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Publication Date: 2015-09-17

Unexpected Moments

Architect Paul Lamb and interior designer Fern Santini, both based in Austin, Texas, have collaborated so often during the past nineteen years that they finish each other’s sentences.

But when they agreed to build and decorate Santini’s sister’s home in Houston, Lamb needed a new strategy. “The sisters were speaking a language of their own, as sisters often do, and I had to eavesdrop to figure out what they had in mind for the house,” he says. “Finally, I started singing ‘Sisters,’ about two devoted sisters and the mister who comes between them in the Bing Crosby-Rosemary Clooney movie White Christmas. It broke the spell. The sisters laughed, and everybody got in sync.”


It was the first of many “unexpected moments” during the creation of a spacious home for Santini’s sister, brother-in-law, and their four teenage children. Lamb and Santini invoked the phrase to refer to the signature design elements that energize the interiors of the two-story parged-brick residence, conceived as a “twist on the traditional English country house.” Lamb adopted parging, a process of applying a thin layer of lime mortar, to produce a more uniform color.


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INTERIOR DESIGN BY FERN SANTINI

PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER VITALE

ARCHITECTURE BY PAUL LAMB

WRITTEN BY LINDA SHERBERT


This story appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of MILIEU.

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