Renowned Houston-based architect William “Bill” Curtis of Curtis & Windham Architects spoke before a packed house of designers, vendors and shoppers about the firm’s countryside projects, including his family’s own weekend retreat in Central Texas, as part of the Speaker Series At The Halles in Round Top during the Spring 2022 Antiques & Design Show.

Presented by co-host Greg Schenck, membership chair of the Houston committee of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, Curtis waxed poetic about the joys of country life in the heart of the Lone Star State. 

“The things we love about being out here are probably the same things that you all love,” Curtis says of the Central Texas experience, “We revel in the sun rises and sunsets. We all love the bluebonnets, which are kind of like our ocean once a year.” 

Curtis went on to describe the basic needs he keeps in mind when designing country homes.

“There are several things that are important to have,” he says. “A great place to sit. A great view. You also have to have shade. And you have to have a breeze.” 

Curtis & Windham’s projects in Fayette, Washington and Austin counties tick all the boxes on this must-haves list while also delivering quietly stunning facades and outbuildings that speak directly to the mid-1800s Central Texas vernacular. Curtis notes that the firm’s goal with country home renovations and new builds is to stay as true to any existing original structures as possible.  

Among the group’s recent local projects that exemplify this design philosophy are Bailey and Pete McCarthy’s Goodthyme Farm in Bellville and a stately abode in Burton. 

Members of the rapt audience included Austin Wilson of the ICAA, Avery Cox and Helen CoxShawna Bridgman and Beth Neely of Smithville General Store,Mary Malik and Kristy Geary of Materials Marketing, Marianna Giblin and Ellen Morris. Members of the Curtis family were also on hand for support, including Bill’s wife Jane and daughters Lucy and Hannah CurtisKathy Young joined local business owners Marla Hurely of Modern Marla, Dana Vidal of Topped Hatsand Greg Forticq of Red Antler Bungalows. Also in attendance were Zoe BonnetteJanet GridleyHill and Mary SwiftGretchen HicksTense VitaliDebra MarzialeCorrine Rotan and Esther Gamez of Ester Gamez Jewelry. Halles dealer Cheryl Long of Pure West, Melanie JordenJan CarrollJesica Beken and Ashley Mitchell also sat in on the talk.