Monday, February 20, 2012

the houston bayou bend.

As you probably figured by my lack of posts, I've been a little light on inspiration and completely void of motivation these past few weeks. My apartment was in shambles, my outfits half-heartedly constructed and my to-do list had quickly become the size of a Jane Austen novel. So, when Jim suggested we take a trip to visit a friend down in Houston, I figured it was the perfect getaway for getting myself back on track.
Our first day there, we decided to tackle the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens - the home-turned-museum of Houston philanthropist and Texas favorite, Ima Hogg. Nope, not kidding. That's her real name.

Long story short, Ima adored three things: her gardens, her furniture and Texas. So when it came time to decide what to do with the Bayou Bend estate, Ima decided to donate it and her entire collection of antiques to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Sigh, what a gal.

First, to get to the estate, you had to cross this not-so-Kate-friendly swaying, narrow bridge over the bayou it was built around. For those interested, a bayou is an extremely slow moving stream or river. Yes, I looked it up and no, I didn't see Troy and 'Lizabeth down there looking for alligator.


As soon as we were safely over the slow moving river, our mouths dropped in awe of the shear gorgeousness going on around us. Here you can see the start of a ridiculous outdoor sculpture collection, the pinkish-hued home we were about to enter and the amazing grass-covered steps I wanted to sit and read books on all day. It took every ounce of strength I had to keep from asking our tour guide what the rent might look like and when I could move in.

After wiping the drool off my chin, we headed inside for some more good, old-fashioned staring. While we couldn't take pictures of the inside of the house (museum rules), I did snag a few I found online. We had an amazingly nerdy smart tour guide that was chock full of knowledge about the ways of living back then, rationale for furniture requirements and even whispered a few estimated values of the more expensive pieces in the collection. Let's just say I now know what a $15 million piece of furniture looks like.

Here are some of the poorly photographed highlights:

After we finished oohing, awing and asking mildly inappropriate questions about anything and everything, we headed back outside to enjoy the rest of the outside gardens.  Highlights for me include these pink flowers and the random statue of a woman looking yonder while holding onto a (or maybe her?) deer.

Looking back, I think what was most intriguing were the stories behind all of the awesomeness. It was eye opening to hear about the balance between form, function and status. You could tell the color palettes, room compositions and furniture chosen came directly from the viewpoint and heart of Ima for all to see. Sorry for getting a tad deep, but I think that's what creativity and design is all about. Whether you're building or collecting, it's all about finding what you consider to be most beautiful, falling in love with it and displaying to keep yourself (and possibly others) happy. Sure, the estate screamed "look what I have" but in a way that honored and saluted those that created these masterpieces.

All in all, the trip was a wonderful way to unwind, have fun and get things moving again. Be on the lookout for some new ideas and projects to come!

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