On any given Sunday, stand-out wide-receiver Randall Cobb makes plays that force jaws to drop and eyes to protrude into a what-did-I-just-witness type of hysteria. (For those who haven’t seen him on the field, there are dozens of YouTube videos that show the Tennessee-native dipping and dashing around would-be tacklers.) But Sundays are just one day of the week. And as it turns out, Randall spends the rest of his time somewhere that could be considered an antithesis to a pressure-filled professional football stadium.
“It’s been amazing to have a place where our two young kids can run around the yard and create memories,” Randall says of his newly completed home in West University Place, a city within the Houston, Texas, city limits. “We kept hearing from our friends about West U,” Randall says of himself and his wife, lawyer Aiyda Cobb. “So when we were finally able to see the area, how it was so walkable to coffee shops and restaurants, it felt like the perfect situation for us.”
The Cobbs did however purchase their Houston home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. And if that didn’t make the design process complicated enough, consider the fact that the young family was living in Los Angeles at the time. Naturally, they asked for help, connecting with interior designer Brandon Fontenot and Roxanne and Jonathan Wimmel of Wimmel Design and Construction to outfit their home. “While neither of them are from California,” Brandon Fontenot says of the homeowners, “they have an aesthetic that aligns with that part of the country. That became the basis of our design. Of course they have children too, so we had to be conscious of those things; the coffee table needed to be rounded while the living room had to be free-form…. [And] at the same time, it had to look chic.”
Chic, indeed, because while creating beauty is not the goal of competitive sports such as football, it surely is for interior design. “Roxanne and Jonathan really listened to us when we said that the space should be functional yet aesthetically pleasing,” Aiyda says. “We wanted those wow moments, and [for it to be a] place where our kids would be as happy as [us] adults. Of course, so much of this was happening over FaceTime due to the pandemic, which made it all the more difficult. But [the designers] did such a great job bringing our home to life.”
The Cobbs—who first met through mutual friends in 2011 before getting married six years later—love to host family and friends. “During the [football] season, we always have people [over] on game day weekends,” Randall, the eleven-year NFL star, says. “We’re obviously still in a pandemic, but during normal times, we have team functions at our house about once a month. And on a smaller scale, we like having some teammates over for dinner or a game night.”
All this isn’t to say that the home is meant only for entertaining. It’s meant to be lived in. And with that in mind, the Cobbs wanted to ensure that the space was filled with a lot of natural light. That wish, however, went against the designers’ plans for the primary bedroom. “We proposed to go really moody in their bedroom,” Roxanne Wimmel says. “And so [the Cobbs] said to us, ‘okay, we’re going to trust you on this.’” After seeing the space a few weeks later, the homeowners were smitten: “We love it,” Randall says. “That was the greatest decision we made.”
Ultimately, the home can be seen as a testament to the Cobbs’ family-oriented values, which are rooted in their origins. (In fact, their three-year-old son Caspian was named after the Caspian Sea, a nod to Aiyda’s Iranian heritage, and his one-year-old brother Cade was named for a mountain range in Tennessee, where Randall is from.) “Above all, the home needed to feel familiar and homey,” Aiyda says. “Both Randall and me have always gravitated towards that aesthetic.”