by Juno DeMelo
Photography by Stephen Karlisch
As Ross See was working on the plans for his clients’ new home, he went to a wedding in Italy with the clients.
“Brooke and Ran are longtime friends of mine,” says Ross. “My brother, Corbin, and I actually did Ran’s dad’s house a long time ago.”
Ross and his brother have been in the interior design business for nearly two decades. Their firm, Sees Design, was started by their father, Carson See, in Oklahoma City more than 40 years ago. The second-generation company has since expanded to Dallas and brought on Corbin’s wife, interior designer and textile specialist Sara See, who was previously the design director for Perennials Fabrics.
Ross, who oversees interior architecture and space planning for Sees Design, considers himself “more traditional than anything. You kind of have to be a chameleon, but I think clients come to us because they like the edge we have compared to a more traditional decorator, and we go all in with architectural drawings,” he says. “I love to be there from the start rather than just placing furniture in the room.”
For Brooke and Ran’s ground-up build, Ross found inspiration in the mosaics and old-world Venetian plaster walls he saw on that trip to Italy while touring Florence’s churches and the Amalfi Coast village of Positano. “That was kind of the starting point where we all fell in love with what we were doing,” he says.
Working with Nashville’s Scott Torode—a classical architect who Ross says “pushed the limits to make the house current but not too modern”—and Oklahoma City–based Candelaria Design Build, the Sees Design team aimed to tick a number of style boxes (and still accommodate the couple’s three young children).
Like Ross, Brooke is a traditionalist, but “she’s playful, stylish, and current—which is why Kelly Wearstler was a great fit,” says Ross, who installed a Liaison by Kelly Wearstler Mosaics Garde tile in the jewel-box-like powder bath. With the tile as the starting point, Ross then decided on a painterly 18th-century-inspired wallpaper, black Venetian plaster ceiling, and black-and-green marble countertop.
Ross also used a Liaison by Kelly Wearstler tile, the Obelisque, in the primary bath, which has a wall comprised of locally sourced antique mirrors and a telephone faucet mounted on a recessed slab of marble.
“My dad sold 17th- and 18th-century antiques, and after growing up around all those marbles and inlays, I try to infuse them in projects now,” says Ross. “But the bath was getting to be busy, so by putting Ann Sacks Terrazzo Renata slabs in the shower area, it took some of the vein out of the room.”
The antique-mirror detail carries over into the scullery, where Ross used Ann Sacks Versailles Mesh tile—made from hand-slivered glass using 18th-century mirror-making techniques to create a streaked, spotted effect—for the backsplash. The countertops are Corchia marble, and the cabinets are finished with a high-gloss lacquer.
“Ran’s a big cook, and he can get messy back there,” says Ross. “Then when people come over, all you see is the food nicely plattered, like in a restaurant.” (Speaking of restaurants, Ross and Corbin are also cofounders of Duro Hospitality, which designs restaurants, bars, and hotels, among other projects.)
The backsplash in the kitchen is also an Ann Sacks tile: the rustic Idris by Ait Manos Dakhla Mosaic. Ross chose the handmade, hand-glazed, and hand-cut terracotta tile to offset the kitchen’s shiny Venetian-style hood, stove, and appliances.
“A lot of people started using subway tile in kitchens, and I do love subway tile—I grew up in a 1920s home, after all. But the handmade nature of a subway tile is what makes it pretty to me,” says Ross. “I’ve always liked that broken edge where you can see a little bit of terracotta. I like that it’s not perfect.”
Once it came time to furnish the space, about 80 percent of the pieces from the couple’s previous home made its way to their new home. “We don’t believe in disposable furniture,” says Ross. “Something that lasts, that you don’t have to replace three times, is not too expensive!” He applies the same philosophy to tile. “There are so many bad things out there now; everyone makes a cheaper knock-off. With Ann Sacks, the quality’s there.”
Nearly two years after planning began, Brooke and Ran had a “human-scale” home that Ross calls one of his favorites. “Ran grew up in a house where you couldn’t go in certain rooms,” he says. “In this house, the kids can play above the garage, or they’re upstairs in the TV room. And in each of their bedrooms, we put a cubbyhole in the ceiling that they can climb into and read in. Nothing’s too wide and tall; it’s not too grandiose. It feels like a really good home to be in. It feels lived in.”