Houston Lifestyles & Homes June 2009
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Creative Genius Fusing Lifestyle and Legacy
Text by: Cheryl Alexander Photography: J Pamela Photography Bui
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History and legacy are a recurring theme in Houston’s Heights neighborhood. Every day of the year, you can find folks on walking or driving tours down Heights Boulevard absorbing the architecture and historic value these homes afford. What you don ’t get on those tours are a look behind the exterior at the lifestyles and lives of those who live within. Now is your chance.
If you’ve ever been to the Heights, you know that this neighborhood, like many in Houston, has unique zoning codes. You ’ll find homes right next door to businesses and homes and businesses merged under one roof as well. Preservation is also key to the charm of the Heights. New construction and renovation, though incorporating modern conveniences, reflect the influence and nostalgia of an era left behind. Such is the case with the John Palmer-Ryan Lindsay home/John Palmer Art Studio.
The Palmer-Lindsay residence is a 1930s renovated bungalow with a few important additions, not the least of which is an architecturally appropriate gallery showcasing John Palmer ’s amazing art and a beautifully functional studio where he creates it. The spaces reflect the man ’s lifestyle and the legacy he is creating—nothing short of genius.
A little more than 10 years ago, John Palmer lived a relatively non-descript life doing relatively non-descript jobs. Then his father died. Never before a painter, John turned to the canvas and began to paint for therapy, to purge his emotion. The result of that decision is an artistic movement toward joy, which may very well be art ’s newest genre, Escapism.
The term is apropos, both in its literal and figurative sense. Literally, Palmer’s home is an escape. Behind the front gate at the entrance to the gallery, there is no mistaking this is a very special place. It fuses late 19th century and early 20th century architectural traditions with modern accommodations created by more modern living patterns. Of the renovation, Palmer ’s business and life partner, Ryan Lindsay, says, “Part of the beauty is that we saved the structure, but we really modernized it and made it look sleek and beautiful. ”
Saving the original structure, and perhaps preserving the legacy of the Historic Heights, is credited to Palmer, though, who was adamant “the bungalow was livable.” Rather than gut the home, they worked with Terri Robinson, a builder with Construction by Design, and designer Sam Gianukos. The
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Palmer at home in his studio. In front of him, the mosaic collaboration he worked on with Chris Silkwood featured in this year ’s Historic Heights Spring Home and Garden Tour in April. Behind him on the wall multiple canvases are hung, enabling him to work on more than one piece at a time. This process gives each painting time to cure and perhaps more importantly, Palmer says, “to foster patience.” The raw pine floors serve as a catch-all and are themselves artistic. •  The exterior of the John Palmer Art Gallery and home reflect the artist’s life and passion while maintaining the charm and history dominant in the Houston Heights community. • The front room of the Palmer-Lindsay home reflects the fusion of the old and the new. The ceiling and floor are the original wood, with track lighting installed to highlight the modern art and the original built-in china cabinet on the back wall. The mosaic inside is by Chris Silkwood. Comfortable, plush seating, a large plasma television and a dining table make the room practical. •  The Texas Series by John Palmer. This series is inspired by five generations of Palmer ’s family in Texas.
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