Downtown loft kitchen takes bachelor pad to new level
Surrounded by 25-foot-tall ceilings, stately windows, exposed brick walls and a faux concrete-faced fireplace, Derick Stonecipher begins his days by whipping up a frothy green health drink in his newly acquired loft kitchen in downtown Galveston.
“I walked into this place and it had so much character, I was sold as soon as I saw it,” said Stonecipher, who purchased the property only last fall.
It was actually his sister, Jordan Vaughn, who had directed the recent University of Houston graduate away from the hustle and bustle of the nation’s fourth-largest city. The young business administration professional who had achieved magna cum laude honors yearned for a more relaxed environment in which to pursue his master’s degree.
Noting her brother’s growing appreciation of vintage architecture, Vaughn suggested he consider a move to Galveston, where he was already helping their mother, Mary Louise Stonecipher, with the restoration of one of the island’s East End historic homes.
Today, Derick Stonecipher has his own historic residence on the top floor of the retrofitted 1896 Galveston Telegraph and Telephone Building, a space that his mother and sister — both interior designers — have helped to turn into a multi-purpose aerie.
“Our goal was to take the concept of ‘bachelor pad’ to a whole, new level,” said Vaughn, as the duo’s mother nodded enthusiastically in agreement.
Tapping the services of local contractor Chuck Morris, known for retrofitting historic buildings to fit modern lifestyles, an open-concept combination of kitchen, dining and living areas began to emerge.
Working to allow much of the room’s original structural elements to remain visible, Morris even removed materials from an earlier remodeling to reveal yet more of the building’s historic framing, and Mary Louise Stonecipher suggested adding the tall, faux concrete wall into which a striking 15-by-50-inch electric Dimplex fireplace was inserted.
“Every place we’ve lived has had a fireplace, so we included one here to help make it feel like home,” she said. “We wanted something different here, however — something that was masculine yet attractive and compatible with the rest of the room.”
Amid an almost sculptural arrangement of heavy beams, braces and other raw wood components, no-nonsense stainless steel appliances have been strategically nestled among minimalist-style cabinets and cupboards. Backsplash areas were faced with white subway tile, and a free-standing kitchen island was topped with soapstone for durability.
“Soapstone is less porous than most other counter materials and will hold up better to bachelor-style creative cookery,” said Vaughn, noting that her brother is very serious about his diet and does most of his own meal preparation.
Derick Stonecipher, who eats six times a day, concentrates on “clean” foods such as organic grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, chicken, wild Atlantic salmon and other responsibly sourced nutrients. He also carefully plans his food consumption to be metabolically compatible with daily activities that include a period of rigorous reading and study early each morning, regular sessions at a local gym and working in the local hospitality industry. He does allow himself an occasional splurge, however.
“Every third day or so, however, I treat myself to an extra large pizza — usually from Mama Teresa’s, just down the street,” he said. “For the most part, however, I am very health conscious and concentrate on quality food, simply prepared.”
Simplicity is key in the decorative notes of his home as well. Strong, bold lines and black, white, gray and wood tones accented with brick red dominate. Furnishings include a rustic 7-foot dining table; 1930s soda shop-style stools with hobnailed leather seats; and a gray tweed sectional sofa draped with a black and white Hermes throw. Furnishings also include a small side table a friend made from a weathered screw-style tractor jack and a cypress wood scrap that was left over from the construction of a log cabin on the family’s farm in Jackson, Tenn.
Smoked mirrors on either side of the fireplace reflect the glow from selenite table lamps by John-Richard, and an 8-foot Big Ass brand fan hovers overhead. Display pieces of white coral and amethyst quartz provide additional accents, and original artwork includes that of Joseph Day, a self-described street artist from Brooklyn, N.Y., who incorporates “found” materials into his creations. Surprises include a full-size rattan bicycle objet d’art Vaughn found online, and she also is contributing some of her original work to her brother’s new home, including a collage of whimsical prints secured with vintage wooden hangers.
The thing that makes this most feel like home to Derick Stonecipher, however, is a cloud-like puff ball with blue eyes. As Lillie, the Birman cat he raised from kittenhood, curled up near him recently in front of the fireplace, he recounted the pleasure, peace and sense of belonging he has already found on the island.
“I felt more at home in Galveston in three weeks than I did in Houston after three years, “ he said, as Lillie purred contentedly in agreement.
Derick’s Green Smoothie
1 cup organic raw red chard, full leaf
1 cup organic kale
1 cup organic spinach
1 organic Granny Smith apple, chopped
1 organic banana, chopped
½ cup fresh organic raspberries
¼ fresh organic lemon
(with peel left on)
3 cups natural spring water
Rinse ingredients quickly in cold water, 10 seconds tops, just long enough to remove any soil or dirt. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Enjoy throughout the day as part of a regular healthful meal plan.