Are you hungry for some meaty text on art?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lake Effect

After a lengthy break in Maine, I am now back at my post.

The story in Thursday’s Times on the house belonging to Vera Scekic and Robert Osborne (on a very different lake from the one I just left) in Racine, Wisconsin caught my eye. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/garden/26racine.html

The house is stunning, but I was struck by several points in the article about the owners. First of all they decided to live in Racine, Wisconsin, no garden spot, though it is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Johnson Wax Building of the wonderful lily pad ceiling. Aside from that, and Ms. Scekic’s mother, there’s not a whole lot to recommend it. Secondly, they decided that it would be unconscionable to buy a useable house and tear it down to make room for their new house, and so paid way more ($500,000) for an empty lot. Now, that kind of selfless integrity you don’t see every day. Lastly, the house has only one bathroom. How refreshing. Most Americans are so spoiled these days they couldn’t imagine a family of four surviving with just one bathroom and yet, in 1941 just 46% of Virginians had indoor plumbing. The reason I have this figure at my fingertips is because I’ve been writing about the Pope-Leighey House designed by Wright. (The article has been occupying me and keeping me from this blog. But I think I’ve wrapped it up.) So much about the Scekic/Osbornes approach echoes Wright’s Usonians. Their house may be short on “extras,” but it’s long on good, intelligent design. The Scekic/Osbornes are savvy; they know a small house and sharing rooms will promote family togetherness. It’s a lesson lost on those occupants of those huge houses where family members basically live separate lives sequestered off in their respective wings.

The article mentioned Scekic was an artist and I was delighted to Google her and see her beautiful work (an image of one is above).