Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
In PrintIn StyleIn BooksIn MediaIn the KnowIn House

IT’S PERSONAL

A light-filled four-bedroom, three-bath steel-and-glass-and-stucco house has all the hallmarks of a thoroughly Modernist building but also radiates an engaging hominess. The adroit mix of oppositional ideas is the result of a collaboration between San Antonio architect John Grable, designers Rhonda Grubbs and D’Ette Cole, and a style-confident client with a very personal vision.

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Landscape architect Terry Lewis added dramatic hominess to the front porch by flanking the front door with oversized pots. The exterior’s white stucco is animated throughout the day by changing shadows cast by the steel arbor shading the front porch.

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Inside the 3000-square-foot dwelling living room, dining room, and kitchen are open to each other and all face into a courtyard around which the house is built.

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Designer Cole placed a grey sectional and leather club chairs in the living room next to a Hans Wegner chair as tonal antidotes to the colorful Kate Spade rug. Privacy from the street is assured thanks to the 8-foot courtyard wall and the strategically placed high window above the sofa.

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The owner uses her back yard as a room.

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The living room’s book shelves punctuate the length of the wall above the sofa.

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Designer Grubbs suggested two dining tables—for holiday dinners the tables can be put together, but the homeowner uses them separately most of the time, one as a library table where she stacks books and magazines to read and the other on which to dine.

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High windows in the kitchen admit lots of light but maintain privacy.

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Color is key in the streamlined kitchen where D’Ette Cole punctuated the island with lime green barstools. Taking her cue from the red knobs on the Wolf stove, the designer added a bright red credenza in the eating area, further dramatized with a black molded Eames chair.

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A black-and-white African mud cloth slipcover revs up a love seat next to the marble-topped Saarinen breakfast table

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Cole used wallpaper throughout the house as an accent. In the pantry, she made a couple of tongue-in-cheek references to wine: Schumacher’s exotic “Queen of Spain” wallpaper glistens in a champagne color and two wine-colored rugs set the stage in front of built-in cabinetry.

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A view through the courtyard extends all the way to the front door.

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It’s easy to think you are dining al fresco when all the sliding doors are open.

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The homeowner took advantage of the wall across from a seating nook underneath the steel staircase to display art made by her children.

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“Matisse is My Muse” wallpaper in mustard brightens the powder room walls.

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Textured stacked baskets and a gold-flecked Restoration Hardware cowhide rug enliven the seating area under the staircase.

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A black Kate Spade rug with a bow tie pattern anchors the bed in the master bedroom. The wall behind the bed is painted dark inkberry grey; the 10-foot-tall windows are framed in an off-white linen vibrant with silvery starbursts. A Lucite-legged bench topped with Mongolian lambs’ fur sits at the end of the bed.

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“Queen of Spain” wallpaper makes another appearance, this time in black in the bathroom.

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The homeowner has a robust collection of shoes.

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San Antonio-based landscape architect Terry Lewis, who grew up in the neighborhood, created a lush tropical setting for the courtyard. Designer D’Ette Cole complemented his design with chaises from DWR and chunky planters from West Elm.

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PHOTOS BY DROR BALDINGER

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