Society / Profiles

Grand Dwelling Turned At-Home Gallery Serves as the Perfect Cocooning Spot For This Houston Arts Force

Leigh Smith Opens Up on Her Stay-Home Life

BY // 05.11.20

Has it really been eight or nine weeks since our worlds shut down? Even with restaurants, salons, and stores reopening, albeit with occupancy limitations and new safety requirements, many of us are biding our time on re-entering life at full speed. So, even if the graying roots are finally colored, our nails are no longer a disgrace, and we’ve ventured out for dinner in a restaurant dining room, we are still living a quiet life that we had never imagined.

Arts leader Leigh Smith, who is also an avid collector, and husband Reggie have remained remarkably at home through much of the coronavirus pandemic — and with their nearly grown children come home to roost. During the heat of isolation, Leigh began posting photos of the family’s amazing pieces of art on Instagram, providing her followers with an intriguing stroll through her home, which is as much a gallery as a grand dwelling.

PaperCity: What is your stay-at-home playlist?
Leigh Smith:  R.E.M., Drive-By Truckers, Psychedelic Furs, Roxy Music, basically ‘80s. Will explore ROCO‘s Listening Room this weekend for some classical music to create a more zen mood.

What are binge-watching?
Tiger King, Ozark, Homeland, Little Fires Everywhere, and catching up on movies JoJo Rabbit, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and more.

If your life were a reality TV series, what would it be called?
The Smith Family Robinson. How to improvise a life when all of the grown and almost grown kids come back to the nest and you are stranded together!

Are you doing anything productive during this time?
Closet edits, for sure.  I have been working mostly on matters relating to the Houston Arts Alliance, as I’m current board chair. I’ve been playing the piano after a long hiatus.

What are your go-to recipes for the home stay?
Our 23-year-old daughter has been teaching me more interesting gluten-free recipes, and we are doing more with fresh veggies. It is fun to have her input to shake up my old routines. She has made awesome chicken lettuce wraps and other wonderful dishes. I did thrill the family recently with a big pan of Southern fried okra using a wonderful carton of okra scored at Whole Foods Market.

What is your go-to for takeout?
A Fare Extraordinaire. Her boneless beef short ribs were incredible. Also the Asian sticky ribs and their chicken salad are some of the best things we’ve eaten. We’ve loved takeout meals from Tiny’s No. 5 (the Summer Salad!), Hugo’s, Jennie’s Noodle, and Chris Shepherd’s UB Preserv. We plan Kiran’s takeout for the weekend.

What is your dream takeout dish?
The Halibut Bangkok dish from the Caribou Club in Aspen.

If you could be stranded anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
Aspen. [The Smiths have a home there and are very involved in the arts there as well.]

What is your choice of cocktail for the homebound?
Martinis, gin and tonics, and tapping into our wonderful wine cellar. Nothing is off limits. We’ve had amazing bottles of wine with basic takeout.

Part of the Special Series:

PaperCity - Socializing in Place
When others see a home,
We see a Work of Art
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