Shop owner livens up Lindenwood Park home with his own artistry
After a busy day at work at his upholstery showroom, Jose Gomez climbs the stairs to his home and studio on the second floor to clock in on his second job as a working artist at Art by Gomez. He loves the light-filled studio he’s carved out in his unique space and enjoys all the comforts of home and family in the 3,000-square living space he’s rehabbed over several years.
The previous owners of his building had rented two apartments above their shop as income producers. Although the tradition of owners living above your own businesses is an old one, it wasn’t something Gomez had planned originally. “I’d sold my first house, and I moved into one of the apartments while I was looking for a house in this neighborhood,” he says. He soon realized he didn’t need a house. “Why not just live in this place?”
He completely rehabbed the space over a span of several years and finished the job in February with a complete kitchen renovation. He transformed what had been a jumble of rooms into a sleek open plan space. “It looks like a loft but without the high ceilings,” he says.
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The space includes three bedrooms, two baths, an art studio and an open kitchen-living-dining room. He’s furnished it with pieces that span from antique to modern with a strong concentration of pieces by ground-breaking midcentury designers. He buys midcentury originals from around the country, particularly from Miami and Los Angeles, and then restores them.
In his mostly modern home, he displays a treasured antique silver candelabra he brought with him from Miami. He’d moved there from Honduras as a younger man. “It is all I still have. It’s very old. It was given to me by a woman from Cuba, who has since passed away. She was an angel in life and she went too quickly,” he says.
Some of the furniture and décor are Original Gomez creations, like the 120-inch white Italian leather sofa that anchors the living room and the organic mirror upholstered in Brazilian ivory cowhide. “At the time I built the sofa, I had two Dalmatians, so I needed room for all of us,” he says. Today, he shares the sofa and the house with Nicolas, his 4-year-old Dalmatian.
His painting of a day at the beach with all three of the Dalmatians he’s lived with hangs on a wall in the dining room. Two are now deceased, but they live and frolic in the dream-like painting that represents his bond with his dogs and his love of the beaches, both in his native Honduras and in Miami where he lived when he first came to the United States. “Animals help make a house a home,” he says.
Although he lives in a commercial district, he’s at home in the Lindenwood Heights neighborhood. He says it’s very convenient, quiet and close to Francis Park where he enjoys walking Nicolas morning and night.
On a normal day, he’ll get up early and head to the nearby gym by 7 a.m. He then goes to the shop to set the work for the day, then visits his sister who lives nearby for breakfast, then returns to the shop for the day.
“At five, I go upstairs and take Nicolas out, then I relax and get into my art. I’ll have a little wine, and put on some music — samba, jazz, love Nina Simone —and I paint. Nicolas gets close to me when I’m painting around 9 p.m. He says it’s time to go, and we walk,” he says.
In spring and summer, he likes to cook Honduran foods and entertain friends. The kitchen remodel, which opened the space into the living areas and allows him to be part of the action when he cooks his paellas and sopas.
“I love to be at home. My space is all white with my art hanging everywhere,” he says. “My favorite room is my studio. It’s one special place just for me, almost in the center of the space. When I close the door, I don’t even think about Gomez Upholstery,” he says. “I make art.”
Family • Gomez shares his home and studio with Nicolas, an energetic Dalmatian.
Occupation • Gomez owns and operates Gomez Upholstery, a shop that is well-known for repair, restoration and reupholstery of furniture from antiques to modern day pieces. The shop specializes in collectible furniture from the 1940s to the 1980s and is known for working with fine leather and hides. Art by Gomez is his second business. He is also a painter and fine artist whose subjects include flora, fauna and culture of his native Honduras as well as abstracts and paintings influenced by the time he spent in Miami.
At Home with Jose Gomez
Jose Gomez depicts the cultural treasures of his Honduran home.
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