Houston-based designer Barbara Hill is known for a stripped-down aesthetic that blends art-world cachet with Texas modernism. Hill’s signature moves feature a heavy rotation of glass walls, open spaces, concrete floors, and the blue-chip minimalist art she helped introduce to the area back in the 1970s as an early champion of Sol LeWitt and Daniel Buren.
For her latest project, the venerated designer ventured out of Texas in the company of a family of four, whose contemporary Houston home she outfitted four years ago. The owners, who relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, for work, wanted to re-create the feeling of their previous house with the furniture Hill had already selected and her unerring taste, which aligns so closely to their own that, say the homeowners, they “never” disagree. After striking out on a search for an outwardly modern home in the genteel capital city, they changed tack and ranked their new neighborhood—formal, tree-lined, and gracious—as first priority, figuring they could make over the interior spaces with Hill’s assistance. The house they purchased is a Mediterranean-style two-story stucco structure that was chockablock with dark wood molding and floorboards, making Hill’s modern transformation even more remarkable.
Designer Barbara Hill applies her polished take on minimalism to a traditional 1920s abode in Atlanta for a transplanted Houston family. The home’s informal dining space has a slightly rustic feel, sporting bronze and wood in the form of a Lindsey Adams Adelman chandelier for Roll & Hill and a table by Terry Dwan, mixed with folk-art touches like the Eames House Birds and a cuckoo clock from Diamantini & Domeniconi. The PK8 chairs from Republic of Fritz Hansen were designed by Poul Kjærlholm and sourced from Kuhl-Linscomb in Houston, Texas.
Konstantin Grcic’s Venus chairs for ClassiCon surround a table by Poliform in the formal dining room. Hill selected the Flos chandelier designed by Marcel Wanders for its “Old World reverence.” The sleek fireplace mantel was designed by Hill and cobbled together onsite from three solid slabs of limestone.
The family’s 1920s Mediterranean-style manse is an eclectic example of the architecture found in Atlanta’s elegant Buckhead neighborhood.
Two pieces from E15’s Shiraz sofa flank the company’s wooden Leila side tables. Hill chose to use flat paint in Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White throughout the home because it emphasizes the chalkiness of the plaster walls, making them “look almost like slate.” The sconce shown in the foreground—David Chipperfield’s Corrubedo design for FontanaArte—gives off a soft glow and replaces the dozens of paper-lampshade wall fixtures the owners found in the house when they bought it. Stewart Cohen’s zany photograph of a gun-toting Marfa resident encapsulates Barbara Hill’s offbeat brand of decorating: bright and minimal, yet darkly humorous.
The gold surveillance camera by artist Camp Bosworth in the stairwell previously hung in the glass entryway of the family’s former house in Houston.
To highlight the existing architecture of the home, Hill retained the dark polish of the casement windows, which she finds enhances period details instead of undermining them. In the rear sunroom, the vintage Case Study furniture pieces with Plexiglas bases are from Metro Retro in Houston. A Bourgie lamp by Kartell is atop an old marble end table by Knoll, and the Gan kilim rug pictures a branch motif echoed in the kitchen and breakfast room.
Vitra’s Slow chair sits in front of a powder-coated-steel bookcase made by Hill’s go-to fabricator, George Sacaris; it was originally built for the Houston house.
Intended for a much bigger room in the family’s previous home, the bed was designed by Hill and it is covered in Maharam fabric in a doily print called Intricate 001 Charcoal. The side tables are from West Elm, and the AJ table lamp is by Arne Jacobsen for Louis Poulsen.
Hill had the overhead lighting in the kitchen customized by Rich Brilliant Willing in a pert orange that accents the primarily black-and-white interior scheme. She added a stainless steel kitchen island by Bulthaup; its glossiness and “clean feel” was tempered by the plastic stacking stools designed by Konstantin Grcic for Magis. The cabinets, appliances, countertops, and marble tile were kept as-is, with the addition of several coats of white paint in order to blend seamlessly with the walls.
Photo by: Gregory Miller. Arcticle featured in Dwell