360 West March 2010 : Page 45
A circular bronze from Italian sculptor Bruno Romeda shares the coffee table with a bronze Tibetan gong filled with freeze-dried roses (they last forever). Bill Blass is one of Justin Seitz’s favorites, so he bought this Sotheby’s catalog pre-auction. Floral arrangements are by Thistles & Tumbleweed. Cozy Chic J By Meda Kessler Photos by Ralph Lauer Once decorator Justin Seitz found a house he loved, his task was an easy one: Fill it with everything he loves, including wife Shannon, two children and two cats. ustin Seitz thinks nothing of driving around various neighborhoods and checking out real estate. “I have a running list of my five favorite houses and this happened to be one of them,” say Seitz, a principal along with business partner Kim Johnson in Fort Worth’s Johnson Seitz design firm. This “one” is a ’30s-era Cape Cod in Fort Worth’s Monticello neighborhood, where two-story Colonials intermingle on tree-lined streets. It was on a Saturday morning when Seitz spotted the house. “It saw this very traditional saltbox, and I loved the symmetry and the fact that it has been painted white,” says Seitz. “Everything … the Mies, the black cat, curls up in the sun-filled living room. Two chairs repurposed from the dining room flank a low Chinese rosewood table, inlaid with mother of pearl and abalone, that Seitz found in New Orleans. He added the honed bluestone top. The side table is an Italian “tabernacle” cabinet, and holds a collection that includes a tall Mexican copper vase, silver and bronze vases by Christofle and a 19th-century Grand Tour marble hand carving. Two English Regency cabinets topped by shallow alabaster urns filled with orchid plants flank the fireplace, which is original to the house. www.360westmagazine.com March 2010 45
Justin Seitz thinks nothing of driving around various neighborhoods and checking out real estate.<br /> <br /> “I have a running list of my five favorite houses and this happened to be one of them,” say Seitz, a principal along with business partner Kim Johnson in Fort Worth’s Johnson Seitz design firm.<br /> <br /> This “one” is a ’30s-era Cape Cod in Fort Worth’s Monticello neighborhood, where two-story Colonials intermingle on tree-lined streets.<br /> <br /> It was on a Saturday morning when Seitz spotted the house. “It saw this very traditional saltbox, and I loved the symmetry and the fact that it has been painted white,” says Seitz. “Everything … the Landscaping, the architecture showed that the owner had mastered the house and respected what it was.” Slightly obsessed, Seitz tracked down the owners and left a phone message complimenting them on the home and leaving his contact information in case they should ever want to sell.<br /> <br /> “I didn’t hear anything for two weeks, and then the phone rang.” The son of the woman who owned the house called to say his mother had just passed away and, yes, they would be selling the house.<br /> <br /> “I made an offer immediately, but apparently the probate attorney had made a cash offer first and got the house.” Not one to be dissuaded, Seitz made the same proposal to the attorney. Fast-forward another 18 months, when Seitz got another call. This time, he got His house.<br /> <br /> “It had been a one-owner home, and the son of the woman who had passed away wrote me telling me all the history. He said he was glad I got the house after all.” That was in 2004. Today, Seitz lives with wife Shannon Lewis Seitz, a research psychologist, and their two children and two cats in the 1,500-square-foot home. He has created a jewel of an interior that manages to look and feel quite spacious.<br /> <br /> “We’re fine with a small house,” says Seitz, although he admits that additional plans to renovate have been delayed by the most recent family addition.<br /> <br /> The 9-foot-3-inch ceilings help open up the rooms, and the headers have Been raised and openings widened on every portal, dictated by a wonderful set of doors Seitz bought for the officeturned- nursery right off the truck at a now-defunct salvage yard.<br /> <br /> With such precise attention to detail, it’s no surprise to learn that Seitz almost became a doctor instead of a decorator.<br /> <br /> Born in McAllen, he attended a medical magnet school 52 miles away. “I always loved design; my grandmother gave me my first subscription to Architectural Digest when I was 8 and renews it each year. I figured being a doctor would fund my love of architecture and design.”<br /> <br /> As a pre-med/biology major, Seitz loaded up on the requisite classes but met his match in an organic chemistry class. “My professor called me into his office and told me he could see it in my face that I didn’t want to be a doctor and that I should pursue what I love.” It was the end of his junior year in college when he told his parents he was switching his major to design. “They told me they’d been waiting for that moment.” He and partner Kim Johnson (who lives just a few blocks from Seitz) today do both residential and commercial design, including Jerry’s Chevrolet in Weatherford and Tim Love’s So7 Love Shack<br /> <br /> In Fort Worth. They also own Herringbone Home, which marks its first anniversary this month. Featuring a mix of wonderful finds and refurbished pieces, Herringbone Home has become a destination for decorators and design junkies seeking something out of the ordinary, such as a collection of finds from the estate of Yves Saint Laurent or upholstered tree stump stools.<br /> <br /> Fans include designer Kelly Wearstler, who first found Herringbone Home on the online shopping site 1st Dibs (www.1stdibs. com). They’ve shipped goods to the Bellagio decorators in Vegas, and White House designer Michael Smith also has shopped the store.<br /> <br /> “We had collected a lot of stuff, so a retail space made sense. I actually bought the domain name several years ago. We wanted to own our own building, too,” says Seitz, who pursued and eventually convinced the artist-owner of the two-story building on Park Place that they would respect the space.<br /> <br /> It seems he’s quite good at that.