October 22, 2019

Robert McKinley’s Montrose Cheese & Wine and Rosie Cannonball Bring 1960s Europe to Houston

A trip to Venice inspired the custom terrazzo pour across the floors of Montrose Cheese & Wine; the custom wine bar is oil-rubbed steel topped with honed Rouge Griotte and surrounded by custom bar stools. Photography by Julie Soefer Photography.

Studio Robert McKinley might be best known for modern classics such as GoldBar, The Surf Lodge, and Ruschmeyer’s, but lately the New York-based designer has been making a mark in Houston, where his two new spaces reinterpret 1960s Europe for 21st-century Texas.

For Goodnight Hospitality’s 800-square-foot Montrose Cheese & Wine, McKinley looked to traditional salumerias. “We brought the space to modernity with stylistic elements such as custom streamlined metal work,” he says. And while McKinley calls the spiral staircase connecting the wine cellar and bar a “showstopper,” his favorite part is the covered courtyard. “The canopies layered with overgrown ivy create an oasis,” he says, “which is a rare find in Houston!”

Montrose’s cheese counter is faced with oil-rubbed steel and topped with Calacatta Vagli, beneath a ceiling of reclaimed pine planks and custom pendants from Murano. Photography by Julie Soefer Photography.

Another oasis: Rosie Cannonball, a 26-seat tasting-menu restaurant located just next door. “It’s inspired by Italian bars and cafeterias of the ‘60s and ‘70s,” McKinley says. Travertine slabs and crimson tiles line the walls, joined by selections from the restaurant’s forward-thinking art collection, which includes works from the photographer Tony Vaccaro and commissioned pieces by painter and illustrator Donald Robertson. Salute!

At Rosie Cannonball, the oiled white oak used for custom banquettes also forms a grid across the ceiling; the chairs are by Design Within Reach. Photography by Julie Soefer Photography.
Texture slabs of travertine extend towards Rosie Cannonball’s bar; the bar stools are by Token NYC. Photography by Julie Soefer Photography.
A canopy of Sunbrella fabric by Infinity Canopy shades the patio of Montrose Cheese & Wine. Photography by Julie Soefer Photography.

Appiani tiles clad Rosie Cannonball’s kitchen and bar. Photography by Julie Soefer Photography.
Urban Electric sconces illuminate the Montrose patio’s Fermob tables and seating. Photography by Julie Soefer Photography.
A plaster treatment by Chateau Domingue forms a bright backdrop to Anja Niemi’s photographs, part of Rosie Cannonball’s art collection. Photography by Julie Soefer Photography.

Read more: Jamie Bush Gives a Houston Midcentury House His Signature “Organic Modernist” Makeover

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