On Location

Lynn Goode Boosts Playful Design in Houston

The gallerist helps people personalize their spaces, including her own contemporary house, with the best of 20th-century design.

Lynn Goode features 20th-century furniture and decorative arts at her store, Lynn Goode Vintage, in Houston, Texas (portrait by Jenny Antill). Top: Goode grew up in a mid-century modern house, and the Highland Village home that she shares with her husband reflects its influence. The sunken living room contains a Hans Wegner Ox chair and a Mark Flood bronze rabbit sculpture. All photos by Peter Molick, unless otherwise noted

It’s safe to say that Lynn Goode is obsessed with design. Indeed, the Houston native is so obsessed that she lives with the pieces she sells from her River Oaks gallery, Lynn Goode Vintage, which specializes in furniture and decorative arts by a wide range of 20th-century designers, including Charlotte Perriand, George Nakashima and T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings.

Like the art gallery Goode owned here in the 1990s — where she showed then-emerging artists like Mark Flood, Susie Rosmarin and Cesar Martinez — her design gallery is a vehicle for sharing her enthusiasms with others. “I’ve always enjoyed having a space that can become a part of people’s lives,” she explains. “Our homes are so personal. I like helping people to make their spaces their own.” And, she adds, “What I love about vintage furniture is the stories it tells.”

It is precisely this furniture — along with a sophisticated, personal collection of contemporary art — that fills Goode’s house in Highland Village, where she lives with her husband, Harrison Williams, who is in the oil business. The aluminum-sided, concrete and steel house was built on spec in 2007, and Goode thought its expansive interiors would offer the perfect setting for family life. “My children were having children,” she says, “and the neighborhood has beautiful old oaks.”

The house’s open-plan first floor reveals its design riches immediately. An aluminum and plastic cabinet from Raymond Loewy’s DF 2000 series, designed in the 1960s, greets visitors in the foyer, along with a pinwheel-like sculpture by James Surls and a pair of Lucite candlesticks by Dorothy Thorpe. At the end of this vista, an open stairwell is occupied by Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona daybed and a Knotted chair by Marcel Wanders, as well as art by Christopher Wool and Aaron Parazette.

The sunken living room, with a stone fireplace, contains a pair of Directional sofas from the 1960s, a vintage Ox chair by Hans Wegner and a bronze sculpture of a rabbit by Flood. Among Goode’s favorite pieces are her Stalagmite dining table, designed by Paul Evans for Directional in the 1970s, and a set of Dakota Jackson dining chairs. “I’ve had those chairs for twenty-two years,” she says, “and I must have had them recovered in five different fabrics.” In the master bedroom, above a pair of vintage tortoise-finish campaign chests by Henredon, Goode arranged a wall of works by artists like Rachel Hecker, Amy Blakemore and Ingrid Calame. “I know a lot of the artists personally and love their work,” she says.

A Raymond Loewy credenza in the foyer displays vintage Jaru pottery and Dorothy Thorpe Lucite candleholders. On the wall behind it is a James Surls sculpture.

 

A painting by Rachel Hecker overlooks a pair of Harvey Probber lounge chairs, while artwork by Donald Judd and Jesse Lott hang over a vintage Paul McCobb–style credenza on the upstairs landing.

In the media room, an artwork by John Wesley is flanked by a pair of Holly Hunt floor lamps. The space also includes a Harvey Probber sofa, Herzog & de Meuron side tables, Kodawood Clam chairs and a vintage black leather chaise longue.

 

The master bedroom contains a Charles Eames La Chaise chair and a vintage German floor lamp, while mid-century Lane tables flank the bed.

 

Left: In the dining room, a set of Dakota Jackson chairs that Goode has had for 22 years surround her beloved Paul Evans stalagmite custom dining table, which is signed and dated “PE ‘72.” Right: A pair of 1960s Hans-Agne Jakobsson brass lamps sit on Goode’s mother’s vintage Drexel credenza, which is flanked by Kodawood Clam chairs. A Terrell James painting hangs on the wall.

 

In the kitchen, a long stainless-steel-topped island has rows of shelves for cookbooks. A pair of Hans Wegner chairs are arranged around the Warren Platner table.

Ceramics by Ruth Duckworth and pre-Columbian Peruvian pieces, along with a Tierney Malone painting, are on display in the upstairs library, which also features a Milo Baughman swivel chair covered in Donghia mohair.

The stairwell holds artwork by Christopher Wool and Aaron Parazette and a Marcel Wanders Knotted chair.

For some people, modern design is an acquired taste. But with Goode, it was practically in her DNA. She grew up in a mid-century modern house where she was surrounded by Hollywood Regency and Danish Modern design. “My father was an entrepreneur, but my mother had all the design sense,” she says. Goode studied art history in college and opened her gallery in 1989, but her interest in 20th-century design and decorative arts didn’t really blossom until after she and her former husband, Tim Crowley, moved to the West Texas town of Marfa in 1997. (Goode had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis the previous year, and Marfa’s dry, high-desert air was, she says, “very healing.”)

The couple soon became prominent figures in the burgeoning cultural scene growing up around Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation. They founded a theater and the hugely popular Marfa Book Company and commissioned an austerely elegant house from the architect Carlos Jiménez, who had designed Goode’s art gallery. And all the while, Goode was developing a fascination with early Bauhaus design, mid-century Italian pottery by artists like Marcello Fantoni and the work of Nakashima.

After she and Crowley divorced, in 2008, Goode got a master’s degree in clinical social work at Smith College, moved back to Houston and became a therapist. But her attraction to design proved too strong. “Leaving the minimalism of Marfa and embracing my more playful side, in design and in life,” is how Goode describes her eventual decision to close her therapy practice and open the gallery.

When she isn’t working, Goode loves spending time with her four grandchildren, as well as her two sons, two stepsons and two stepdaughters. But the siren call of design hasn’t diminished. “My husband and I are looking to move,” she says. “I really want another project!”


TALKING POINTS

Lynn Goode shares her thoughts on a few choice pieces

“Pepe Mendoza was a Mexico City–based sculptor whose foundry created a wide array of cloisonné enameled decorative objects, lighting and furniture during the fifties and sixties. His characteristic usage of brilliant turquoise enameling paired with sensuous brass designs is the epitome of California modernism in the sixties.”

“Karpen of California produced a small line of futuristic furniture in the fifties and sixties, and these chairs are some of my favorites. With wide hips and a tapered seat back, this pair could be the royal thrones during the Jetson era.”

“The Poltrona vintage Italian chairs are the touchstone of Italian mid century design. Only the Italians could come up with style and comfort in a set of six-inch heels! With the interplay of different textiles detailing the sensuous curves on the arm rests, coupled with brass stiletto legs, this Marco Zanuso–designed set of chairs is surprisingly comfortable.”

“Paul Evans’s brawny sculptures and furnishings caught my attention around fourteen years ago, when I’d see the occasional piece pop up at auction. I’ve always been fascinated by his boldness in design and the concept of welded furnishings. I wouldn’t want an entire room of Brutalist pieces, but his pieces create a dramatic weight that speaks to an environment.”

“The Europeans excelled in lighting design throughout the mid twentieth century. Sciolari is one of my favorite producers of lighting, along with Stilnovo and Artemide. This particular brass chandelier adds dimension and layers, and I’m fond of the rectangular length over a dining table. Looking up from a dining chair into the three dimensional light fixture is quite spectacular from any angle.”

“Often, Adrian Pearsall’s Brutalist line is confused with Paul Evans’s. While I’m keen on many of Pearsall’s sofas (especially the Gondola sofa), for collectors who do not wish to pay the steep prices that Evans’s Brutalist pieces are bringing these days, adding an Adrian Pearsall disc bar or an outstanding encased sofa achieves the anchoring metal look without the sticker shock.”

“Marcello Fantoni was a mid-century Italian ceramicist and sculptor whose works are notable for the unique layering of glazes, as well as the attention to detail inside the vases (he often chose to bring pops of interior colors to accent the darkness of the glazes). This rare lamp with a painting within the vessel has a cubist feel, and it’s influenced by Pablo Picasso, whose drawings are currently on view in an exhibition at Houston’s Menil Collection.”