American designer Brenda Houston has long been captivated by the allure of gemstones, fossils and minerals, and in her contemporary tables, lighting, wallcoverings and decorative accessories, she gives them pride of place. Working with a select network of sources throughout the world, she locates exceptional specimens, showcasing them in her handcrafted custom furnishings. She recognizes that “nature’s artworks” have seduced since ancient times, and will continue to do so, sidestepping passing fads to be coveted for generations.
Some of the minerals Brenda incorporates into her pieces are more than one hundred million years old. She marvels at the juxtaposition between the rocks’ rugged, nondescript exterior and the gleaming luster within. “You never know exactly what to expect before a rock is sliced open,” she notes; “it’s a surprise every time.” The serendipitous aspect of working this way is key to its attraction for her. “Only after cutting it do you know if there is beauty inside; a door magically opening to a whole new world.” Once the interior section is visible, she lets the unique veining, color and silhouette of the cross-section suggest what the slab will ultimately become.
Brenda started her career in visual merchandising, with a focus on luxury retailers including Barneys New York and I. Magnin. Among the designers she collaborated with were Issey Miyake, Giorgio Armani and Donna Karan, until a shark-diving accident in Palau precipitated a pause. After two years of rehabilitation, she began designing jewelry store interiors, first for Bailey Banks & Biddle, and then David Yurman.
Gravitating towards residential and hospitality projects, Houston launched her namesake design studio in 2008 with table lamps whose bases were formed from rare minerals. The next year she added small treasure boxes and decorative side tables all hand forged in bronze. As she built a couture following, she won numerous awards, was lauded in the press, and invited to open a store-within-a-store at Barneys New York. She closed the boutique in 2011 with a shift in focus creating designs for the trade and joining Holly Hunt showrooms. Brenda has since expanded the collection of showrooms offering her designs in both the U.S. and internationally.
Brenda’s growing roster of clients includes A-list interior design firms, celebrities, royal family members, and luxury hoteliers throughout the world. She is proud to produce all of her collections within the United States.
Houston balances her time between Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.