Real Estate / Fashion

Closet Stalker Series

J. Randall Powers

BY // 07.03.15
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

If Houston has a celebrity decorator, it is one J. Randall Powers. Over the years, his work has been admired by masses of design enthusiasts in glossies such as Architectural Digest, Elle Decor and House Beautiful, both inside and on the cover. He’s been named to Elle Décor A-List four years running, and this month he has the cover and 14 pages in the new Veranda for a Houston project. Powers is instantly recognizable, both in print and in person. But what many have never seen is the inside of his own closet.

This intimately personal realm can reveal many things about its owner. Is he maniacally organized? Does he have a penchant for gingham and vintage Hermès trunks? Are there garments still waiting to be worn, tags in place for a requisite one-year waiting period until they can be decreed “un-trendy” enough to make their debut? And might there be more than 20 pairs of New Balance sneakers perched inside, including a pair that’s been around for 10 years, heels collapsed, employed on a daily basis as house slippers?

Trivia aside, it’s quite a sensory deluge just being in Powers’ personal space. Art is everywhere (Cy Twombly is admittedly his favorite). Each detail is flawless, from the Georgian antiques to the ebonized oak floors and the Anichini hand towels in the powder room. And speaking of the loo … Are those black toilet seats? Is this a new trend, perhaps? I take note but am later advised that they’re not black; they’re mahogany with 50 coats of lacquer. Naturally.

“My look is not the look of everybody,” Powers admits. “It is more personal, more New York.” He goes by the term decorator, but with the distinction of it being an English term (versus the modified American usage). And above all, he calls himself a classicist at heart — which, until I’d actually seen him in his own space, may have given me pause. Read on to see where he shops, saves and splurges, and his idea of excess.


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