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Best In Design

Whether it’s an up-and-comer new to the scene or a storied veteran who has been wowing fans for decades, these honorees have one thing in common: They knocked us out in 2014. We present the brightest stars in Texas Design, including Readers’ Choice. Prepare to be inspired.

IN LIVING COLOR
A trio of carborundum etchings by Roberto Matta provides the focal point for the living room of this Highland Park condo designed by Pulp Design Studios.

AT HOME

BEST LIVING ROOM // Pulp Design Studios
When the Pulp Design Studios team took on the task of refreshing this Highland Park condo, they had two enviable assets to start with: an incredible structure designed by noted Dallas architect Cliff Welch and a client with an amazing art collection. “Their home was really great,” says principal interior designer Carolina V. Gentry. “What we did was enhance what they already had.” In the living room, those enhancements included custom-designed pillows and gold Élitis wallcovering in the niches of the millwork. The goal was to bring warmth to the previously sterile environment. “We made it a little cozier and a little more livable and gave it more of a personality,” Gentry says. Throw in a pair of womb chairs by Eero Saarinen, and you’ve got a space that is as winsome as it is welcoming. 1216 Manufacturing St., Dallas, 214.504.2606

BEST BATHROOM // Peters Cates Design
With the remodel of this master bath, Dallas-based designers Russ Peters and Bill Cates created a remarkable concoction: a room that’s cool and sleek but also warm and inviting. To accomplish that goal, they chose two contrasting tiles for the floor and the walls. Underfoot is Ann Sacks’ suede limestone, which combines “delicious chocolate and olive tones with subtle veining,” Cates says. “Juxtaposed with the restrained richness of the floors, we went floor-to-ceiling on the wet walls with Ann Sacks’ cool and creamy Pietra Calacatta, a stunning porcelain, large-scale tile.” Tying it all together is a tree branch-inspired wallpaper by Brunschwig & Fils, a large round soaking tub by Barclay and polished nickel fixtures by Kohler. Perfecting this blend required a skill that Cates compares to crafting a great cocktail. “As in any great recipe, flavors, colors and textures must be combined carefully,” he says, “but not so carefully that there are no delicious surprises.” If Peters Cates Design is doing the mixing, we’ll have another. 2118 Barberry Drive, Dallas, 214.282.2058

BEST KITCHEN // Webber + Studio
This is a kitchen where entertaining is meant to happen and where the design intends to be entertaining too. The architects celebrate both line and trajectory in this renovation of a house designed in 1968 by prolific Austin architect A.D. Stenger. Strong horizontal lines come to life thanks to a vibrant orange plastic laminate that covers the kitchen’s two countertops. Overhead, the ceiling rises to the occasion as the roofline pushes upward to more than 11 feet tall, revealing clerestory windows that allow light to pour into the room. 1220 Lavaca St., Austin, 512.236.1032

BEST BEDROOM // Gin Designs
When Houston-based designer Gin Braverman of Gin Designs walked into the master bedroom of a clean-lined, cedar-clad modern abode in the city’s wealthy Piney Point Village neighborhood, she instantly knew the design would play off the floor-to-ceiling view of a lush, palm-forested pool. “It’s so incredible, and with all the natural elements right outside, we wanted to keep a natural feeling in the interior,” she says. She swapped carpeting for solid walnut hardwoods, added drama to the fireplace with Keegan green ledgestone and swathed the room in grays and taupes. She hunted for the low-profile bed by Giuseppe Vigano for the Domus Design Collection and the Moooi fixture from Houston’s LIGHT showroom. “The key was minimal and delicate—serene,” she says. The result is a simple, elegant space for the sweetest of dreams. 3227 Milam St., Houston, 713.300.9299

BEST DINING ROOM // Teri Pugh Studio
For the “morning room” in this three-story Houston townhouse, designer Teri Pugh says she wanted “something that had some glam and a little bit of glitz.” Surely breakfast tastes better in a room like this. For starters, there’s the custom banquette upholstered in the client’s favorite color. Then there’s the chandelier from Uttermost, the Haven side chairs from Bernhardt and the glass-top table on chrome sawhorse bases. But maybe the glammest, glitziest piece in the room is the metallic acid-washed cowhide rug. Available through Teri Pugh Studio, the rug adds the perfect amount of sparkle to an already “light, airy, happy space.” Who wouldn’t want to wake up to that? 7026 Old Katy Road, Suite 156, Houston, 713.581.7975

OUT & ABOUT

BEST HOTEL // The Joule
Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth inspired designer Adam D. Tihany’s first rendition of Dallas’ otherworldly Joule. But the past couple of years have taken the sensory feast of a hotel to new artistic profundity with the addition of a subterranean ESPA, new suites, multistory penthouses, retail space and a rooftop terrace with a climate-controlled glass pavilion. Originally set in the bones of a historic neo-Gothic building in downtown Dallas, The Joule completed an expansion and transformation that seamlessly connected multiple historic buildings, the existing hotel and new structures to encompass nearly an entire city block. A union of old yet new, sumptuous yet sleek, lavish yet edgy, The Joule reflects the vibrant, open-minded nature of the Dallas Arts District, located within walking distance. Though all three new penthouses wow, the creme de la creme is the one that occupies an entire top floor and vaunts panoramic vistas of the city. 1530 Main St., Dallas, 214.748.1300

*READERS' CHOICE* BEST OUTDOOR SPACE // Lone Star Court
After a long drive across Texas, families in the good old days pulled into a motor inn and hung out around the kidney-shaped pool or stretched their legs on the spacious, home-style grounds. That nostalgic mood of togetherness and bonding is what designer Lauren Rottet and landscape architect Christine Ten Eyck achieved with Lone Star Court, a boutique hotel situated at Austin’s The Domain. Though upscale amenities await in the spacious rooms, which start at $179 per night, guests can’t stop gathering on the retro motor lodge-like grounds to confabulate and muse over their days. Fire pits, live music and a dipping pool that references the Hill Country’s ubiquitous lakes and swimming holes draw crowds to the lawn area. Also outside the hotel’s inward-facing rooms, a food truck and a picnic pavilion-style eatery keep guests fed. 10901 Domain Drive, Austin, 512.814.2625

BEST RESTAURANT INTERIOR // laV
With four rooms as harmonized with one another, yet as distinctive, as a tasting menu at a Michelin-starred bistro in Provence, laV dresses up gentrifying Seventh Street in East Austin. Born from the collaboration between McAlpine Tankersley Architecture and McAlpine, Booth & Ferrier Interiors, both listed in Elle Decor’s A-List, laV evokes the soulful bistro spirit of a backstreet eatery in Avignon. Progressively formal rooms begin with a wine bar, its custom chartreuse banquettes, hair-on-hide stools and vineyard barrel-like tables inviting repose. A pewter bar and vintage-style painting define the next space, a lounge with see-and-be-seen windows facing the street. Intimacy and comfortable opulence mark the dining area, its high ceilings ensuring that whispered conversations can be shared. And a two-story wine cellar, replete with bottles and anchored by a 10-seat private table, completes the oeuvre, which has already received acclaim for its earthy French comfort food. 1501 E. Seventh St., Austin, 512.391.1888

BEST OFFICE // MaRS, Mayfield and Ragni Studio
Designed by MaRS, Mayfield and Ragni Studio, the downtown Houston office of DPWPR is a crisp, sophisticated workplace where public relations gurus work with such luxury brands as Audi and Louis Vuitton. Bright white, light-filled and loaded with midcentury style, the 8,600-square-foot space conjures the look made famous by Mad Men—but with a decidedly 21st century bent. That’s primarily a reflection of the firm’s owner, Dancie Perugini Ware, says Kelie Mayfield, principal at MaRS. Mayfield, along with principal Erick Ragni, senior designer Becky Harrison and Basic Builders, put the finishing touches on the space in April 2014. She says that Ware’s bold personality and tailored image informed every design decision, from the custom lighting and wallcoverings to the large-scale furnishings and rotating artwork. 3202 Mercer St., Houston, 713.750.9812

BEST IN BIZ

BEST ARCHITECTURE // Andersson-Wise Architects
Austin-based architects Arthur Andersson and F. Christian Wise have created a body of work over the last 25 years that delivers a powerful message: Architecture is shaped by place. Whether the project is a preparatory school dining hall with a two-story grid of windows overlooking the craggy Hill Country or a mountain house in Montana that seems to have emerged from the massive boulders around it, the firm’s work is intentionally elemental, a celebration of sun, wind, rain, geology and orientation. The architects also excel in discovering ways to interact with and enjoy the urban landscape, even in the seemingly mundane setting of a backyard. A recent renovation of a 1930s-era two-story Georgian in Austin (pictured here) reveals how the architects opened up the back of the house onto a grassy plaza inset with Lueders limestone pavers. The plan enlivens the interior of the house and introduces the residents to a previously inaccessible realm in their own backyard. 807 Brazos St., Suite 800, Austin, 512.476.5780

*READERS' CHOICE* BEST PRODUCT DESIGN FIRM // Keith Kreeger Studios
Since moving to Texas from the East Coast in 2009, artist Keith Kreeger has seen his porcelain collections become a go-to for restaurants in Austin (Qui, Uchi, Chavez) and beyond. In 2014, they caught the eye of tastemakers Giada De Laurentiis and Martha Stewart. Working from the point of view that objects matter, Kreeger crafts dinnerware, servingware, vases and more for everyday use—though each piece is strikingly beautiful, there is nothing precious about these hand-thrown cups and bowls. Fine stores around the country, such as Star Provisions in Atlanta, Table Art in Los Angeles and Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, carry the goods. You can also order them online. Up for 2015: partnerships with Uchi Dallas and a notable chef in Dallas. 916 Springdale Road, Building 2-104, Austin, 512.522.0774

BEST BOUTIQUE // Found
The uberimaginative stylist Aaron Rambo teamed with business partner Ruth Davis to launch Found in 2007. The Houston boutique is populated with stop-and-stare vignettes with an ever evolving selection of period antiques and repurposed industrial finds. The mix is playful, unexpected and never boring. From architectural fragments-turned-table lamps to vertically displayed gild wood pilasters, every piece takes on a cherished and inviting bloom. The collection includes seating ranging from midcentury Italian settees and chairs to a cast iron and wood garden bench. Accessories, lighting and gifts round out a bespoke line of handblown Belgian glass, Limoges trays and Spitzmiller lamps, all proudly primped as if happy to have been Found. 3433 W. Alabama St., Houston, 713.522.9191

BEST INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM, CONTEMPORARY // Joshua Rice Design
Joshua Rice is on the rise. The 38-year-old up-and-comer opened shop in Dallas in 2007 and hasn’t looked back. Focusing on interior design, renovation and new construction, Rice says he strives for a design ethos that is sophisticated and important without being sterile or precious. He calls his knowledge of furniture design, both contemporary and classic, “unrivaled,” and credits that expertise for his ability to curate meaningful interiors “and put a tremendous amount of consideration into every single piece I select for a client.” In 2014, he completed work on builder Diane Cheatham’s spectacular eco-friendly home in the Urban Reserve subdivision of Lake Highlands, designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, and began conceptualizing a line of custom furniture that should be available in 2016. 2909-A Canton St., Dallas, 214.573.2820

BEST INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM, TRANSITIONAL // Laura U Interior Design
Laura Umansky’s design firm has been charming globe-trotting clients since 2006. Headquartered in Houston, with a reputation bolstered by its founder’s architectural education, Laura U Interior Design has a multifaceted portfolio featuring projects from the Hollywood Hills to the Colorado Mountains to Soho. Known for classically current interiors, Umansky and her team harness bold color to make spaces come alive. Whether interpreted in a fuchsia beaded chandelier poised over a lavender canopy bed plumped with plush turquoise Euros or a coupling of Missoni-esque chairs fronting a cherry-hued coffee table or even sculptural zigzag chairs of all textures and patinas, Umansky’s commanding signature is woven into every project. 1840 Westheimer Road, Houston, 713.522.0855

BEST INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM, CLASSIC // Jan Showers & Associates
Jan Showers’ elegant, understated interiors are coveted the world over, and 2014 was busy for the designer. For starters, in January, Architectural Digest placed Jan Showers & Associates on its list of 100 top design and architecture firms. That same month, the Jan Showers Collection of furniture and decor celebrated its 15th anniversary, marking the occasion with the addition of 12 new pieces. The design doyenne’s latest news: a collaboration with Moattar Rugs, inspired by the antique Oushak rugs the company has specialized in for more than 50 years. The line combines traditional manufacturing with patterns that are modern yet informed by history, and it is unlike anything else on the market today. 1308 Slocum St., Dallas, 214.747.5252

PRODUCTS & PIECES

BEST ACCESSORY LINE // Jawda and Jawda

If it’s creative, chances are designing sisters Saba and Sarah Jawda are in the center of the action. Their ever expanding sphere extends from marketing to interior design to a furniture, pillow, rug and greeting card collection. Whether it’s a calendar or seasonal pop-up store, the look is a fresh reboot of Arabian Nights meets Rodeo Drive. Sarah is a graphic designer, and Saba is an abstract modern artist whose work has been featured in Asia, Central America, Europe and the United States. Saba is also a classically trained designer with experience in commercial hospitality and residential interiors. Together the Iraqi-born sisters and business partners have crafted a formcentric and global-sophisticate lifestyle brand where the gifts are always right and glamour is the bottom line. 1919 Missouri St., Houston, 713.419.8018

BEST TEXTILES // Kyle Bunting
Kyle Bunting is responsible for a one-man revolution in the textile industry, thanks to his obsession with hide. The 46-year-old took a design cliche—the hide rug—and turned it into a wild and woolly riff on color, texture and application that apparently has no boundaries. Bunting’s rugs are handmade in Austin from Italian hides, then cut and stitched into mind-boggling patterns and shapes—chevron, mosaic, square, check, swirl and quatrefoil, just to name a few. Although hide is notoriously difficult to dye, Bunting has also developed his own top-secret process, astonishing us with shades of pink, deep red, purple, orange, aqua, lime green and white. 1340 Airport Commerce Drive, Building 3, Austin, 512.264.1148

BEST FURNITURE DESIGNER // Lauren Rottet of Rottet Home
When we heard in late 2013 that renowned Houston-based architect and designer Lauren Rottet of namesake firm Rottet Studio (rottetstudio.com) was creating a furniture line, we were feverish with anticipation. As one would expect of a designer who has a reputation for owning elegant-meets-modern and has staked her name globally in both residential and commercial design, she didn’t disappoint. Her 33-piece Rottet Home line, in four collections nodding to past projects, is a seamless reflection of her aesthetic and was an instant hit when it debuted in April 2014. We’re still swooning. From the soft arch in her Cubist Curve loveseat (from $5,916) to the sharp lines in her Powerful end table ($2,025) and the Montauk dining chair with a “floating” seat over acrylic (from $2,728), each piece can pair with another or double as standalone art. We favor her heavy-handed use of polished stainless steel, Carrara marble and oak or ebony veneers too. And we’re spilling a secret: More collections are in the works. 336.887.2815

BEST LIGHTING DESIGNER // Allan Knight
In any given year, Allan Knight could find his name alongside a number of design awards. Furniture, textiles, accessories—Knight designs it all and does so beautifully. But his lighting creations are the reason he’s being honored this time around. Whether it’s a 40-foot chandelier or a glass table lamp, every item is designed and manufactured in Knight’s Dallas studio. He also does bespoke work. One custom chandelier he’s working on now is a massive piece he estimates will take two years to complete. In Knight’s world, good things really do come to those who wait. 150 Turtle Creek Blvd., Suite 101, Dallas, 214.741.2227

*READERS' CHOICE* BEST SURFACES // Cosentino  
Cosentino knows countertops. The Sugar Land-based company, admired for its cutting-edge natural stone and quartz surfaces, opened its 25th North American Cosentino Center in Houston in March 2014. The 27,000-square-foot center, which joins showrooms in Dallas and Austin, serves as a showcase for the beautiful kitchens and baths for which Cosentino is known. 1315 W. Sam Houston Parkway N., Suite 150, Houston, 281.207.4500; 1340 Airport Commerce Drive, Suite 100, Austin, 512.386.7791; 11639 Emerald St., Suite 400, Dallas, 214.256.9700