Real Estate / Houses

Houston’s Rising Star Designers

Four Amazing Women to Watch

BY // 08.04.15
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

PaperCity checks in on distinctive on-the-rise Houston designers whose recent projects have us longing for more.


Gin Braverman, GinDesigns Instagram: @Gindesigns
If you’ve dined in one of Gin Braverman’s interiors, you already know how it enhanced your experience without intruding. From Oxheart to The Kolache Shoppe on Richmond (a morning haunt of PC editors), Braverman is one of the most sought-after names in restaurant and bar design in Houston. We’re dubbing her style neo-industrial, given her ability to make raw industrial design more comfortable. She effortlessly integrates exposed brick, tile, mid-century modern furniture and metal elements to create moody, relaxed spaces.

Statement lighting fixtures are trademark Braverman — we’re obsessed with the massive geometric pendant she sourced from Hungary for Beckrew Wine House, which won runner-up for Commercial Design — Restaurant in the 2015 PaperCity Design Awards. Gin spent her formative years in New York working on film-set design, then moved to Taipei, where she honed her skills at a commercial design firm. Returning to the United States with a broadened worldview and a new international aesthetic, she founded her firm, Gindesigns, where she employs a talented team, including a finish specialist. Braverman also won runner-up for Residential Interior Design — Bedroom in the 2015 PaperCity Design Awards.

Exposed brick, black-and-white photographs and lounge seating star in Gin Braverman’s project Boulevardier.

Chelsea Cunningham, Chelsea Interiors – Instagram: @Chelseainteriors
Mere months after opening her own firm, Chelsea Cunningham landed every Houston designer’s dream project: A John Staub Shadyside home. Cunningham has quite a pedigree — the Houston native and Kinkaid, Georgetown and PaperCity alum studied interior design at the Corcoran in D.C. and the Art Institute in Houston, then spent three years at award-winning Chandos Interiors before opening shop last September.

The Staub homeowners, a young couple, enlisted Cunningham right after moving in. Phase one of the project is restoring Staub’s signatures, such as full-length windows that disappear into the ceiling, to open the living room to the garden for entertaining, and intricate mantels carved of wood and stone.

Gracie wallpaper in the dining room was refurbished after years of decay, and the molding was painted a crisp white, a vast improvement over the dingy green. Cunningham installed wallpapers, lighting and mirrors with geometric elements to play off both the home’s octagonal shape and to help incorporate the clients’ contemporary art collection into the historic setting. The long-term phase two will encompass a more extensive renovation/restoration. Straightforward and decisive with an impressive knowledge of design, Cunningham is a speed-dial essential for young families in the inner loop.

Geometric wallpaper juxtaposed with a carved fireplace and the contemporary nursery in a John Staub original designed by Chelsea Cunningham.

Caroline Frantz and Morgan Jones, principals of Caroline+Morgan Interiors – Instagram: @CarolineMorganInteriorDesign
You won’t find any “thirsty furniture” in the rooms of design duo Caroline Frantz and Morgan Jones (that’s their term for the weathered French country look). All of their rooms are fully hydrated and saturated with color. We took notice when they secured the 2015 PaperCity Design Award for Children’s Room, with a punchy nursery with bright green grasscloth-covered walls.

In a traditional River Oaks home, a library was enlivened and updated by carefully preserving the mahogany walls, utilizing rich silk velvets in jewel tones on the furniture, dressing the tall windows with a patterned Jim Thompson silk and flanking the fireplace with a pair of equally richly colored taxidermy peacocks. Jones is a master of the collected look, a skill she cultivated while working at Area, after studying interior design at Harvard’s graduate school.

Frantz received a degree from Parsons and worked at a commercial firm in NYC before moving to Houston, where she was introduced to Jones via her husband. Jones’ style is tailored, while Frantz’s leans towards feminine. Luckily, a collaboration between the two creates a perfectly balanced room.

A jewel-toned River Oaks library designed by Caroline + Morgan Interiors.

Old Lighthouse Club - Quivira Los Cabos

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