Seven Rooms: exploring house patterns

“Sunroom”

The lines lead diagonally from the driveway gate into the sunroom. A garage with green wood doors when we moved in two score years ago. Inside, a long Turkish rug with lines of red leads to a cabinet pulled from someone’s kitchen, a smoky mirrored front, painted white and black in its contours, bare wood sides. Glass jeweled pie plates, ham cans, and hubcaps with pictures of Christ and JFK are stacked up the wall behind the sideboard. The yellow Scotchgard convertible couch displays a thin Mexican blanket with black, white, salmon, and blue stripes running parallel to the floor rug. It has a chevron in the same colors at the cushion top. Small vertically striped pillows, and a doll from Havana that switches from black to white face, native colors to gingham by flipping her dress, line the headrest. The sofa, a comfort settee for people changing babies or dropping bags or sleeping for the night, looks out into a yard of tall pampas and maiden grasses, steel sculptures of a pool float and a palm tree, and a swimming pool that has replaced the driveway to the garage, at the same diagonal of the former. Ley lines spirit friends into the house to sanctify the soul of its dwellers.

The walls replete with roma red and indigo blue colors, framed in gold and green boards and stained ochre stairs, feature bright paintings of garages and churches, a photograph of an altar to JP2 lined with Mexican oilcloth, a “famous artist” piece that aligns holy cards of Pope John XXIII with packs of Buckhorn cigarettes. Colors vibrate from every plane, from the heavy wool blanket of maroon and pink indigenous geometrics that separates the sunroom from the laundry room, to the bright green bingo cards that cover the olive portmanteau where the bedding for guests is kept. A replica rooster that doodles on demand, a papier-mâché doll, and sugar skull stand guard around an old tube radio atop the trunk. Two framed salvaged portraits of Jesus and Mary show the pair shuffling decks posed as sacred card sharks. A purple rope hassock sits in front of the trunk. A window into the workshop next door is recessed through a foot thick stucco foundation wall, the stained glass window and tabernacle altar hosting crucifixes made from matchsticks, bottle caps, and seashells, and extreme unction kits. Paint by number boards of Jesus holding a lamb and the Virgin Mary with praying hands panel the sides of the holy niche.

Across from the couch stands a wood curio cabinet marred with errant paint daubs on one bottom drawer but full glass doors house Mexican blankets rolled and stored on the top shelf, ceramic pots on a lower one, Greek Orthodox statues of saints, glass negatives of religious scenes, a shrine kit to Janis Joplin in cellophane, a vial of Holy Water, and other saintly artifacts displaying crowns, haloes, thorns, high school and college yearbooks, commemorating the lives and deaths of the habitants’ youth. Two drawers at the base are stuffed with her scarves. On the gray wall to one side of the hutch hang a memorial to his mother – photographs of her wedding and with girlfriends at the beach, glass aquamarine and smoky quartz jewelry, prized postcards, a favorite green flowered scarf – given her during her stay at a nursing home to remind her of her life before it was over; and a Plexiglas box housing a red baby shirt, a fanciful broach of a bride and groom, and a Dexter cigar box dedicated to his son: portraits of beginning and ending. Two pastels of Immaculate Conception Cathedral and St. Cajetan’s framed with yellow stained cedar boards hang above a steel drum on the other side of the cabinet. Three flowering jade plants that move outside in the summer occupy the space near the atrium window in front of the church drawings and drum, while two large cocoa plants border the glass brick that replaced the garage door, next to a copper table bookended with Lives of the Saints, next to the yellow convertible couch.

An extra rough hewn pole to bolster the beam that holds the house in place was installed next to the stained green wood stairs, the treads furrowed from the wear of feet. Thirty crosses that once circled christened necks hang from this post. A statue carved from a tree trunk resides next to the beam, next to the mirrored cabinet, a statue of the Blessed Virgin, sporting necklaces of Mardi Gras beads and rosaries. An ancient green door so distressed it mimics the dried and cracked mud of arroyos hides the closet at the base of the stairs. Salvaged gold and green wood trim sporadically edge the sunroom. Lined patterns encircle and evoke the sunlit shadows of memories, of people palpable to touch.

If you could read my mind, you would know my life looking around this sunroom. It is the most realized room in the house for its convertible design, found art, and cultural heritage. When we moved into this river rock bungalow, it was the garage, fronted by doors that swung out into a driveway that extended from a gate on the south side of the property. When we forgot the front door keys, we would saunter down to the garage doors at garden level and slip the latch to enter a basement with a small bathroom and large octopus-like furnace that spread its airy tentacles below the first floor of the house. Worn wooden stairs led to the first floor. When our son was young, we carpeted the stairs and let him ride a laundry basket “downtown” we said.

An atrium glass panel and door and glass brick wall long ago replaced the green garage doors. I remember almost dropping the atrium unit as Richard and I were unloading it from his truck. He was framing the space out for us, and I was helping install the door plus buying the glass brick. He hasn’t forgiven me for being too cheap to buy the plastic spacers for the brick – one of the first forty we installed cracked after the fact. Richard is a bike mechanic who knows construction, loves tools, and always wanted to be a doctor, perhaps the ultimate dream of any thinker in love with how things work. I bought the spacers for the other sixty glass brick we installed in place of the wood doors that enclosed the workshop next to the sunroom. Buying one hundred bricks gave me a discount. Hiring and helping friends helped up avoid high contractor costs. Putting in the atrium door and glass wall gave us an extra room on the garden level. We started filling it with artifacts.

First there was the upright piano that our partner in buying the house unloaded in the room. Across from it, we installed a wood futon couch that converted into a double bed. Donna covered it in car vinyl found at the surplus tool place on Alameda near Pecos, rose and blue with grey piping, which introduced the Mexican meme of bright colors. I switched the window that connected to the workshop to create an altar above the couch. One of the crosses and one last sacrament kit belonged to my mother. These were installed after her stroke and move to a nursing home. The room took on a life of its own, as people began to give us religious mementos. The sunroom became the “Our Lord Jesus” room; strangers didn’t know how religious we might be. We were married in a Mexican chapel at Regis that housed many Milagros, but Father Becker, a friend and the priest who married us, kept any mention of god out of the ceremony, at Donna’s request. If people looked closely at the large framed Mary and Jesus portraits done by Mario Rivoli, they might notice that the icons were shuffling cards. That was just the start of the communion host tongue in cheek decorating of this room.

One of Richard’s friends was studying piano tuning and he proceeded to ruin the upright. We didn’t play, my wife not since she was a child, and so the piano was donated to Goodwill, carted away by the Gate City family of movers located across the alley from us. We replaced it with a glass cabinet surreptitiously removed by one of Donna’s old friends, Gid, from Norlin library. He wrote up the invite for a baby shower for me at the Punch Bowl at 20th and Stout, a transformed dive bar owned by a friend of mine. Gid hosted many summer solstice parties at his place in Rollinsville before finally succumbing to AIDS. The wooden cabinet has never been refinished. Donna threw the pots when she took classes from Betty Woodman in Boulder. The Greek statues of saints were given to us by friends of a former renter who passed – he owed us money, a compassionate cabdriver who died of drinking. On the center shelve sits an oak box holding the ashes of Donna’s parents. So many of these items signal a life of faith, of passed time, and death; others exhibit a nihilist gloating over misplaced ardor.

The best man at my wedding, David, drew the chalk drawings of the churches. At my wedding, he read a Melville piece from “The Confidence Man.” He was a devoted church goer and cynic till the end, a Nebraska farm boy who arrived in Denver as a kid and proceeded to rebel to his own tune, an artist of landscapes and portraits who seldom showed his work, though it’s worthy of a Kirkland exhibit. He passed from bladder cancer, refusing to entertain doctors, suffering privately, saying scarcely a word to his wife and sons. I built the steel drum for my wife before there were how-to books; it looks nice with whorls of hearts, but only a few notes register.

When we moved in, a brace of 2x4s supported the beam alongside the stairs, but it wasn’t enough, as the wall kept cracking in the boy’s upstairs bedroom. Richard and I sunk a caisson and installed a telephone pole to match the others in the basement, and that took care of the upstairs seam. Friends donated many of the crosses hanging on the pole in memory of their parents.

The crazed green closet door and gold and green wood trim we found at Garrett’s Lumber and Salvage in Commerce City. We would wander salvage yards like Garrett’s and Queen City and Mendoza Brick to find wood, and flooring, and bricks to compliment our river rock DIY bungalow. The handrail attached to the wall ascending the stairs is a mahogany balustrade bottom rail with stained glass strips inserted into the baluster cutouts. Donna found a box of colored glass pieces that perfectly fit. We painted the floor in color stripes at one point, reflecting the old vinyl couch. For many years, one blotch of oil perennially gleamed through the paint, reminding us the sunroom was once a garage. We considered Mexican tile during the last renovation, but we opted for a gray floor to set off the heady mix of wall colors recommended by a colorist. Donna quickly put the design over the top with the purchase of the purple rope hassock that sits in front of the olive trunk for most of the year – summers it’s ensconced by the pool.

The porch or the veranda historically represented the intersection of private and public space in American houses – the covered cool evening spot to collect thoughts and talk to neighbors, but that has disappeared from the landscape. Suburban houses made the garage the entrance that shielded itself from contact with neighbors. Rolling front lawns mimicked golf course serenity, and afforded children a place to play, but adults cavorted in the backyards, behind privacy fences. City condos made private balconies the choice of refreshment, lofts over the old street stoop, the precursor of the single-family porch. Although we attempted to play our porch as a welcome wagon to neighbors, it was behind a six-foot chain link fence with barbed wire at the top when we moved in. We were the only house on a block of industrial properties, and the property kitty korner we soon recognized as a nuisance – it’s now boarded up after many police complaints. So we grew trees and shrubs to shield the front, but invited guests to saunter down to the garden level and enjoy the pool and yard outside the sunroom door. The public side of the patio comes from having two other houses surrounding the pool, rentals from the start. So ours is a public interior community, like a motel court where people reside for more than a night. That is how the sunroom became our room with a view.

We say let all the people come. Summer parties for family swirl around the pool. Let friends drink poolside and enjoy an outdoor swim-up movie like Lawrence, Woodstock, or Dick. Mother-in-law treads water for hours to stay in shape, pushing leaves into the skimmers out of a sense of purpose. Let the Design Council invite lovely patrons from Cherry Hills who ask to move into the cozy cottage and cabin. Le bon fils rides the backhoe at the age of eight when the pool is being dug. Let a tenant arrange a formal dinner for her birthday on the lawn green that fronts her cottage. Birthday parties and celebrations steam late into the night. Let the early avante garde of Denver host a musical celebration of drums, Theremin, and shouting before being shut down by popo at ten. Over five hundred renditions of the “Girl from Ipanema” stereophonically sift through the yard, thanks to the Blind Lady collection of one tenant. Let the granddaughters swim with their champion mom in the short pool that replaced the driveway. Women come and go talking about Hockney and Warhol – cash for his art a sign proclaims. Let the plastic and steel D, M, R, and T letters kindle memories of the parents, dwellers, and son who have majorly occupied the premises. The powder coated steel yellow loveseat rocker, four person blue bench, and orange table all made by le bon fils stand guard; the salvaged and spray-painted metal chairs in YSL colors surround a flagstone top and cast iron drain pipe base assembled by the father – these the furniture acolytes to the yellow couch and purple ottoman of the sunroom. Let the nurses and engineers and jazz singers and lighting designers and cabdrivers and photographers and punk drummers and concierges and body botanical salespeople and flaming youngsters and reflexologists and installation artists pay their rent and stake their claim to the house and yard that Henry Roth built which the dwellers maintain as hosts, inviting boarders and family and friends and travelling performance artists and lecturers to partake of their sacrament of hospitality at the “Our Lord Jesus” altar, where the sacred and profane commune, for holy is the large body of water that ordains this sunroom: holy, holy, holy our water floating and sunroom slumbers.

“Studio”

The kid had shades, cowboys and wagons on heavy dark red fabric, to shield his wake-up calls from sunny rises during the school year. The barn sash upper windows and rippled glass lowers are clear of fabric for the present, but that could change with more writing taking place at the old school desk, laptop doing an arabesque. Books piled high to the left of me include Alexander’s Pattern Language, Patterns of Poetry, Learning from Las Vegas, Blind Spot by Teju Cole, and Patti Smith’s Devotion. The Sanyo turntable and NAD amp await their turns. A white deco-styled iPod boom box set up for blaring the Shuffle of 5280 songs out the window for summer pool parties holds a KLH speaker on its deck for now, the other one to my right on top of filing cabinets holding old lesson plans from teacher days. The upper lines of the windows cross at right angles with the slotted boards of the eaves and gutters. Rows of teeth in a salesman’s black box catered to dentists when bridges and dentures were the remedy sits in the left window, like seeds growing next to the palm in an ochre ceramic pot that has taken over the corner. A purplish blue vase filling with pennies holds an industrial size incandescent bulb with a filament that looks like a cocoon. A metal wire rectangular box holds carpenter pencils and markers. A compact tape deck sits next to the hand-cranked civil defense alarm. An aluminum apple and brass reception ringer occupy the base of a brass deco desk lamp that swings from a spheric knob. A hammered copper buzzard perches on the window sill. The desk looks out into the yard, over the pool and the river rock cottage, a floor above the sunroom. The study where books and records happen.

As a person enters this second bedroom become a studio, a wall of books and records and photo books some opened and duck decoys and a fox cast model for taxidermy and Andy doll in repose wearing a Captain’s hat holding a wool felt camera and the white plaster ear of Michelangelo’s David and small paintings of flowers and a landscape and Indian cane bocce balls and baseballs and a black transistor radio with Am and Fm windows shout out to the anonymous suitor. Fifteen rectangular steel boxes all a wall shelf, three covered with sliding panels of yellow, green, and grey, arranged artfully in the salon style of favored objects complimenting the library of literature and music. A Dexter cigar box with a glass cover separates the Country Western albums from the Classical in the top left shelf. David’s ear listens to the CW records, two Sleepy LaBeefs its favorites, and Donna’s doll George hangs with limbs akimbo detached and wired into a mobile from the corner post – le bon fils says it would scare his young daughters. Two fat duck decoys, worn sculpted and painted sit atop the section. Rock ’n’ Roll records catalogued alphabetically start the shelf below, with Carl Van Vechten’s photos of Faulkner and Ella openly displayed from a book of black and whites. Thirty editions of Lapham’s Quarterly hug an illuminated King James Bible and big books about nature and design, Curtis’s photos of the First Americans, Kate Dunlap’s Gold Rush diary, and An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton of Inside the Actors Studio fame. Two hazard yellow panels hide boxes of slides on the fourth shelf down, plus a high-8 camera and tapes in two silver lunch boxes recorded by le bon fils. The fifth shelf holds six plastic and steel briefcases, one made from Kodak gold 200 film boxes, containing mix tapes made during the 1980s and 90s. A stack of CDs made by students asking for the ear of their beloved teacher crowd the dividing post. Four books read the last month, both M Train and Devotion by Patti Smith, stand inside red metal bookends; silver bookends showing a fighter jet in flight await their turn.

The steel shelf that occupies the west wall of the room is divided into three vertical stacks and five horizontals, butting up against the north wall, where paintings and posters hang above two designer chairs, knockoffs of Breuer’s Wassily and Saarinen’s Tulip; two filing cabinets stand between the unit and the wall to the south, where autographed and photographed and illustrated and photoshopped portraits of rock heroes hang: a Radio Ethiopia album sleeve autographed by the Patti Smith Group; Bowie in concert; a photograph of him altered with diagonal desire lines by Mario Zoots; a comic graphic of a guitar hero playing a chicken drumstick, a painting of Elvis Costello, and a digital imagining of Michael Jackson as empire builder, all by John Adams; and a photo of Elvis in concert. A polyurethaned True Romances portrait of lovers leans against the wall on top of a mud cloth covering the tan double drawer cabinet that sits atop the green military case. A green glass power line insulator holds a compass and drafting tools, a surveying wood tripod lamp stands over a speaker. A lit diorama of a fish swimming amongst seaweed and shells and coral completes the icing on the layer cake of cabinets. To the top for the middle stack.

Art books of Picasso and Warhol and Art Deco and Hockney, music books of jazz language poetry, photo books of An American Century and Helmut Newton styled on their sides above the top shelf would make boards balk but this is steel. Short story collections from Borges, Bowles, Chandler, Fitzgerald, Hammett, Kafka, Munro, Oates, Parker, Proulx, and Updike stand their ground alongside a plaster white whale gifted by a student who read Moby Dick, a stuffed leather doggie grey and brown from her childhood, Andy languid. A wood box from an art fair containing a pencil with an eraser on each end awaits an aesthetic response. Second middle shelf continues the alphabetical rollout of rock albums with Peter Paul and Mary and terminates with 45s in sleeves, boxes, and stacked bare on their edges. Here holds sway the transistor radio and the baseballs, along with an ‘80s photo of the river rock house of the padrones, and a stack of books currently being read or awaiting their turn – The Sound and the Fury, Ulysses, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, and The Familiar, Volume 1. Books of plays and poetry including a stack of Shakespeare volumes occupy most of the third shelf. Another group of books being read or awaiting their turn, including A Brief History of Seven Killings, Stream System, The Idiot, and Resurrection by Tolstoy, stand between alabaster cherub bookends, one reading and one writing. Works by John Stilgoe, J.B. Jackson, Simon Schama, Garrett Eckbo, Jane Jacobs, and other design and landscape books populate the next shelf, with a wood block printed with the marquee of the Federal theater. Grey and key lime sliding doors hide notebooks and old iPhones and point and shoot cameras and bumper stickers and tracing paper and stamps. To the top of the third stack.

A triangular block of broken art glass retrieved from the floor of a studio in Santa Fe accompanies two nicely carved and painted duck decoys made by a friend’s father, along with the fox cast model looking out from the perch atop the shelf like a shorn yellow amphibious dog. Nonfiction books two deep are flanked by a small indigo mountain sunset framed with wood boards. Sexual Personae and Being a Beast find camaraderie in books by Joan Didion, James Baldwin, and Henry Adams. More of the same on the shelf below, with Malcolm X sidling up to Jackie Oh! with Twain and daVinci looking and listening. Jazz and soundtracks and miscellaneous recordings like Disney songs, Polka collections, and songs from Paris nightlife fill the middle shelf of this north stack. More garden, landscape, and design books hide behind two long and tall picture books of Bridges and Skyscrapers. Two sliding grey panels hide the contents of the bottom shelf, where envelopes, blank notebooks, and garden catalogues reside. That is a sample of what the steel shelves hold, on the west wall of the room where once reclined a double bed, then a crib,  a futon followed for the growing son, before the second bedroom became a studio.

The two chairs frame a molded plastic magazine rack cum table topped with Jimmy Corrigan, a small photographic book of American landscapes seen from the air, and a porcelain black gold and iridescent white-leafed deco lamp. Water colors by Zoa Ace and Wendy Wilson surround a Keith Haring poster. The east wall is relatively bare but for the Tiffany lampshade mounted like a sconce, ochre glass with brass ribs; a charcoal romantic death scene of a cowboy fallen from his horse dead in a snowstorm near a graveyard monument in a nice gold leaf frame; and a colorful reproduction of a bucking scene from The Electric Horseman framed in grey steel. Above the closet door hangs an illustration of the owner as an icon of the Baker neighborhood by one of Denver’s renowned cartoonists.

A rectangular patchwork black rug of hide scraps rimmed with leather is partially hidden by a dark tanned cowhide which covers half of a long braided ivory-colored rug leading into the room from the door. A woven green and tan picnic basket sits on the stained gray pine floor in front of the army green metal filing cabinet.

When Mikey and his mother and Donna and I bought this ramshackle paradise back in 1979, the studio was my bedroom – Donna had the master at the front of the house, just down the hallway, and Mikey had the unheated add-on room at the rear. His mother was investing in her beloved son, who introduced Donna to me. Eventually, Mikey’s step father helped him build a bedroom in the garden level basement, but he occupied that space for only a short time before moving in with his boyfriend. I kept my bedroom although Donna and I mostly slept together. When the boy was born in 1980, his crib was planted in the studio. A nasty cat named Jack Rose that an old girlfriend shipped out to me from Chicago peed in the crib shortly after the baby was born, and we shipped him out to the Dumb Friend’s League. Eight months of steady growth made us remark that we should lower the mattress as he was standing up more and more; he end-overed onto the floor that night. Woulda, coulda, shoulda!

A red plastic shopping cart from the local grocery store became a changing table with the addition of a red vinyl pad. This sat near the twin windows, and was replaced by a red toy chest and stackable red plastic containers, still in use in the workshop. A bed for the boy with home sewn denim pillows to create a couch and coverlet rested against the west wall where the rack of books and records stands. A desk and chair took up the space in front of the windows as he started school. During his elementary years, the school would not allow students to throw out food, and so he brought home his mother’s weird sandwich concoctions and placed them in the drawer of his desk – we found them months, years later, moldy sandwich bags of mush. Why didn’t he throw them out? Spawned from parents who seldom threw food away, who always asked for doggie bags, who suggested to him that thrift store purchases and sale items were usually the better choice, not just for price, but for style. He has turned out to be a minimalist who goes for expensive crafted jeans and t-shirts, nice multipurpose coats for warmth and movement, but seldom does he buy clothes for style, except in his subtle and pragmatic way.

As le bon fils grew older, we purchased a white Formica desk, dresser, and bed with drawers unit that mamacita covered in blue denim splash painted herself. The window coverings were the same blue denim with streaks of vibrant colors. The desk had a raised table for drafting or drawing. A smart room indeed which we sold to another family down the line, after the boy went away to college. We purchased a futon for him at that point, as we were used to sleeping on them in our room, for his return inter semester visits.

The room was his for most of our lives in this house. Only once did we catch him drugged up, as we suspected he was trying to huff and was dazed. We were clearly upset, but years before when he was a youngster, over some miscarriage, I picked him up by his neck, my big hands under his chin, and was ready to wrangle him into submission, when I realized what I was doing, and let him down. Never again would I consider corporal punishment, so the glue violation was loosely dealt with, maybe with understanding over how a kid might experiment.

Many of the prize records I gave to the kid or he adopted them, since he only plays vinyl at his Ivory Castle of a condo. I cleaned and filled a metal model truck with the best 45s a few Christmases ago. There’s still lots of music, and as each room has been refurbished, I sit with a close friend and try to make it home. This studio has the two designer chairs and the DoubleButter roadrunner at the desk, so a few guys can ingest the music during one of my Guy Parties, famous over many years, as Donna travelled for business, and I would invite the boys by to carouse away their partners. The parties don’t happen as often as they used to, but some of the OGs still come out when a bash gets announced.

The white cast to scale of David’s ear was a gift from Donna’s girl Pat. The painting of a coleus meant to look like a palm tree was painted by David on a board to fit a deco frame Donna gave him – she requested a palm and he gave her a plant. Don painted two tulips in a glass jar on a board, and a small mountain sunset landscape. The Patti Smith band autographed sleeve was from an old girlfriend who worked at WXRT in Chicago – she sent it to me in an album which I already had and gave to Don. She called and made me get it back because I had never looked at the sleeve. Donna found the Keith Haring poster on the street in NYC and copped it. A great aunt charcoaled the horse and dead cowboy in a graveyard, a picture I grew up with. The copper buzzard I bought in Ajo, AZ during a charrette with the Conway School, as designers gathered to guide the redevelopment of the town once a resort, now run through by border patrol agents. There’s the graphic of iconic me by Denver cartoonist Kenny Be commissioned by friends on my sixtieth. It’s as nice a gift as the Adirondack by the pool crafted by a woodworker as a gift on my fortieth. The painting of the electric bareback bronc rider was a gift from John Adams, who probably holds the record for the number of pieces in our house, although Mary Mackey may recently have surpassed him; she sells her art, whereas John has rarely shown and usually gives pieces away on his birthday. The grey powder coated frame to match the background of the bronc buster was welded by the boy.

This room doesn’t protect privacy with a view, a dichotomous request made by clients of landscape architects – “I want to see out without people looking in.” The lack of shades eliminates privacy, but the belvedere from the second floor onto a pool surrounded by a river rock cottage and cabin, all a part of the owner-occupied compound, insures its own reward. Indeed, it is a room with a view: a study, a studio where one watches and listens  and reads and writes; a studio where generations of students have studied. The marked up desk came from Denver Public School’s surplus room. The wall of books and records and memento mori and artifacts assembled for the remembrance of things past encourages the student to divine life’s connections. In the studio, the student collects knowledge, which has been rearranged into new taxonomies; duck decoys and commemorative baseballs have been removed from their original environs. The sunroom may represent the public’s summer side of the house, but the studio reveals the solitary soul of home, housing the things that matter in posterity: knowledge and the art of youth. Friend’s manuscripts reside here, as well as the plant scrapbooks fashioned by a young landscaper. The records signify a continuum of tastes, the importance of a life’s soundtrack. Nino Rota and Henry Mancini abide. The collection of objects may connect the occupant to memories, but the records, books, and art tell their own stories, like Russian dolls of mimetic but differently sized experiences and scholarship. Ventricles from the public heart of the sunroom rise to enfold the intellectual soul of the study. The words of Hopkins and Stevens reverb, the observations of Dickinson pulse through the room. Music plays to the throngs of swimmers from the sleek boom box on the tattooed desk, and the hand held siren announces family dinners during the summer. The studio is the control tower of culture in contemplation and reverie. There is always another record to rehear, and book to reread, to reconsider age old meanings in new circumstances, and parlay to private and public audiences for their fresh and unfettered responses.