Architecture

Creativity and Joy Shine Through at the 2019 Weird Homes Tour Houston

One of the rooms within The Lester Marks Collection.
One of the rooms within The Lester Marks Collection. Photo by Thanin Viriyaki Photography
Within the hallowed halls of a museum, it's nice to appreciate a single object, think about its composition and theme, and move on to the next painting in the gallery space. But there's also something incredibly exciting about viewing collections of art in jumbled abundance, layered and interacting in such a way that the eye doesn't know where to rest.

We'll experience more than a few instances of the latter during this weekend's Weird Homes Tour® Houston, with an inside look at seven homes owned by artists and collectors. In the past only VIP ticket-holders were able to view The Lester Marks Collection, but the acclaimed collector's home is part of the general admission ticket this year.

click to enlarge In deciding whether to spoon or be spooned, first look to see if an exoskeleton is in play. - PHOTO BY THANIN VIRIYAKI PHOTOGRAPHY
In deciding whether to spoon or be spooned, first look to see if an exoskeleton is in play.
Photo by Thanin Viriyaki Photography
One of the rooms in Lester Marks' home includes a childlike vignette behind a baby gate: a playroom with one of Jeff Koons' balloon dogs, Julian Lorber's dust-covered fan, and Patricia Piccinini's silicone "Undivided" sculpture. Notice the photo on the windowsill that gives viewers another view of the comforter's back with six marsupial wombats in various stages of gestation.

Marks has been recognized as one of the top 100 art collectors in the United States and, for him, collecting has been a journey. Art League Houston named him Texas Art Patron of the Year in 2002, and his Instagram page is trending. This very special stop on the tour will be open for limited hours, noon to 5 p.m. September 28.


click to enlarge Marie Alducic's The Instagram House. - PHOTO BY THANIN VIRIYAKI PHOTOGRAPHY
Marie Alducic's The Instagram House.
Photo by Thanin Viriyaki Photography
This will the fourth annual Weird Homes Tour in Houston, but our first chance to view Marie Alducic's Montrose Studios on the tour, which has evolved into an Instagram paradise. Rooms are decorated for holidays or around themes (think luaus or hot air balloons), and there's even a confetti room. Make sure your cameras are charged before heading over to see The Instagram House.


click to enlarge Isaac Cohen's Home of the Wooden Car. - PHOTO BY THANIN VIRIYAKI PHOTOGRAPHY
Isaac Cohen's Home of the Wooden Car.
Photo by Thanin Viriyaki Photography
Another first-timer on the tour is Isaac Cohen, who celebrated his 50th birthday by creating an entire car made of wood. He's the king of follow-through, completing the task in about 5,000 man hours, and demonstrated his sense of humor by dubbing the car "Splinter." He's gone on to build other art cars since then, and this tour stop includes a bonus visit to view his neighbor's home that contains original seats from the Astrodome.

click to enlarge Taylor Rebel's The Art Lair. - PHOTO BY THANIN VIRIYAKI PHOTOGRAPHY
Taylor Rebel's The Art Lair.
Photo by Thanin Viriyaki Photography
It's pretty much a slam dunk that visitors will be inspired to go home and start creating after visiting Taylor Rebel's artistic refuge. She's unafraid of bright colors and has whimsical paintings and collectibles throughout her home — ranging from surrealistic to pop culture — and even a few touches of elegance.

click to enlarge Selia Qynn's Secret Garden Home. - PHOTO BY THANIN VIRIYAKI PHOTOGRAPHY
Selia Qynn's Secret Garden Home.
Photo by Thanin Viriyaki Photography
For those who've toured Selia Qynn's Secret Garden Home in the past, there's still a strong chance that something was overlooked. With three quarters of an acre in Spring Branch, Qynn's yard has been certified as a backyard habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. There's a cobblestone island, statuary, waterfalls and a 12,000 gallon koi pond, as well as outdoor sculptures, wine cork murals, a garden theater and a 15-foot rabbit topiary.

click to enlarge Kim Clark Renteria's The House of Luminosity. - PHOTO BY THANIN VIRIYAKI PHOTOGRAPHY
Kim Clark Renteria's The House of Luminosity.
Photo by Thanin Viriyaki Photography
Glass artist Kim Clark Renteria is internationally known for her stained glass, and visitors will find several of those pieces installed in her home and studio space. Come see where it all happens in this light-filled tour of
The House of Luminosity.


click to enlarge Sue Shefman's The Hippolotofus Home. - PHOTO BY THANIN VIRIYAKI PHOTOGRAPHY
Sue Shefman's The Hippolotofus Home.
Photo by Thanin Viriyaki Photography
Indoors and out, there's no shortage of hippopotami in Sue Shefman's home. She's a member of the Hippolotofus Society and has been collecting hippos for 45 years. Her current collection now numbers more than 2,000 objects, and that includes her car. If you're feeling down or just want to escape the dreariness of headline news, be sure to stop by The Hippolotofus Home for a crash course in joy.

The tour is self-driving and self-paced and, best of all, it's free for children ages 13 and younger. Weird Homes Tours are scheduled throughout the year in New Orleans, Austin, San Francisco, Portland and Detroit, and a portion of ticket sales benefits local organizations that support affordable housing. Here in Houston the nonprofit partner is New Hope Housing, which works to provide life-stabilizing, affordable and permanent housing to those who live on very limited incomes.

The Weird Homes Tour® Houston is scheduled for September 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at seven locations in Houston. For information, visit weirdhomestour.com/tour/houston. $45.                         
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney