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Rottet Studio Reimagines Colombe d’Or Hotel Complex in Houston

Although born in Waco, Texas, Lauren Rottet considers herself a Houstonian—that’s where she grew up. From an early age, the Interior Design Hall of Fame member knew all about the Montrose neighborhood’s Fondren Mansion, a Prairie School–style private home designed in 1923 by architect Alfred C. Finn for Walter Fondren, founder of Humble Oil, which later became Exxon. Some five decades later, local real estate magnate Steve Zimmerman purchased the residence and transformed it into La Colombe d’Or, a five-suite hotel and res­taurant, ambitiously named after the French Riviera property of the same name, legendary for attracting such guests as James Baldwin, Henri Matisse, Yves Montand, and Pablo Picasso. Operating since 1979, the Houston hotel was due for a refresh, and that’s where Rottet Studio comes in.

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