He Wanted His Texas Home to Resemble a ‘Groovy’ Opium Den


“He wanted a place with a ’70s vibe, and groovy.”

Mr. Ferguson, who grew up in Texas, but now lives in New York, said that he asked for something similar to an opium-den. “He wanted something with a 70s vibe and that was groovy.”

Mr. Ferguson and Ms. Story were friends for many years. After discussing what the house might become, they came up with a design idea. “It sounds silly,” said Mr. Ferguson. “But it was Lenny Kravitz meets Italian ’60s meets ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.'”

It all started when Mr. Ferguson, who worked in investment management in New York but now focuses his energy on projects related to the arts, wildlife conservation and health and wellness, decided to move his primary residence to Texas. The concrete, metal, and glass structure was designed by Ravel Architecture and reminded him the Case Study Houses built in Los Angeles during the mid-20th century by modernist architects such as Richard Neutra and Pierre Koenig. “It is basically a concrete and glass box, suspended from a cliff edge, overlooking the city of Austin,” Ferguson said. “That spoke to my design sensibility.”

But the minimalist interior didn’t feel like the kind of place where he belonged. Sara was brought in to help, he explained. Story, who was used to working on eye-catching designs and colors, as well as bold patterns and colors, was surprised at how enthusiastic Mr. Ferguson was about the project. “But he always asked for more pattern and color.” “He really pushed my comfort zone.” The bar and lounge area facing the pool is probably the most daring room. She installed a custom sectional sofa covered in gold velvet inside a niche lined with mercury mirror on the other side. She installed a B&B Italia Camaleonda Sectional in the middle of the room with seating all around. To create a media space, she enclosed the covered patio with glass and wallpapered the ceiling with a hand-painted design from Porter Teleo. A shaggy faux fur rug was added under a sinuous table that Adam Birch sculpted out of a tree trunk. She added ombre wool and cashmere curtains to the windows over lacey gold-and purple sheers she made out of a fashion fabric she found in Manhattan’s clothing district.

For each of the other three bedrooms, she chose a different graphic wall paper to bring life into the space. In the powder room she chose a Londubh Studio wallpaper that featured mushroom shapes with a shiny gold outline. Ferguson estimates the cost at more than $1,000,000, and he continues to search for unique pieces. It’s the perfect place to invite friends over for a cocktail, and to watch the sun set. Story’s design is only one problem. Ferguson laughed and said, “I’m reluctant to let anyone mess up the work she did.” “Maybe the way it was done should have been a bit less amazing.”