PaperCity Magazine

January 2018- Houston

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55 Opposite page: In the entry, Moroccan chandelier from Balinskas Imports. Tonala Mexican vase from Tienda X. Custom geodesic light fixture. Custom table from Balinskas Imports. Vintage Pierre Jeanneret chairs. Cranberry-color Moroccan-style rug by Jan Kath. Custom black-and-white jute rug and Turkish Kilim, both from Carol Piper Rugs. Above: Milk-glass star chandeliers are by Balinskas Imports. New York artist Taylor McKimens' Ladders wall sculpture. Encaustic concrete tiles on stairs from Architectural Design Resources. I nterior designer Garrett Hunter was fresh from Morocco when he got a call from a prominent surgeon and his wife. They'd recently moved into their custom Moroccan- style home in Memorial, and the interiors were not a match for their personalities, the wife explained. "It was very monochromatic with faded browns, tans, and blues — very safe," Hunter says. "These people are not interested in safe." Born in America of Indian and Pakistani heritage, the couple and their three school-age children wanted something more colorful. They are also well-traveled, enthusiastic collectors and wanted global references reflected in their interiors. Hunter dropped by their house with a spectacular red rug in tow. "I had a lot of rugs from my trip to Marrakech, and I wanted to set the tone with something over-the-top," he says. "As soon as they saw it, they had goose bumps — it was just what they wanted." A tour of the house followed, with a discussion about the design direction. The wife proposed that they come up with a song that would represent the flavor of the house — something along the lines of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, perhaps, which combines four songs into one. "So you want chaos?" Hunter replied, only half joking. "It was such an interesting request." He knew he could work with it. "She wanted to transport herself when she walked into the house but also experience different moments, with nothing the same. I'd just have to find a way to unify it all." First, a clean slate. The house was only six months old, but the furnishings had to go. Hunter organized a huge estate sale and sold it all, including the lighting fixtures. They kept the home's basic footprint with its elegantly vaulted rooms, stone walls, red-tiled roof, and Spanish Colonial-style loggia. The fireplaces and master bathroom were torn out and redesigned by architect Michael T. Landrum. Central core walls were replastered in white "to set a backdrop for the interiors," Hunter explains. In lieu of removing existing stone floors, which in some areas were a cacophony of design motifs, Hunter laid down rugs. A custom black-and-white striped jute rug, sourced through Carol Piper Rugs and handmade in India, acts as a unifying base throughout much of the house. Over that, Hunter layered patterned carpets from around the globe, including Turkish kilims and Oushaks, Mexican flat weaves, and antique rugs from Morocco. "It's a marriage of colors and cultures on the floors," he says. "They ended up with an incredible rug collection." The entire house had to be refurnished. "We jumped into collecting and atmosphere mode all at once," Hunter says. "We tackled each space with collected objects and fixtures and details. At the end of the day, almost every culture was represented — India, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Italy, France, and Brazil. They just wanted to collect beautiful things." And Hunter discovered some extraordinary pieces. In the living room, a pair of striking African Yoruba chairs from JF Chen in Los Angeles are handmade in wood, burlap, shell, and intricate beading. They're across from a highly collectible Yves Klein Monopink coffee table — pink is the wife's favorite color — and a rare black hair-on-hide Knole-style seating suite from Maison Jansen, circa 1940. Even the draperies vie as works of art. A special commission by L.A. artist Marsea Goldberg, who is known for her textile designs for Prada, the 18- foot panels are hand-painted depictions of sea flora and fauna. (Hunter has a show of Goldberg's work at his shop, Tienda X, which runs through end of January.) One wall in the living room is devoted to an installation by San Antonio artist Franco Mondini-Ruiz, who spent three days placing each piece on site; the collection was the husband's gift to his wife for her 40th birthday. The most dramatic focal point in the room is the fireplace, which Landrum designed in black plaster and custom glazed-green tiles, in what Hunter calls "Mexican modernist with Italian surrealist influences — pure genius." More than anything, it's Hunter's masterful use of color that makes so many different eras, patterns, and cultures work together. He uses green wainscoting running along the walls as a grounding element to unify spaces, much the way wainscoting is done in Morocco or Mexico. The wife's favorite pink is used sparingly and unexpectedly, including the inside of the master tub. The two-story library is cocooned in a luscious, custom raisin-color lacquer that sets the tone for the rest of the room. At the windows are dip-dyed, purple-hued textiles designed GARRETT HUNTER DESIGNS A HOUSE IN MEMORIAL OF BLENDED CULTURE AND REFERENCES.

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