Soaring Ceilings, Stately Arches and a Mutual Love of Art
Story by Katricia Lang | Photos by Benjamin Hill Photography
When is it time to move out and start fresh? For Houstonian David Taylor, that difficult decision came about after his wife passed away. In embarking on construction for a proposed new bungalow in Hyde Park, Taylor called on his longtime friend of 20 years, interior designer David Stone, to add a personal touch to the spec home.
“My wife had died and I decided to move out of the house. And what I realized working with David [Stone] is I’d never done anything on my own,” says Taylor.
With 50 years in the design business and his own company since 1983, Stone knew exactly what to do. Stone put Taylor in the driver’s seat while also using his own experience and expertise to guide the homeowner through the design process.
Stone helped Taylor bridge the gap between his past and his future. In the striking media-room-turned-man-cave sits a contemporary white Italian leather sofa, two chairs, and a marble coffee table: all pieces from Taylor’s previous residence. The armoire and dining room set also came along. In both cases, Stone and Taylor mixed something old with something new. In the dining room, it’s an elaborate candelabra centerpiece; while Taylor’s man cave displays an impressive red, black and white heavily impastoed painting, making it the most sophisticated room to ever have cave in its title.
Although Stone passed away last November, his presence is still felt in touches large and small. As guests walk through the house, a picture of David Stone emerges: a good friend and a great designer.
Stone wanted the office to be the most impactful room because it is the first room, the place where a design-savvy visitor would look to get a feel for the entire house. The raised relief pattern on the wallcovering echoes the homeowner’s love of trompe l'oeil and art. The office is filled with furnishings from Reeves Art + Design, revealing Stone’s pragmatism and preference for local businesses.
“We bought from them often as they were affordable, had a great selection and David [Stone] loved to reinvent or repurpose furniture,” says Scott Woodard, who served as Stone’s associate designer for 13 years. “He would ‘torture’ [the furniture] to ‘make ham salad from bologna’.”
There are many beautiful spaces in the Taylor home but, arguably, the most beautiful is the living room. “We live in this room,” says Eva, Taylor’s wife. An early riser, Eva spends the morning in the living room, her feet raised, with a cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other.
Stone found the cream leather sofa and ottoman as well as the zebrawood cabinet at Cantoni. The upholstered chairs hail from John Brooks. Reeves Art + Design is responsible for the lovely lucite lamps that light the room, but the star attraction in the living room is the natural sunlight. And thanks to the floor to ceiling windows, that natural light is in abundance.
A hyperrealistic painting by Yrjö Edelmann draws as much attention as the rising sun. Taylor first spied the piece on display in Stone’s home, the first time the two met, and immediately coveted it. “David [Stone’s] art collection was definitely a feast for the eyes; walls paved with art, even the backs of doors and some ceilings had artwork on display,” says Woodard.
Stone shared his bounty. Three years ago, he gifted the Edelmann painting to Taylor. After seeing it properly installed Stone said, “It’s like it was designed to be in this room.”
“[Stone] steered away from trendy design, preferring to rely on his own vision,” says Woodard. This is apparent in his bathroom design. At the outset, before the builder’s spec house blossomed into the Taylor home, the bathroom sported antique brass hardware. The builder had in mind a dark stained floor to match. It was a very “in” look six years ago but Stone knew that wasn’t his friend’s style. Instead, the two chose nickel hardware which, at the time and especially along with the straight lay tile pattern, probably seemed too conventional a choice. But brass is no longer in vogue and the bathroom is now timeless.
The vision is in the room’s monochromatic palette. It accentuates minor details such as drawer handles as well as greater architectural elements. Woodard explains: You don’t see a contest between a white door and a taupe wall, you see the shadows on the door or the crown molding. “That’s what made David great,” says Taylor. “The little things.”
“David always delivered thoughtful, well-developed design ideas,” says Woodard. “He left behind room after room of decorative intelligence. My years with him honed my approach to interior design and I hope to continue in his tradition.”
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