PaperCity Magazine

February 2017 - Houston

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Page 62 of 159

The future resident, Whitt Barkley, while two generations younger, connected in a unique and authentic way with Zemanek from the beginning of their acquaintance. Barkley placed a letter in Zemanek's mail- box detailing his regard for Gaea II, and that sealed the deal, as others were vying to lease this iconic home. The two men enjoyed a friendship that went beyond landlord and tenant. And it was on the day of our first visit, when Barkley took us over to introduce us to his mentor, that the idea for this story was born. Barkley filled Gaea II with impeccable museum-caliber furnishings and accessories from the American studio movement — particularly the extraordinary and intensely collected robust sculptural metal creations of Paul Evans — as well as international designers of the mid-century and beyond, many of whom Zemanek had known per- sonally. Today, Gaea II looks as good as it did when it was the architect's own home, playing the architectural and design con- sciousness forward. It continues to quietly attract attention from the like-minded. The temple-invoking 1,900-square-foot house has a wooden ridge beam that sprouts from interior to exterior, and stands dramatically and serenely upon a tree-hugged Montrose corner lot, its exterior distinguished by a moon gate and prosaic concrete masonry blocks. At the same time, the open-floor plan home, which balances farm house and Jap- anese tea house, serves as a private viewing room for an enterprise that Barkley co- owns: The Exchange Int, a Houston- and Built-in dining table in the kitchen, designed by the late architect, bears an Isamu Noguchi lamp. Chairs in black leather by Danish designer Poul Kjaerholm. 61

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