PaperCity Magazine

February 2016 - Houston

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ART DIRECTION MICHELLE AVIÑA. PHOTOGRAPHY CASEY DUNN FOR SISTER BROTHER MANAGEMENT. HAIR AND MAKEUP TONYA RINER. Studio & Offices of Designers Michael Landrum and Garrett Hunter The charming gray bungalows first landed on architect Michael Landrum's radar six years ago when he joined the Menil Contemporaries, the museum's organization for young collectors. A native of San Antonio with a master's in architecture from UT Austin, Landrum was new to Houston and had purchased a house in the Museum District. "I'd been looking for office space for quite a long time and thought, 'Wouldn't these bungalows be ideal?'" he says. He scheduled an appointment to see the only one available, a duplex for rent with a two-story work/live space. The leasing agent had scheduled two other people to view the bungalow at the same time, but Landrum was escorted in first. He walked in the front door with its two-story entry surrounded by a mezzanine and was smitten. Without taking another step, he said, "I'll take it. You don't need to show it to anyone else." For the first few years, the bungalow was used as a collaborative between Landrum, architect Karen Lantz and interior designer Garrett Hunter. Lantz eventually moved out, and when the remaining part of the duplex became available, Landrum and Hunter took over both spaces. Hunter, who hails from East Texas, worked for many years under Pam Kuhl at Kuhl-Linscomb before teaming up with Landrum. They turned the double-height entry into a conference room dominated by a 17th-century Italian refectory table, a light installation by Austin artist Andy Coolquitt and large-scale works by New York's Judith Supine and Eddie Martinez, and L.A. artist Retna. There are also several works by the de Menils' late great-grandson, artist Dash Snow. The interior walls are painted Menil gray for consistency inside and out. "It's furnished like a traditional turn-of-the-century architect's studio, with a mix of antique and modern furniture and art — very Stanford White," Landrum says, referring to the late-19th-century architect known for his classical houses for wealthy Rhode Islanders and numerous public, STATE OF MIND A MENIL C oveted by artists, architects, designers, curators and other creatives, the dozens of Arts and Crafts-era bungalows owned by the Menil Foundation frequently have a waiting list, and snagging one is often a matter of timing and luck. Painted in what has become known as Menil gray with white doors and trim, the rows of monochromatic abodes offer a grisaille counterpoint to the surrounding colorful Montrose neighborhood. Dominique de Menil instructed architect Renzo Piano to design The Menil Collection in keeping with the bungalows she had begun buying in the 1960s (to prevent development in the area as well as provide low-cost lodging for artists). Clad in the same gray, the private museum pays homage to the for-lease-only bungalows that have served as housing and studios for fortunate Houstonians over the past five decades. Many with original wood floors, copious natural light and careful renovations, these tidy structures are a beguiling throwback to another era, inspiring their inhabitants with vintage architecture and design. But the real magic of the Menil bungalows lies in the special community and camaraderie that have blossomed around them. As a part of our ongoing series about people living and working in the Menil bungalows, we step inside the design studio of Michael Landrum and Garrett Hunter and the home of The Pass & Provisions chef Seth Siegel-Gardner, ad exec wife Hannah and toddler Levi. R E B E C C A S H E R M A N T A K E S N O T E S .

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