This Texas property is the weekend and holiday getaway of Sara Story and her family. KARINE MONIE chats with the interior designer about why she built this home to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City.
Architectural firm Lake Flato was in charge of this project.
Based in the Big Apple, where she has been at the helm of her eponymous studio since 2003, Sara Story finds inspiration in travel, fashion and contemporary art. According to the interior designer, her style is “eclectic and constantly evolving. It is actual, but it always references the past.”
Born in Japan, Story grew up in both Singapore and Houston. Texas means a lot to the designer, who has good memories in the Lone Star State. Now that she has three children—one girl and two boys—it has become even more important for Story to share this experience with her family.
To create her dream home, the interior designer placed her trust in Lake Flato, the architectural firm Story’s father had hired 20 years ago. Among some of Story’s main requests was to create a nonconventional project, a departure from the style of traditional ranches.
This Texas property spreads over four hectares.
Located atop a 200-hectare plot, the property spreads over 4 hectares and comprises the main two-storey home, a guesthouse, a pool house and a tennis pavilion. Using pure lines, the architecture is clearly contemporary, built from massive blocks of Texas Lueders limestone, along with glass, wood and steel. Large outdoor verandas were made possible by the broad overhanging roof.
Story is fascinated by the work of Austrian architect Adolf Loos (1870-1933), Finnish designer Paavo Tynell (1890-1973) and typical French houses in Provence, and wanted to include some of these references in the project. The natural environment was another source of inspiration; one of the objectives was to design a family retreat where Story’s children could experience what it means to be surrounded by nature and be in contact with animals—a very different experience from the family’s daily urban life in New York City.
The great room of the main house is airy and filled with natural light.
The main house—which hosts six bedrooms and one master suite—comprises the airy and bright great room where a steel fireplace framed in eggshell veneer panels by Chapeau Design is the focal point. The double-height ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows highlight the main protagonist in this project: the peaceful view.
Interior designer Sara Story.
Story furnished all the rooms with vintage and modern pieces, which mingle with a large collection of contemporary art and sophisticated finishes. She chose some furniture from the 20th century including a Raymond Loewy credenza and leather chairs by Jacques Adnet in the dining room. A pair of Rene Gabriel chairs covered in white cowhide adds a modern touch of Texas chic. Every space is adorned by art, including a pink painting by Andro Wekua and a contemporary surrealist painting by Tomasz Kowalski that overlooks the living-dining room, complemented by the Fragile Future chandelier by artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, made of dandelion seed heads, concrete and phosphorus bronze.
Contemporary artworks adorn the interior spaces.
In the kitchen furnished with custom-made stools by Wyeth, the glamourous breakfast area features a marble table, a Paavo Tynell ceiling lamp from Craig Van Den Brulle Gallery, a white banquette in Moore & Giles leather and vintage Thonet chairs.
This family home features pure lines.
The mostly beige master suite is adorned with a painting by Kati Heck, a black, 1970s-era Eileen Gray Transat chair, wall panels covered in perforated suede and a carpet by Marc Phillips Decorative Rugs.
From left: The peaceful view is the main protagonist; In some of the rooms, pops of colour were introduced to create a playful atmosphere.
More playful than the rest of the house, the kids’ rooms were decorated with a higher dose of colour through decorative accessories such as de Gournay wallpaper and curtains with Claremont fabric (both yellow), a green Karkula chair and a multi-coloured and floral-patterned chair covered in a Josef Frank linen from Svenskt Tenn.
Every nook features a mix of vintage and modern pieces of furniture.
In addition to the main home, where Story and her family typically spend holidays and weekends, a guesthouse—decorated with contemporary art by Ellen Berkenblit—includes two bedrooms, an indoor and outdoor living room and a wine cellar.
Different materials, including glass, wood, steel and limestone, were used in this project.
All exterior areas were also carefully designed with the help of landscape firm Studio Outside. The pool house is a tribute to the Barcelona pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929.
Clockwise from top: Nature was one of the main sources of inspiration; The pool house evokes the Barcelona pavilion by Mies van der Rohe; In this house, the atmosphere is elegant and intimate.
Despite its large scale, this house features an intimate and warm atmosphere where comfort and art have become part of the same creative concept.
Photos ERIC LAIGNEL, ROBERT RELIC & TAYLOR JEWELL