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Inside State of Grace

An eclectic yet elegant restaurant plants roots in a well-established part of town.
state of grace dining

When Ford Fry was ready to expand beyond his 10 Atlanta restaurants, he went home to Houston. In a building with a storied past, most recently as a launderette, he tasked design director Elizabeth Ingram with fitting a Southern-meets-Asian concept into an old, wealthy neighborhood. Ingram created a midcentury feel, from a stately room for ladies who lunch to a bustling oyster bar for the happy-hour crowd. “The most interesting spaces have layers and nuances,” she says. “This feels almost like someone’s grand country estate where different generations added their touches.” 

state of grace bar

Designed to get attention

“It’s a little blingy, so when you drive by at night, it reaches out and drags you in,” says Ingram of the regularly hopping brass-topped oyster bar. The design goal: to give it a relaxed nod to nautical that matches the food, while still maintaining the upscale ambiance.

state of grace artwork

Noise-canceling artwork

The main dining room is narrow with high ceilings, so Ingram wanted big decor that could fill the space and suck up sound. She bought a lot of small antlers—a reference to Texas’ Germanic hunting history—and nailed them to sound panels she had framed.

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