PaperCity Magazine

Round Top Summer 2024

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Page 39 of 67

Above: In the sitting room, a 19 th -century Regency portrait of a gentleman, a birthday gift from girlfriends when Peggy was living in England, has been rechristened Stephen F. Austin. The room's spare architectural style with simple boards and exposed joists. Opposite page, clockwise from top left: A photograph by Blaine Hickey, The Continental, 1958; antique farmhouse table ringed by modern wicker chairs. A treasured aunt's collection of vintage Wedgwood china in daily use. A hall bath, a Hickey-Robertson addition, is filled with light. A collection of vintage enamelware tops the kitchen cabinets. based in Houston, which was the go-to for museums, collectors, galleries, architects, artists, and designers for more than 40 years. While their pitch-perfect images appeared in the day's most influential design magazines including Architectural Digest, Southern Accents, Texas Homes, House Beautiful, and the opulent book, The Grand Homes of Texas, the patrons most identified with Hickey and Robertson were Dominique and John de Menil. Besides photographing for the de Menils in Houston — including documenting The Menil Collection and its treasures and shooting at the Rothko Chapel — the photographers were commissioned to travel to Europe, where they touched down in museums, cathedrals, and palaces to record paintings, sculpture, and other works of art for the de Menils' definitive multi-volume publication, The Image of the Black in Western Art. Upon the death of Robertson in 2004 and Hickey in 2009, their archives were left to the Menil, where Peggy tracked down vintage images of the farmhouse taken when the photographers first moved it to the property in the late 1970s. The 1880s dwelling was moved from a site in Fayette County, with Hickey and Robertson taking on the heroic task of restoration and renovation over an extended period of time (especially throughout the 1980s). The process included adding new wiring for electricity; installing a phone; adding front and side porches and lattice work; installing kitchen cabinets, an island, and appliances; adding a bathroom downstairs; and restoring the interior woodwork — the plain boards, exposed joists, and original glass windows all remain — and integrating the "stranger staircase" (used by traveling visitors to access an extra room that did not connect to the main house) into the home. Landscaping was 38

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