PaperCity Magazine

July / August 2016 - Houston

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W R I T T E N B Y C AT H E R I N E D. A N S P O N . P H OTO G R A P H Y J A C K T H O M P S O N . P R O D U C E D B Y J E N N Y A N T I L L C L I F TO N . M U R P H Y M E A R S A R C H I T E C T S. I N T E R I O R D E S I G N C H E R R Y C U R L E T. W elcome to the Memorial mansion of Lauren and Steve Kramer. She's a travel-obsessed attorney turned avid art collector with a trove of majolica and a secret stash of Bakelite jewelry; he's a physician and pharmaceutical entrepreneur who's equally eager to hop a plane and serves as straight man to his deadpan wife. Within these serene interiors, important 20th-century drawings and lithographs by Edvard Munch and Milton Avery encounter an antique Ethiopian lunchbox. A gold-leaf- filled Yves Klein coffee table makes an understated statement in the living room, while a Joe Havel sculpture at the entrance exerts a ghostly presence. Flash back more than 45 years, to one evening at a glamorous cocktail party in Manhattan. Chicago-born banker Lauren Gecht, who was taking grad courses at Columbia, met Stephen Kramer, a Boston-born doctor who was just starting on his path to being a psychiatrist. Lauren was there with another date but ended up plopping down on a chair close to her future husband because she was still recovering from a broken leg incurred in a skiing accident. A phone number was exchanged, which led to a date. Two months later, they were engaged. After four and a half decades of marriage, cross- country moves, two children and two grandchildren, the rest is history. Following a stint living in Alabama for Stephen's air force medical service, the couple landed in Houston, where Lauren became an attorney while raising their sons. (She has now moved on from law to image consulting.) Stephen co-founded a pharmaceutical company to develop game-changing psychotropic drugs. And the successful Kramers, who have collected art since their days as a young married couple, needed a new abode. A handsome, tree- filled lot in Memorial was acquired, and they tapped Houston firm Murphy Mears Architects to create a A PHILANTHROPIC COUPLE HOLDS CONTEMPORARY COURT IN A MEDITERRANEAN VILLA IN MEMORIAL. KRAMER KRAMER vs. Antique French buffet from Chateau Domingue. Covered-glass footed compotes purchased from Jerry Spencer, "whose vast collection graced all the Houston antique shows until his death several years ago," Lauren recalls. A saber-toothed tiger skull lends a note of Surrealism, as does the painting by Dan Griggs, a respected New Mexico artist.

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