Copies of the July-August issue of Veranda magazine began arriving in Houston mailboxes and no one was more thrilled with the issue than J. Randall Powers. The decorator landed the coveted cover position and has more than 13 glossy pages inside, all devoted to the grand River Oaks residence of Sheridan and John Eddie Williams.
The magazine headline heralds that Powers (Randy to friends and clients), "crafts a monumental house in Houston that balances the principles of classic design with a gracious sense of intimacy."
This was Powers' fourth cover including Elle Decor and continues his run of postings in virtually every interior design magazine in the country from Architectural Digest to Luxe.
"This was probably, to date, one of my most fun projects ever because we just got along really, really well," Powers said.
"This was probably, to date, one of my most fun projects ever because we just got along really, really well," Powers said after a walk-through of the vast residence, during which he couldn't resist straightening a side table, fluffing a pillow.
Powers describes the decor as sophisticated but livable. "This house is so wonderful and grand and this is totally who they are, but really nothing in a lot of ways about who they are, because they want the grandkids to be able to skate down the hallway and they're never gone to say that's an issue," Powers says. "But at the same time, they're going to hold a gala."
In fact, the Williamses have entertained President Obama and Sen. Nancy Pelosi at their new home, where they have lived for two years. While that was all very fancy, the couple's egalitarian nature is always evident. For example, when the house was completed after several years of building, they invited the virtual army of contractors and subs over for a celebratory backyard feast.
While the magazine coverage is filled with details of the design effort, the piece de resistance has to be the dining table by Rose Tarlow, the high priestess of furniture design. The 17-foot table, which seats 26, required two visits to Tarlow studios in Los Angeles and working directly with the artist who created the raised fish. Yes, 22-karat gold gilded fish that swim the surface of the table. The piece is mahogany with a tete de negre finish, "the truest form of lacquer," Powers says.
You won't see Powers' favorite area of the house, however, in the magazine — the upper gallery. "It's so incredibly detailed but quiet. That's another thing I love about this house. Nothing screams."