Interview by Abby Hoeffner • Interior Design by Kathy Anderson • Photography by Ester Havens
ABBY HOEFFNER: First of all, where is this fabulous property?
KATHY ANDERSON: It’s in The Woodlands on the waterway, in one of the Waterway Lofts.
How would you define the owner ’s style and tastes?
Well, they are a blended family, and they both like to cook. They have six girls who live there. So they wanted the contemporary look with a softer feel. Obviously we designed this home to be very modern, but they have a home up on Lake Travis that’s done in more of a Texas Hill Country style.
In the room with the pool table and bar, there is so much to look at. Would you tell me a little about what they asked for in that space?
They entertain a lot, so the house flows from this main living and game room, which has a bar area, to the kitchen area, which has a huge bar in it as well. We didn’t do anything to the ceiling—just kept it the exposed concrete. They collect a lot of really nice art pieces that we wanted to light individually. So, for this particular application, the only way to do that was with the track lighting. It allowed us to put on different heads and light different spaces independent of each other.
We installed an aquarium at the end of the room in what was supposed to be a fireplace. They have a fireplace in the other room, and they decided that” hey, we live in Texas so we aren’t going to use a fireplace that much,” and they really like the idea of having an aquarium there. I think it shows up really well, and they have said it’s one of their favorite things about the house. Both the husband and wife are big wine connoisseurs so we installed two wine coolers to hold their collection.
One wall is fitted entirely in mirrors to extend the space, but we did it in bronze mirrors so it wouldn’t be so in-your-face. This way it’s a little subtler and something you wouldn’t notice initially. We lined the mirrored wall with lighted shelving but kept it minimalistic to better show off the art.
Tell me about the art.
They buy from all over the country—California, Houston, Austin and New York. They have quite a collection. That long curved wall holds all original art.
Now, the kitchen has a fabulous mix of materials. How did you combine all those so effectively?
Well, the kitchen we designed to have two completely different cooking areas. He likes to cook and she likes to cook, but they wanted to have their own areas to cook in, so the kitchen has double cooking areas.
I designed the island on an I-beam. It’s a stainless steel island with a long sink and faucets on either end. When they entertain, they fill it up with ice and use it as a sushi bar or to hold drinks. That’s an awesome piece, but it took us a while to find someone to build it.
The backsplash I love. It’s glass tile and designed to look like rain dropping. We needed something that was interesting to look at, but not overpowering because there are already so many elements in the space.
Tell me about the raised glass bar. What was the inspiration for that?
The owner had seen it in a commercial application and liked it because she wanted to be able to serve off of it. When entertaining, you can actually have food on the top and then eat along the bottom. Plus the fact that they have six girls and LOTS of activity in that family—there are kids over all time—and needed a way to accommodate them. We put granite behind the sink to close off the cleaning areas and define that space.
How many bar stools does this house have?
Oh, my gosh—a ton! I think the main room has nine and then the other room has five. And what’s amazing is that they are used all the time. With the six girls and all their entertaining, they don’t let them go to waste. As contemporary as this house is, it’s very homey. A lot of times contemporary can be cold and stark, but this home actually feels really good. They love it.
The family room feels like a hip, urban lounge. What elements do you think contribute to that vibe?
The view for one thing. That’s why we kept the furniture low. We didn’t want to take away from the view. The nice thing about the sofa is that the back can be raised up if you like, or it can stay low. The coffee table has two wood pieces on it that slide up and down because the girls like to do their homework at them. So it’s actually a work area for the kids. The upholstered part is covered in Sunbrella fabric, so it cleans up like a dream. Everything looks really slick, but there was a lot of thought going into designing a home where six kids live. The mother didn’t want to constantly be worried that something was going to get messed up.
The fireplace is actually an alcohol burning fireplace. It does not vent. We put a bronze mirror in the back, which was fun because we didn’t want to do your typical fireplace. Instead we have this long box—more for looks than anything else—because we certainly don’t need the heat living in Texas.
Tell me about this powder room.
The owner told me she wanted a stainless steel toilet, and that was really all the direction I got. I chose to do something unusual and minimalistic with very cool lighting effects. We put the sink on its own pedestal, and the faucet comes out of its own pedestal on the wall. All the walls are slate.
Is that slate tile I see on the walls throughout the home?
Yes. It’s on the main wall in the formal living area and on a wall in the dining room in addition to several accent walls.
What did you enjoy most about this project?
This was a really fun project to do because, in my part of town, things tend to be a bit more traditional, so I really enjoyed the more contemporary design. These particular clients were just a dream to work with. They are young and fun and wanted something different. It did take some time to do this, because we didn’t want something typical or expected.
One thing I do like about the main living area is the two sofas placed back-to-back. One faces the television area while the other faces the pool table. This gives two separate entertaining areas where people can sit and look at the view and the pool table or the television, but still be in one space.
Originally published in the August 2009 issue of Living Magazine.