Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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BARN MODERN

A recent University of Houston College of Architecture and Design graduate Michael Viviano  accepted his parents’ offer to design a house for them, following in the footsteps of illustrious architects Le Corbusier, Robert Venturi, Charles Gwathmey, Richard Meier, and Richard Rogers who did the same. The arrangement was a family affair: the architect’s mother, Catherine Viviano, was also the builder. The two-story 4200-square-foot brick-and-wood house is now complete, a sleekly composed modern barn that occupies a long narrow corner in the Neartown-Montrose neighborhood, catty-corner from the house Chris Viviano, Michael’s father, grew up in.

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The exterior is wood sidling in a vertical pattern atop brick laid on the horizontal.

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The entry opens directly into the living room where Minotti swivel chairs and Maxalto coffee tables set a modern tone.

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Catherine Viviano saw the Old Master-style painting that now hangs above the living room sofa at an antique store and purchased it for $400.

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Bamboo-and-lacquer Victorian tea table and black chairs by the window are a reminder of the Vivianos’ love of antiques.

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Two pen-and-ink French academic illustrations Catherine Viviano discovered at Bill Gardner Antiques are the main focus of the dining room.

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Catherine Viviano uses the MDF Italia wall-hung buffet in the dining room both as a serving station as well as a place where she can display some of her favorite home accessories such as the candlesticks, painted wood bowl, pewter plates, and white transferware she has collected.

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A long corridor lined with 18 cabinets was one of the most important features architect Viviano included in his design—his mother has lots of dishes and other accessories and uses the cabinets for storage.

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The kitchen is anchored by a green soapstone-topped white oak island designed by Michael Viviano with a natural hard wax oil finish. The swiveling black powder-coated stools are by Wrong for Hay. The white tiles from Ann Sacks for the backsplash are hand-made. Cabinetry is painted with Benjamin Moore’s “Decorator White” and a custom variation of Benjamin Moore “Chelsea Gray.”

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A trumeau mirror hangs at the end of the entry hall.

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The powder room.

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Upstairs flooring is solid European white oak wide planks with a natural hard wax finish; the black-stained pencil post bed is by Timothy Clark.

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The Stua white table is from DWR; the chairs are by Poltrona Frau chairs.

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In the master bathroom, a Piero Lissoni for Living lounge chair is at the ready next to the Victoria + Albert tub; walls and countertop are honed Carrara marble.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACK THOMPSON

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