Hall’s involvement with the Shirleys has extended far beyond the
Murchison’s collection. He has since helped them with acquisitions
directly from living artists such as Michael Wright and Paul Shapiro.
As with everyone with whom they work, they continue to put their
trust in him.
Hall’s special fondness in Color Field painting is a preference that
has been transferred to Lisa. She says, “I like the abstract. Rick likes
the old European art.” About four years ago, Stewart suggested they
visit Craighead Green Gallery, and it was here that they continued
their quest to buy what appeals to both of them. In the dining room,
for example, two paintings by David Crismon are riffs on old master
portraits, skillfully melding past and present.
Kevin Box’s two sculptures in the front hall also resonated
with the couple. Fashioned from stainless steel and cast aluminum,
respectively, one depicts a life-size origami bird while the wall-mounted piece behind it shows how the paper would look when
unfolded. According to gallerist Kenneth Craighead, this was an
epiphany for Rick. In the fifth grade, he had a teacher who taught
his class how to fold origami. It is a hobby that he pursues to this
day. Seeing this work done in metal made it an intensely personal
The Craighead Green Gallery has been a treasure trove for the
Shirleys. They have a suite of four ink drawings on paper by David
Brown. A ceramic sculptural installation by Marla Zeigler wraps
around a corner in the entryway. Michelle O’Michael’s high-gloss
sculpture, placed outdoors at the back of the house, can be seen
straight through from the front door. The Gallery is also represented
by the work of Kendall Stallings, Carolyn Brown, Shawn Smith and
Gary Schafter, among others.
Both the art and the architecture continue to be a source of
wonder for the Shirleys. But not every inch of the residence is taken
by art. Their most recent addition has been a pool house. Lisa came
across an article about Philip Johnson’s Glass House and immediately
became inspired. Her pool house is a glass cube, surrounded by the
greenbelt on one side and a re-imagined garden and pool, designed
by Bruce Weber, on the other. It is an oasis of tranquility.
Between Stewart, Hall and Craighead, the Shirleys have a dream
team of particularly qualified professionals. Craighead says, “One
of the reasons I enjoy working with Lisa and Rick is that they go
for the best of the best and then they put their trust in that person.
They hire you to be creative.” Stewart concurs: “I began to expose
them to art, and then to see them appreciate it to the level that it is,
is gratifying.” Through it all, they continue to enjoy one another’s
company. Lisa said, “We’re like a big family.”
Even after 15 years, the house continues to be an inspiration.
“Everybody who comes here loves the house. It hit just exactly
the theme we wanted it to have. I will still see something new and
enjoyable in it. I have never had that feeling about a house before,”
offered Rick. It is a sentiment echoed by Lisa: “It was the view, being
in the middle of the city, having land and having the tranquility that
make it special.”
Do they ever miss that Park Cities Georgian? Lisa said, “In the
beginning we were shell-shocked by everything.” But it has been a
gratifying odyssey. According to Rick, “Once Neal educated me on
contemporary design, I don’t think I can ever go back.” And having
created this paradise, why would they? P
Arresting views of the greenbelt from inside the pool house;
sofa with chaise by Cantoni.
Outdoor fireplace offers warmth after an evening swim.