At The Reading Room

Posted on September 5, 2015 at 3:39 pm | No Comments


Photo courtesy of The Reading Room

by Lucia Simek
at The Reading Room
3715 Parry Avenue/Dallas
September 5 — October 3, 2015
opening reception September 5 from 6 to 9 pm

OCCIPUT by Lucia Simek opens tonight at The Reading Room. This solo show OCCIPUT, which means the back of the head, features short films, images, objects, and a pair of socks. Themes of exile, instability and insecurity found within daily life are seen through the lens of nature and the sublime.

Simek is an artist, writer and curator based in Dallas. Her work has been shown at Dallas Contemporary. Simek is co-founder of the artist collective The Art Foundation which organized Boom Town at the Dallas Museum of Art in 2013 and Fountainhead in 2012. She completed a MFA in sculpture at Texas Christian University in 2014.

A Single Man (2009)

Posted on August 31, 2015 at 9:13 pm | No Comments


One star of this film is the iconic Schaffer residence, a 1949 redwood design by John Lautner.

Tom Ford’s film, starring Julianne Moore and Colin Firth, is one of those films in which every frame is a visual feast and a must-see for all design fans. The “Mad Men” team of production designer Dan Bishop and set decorator Amy Wells provided the phenomenal sets and wardrobe. And it was their sets which helped illustrate and add dimension to the characters and story.

Set in 1962, the drama unfolds in Santa Monica and is filmed primarily in two locations. One is a lushly landscaped Pasadena residence that in the film is owned by Charley (Julianne Moore). It is decorated in an ultra-feminine cream-and-pink Midcentury Hollywood Regency scheme with a Moroccan accent. Far different is the austere monochromatic modern home of George (Firth), filmed in the iconic Schaffer residence, a 1949 redwood design by John Lautner (above).

The first third of the film is drained of color in much the same way George has been drained of life by sorrow. But as the film progressed, I noticed that when another human shared a frame with our single man, the scene’s colors warmed up and glowed.

I have decided not to provide captions for the following photos. That would be just too much. So just click the link and view 42 gorgeous moments from “A Single Man.”

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Finally! After a Four-Year Wait.

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 6:21 pm | 6 Comments


Please click on the photo for a larger version and notice the lacy details of the chain-link fabric. The silver spray paint on the poles around the hinges and fittings will have to be removed. Ggggrrrr…

My redesigned front gate has been finally installed. It’s been an extremely time consuming and difficult project that began in 2011 with the original sloppy installation. Because it is the front gate, a custom solution was necessary. Since chain-link fencing is no longer as popular as it once was, I could not find a fencing contractor who would give me the time of day on the phone, much less show up for a meeting. They didn’t care if I had created detailed drawings with specifications. The word “custom” caused them too much brain pain. Plus using the traditional galvanized pipes and fittings would make the panels too heavy, causing them sag in the middle. So my architect Charley McKenney took my drawings to the metal artist who had created my fire screen and worked out how to create the two gate panels. It was critical that each frame corner be a sharp 90 degrees and each lace fabric panel be completely inset to the inside of the frame—not merely attached to the frame itself. Eighteen months later, January 2015, the completed gate panels were finally delivered. I had aged considerably since this whole thing started. But wait! There’s more!

Who would do the installation? [crickets] My usual contractor wouldn’t be able to do it until after the first of 2016. The next time someone mentions that good things happen to those who wait, I’m going to slap them hard. It wasn’t a matter of just reattaching the panels to the original gate posts. The new panels were now taller, and the post next to the house needed to move in another 1.5 inches. Why are my smaller projects so difficult? Fortunately a friend of mine’s husband was starting up a construction business and was free to help me. He brought in a sub-contractor who not only showed up, but didn’t mind working out all the details.

We did run into one big problem. The gate panels were too heavy for the newly embedded support posts and caused them to lean inwards, which in turn caused the panels to sag and drag. So a week later, they came back with a brilliant solution. By inserting reinforcing bars (rebar) and concrete down into the support posts, they were able to ensure the posts would never lean in. We were afraid that a small wheel may have to be added at the inside bottom of one of the panels, but this proved unnecessary.

There’s still one final step remaining, and that is removing the silver paint the contractor used to cover the old galvanized fittings. This is something I told him NOT TO DO! But none the less, he had to gild that lily. Ggggrrrr… I’m hoping some paint thinner will do the trick and won’t remove or harm the finish on the new frames. The saga continues.

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Paris: Looking Up, Part Two

Posted on June 30, 2015 at 9:49 pm | No Comments


Hôtel de Soubise, ceiling detail of the Prince’s apartment on the ground floor.

Ceilings of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. I’m a bit overdue with this second part. I had forgotten that I had created this as a draft way back in January when I posted the first portion of Paris ceilings. Well, the photographs had been corrected and uploaded, but the copy hadn’t been written. And all this time I was thinking I had days of work yet to do. So I procrastinated.

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What’s Hanging (part 5)

Posted on May 31, 2015 at 6:38 pm | 2 Comments


This print is one of three hung in my home’s original bathroom.

Mary Nicolett’s pantyhose prints are displayed in several rooms and have been a fun diversion for many of my guests. I purchased eleven of them from Mary’s solo show, “The Lady is a Tramp” at 500X Gallery back in 2002. Originally I had planned to group them on one wall but changed my mind after my home’s restoration. Seven of them are located in my dressing room, three are located in the guest bathroom, and the eleventh print is in the breakfast room.

Mary Nicolett calls them pantyhose prints even though they’re technically Untitled (Layers). Because of a job that required her to wear pantyhose on a daily basis, she was inspired to utilize the packaging card stock and discarded hosiery to create art that was loaded with implications, such as genitalia, sexuality, fetish, and gender politics. She also explored the pantyhose media characteristics of elasticity and air-like qualities and exploited their beauty: the stretching, the snags, the runs, the sheerness, etc. The pantyhose prints were a culmination of these investigations. Each print consists of a pantyhose insert card inkjet printed with derogatory slang that’s been overlaid with a monotype printing process utilizing the actual pantyhose texture.

To see more prints, click on the link below.

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The Tiny House Concept

Posted on May 12, 2015 at 8:44 pm | 2 Comments


This exterior design from Max House Plans is ideal for my country retreat.

For my new piece of heaven, I envision a traditional southern vernacular. What I don’t envision is an open floor plan where the ground floor is one room with the kitchen lining one to two walls and all the furniture grouped in the middle. This trend seems to be prevalent for just about all new builds of small houses. In my opinion, an open concept is a cop-out for traditional vernaculars. It’s a lazy approach to space planning and has no appeal or charm, and it certainly isn’t what one would expect to find when viewing the house from the outside. On the other hand, having a lot of walls and interior doors can be claustrophobic in a small house. I believe a compromise is in order.

Since the chosen building site within the 8.5 acreage is a small open meadow, a compact footprint (600 to 800 square feet total) is required with the living and kitchen spaces on the ground level and the bedroom(s) on the second floor. In the last five years, the tiny house movement has really caught on, and there are now numerous online sources where you can download free tiny house plans. I found one particular plan at The small House Catalog that is a great example of how a small home’s interiors can be divided without a lot interior walls and still be open. Click on the link below to see this floor plan.

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