A BELFIORE BEAUTY
Exquisite Minimalist Furnishings and Accents Keep the 360-Degree Views Clear in this Luxury High-Rise Home
By Barbara Canetti • Photography by Ben Hill
High-rise living offers many options for its residents: A great view, a multitude of conveniences within the structure as well as an opportunity for many folks to re-invent the way they live. Scale down and refocus.
That was the draw for a retired Houston couple that gave up their traditional three-story house and moved to Belfiore, a 26-story building in the tony Post Oak/Uptown area near San Felipe Street.
Belfiore, which bills itself as luxury living and maintenance free, broke ground for construction in 2013 and within a few months was 75 percent presold. The first residents moved into their condo in 2016. The residences, which are about 4,500 square feet except for the penthouse, occupy half of a floor in the building. And every unit has two corner terraces, giving residents 360-degree views of the city’s skylines and an additional 700 square feet of outdoor space.
The units are large, with floor-to-ceiling windows stretching to 11-foot heights in the rooms. The living spaces are open to each other; the bedrooms are more private and isolated on the other side of the residences.
Visitors enter the building to a spacious and modern lobby and are directed to a double set of elevators that leads to individual and private lobbies for individual homes. Each is uniquely decorated, reflecting the owners’ preferences. One of the owners chose a Scottish cobalt blue and silver wallpaper resembling clouds — an appropriate setting for high-rise living but a contrast to what lies behind the front door.
Once inside the unit, a sense of calm settles in, as with any interior design project, the material and finish of the floor, here a large-plank oak stained in ebony, almost black, sets the mood and defines the style of the place. The walls are painted white and windows are covered with automatic oyster-hued screens to block out the light or heat. The interiors, by designer Anne Breux, present clean, uncluttered, simple lines. Minimalist decor highlights the treasured art pieces that hang in the different rooms. No crown molding or decorative fittings interfere with doors or walls.
“There is silence from the white walls — no noise. The patterns in the rooms are in the art ‘and on our outfits,’” says Breux, also quoting Andree Putman.
A pair of spear-like French torcheres by Gilles Derain flanks the front door, providing a soft-lighted entryway into the spacious living areas. Two matching pale linen couches face each other around an industrial-style, glass-topped coffee table on wheels designed by Italian architect Gae Aulenti. An iconic set of vintage mid-century modern Breuer Wassily chrome and saddle leather chairs — two of the very few things brought from the old home — creates a comfortable conversation area. All of the living room furniture is nestled on a large grey-toned Madison Lily rug. From any of the seating areas, the owners can see downtown and “see the weather forecast.”
Nearby, a gray velvet sectional placed in front of a large television provides comfortable seating. This is where one of the corner terraces is situated.
Adjacent to the living room is a round glass dining table, “La Rotunda,” designed by Mario Bellini. The table, with its diagonal three-legged support, is surrounded by six leather high-back chairs and illuminated by a Moooi chandelier of delicate leaves of light. A dark glass credenza, which looks like steel but is actually a gray frosted glass, anchors the space. The room seduces.
The large kitchen and eat-in area are separated from the living space. A large grey granite slab covers an island and the Miele stove, ovens, microwave, coffeemaker, wine cooler and steam oven are built into the cabinetry. A huge refrigerator/freezer is hidden behind cabinets that match the rest of the kitchen.
Down a hall are two guest bedrooms and ensuites with gray Carrara marble and interesting rectangular sail mirrors with soft lighting. Nearby, a wall of built-in shelves lines the hallway with books, personal treasures, mementos and photos of the family. As the homeowners transitioned from their traditional home to this high-rise, most keepsakes did not make the move. This is the only place in the unit that deviated from the minimalist theme.
The master bedroom, decorated around a piece of French fabric by Manuel Canovas used on the pillows, has access to the second outdoor space that looks west and is a frequent spot for quiet time for sunsets. Floating shelves frame the large bed with wall sconces above them. The nearby huge master closet includes a mini-office with a fantastic view.
Still in the works is the gallery: A long, enclosed passageway connecting another office back to the kitchen and living areas. The sparse study is decorated with contemporary art, one of the resident’s passions.
The switch from a large house to a high-rise was terrifying at first, according to the homeowners, but they have learned to appreciate the peacefulness of the space, the uncluttered and soothing furnishings and the idea that when it is time for vacation, their home is a lock-and-leave.
“It was intimidating at first, but it was a great decision.”
BARSTOOLS & DINING CHAIRS
Design Within Reach
4066 Westheimer Road
DINING ROOM FURNITURE
Glass Italia credenza,
Cassina table at Internum
3303 Kirby Drive
Decorative Center Houston
5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 250
LIVING, DINING & BREAKFAST ROOMS
Lighting Fixtures by Moooi, Kartell breakfast room furniture and Fontana Arte coffee table
The Light Company
4202 Richmond Drive
Knoll Studio at Sunset Settings
2610 Sunset Blvd.
Madison Lily Rugs
1727 Post Oak Blvd.
SOFAS & SECTIONAL
Modern Collection by Restoration Hardware
4030 Westheimer Road
Robert Allen Design
5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 141
The Shade Shop Inc.
4122 Richmond Ave.