PaperCity Magazine

February 2016 - Houston

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FEBRUARY | PAGE 25 | 2016 Previous page: The first-floor sitting area's artworks are hung salon-style and include pieces by Wayman Elbridge Adams, Margaret Keane and Paul Jacoulet. Wax pieces over steel console by Jane Moseley from The Hole, NYC. This page, clockwise from top left: In the entry, large-scale work by NY artist Judith Supine from New Image Art, West Hollywood. Michael Tracy mesquite daybed. Seventeenth-century Italian refractory table. • In the conference area, silhouette book by Miller & Shellabarger. Photo by Dash Snow. Painted Islamic cabinet from JF Chen, L.A. • In the upstairs sitting area, Mexican Equipale chairs and Chinese Ming table from Balinskas Imports. Nineteenth-century Indian bookshelves and 17th-century Italian chest on chest. • Garrett Hunter's office with a large work by José Lerma, sculpture by Amber Eagle and orange collage by Christopher Cascio. • Michael Landrum's office with works by Brian Chippendale, Terence Koh and Man Ray. institutional and religious buildings in New York. The location of their offices couldn't be more perfect. "We both agree that the proximity to the Menil is such a benefit — and such an inspiration," Landrum says. "We do work out of town, but most of our jobs are from this area. It's such a strong visual connection." Neighbors include a social worker, a poet, artists and artisans. "There's a very strong sense of community here. It's part of the strength of the Menil." The gray bungalows have become a cultural touchstone, much like the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles or the Algonquin Hotel in New York. "I'm constantly surprised when I mention that I practice in Houston to someone from New York or L.A., and they already know about the gray bungalows," Hunter says. Part of their mystique can be attributed to their idyllic setting inside the Menil's 30-acre campus. Many of the bungalows face Menil Park, with its old-growth oak trees and landscaping of oleanders, crape myrtles and bamboo, as originally conceived by Renzo Piano and Dominique de Menil. "In the past two or three years, the park has been an eruption of outdoor activity," says Hunter. "It's a great place to bike." During the week, they'll walk to Bistro Menil for lunch or hang out at the Menil bookstore, which a friend operates. Their bungalow has hosted dinners for visiting museum lecturers, out-of-town gallerists and artists. Painter and filmmaker Lola Schnabel used it as her studio space for a week while she was in Houston doing portrait work. "It was sort of a blast and pretty magical," Hunter says. "There's constantly someone here," adds Landrum. "People feel part of a unique, intellectual and artistic salon. It's our responsibility as tenants of the bungalows to continue that patronage of the arts that Dominique de Menil began." SETH AND HANNAH SIEGEL-GARDNER Chef Seth Siegel-Gardner's highly touted Montrose restaurants, The Pass & Provisions, are an easy five- minute excursion from the two- bedroom Menil bungalow he shares with wife, Hannah, an ad agency account executive. Seth grew up in the Montrose neighborhood, and it's where his parents still live — another advantage now that the couple has an 11-month-old son, Levi. But what really drew them to the area was the exciting hustle and bustle of the area's outdoor cafes, shops and a walking culture that doesn't exist elsewhere in Houston, says Hannah, who grew up in West U. It's an urban lifestyle they experienced living in Chicago and New York City, where Seth helped man such high-profile kitchens as Maze by Gordon Ramsay. When Hannah was admitted into the London School of Economics and Political Science, Seth took a job as a private chef there. Moving back to Houston was a bit of a culture shock, happily mitigated by their decision to live in Montrose. "We wanted to be in an area where we could walk to things and capture that part of an urban lifestyle we'd grown accustomed to," Hannah says. They first heard about the bungalows when a childhood friend of Hannah's, a jewelry designer, moved into one. "The girl living in the one across the street from hers was moving out, and she asked the Menil management if we could get it," says Hannah. Timing is everything. The Siegel-Gardners moved into their sunny, 1,200-square-foot bungalow eight years ago. The best thing about it, she says, is the abundance of natural light. "Our bedroom has a skylight, so

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