10 September 2012

At Home With Two Houston Antiquarians

 

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A few years ago,  I wrote about one of Houston’s oldest and finest antique shops that was closing its doors - HERE.   For years, Brian Stringer Antiques, owned by Stringer and his wife Kathi, was the go-to place for wonderful antiques, and the closing of their doors was a sad day for Houstonians.  If you were looking for something special – you knew that they would have it in their vast inventory.  Searching for tables and chairs in the back warehouse was the most fun, and visiting the darling French house “next door” was just the icing on the cake.  Ah, the good old days!

 

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The closing was a big shock to all, but the Stringers were ready to retire.  They had watched the antique business change so much, due to the economy and the internet, and they felt it was just the right time for a change.  Besides owning a house in Houston, there was their 14th century chateau in France, charmingly called Commanderie de  Sainte Antoine.

 

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And who can blame them?  If this was waiting for me on the other side of the globe, I’d be there too!

 

Recently, Kathi got in touch with me to let me know they were selling their Houston house.   They plan to move on to a high-rise where they are gutting the space to create a dream Versailles in the sky.  To say I have found memories of their house would be an understatement.  It has been published in Southern Accents and locally and for years I have drooled over the pictures showing all their gorgeous antiques.  It really never seemed like a house in Houston, instead it conjured up images of a manor found in the English countryside, filled with antiques collected from years spent there and visiting in France.  

 

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Their light peach stucco house, shown at dusk.  The house is 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, and just over 2,500 sq. ft. and it is located in the historical Montrose neighborhood.

 

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Ready to enter?

 

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The front door with its fan lights opens up to the large living room.  Wow!!  Notice the painting on the right atop a gorgeous long console table.  Brian Stringer loves to collect chairs – so expect to see a range of stunning antique ones, like this leather and wood wing chair in the entry area – just under his hat collection.

 

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A view to the left of the front door, showing the wood and leather wing chair with another similar one across from it.   The  family room is seen at the right.

 

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Another close up of the entry.  And on the very right, you can just see into the dining room.

 

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The view of the formal living room – to the right of the entry.  A gate leg table acts as a coffee table in front of the sofa.  Notice the two tortoise shell boxes sitting on the table.   A tall chair covered in tapestry sits next to a wing chair.  And notice the charming fireplace with its blue and white tiles.  You can see the stair hall through the opening on the left.

 

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Another view of the living room shows two architectural engravings over a chest topped with even more tortoise shell boxes.  On the mantel is a collection of horn cups.

 

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The red family room, just past the entry, has floral curtains, a wonderful Kilim rug,+ and a leather chesterfield sofa.  A large pine cabinet is on the right.   Towards the back is the kitchen.

 

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A closer view of the pine bookcase. Just beautiful.  Such a warm and cozy room!!!

 

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The kitchen is one of the original “unfitted” ones that inspired so many others in Houston.  Instead of cabinets on one side, an antique chest was placed under a large working plate rack.   The ironstone is all antique.  Through the door is the stair hall which leads back to the living room. 

 

 

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A closer view of the collection of ironstone.  Love the “Finest Yorkshire Bacon & Hams.”  And I love the Staffordshire figure made into a lamp, resting on the ironstone.

 

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The freestanding range sits under a tile encased hearth.  On one side is an antique butcher’s block with pots hanging above it.  The breakfast room to the left is filled with an assortment of chairs and a sofa in toile.

 

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Another view of the breakfast room which looks out to the back yard.  That sofa with its open back is to die for!

 

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The dining room is off on the left side of the entry, originally a sunporch.  It is dominated by an incredible collection of pewter plates, all the more dramatic while barely contained on the antique shelves.  This collection was on the cover of Southern Accents!   To the left is a collection of Santos.  Through the doors is an outdoor dining area.

 

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And looking at the other direction – towards the front yard.

 

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Off the living room is the stair hall, with its seagrass covered stairs.

 

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The master suite with its adjoining sitting room.  Fabulous antique sofa!!  And the red toile chaise – to die for!!  Love how the flatscreen sits on a wonderful antique gateleg table. 

 

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Notice the crown above the sofa.   It’s so fabulous!!!

 

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Looking the other direction – a tall French armoire and trumeau sit in the corner.   I love this room!  Seriously – is this Houston, Texas????  Hard to believe this isn’t England.

 

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The bedroom is located over the dining room/sun porch – so it has all these wonderful windows!

 

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The bathroom vanity is skirted.  Love the pine cabinet instead of a standard built-in.

 

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The pink bedroom is my favorite with its toile bedding and armoire.  And notice the darling tiny trumeau at the right of the window.  I want that!!!!!   OMG – this is just too darling!

 

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This bedroom has a floating French bed and silk curtains.  Such a pretty bed and that chandelier!!  Love.

 

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The bathroom has a peeled stucco wall effect with a marbleized baseboard.  Granite vanity on steel legs.  Notice the cute lamp made out of an apothecary jar.

 

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Outside is a pool, of course.  And behind the pool is a two story trellis dining pavilion, covered in vines. 

 

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Outdoors eating area.  The drive and yard are graveled, French style. 

 

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And the back yard at dusk with all its French pots and old shutters.  So romantic!

The Stringer’s house is so warm and cozy – and  inviting with all its antiques and collections.  Rather than a quickly obtained decorated look, it’s a look that can only be achieved by a lifetime of collecting and antiquing, which the Stringers certainly have had!  I can’t wait to see what they do in their new highrise.   Will it look like their house – with vibrant colored walls, or will they go for a more neutral color scheme?  It will be interesting to see how they use all their beautiful antiques in the new space.   Maybe when they are all settled, we’ll be able to get a sneak peek at their new place!

Finallly, a huge thank you to the Stringers for inviting us in!

 

If you are interested in this classic house, located in a historic neighborhood, please contact the realtor, Mike Bloom, HERE or HERE 

 

Don’t forget to enter the two contests – Vero Linens and Aidan Gray house search!  Time is running out!!!  But, I will say this – if you need more time to get pictures of your house in for the Aidan Gray contest, just let me know.