While developing the interior design of 1661 Tanglewood—an opulent 34-story high-rise being built in one of Houston’s most desirable neighborhoods—interior designer Randall Powers reflected on a phrase he’d often heard his grandmother repeat: “Buy once, cry once.”
By that, his grandmother meant, “buy the very best that you can and hold off if you can’t,” explains the Texas native. “At the end of the day, you’ll never regret wonderful stuff. But you will regret the things you use as a filler.”
Prospective residents can currently see that philosophy in action in a model condominium that Powers has filled with the finest finishes from around the world, to give buyers an immersive taste of what life could be like at 1661 Tanglewood.
Wearing the name of the family who is developing the project, The high-rise Tanglewood is akin to a as a “tower of mansions”, housing residences that range from 3,000 square feet to a sprawling 12,000-square-foot penthouse. The target buyer is someone who has grown tired of dealing with landscaping, but is still eager to hold onto their baby grand piano and collection of designer shoes. In other words, for a discerning audience, builder-grade materials weren’t going to cut it.
Sourcing Bespoke Finishes
Powers has built a career out of creating elegant, imaginative high-end residences in Houston and around the world. Drawing on that experience, he turned to favorite collaborators to help outfit Tanglewood: Stark Carpet rolled out custom flooring, London-based Chesney Fireplaces crafted the two to three hearts in each unit, Rose Tarlow Melrose House provided the lobby’s furnishings, and Parisian artist Alexandre Vossion created a five-foot version of his dramatic crystal Dream chandelier to hang near the building’s entrance. “When I brought that light to the table,” Powers recalled of presenting to the team at Tanglewood Corporation, “all four of them were like, ‘Wow. Now that’s art.’”
Refining a Color Palette
For the interiors, Powers chose an elegant color palette of taupes, creams, grays and soft peaches in order to allow special details—like de Gournay scenic wallpaper in the living rooms. “I’m a believer that everything has to have a tremendous amount of detail to make it feel special,” says Powers. “But it also has to have that amount of quiet to make it feel interesting.”
Personalizing Every Last Detail
Powers has definitely put his stamp on the building. But the final design of each luxury condominium is up to its future owners. Prospective buyers have an entire menu of options to choose from in creating their ideal home. “If you just want to buy raw space, that’s available,” Powers notes. “We can put basics like the plumbing in place and from there you can use your own architect to build it out as you wish.”
Then there’s what Powers calls the ‘signature package’, where he and his team “design the space completely, and all you bring are your own furnishings. Or we can take it to the next level, where you get a turnkey operation.” Should buyers desire, he says, “I could put two luxury cars in your driveway, have fine crystal glasses in your cabinet and handpicked flatware ready for you to eat dinner on.” All that’s left is to pack up your clothes. Though, he jokes, “If you really want to take it that far, we can get you a personal shopper.”
The project is designed for buyers to maintain total autonomy. “We went in with the theory that ‘no’ is really not in our vocabulary,” he explains. Outside of obvious physical limitations—“No, we can’t put a swimming pool in your condominium,” jokes Powers—the team aims to honor any and all requests.
Built-In Luxury at Every Turn
If buyers do choose a luxury condominium as Powers’ designed it, their home will be outfitted with his team’s custom-designed moldings, Waterworks kitchen faucets, a La Cornue range, TV screens in the mirrors of the primary bedroom’s bathroom—even the signature Cire Trudon scent Powers selected to waft through the building. “We really went above and beyond,” says Powers. Which may be why, after just a month of showings, he says, “We’ve gotten a significant amount of pre-reservations for a building that hasn’t even broken the ground yet.”
The project has been something of a dream job for the longtime Houston resident, who relished the opportunity to plan spaces destined to be filled with elevated details and hand-picked antiques once completed. (Among his favorites: a pair of 16th century lions that came out of a palazzo in Venice and a set of Ming Dynasty consoles.)
It’s a vision the Tanglewood family and Powers hope will feel like a fantasy come true for future residents as well. Or, as Powers says, “It’s so over-the-top there’s really no way to top it.”