The Architecture of Life: Truehome Workshop in the New York Times!

The Architecture of Life - Christopher K. Travis

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Truehome Workshop in the New York Times!

The last two weeks have been crazy around here! It started June 18th when my wife delivered the message that a reporter had called from the New York Times!

Now as I have noted before in this blog, I live in a remote rural town in Texas with a population of 77. I seldom get calls from major media outlets or know people who appear on prime time TV.

I recognized the name of the reporter - Penelope Green - because I had seen her name below stories that interested me on the Times' Internet edition, which arrives in my in-box each morning. She writes for the Home section of the Times. Since I am obviously interested in homes, I had read a few of her articles in the past. She's a real pro.

I called her back. She had just finished the last chapter in Sam Gosling's book, Snoop, in which my Truehome project is featured and wanted to know if she could interview me.

In fact, she wanted to know if the New York Times could have an "exclusive." She said it would be in the Home section of the newspaper on July 17th.

"Well," I thought to myself. "Do I want to hold out for Oprah?"

As I am not entirely out of my mind, I said "yes" somewhat breathlessly.

Penelope flew down from New York a week later and I picked her up at the Austin airport.

She said I could tell what she looked like at passenger pick-up because she was a "New Yorker." Since I was not really sure what a New Yorker looks like as compared to an Austinite, it was lucky she recognized my Prius.

I discovered that Penelope is an attractive single mom whose daughter was off at camp for a few weeks. She had a short term case of the "empty nest" syndrome, but despite her occassional tinge of sadness, she seemed very interested in what I am doing.

Now I have sufficient ego to I admit I am interesting...but interesting enough to pique the interest of a lead reporter at the Times? Especially one who has also been published in Oprah's O Magazine and House Beautiful!

All I can figure out is that since the corporate name of my Internet start-up is Nidiant, which means "about the nest," she must have flown down in an attempt to fill hers up while her daughter was gone.

And that is exactly what she did. Penelope is a delightful woman, modest but keenly intelligent. Her interest in Truehome made her even more attractive of course. (I am, after all, a man...aka fool.) She won my heart almost instantly.

When we got to Round Top, I began introducing her around town. Later people kept walking up to me saying how nice she was, how interesting, how pleasant etc. I guess they assumed a big time reporter from the New York Times would be more like Woodward and Bernstein - that is - in your face.

But that was not the case. She was so well recieved in small town Texas that in the two days she was here, I think she felt some transient "warm and fuzzies" to offset those she lacked due to her daughter's absence.

I also think she was a little surprised to walk into a nest of Obama loving "save-the-world" bleeding hearts here in the heartland of the Lone Star State.

No Penelope, not all Texans are Republicans.

I toured her around town, introduced her to clients whose homes I had designed using the Truehome Workshop. We drank a beer or two at the Stone Cellar, showed her the Round Top Family Libary, drove her past the Winedale Historical Center, touted the International-Festival Insitute at Round Top and our museum village, Henkel Square.

The next morning, we sat out on my deck in the trees and I walked her through the Truehome Workshop, much like I do my clients.

Then it was off to the airport in Austin, her heart in her throat due to my somewhat erratic driving techniques. (My wife has similar issues.)

It was an incredible honor to be interviewed by the Times. I have long thought it was the best newspaper in the world. Let me tell you, it was quite an experience. Penelope Green was a lot of fun too, a real class act.

Something like this did happen to me once before about a considerably less serious subject, my goofy little small town newspaper. That was fun too.

But this time it could make all the difference when it comes to this project I have spent much of the last decade of my life I am holding my breath until it comes out.

I think Penelope was favorably inclined to my approach to architecture...but we shall see when it comes out in the Home section of the New York Times on July 17th.

Life is getting strange in this little town.