, a René Gabriel chair and vintage Lucite side tables.

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