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Chris Kelly | Photo: Julie Soefer | December 30, 2013
The Wards moved from Manhattan to Texas to go big—with fearless color, high style, and plenty of room for two growing boys.
When George and Lindsay Ward, owners of a richly colorful and smartly renovated Tanglewood mansion, decided their young family was outgrowing its hip loft in the Flatiron District of Manhattan about a year ago, they didn’t just change buildings; they changed cities.
“We wanted a yard and a home,” says Lindsay. “And I didn’t want to move to Connecticut because the commute would be long for George, and I wouldn’t get to see him as much.” Since George is a managing director for the financial investment firm of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., which has its headquarters in H-Town, Lindsay had a surprising idea. “Why don’t we move to Houston?!”
It might sound like a bold move born of intuition and audacity, but that’s nothing new for Lindsay, 32, and George, 42, whose relationship began with a chance encounter in the Big Apple. Lindsay, at the time a buyer for David Yurman jewelry, and George had reservations at the same restaurant on the Lower East Side.
“George and I were complete strangers,” recalls Lindsay, who resembles Anne Hathaway with her delicate frame and natural beauty. “But while we were waiting for our tables, we started talking, and then he called me up later. George invited me over to his apartment, and cooked dinner for me. And he doesn’t even cook!” It was an ironic gesture, since Lindsay is a trained gourmand, who at one time studied at the French Culinary Institute.
George’s effort to impress—and, no doubt, his handsome looks—paid off. The two were married in 2007 and lived a very urban lifestyle, until their two sons arrived a year apart from each other. Colby is now 3, and little brother Reid is 2.
Lindsay had never even been to Houston, but she knew it would be a great place to raise a family. So they moved into a two-story, red-brick house in Tanglewood, a 6,000-square-foot Georgian which, because of the city’s red-hot real estate market, the couple chose to buy sight-unseen. Another trademark bold move. “First our realtor called and said to get on a plane to Houston the next day because there was the perfect home for us,” laughs Lindsay. “Then the realtor called back and said that there were already four bids on the house, and if we wanted it, we’d need to just go ahead and place a bid. So we did, and we got it!”
At that time the interior was, in Lindsay’s words, “a white box.” This gave her a clean canvas to work with, and she enlisted top interior designer Laura Umansky of Laura U to help her transform it. The sweeping changes are obvious from a guest’s first steps inside.
The entry is open, with dark brown-sugar-colored hardwood floors and a circular staircase, blanketed by a runner of gray spotted with white by Stark—an antelope print. Off the entry, the dining room features a custom walnut table surrounded by eight putty-colored leatherette chairs backed with a soft brown and beige patterned fabric. The crisp white walls are hung with two vivid abstract paintings, one red and the other a vivid yellow. Overhead, the ceiling itself is painted a luscious mink color.
Off the side of the entry opposite the dining room is “the lounge.” The burgundy-colored grasscloth wallcoverings from Celery Kimble—and the ceiling painted its own hue of glossy burgundy—speak of serious style. The rarely used rich color is not only lovely but also reflects George’s passion: He is an oenophile and avid collector of vintage wines. “Our next project is to build out a wine cellar,” notes Lindsay. Other lounge touches include a posh gray-lavender Armani sofa and, on the wall, an oblong mirror in a thick frame of braided gold from Arteriors.
The family room is at the back of the first level. The expansive, light-filled space runs the length of the house, boasts two separate seating areas, and opens to the kitchen on one end. One conversation vignette includes a tête-à-tête sofa from Kravet that’s covered in soft gray fabric tinged with mauve, set across from two oversized Armani club chairs upholstered in olive green. “And it’s all kid-proof,” laughs Lindsay, as young Reid toddles into the room to give mommy a hug before going down for a nap. “We had the fabric treated. It can resist almost anything!”
A series of French doors opens to the lush backyard, exactly the thing the Wards wanted for their children; there’s also a swimming pool. Another family-room wall is hung with framed color photographs that the couple purchased online from ArtStake—“roadscapes” of the Lone Star State, including a diner, a gas station and a brilliant sunset. “I wanted to give our home a sense of place in Texas,” says Lindsay.
In the nearby open kitchen, the young mom further makes the house a home by regularly preparing gourmet meals for family and friends, with plenty of room for everyone to spread out and enjoy themselves. It’s the lifestyle that Lindsay and George dared to imagine back in Manhattan. “This,” she smiles, “is exactly what we wanted.”