Archives for March 2011

Houston Ranch of Art, Part II

Did you have a chance to notice all the charming details of Susan’s house in the first post of her home tour?  Now on to part II!

The bedrooms are layers and layers of softness, and I’m pretty certain you don’t need to be asleep to have fantastical dreams in here.

When I first met Susan this bedroom was her office–with juicy red lacquered walls.  Now that she has built an office above her garage, she made this room her master bedroom.

Pink tiles and hot pink toilet seat with glitter–I’m sure she is the only one on the street with this bathroom combo.

I love these drapery panels with the 80s-esque fabric trimmed with triangle fringe.  And do you see what is hanging in the shower?  I don’t have a great photo of it, but you can get a good idea of the captive audience at bathtime:

A Lin Swanner painting watches over the guest room bed.

With a blush-colored door, metallic speckled trim, glass doorknob, and Deco-inspired wallpaper, the room is interesting even before the addition of all things of curious beauty.

The vintage box belonged to Susan as a child.

The new office addition is through the backyard.

Built above the detached garage, the office has a porch trimmed in the same aqua metalwork as the front porch.

The office has an efficiency kitchen and bath–which could easily convert into an apartment.  I love those terrazzo floors!

And we’ll end the tour with a red-flocked Jesus.

I’ve been so inspired revisiting Susan’s home.  I could truly spend hours and hours there exploring and listening to her stories.  She took a chance on me when I was a young decorative painter and starting out–and for that I’m forever grateful!  When I wanted to specialize in children’s art and design, she was willing to sit with me and answer all my questions and offer advice.  She also fielded a few phone calls from a weepy me when this newbie encountered stresses and problems in design work.  Thank you, Susan!  And your home is positively a beautiful wonderland.

Houston Ranch of Art

When I planned to restart TPH last year, I planned to do a whole month on everything ranch houses.  I was thrilled when Susan, an interior designer I worked with in Houston, let me shoot her house, a 1949 ranch, for a post.  Unfortunately, I stalled out on my ranch month and the photos waited and waited.  Her house is better than amazing, where every square foot is lovingly thoughtful…I just wish my photos did her house full justice.  Turns out my meager photo skills have actually improved in the year since visiting her and having a better camera now doesn’t hurt either.  Now, on with the tour!

I met Susan White in 2000.  Freshly graduated with my painting degree from University of Houston, I was cold calling designers in Houston looking for decorative painting work.  I left a message for Susan on her answering machine, and she was one of the few designers to call me back.  When I pulled up to her little gray house with aqua trim and purple neon house numbers I was sufficiently intrigued.  Boots on the door celebrate the Houston Rodeo, a big deal in H-Town.

Purple crystal doorknob and celestial mural on the porch ceiling…a proper welcome in my book.  Ready to go inside?

The entry to the two-bedroom home greets with a gallery wall and a laminate Parsons table draped in lace.  One immediately knows this house has soul.  There is an initial moment of readjustment–of leaving one world and entering another.  Fantasy, whimsy, history, and sentiment dwell together as Susan has deftly combined periods, pattern, and color.  You just can’t take it all in with a casual glance.

Layers and colors and objects and handmade treasures speak of Susan’s love and appreciation of art.  She has lived in the house since 1973 (when she purchased it for $26,500!) and has spent the years crafting every nook and cranny into visual perfection.

A vintage mink fur coat covers the frame of a painting by Dixie Friend Gay in the living room.  The list of artists in Susan’s art collection is long:  Sandra Russell Clark, Joanne Brigham, Dan Allison, Paula Fridkin, Kathleen Packlick, Karin Broker, Jeff Delude, Bob Russell, Tom Wheeler, Wulf Barsch, Lisa Qualls, Lin Swanner, Reverend Howard Finster…and me, to name a few.

Faux malachite, glossy berry and oversized leopard spots cover previously-traditional family dining room furniture.  That is Susan as a head of lettuce.

The retro sunroom lies off the dining room–and to me is a fitting tribute to the 1949 house.

Of course she has a pink kitchen.  I love her.  And do you see that aqua pentagon on the ceiling?  Pentagons of various hues are scattered randomly on the kitchen walls.

Lookie, Angela originals hang in the kitchen!  Susan surprised me and bought the bird painting at a Houston show I participated in.  The small cake painting was a gift from me to her the year she celebrated the 25th anniversary of her design business.

The Reverend Finster piece hangs behind the pink flamingos and above the refrigerator on the same wall.

Down the hall to the bedrooms hangs a Paula Fridkin heart–delight deluxe for me.

About her art collection, Susan told me she looks for pieces that speak to her, in which she has a visceral reaction–then she knows she wants it.

Even away from her rancher, Susan hints at the style of her home in her dress.  Whenever I met her at job sites or the studio, I always looked forward to seeing her sartorial interpretation for the day.  Always textured, colorful, layered, and sculptural.  I love people like Susan who can make an ordinary day much more interesting and fun by just being unabashedly true to themselves.

You can read more about Susan’s home on the Houston Chronicle–a 2006 feature about her ranch home amidst a crowd of puffed-up new builds in her neighborhood.  Come back for part two of the tour to see the bedrooms, bathroom, and her home office.  See you then!