The table was set for 40. Stevie Wonder seamlessly transitioned into Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five from the DJ’s turntable. Top-shelf tequila flowed, burning candles filled the air with bergamot and teak, and sumptuous floral arrangements punctuated a white, gold and crystal table-scape.
One thing was clear: Jacqueline Levine and Sarah and Saba Jawda know how to throw a party.
The artistically inclined trio joined forces to offer “The Study,” a temporary space at 7800 Washington that houses the collaboration between Levine and the Jawdas’ holiday pop-up shop.
The mixed-use space, a new acquisition by developer Levcor–founded and fronted by Levine’s father, Larry–will eventually house loft offices, furniture showrooms and a restaurant in Houston’s urban core. The project is currently leasing tenants for an early 2018 move-in.
For now, though, its corner space is home to the pop-up imagined, pre-Harvey, by Levine and the Jawdas. Their holiday shop is open daily from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. through December 23.
Built in 1960, the 66,000-square foot red-brick warehouse was once home to The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company–better known as A&P, the now-shuttered grocer. Today, it’s decidedly industrial chic; imposing, 19-foot ceilings and concrete floors serve as foils to glossy white fixtures adorned with lively art and playful merchandise.
On opening night last Monday, Levine and the Jawdas hosted a dinner party nothing short of glamorous. Guests cheered new beginnings with “The Pink Panther,” a grapefruit-heavy cocktail made with Casa Dragones Blanco tequila, a dinner sponsor along with Montrose restaurant Riel. Chef Ryan LaChaine served diners corn gnocchi, snapper and a brown butter cake with milk and honey ice cream.
Before the meal, Sarah Jawda thought everyone could still stand to loosen up.
“Shots?” she called, to which black-and-white clad waitstaff nearly immediately descended on seated guests, armed with plastic cups of tequila.
The same playful attitude imbued the rest of the space. Vibrant, cartoonish characters adorn Levine’s art, googly eyes and technicolor monsters populating stationary, phone cases and even clocks.
Artists in their own right, the Jawdas’ aesthetic could be found everywhere from Saba’s larger-than-life modern abstracts to carefully curated shelves–each cube its own vignette styled with items like Dian Hanson’s “The Big Butt Book” (exactly what it sounds like) and framed prints from Jawda+Jawda’s “Veritas” greeting card line. Simple, bold graphics offer such witticisms as “may the bridges I burn light the way” and “my love is conditional.”
Similar missives were plastered on hand-poured soy candles from Manready Mercantile–including, adroitly, “it’s lit.”
The night ended as celebratory as it began when servers presented Larry Levine with a birthday cake topped with firecrackers.
He recalled an inquiry from his business partner about 7800 Washington: “What do you think about us buying it and making it into something really neat?”
“So we started talking about it, and we bought it,” Levine said, “and we’re gonna make it into something neat.”