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home is where the art is 

One-half art gallery/woodworking studio, one-half living space— sounds like your average cool Southtown artist digs, huh? Add to that living in the shadow of the bustling Blue Star Arts Complex and a nice view of the downtown skyline and you’re at Art House Studio, the residence of Dan Pfeiffer and his partner, Liz Steving. Did we mention that La Tuna Grill is next door, too?

But it’s definitely not all play and no work for Pfeiffer and Steving. Both are dedicated to their crafts, including the yet-to-be-completed space they reside in. Their home is only 5 years old, and Pfeiffer, a former architecture student, still has a lot of ideas he’d like to incorporate into the house.

In the meantime, Pfeiffer focuses on the bustling career as furniture builders he’s established for himself and his crew. The back portion of the first floor of Art House Studio houses the woodworking studio, where doors, interior pieces, and studio furniture are constructed. But his horn furniture has earned Pfeiffer the most attention.

It all started when Pfeiffer participated in a furniture show held at Blue Star Contemporary Art Space — he showed three pieces that ranged from contemporary to whimsical. A western-style longhorn table drew rave reviews. “Everyone at the show loved the table,” Pfeiffer said.

When one thinks of a longhorn table, the idea of mass-produced Texan kitsch often comes to mind. Pfeiffer’s designs are anything but. His horn furniture is elegant and achieves a difficult balance between two vastly different design concepts. “It’s a piece of furniture that crosses from western to French culture,” said Pfeiffer. “It looks good in a ranch house `and a` New York apartment.” His team affectionately refers to them as “dead-animal tables,” but for Pfeiffer it’s another way to distinguish himself from other woodworkers. “We like to build furniture that’s totally different,” Pfeiffer said. “It’s wild.”

You can spot Pfeiffer’s eclectic work at La Tuna Grill, where a longhorn table with a dark stain and whitewash finish looks appealingly distressed and antique.

Lately Pfeiffer has been looking beyond longhorns to his latest discovery, the thin, spiraling gemsbok horn which looks great in a
contemporary setting.

His collection has already gained the attention of the King Ranch Saddle Shop, which will feature his work in the catalog alongside ranch-home

Pfeiffer refers to himself as “just a guy cutting wood,” but his resume includes working on Goldie Hawn’s house and helping remodel Howard Hughes’ bungalow.

Pairing Pfeiffer’s work with his partner Steving’s would make for a memorable home. Steving picks up old doors, window frames, and anything else that captures her attention, and uses them as canvases and bases for cross sculptures, “putting down something that is unknowable at the moment.” Steving’s works are such a hit, says Pfeiffer, he can’t keep the gallery stocked.

From horn furniture to doors painted with angels, Pfeiffer (and his team of woodworkers, of course) and Steving create one-of-kind works that complement each other and function well separately. Their house isn’t too bad, either.

As for their life at Art House Studio, Pfeiffer says it best: “It’s a journey — we’re constantly looking and searching for new things.”

To check out Art House Studio for yourself, visit the space on 411 East Cevallos or view their website

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