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Saving a Historic Firehouse in Houston’s East End Photo by Jack Thompson

Thanks to Our Sponsors





Drew Bacon Four Square Design Studio Herolz 2 Asset Management kinneymorrow architects Anne Whitlock & Michael Skelly CRAFTSMAN SPONSORS:

Rob Griffith - Circa Real Estate, LLC Ogletree Deakins Peggy Hull Interiors, LLC

Preservation Houston is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

2017 Good Brick Tour

All five locations on the 2017 Good Brick Tour will be open for guided tours from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 29, and Sunday, April 30. Advance tickets are $25 per person through Thursday, April 27, and may be purchased online at www.preservationhouston.org/goodbricktour/. Tickets are $30 per person after April 27 and may be purchased on the days of the tour at each tour location. All major credit cards are accepted. Tickets provide one admission to each location on tour and may be used both days of the tour. Tickets are not refundable. You may begin the Good Brick Tour at any location and proceed in any order you choose. The complementary Houston House & Home guide will be available at each tour location.

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Street parking is available at all tour locations. Please observe posted parking regulations. Public restrooms are not available at any tour locations. • Please wear flat- or soft-soled shoes and be prepared to climb stairs. • Interior photography and videos, including photos and videos taken using mobile phones, are not permitted at any tour location. For additional information, e-mail contact@preservation houston.org or call 713-510-3990, Monday through Friday, during regular business hours.

Welcome Dear Friends, Welcome to Preservation Houston’s 2017 Good Brick Tour. Since 1979, we have presented more than 200 Good Brick Awards recognizing exceptional historic preservation efforts and the people who make them happen. Many of you have told us you would like an inside look at these award-winning historic homes and buildings, so we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to visit five outstanding projects during our fourth annual Good Brick Tour on April 29th and 30th. Our deep appreciation goes to the owners of these exceptional properties for restoring their homes and buildings to high standards and opening them to our visitors for the benefit of Preservation Houston. This year we are showcasing properties from the late 1800s through the 1920s in neighborhoods across Houston. These are not museum properties, but rather functioning historic buildings that are making significant contributions to their communities and our city. We also want to thank our many hard-working volunteers, led by our dedicated Good Brick Tour co-chairs Kate McCormick and Peggy Hull, as well as the enthusiastic location chairs, docents and Preservation Houston board members who make this event possible. We are very grateful to our sponsors for their generous support of Preservation Houston, which helps further our efforts to create a preservation ethic for Houston. We are especially pleased to have

Houston House & Home returns as our exclusive print media partner and thank Tim Beeson, Mike Harrison, Susie Reisenbigler, Barbara Kuntz and contributing writer, Sandra Cook, for creating and publishing the 2017 Good Brick Tour guide. Most of all, we would like to thank you for attending this year’s Good Brick Tour and for supporting Preservation Houston through your interest and involvement. You are ultimately our best advocates. After the tour, tell your friends and neighbors about the projects you’ve seen, talk about the importance of local landmarks and historic districts in your neighborhoods, nominate projects for future Good Brick Awards and let our public officials know that you care about preserving our shared heritage. If you are not yet a member, please join Preservation Houston today by visiting our website at preservationhouston.org/join/. Thank you, again, for your support. Enjoy the tour. Sincerely,

John N. Cryer III, FAIA Board President

David Bush Acting Executive Director

1. 1809 Summer St. High First Ward

4. 317 Sampson St. East End

2. 2219 Kane St. Old Sixth Ward

5. 1005 Isabella aat Main St. Midtown

3. 309 Sampson St. East End 37

RESPECTFULLY RESTORED 832‐531‐3911 fw‐heritage@hotmail.com www.fwheritage.com



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4. 317 Sampson St. East End

The fully restored 1910 Firehouse No. 2 anchors the remarkable 2East residential community in the Second Ward.

TO THE RESCUE Saving a Historic Firehouse Breathes Life into an East End Neighborhood By Sandra Cook • Photography by Jack Thompson

few years ago, Michael Skelly and Anne Whitlock made a journey from west to east, which took them back in time to discover their future. The couple took a remarkable leap across Houston’s residential landscape, from their polished West University address to the historic, yet rather unpolished, Second Ward area of the Greater East End. It wasn’t a posh residential development that lured them to this area, but a boarded up 1910 firehouse. While Skelly, founder and president of Clean Line Energy Partners, had hoped to find an old electrical substation to restore, he was instantly taken by the historic firehouse that architect Joe Meppelink of Janusz Design had shown him on a bike ride through the historic East End. Once Skelly and Whitlock fell in love with Firestation #2 and its parcel of surrounding property, they sniffed out a cluster of little Victorian houses Meppelink was also fond of, which were located a eight blocks away, but in jeopardy of being torn down by a townhome developer.


Firehouse No. 2 through the years, 1912-1980. Photos courtesy of Houston Fire Museum



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The lower level, originally built as fire engine bays, now functions as a neighborhood meeting space.

Rich eggplant walls and matching sofa create a cozy lounge space for conversation or TV time. Masks from the couple’s work and travels abroad hang above the sofa.

The charms of the small Victorian houses inspired the couple to consider moving one of them to the firehouse property as a guesthouse. When they approached the developer about moving one of the houses, he said they could have them all if they could move them within two months. Challenge accepted. STEWARDS OF THE SECOND WARD Today the restored Firestation #2 is the centerpiece of what has come to be known as the 2East development, rounded out by the six Victorians. Shining as a symbol of the power of preservation and the beauty of adaptation, the project received a 2017 Good Brick award from Preservation Houston. “It’s wonderful to be among a community of people who value and undertake the stewardship of preserving our city’s history,” says Whitlock. “Old buildings attract people — there is a tangible soul to them. The award also rewards the human ingenuity in adopting new uses for old spaces.” Skelly and Whitlock employed Meppelink and his wife, architect Marisa Janusz of Janusz Design, and Martha Finger of Martha Baxter Interior Design to reinforce and reimagine the firehouse and the additional cottages as a beautiful home and gathering space. Urban Craft Custom Builders LP was hired as the contractor. The team met weekly at 7 a.m. for two years to complete the conversion of the old firehouse into a residence and renovation of the additional six houses for future occupants. For the firehouse, the first-floor fire engine bays were transformed into a large entry and event space outfitted with a kitchen/bar, which features an eye-catching custom firehose design The original firepole remains, but the opening between floors is sealed with plexiglass for safety reasons.




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www.westheimerplumbing.com 42 house& home | 2017 Good Brick Tour | www.preservationhouston.org

The living area features custom-designed furniture by Martha Finger, including a blue topaz sofa and bench upholstered in a faux bois-inspired fabric. Below: A large marble island provides work surface, social space and storage below. Reclaimed wood bookshelves display books and treasured objects.

within the countertop, created by craftsman James Dawson. The intent was to give neighbor folks a space to gather. Whitlock says she is thrilled to have created the downstairs as a truly public space for building all types of community. “Neighborhood groups and friends use the space for meetings, fundraisers, retreats and we even have our first wedding in April,” she says. The second floor, formerly the quarters and offices of the firefighters, was reinvented as an elegant, yet easygoing residence for Skelly and Whitlock with accommodations for visits from their grown children and guests. “I wanted to create a modern living space inspired by New York warehouses I had seen in Soho and Brooklyn, but with a cleaner design,” says interior designer Finger. Anchored by an open living/dining/kitchen space, Finger says she worked to create smart storage and utilize every inch of space for a specific purpose to facilitate the open feel. “We built in china cabinets with large drawers beneath and a window box seat for essential storage,” she says. Clean, white walls, a recessed black stone fireplace and a large white marble island also enhance the spacious feel — as do the views of downtown Houston. Whitlock says she loves having eight-foot windows on all four sides of their second-floor home. “It makes me feel like I’m living in a tree house with a birds’-eye view of the neighborhood happenings.” Another design objective that Finger made a priority was to carve out pockets of intimacy within the floor plan. “Anne wanted very saturated colors, so I created an eggplant jewel box for the cozy TV room, which feels almost magical at night,” says Finger. VISUAL HARMONY To create harmony among all the structures, Finger was inspired by museum campuses, such as Houston’s Menil Collection, that

feature a unified design and color theme. She selected the paint colors for the exteriors and interiors of all the Victorian houses. Finger wanted to present a clean slate against the chaos of the broader neighborhood. “Each house is painted a combination of two whites on the exterior — one white on the horizontal surfaces, one white on the verticals — to give them more depth,” says Finger. She drew inspiration from the traditionally Hispanic East End for the bright colors of the exterior doors. FUTURE IN OUR HISTORY Whitlock explains that moving the smaller Victorian houses to the site to create a community has been one of the most rewarding things about the project. “We all live our independent lives, but invite each other over for spontaneous dinners around the pool, plan events together, walk each other’s dogs and borrow a cup of sugar,” says Whitlock. In terms of wider community impact, Whitlock and Skelly are flattered that a similar project has blossomed across the street, in 43

Preservation matters. It’s our history.

The 1904 Burnett House is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Don Broman

“Don Broman, our general contractor, assisted in the final design of the kitchen, master suite and sleeping porch to ensure the final results were historically sensitive to the original interior and exterior of the home. He and his staff have worked together for over 25 years and have mastered the art of Victorian custom millwork and finishes, so that only a very discerning eye can see the subtle distinction between ‘old’ and ‘new’. ” —3rd Generation homeowner, Arlen Ferguson Recipient of the Spirit of the Heights Award presented by the Houston Heights Association

Renovations Restorations Room Additions Kitchens/Bathrooms Libraries Sleeping Porches

w w w. D o n B r o m a n . c o m 7 1 3 - 8 6 2 - 2 5 7 0

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which the property owner moved three old houses onto vacant property and renovated all three plus two existing houses. “We have now made a nice community around Champ Burger, a small but significant counterpoint to the onslaught of townhomes happening all around us,” says Whitlock. Since the completion of 2East and the May 2015 opening of the Metro Rail Green Line, the Second Ward has experienced waves of preservation and renewed interest. The venerable Champ Burger — since 1963 — continues to attract new customers and regulars, while the nearby blocks are now home to a local furniture maker located in the former Admiral Linen building, soon-to-open Sampson Lofts (in a 1912 warehouse), artists studios, all mixing in with churches, residences and existing local businesses.

Creating a community, but not a commune or compound, the placement of the structures was designed to foster sharing of ideas and friendship through common spaces.

Built-in china cabinets and a window seat provide storage in the dining room. Designer Martha Finger selected Mod-inspired chairs in a garnet hue.

ADDITIONAL 2017 WINNERS David Denenburg Rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of Fire Station No. 3 (1903) in First Ward Denenburg Construction Group, Contractor Tony Herrada & Peter Boyle Rehabilitation of their Victorian home (1905) in the High First Ward Historic District Langridge Enterprises Inc., Contractor

RESOURCES ARCHITECT Janusz Design info@januszdesign.com www.januszdesign.com

CONCRETE FLOORS Dungan Miller Design Ltd. 713-447-17230 www.dunganmiller.com

CONTRACTOR Urban Craft Custom Builders LP 1505 Elmen St. 713-589-2046 www.urbancraft.org


713-864-4045 www.jamesdawsondesign.com

FURNITURE, PAINT COLORS, INTERIOR DESIGN Martha Finger of Martha Baxter Interior Design 713-256-4135 Lush Outdoor Living Inc. 2200 Southwest Freeway Suite 602 713-444-2319 www.lushoutdoors.com

MARBLE AND STONE Designer Stone Center 11811 Brittmoore Park Drive 713-862-0120 www.designerstonecenter.com

Laura & Evan Michaelides Rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of the Dentler Building in the High First Ward Historic District Laura Michaelides, ASID / Four Square Design Studio, Designer Steve Ista, Ista Construction, Contractor Luis Roger, Ignacio Torras and Fivos Kazilas Adaptive re-use of a historic house (1920) as BCN Taste & Tradition in the First Montrose Commons Historic District Agustin Orozco Design, Architect Fivos Kazilas, Contractor FW Heritage LLC Renovation and sympathetic addition to a historic house (circa 1912) in the Near Northside David Jefferis/Grayform Architecture, Architect FW Heritage LLC, Contractor

Lin Chong & Dominic Yap Rehabilitation of their historic home (1908) in Woodland Heights Laura Michaelides, ASID / Four Square Design Studio, Designer FW Heritage LLC, Contractor Anonymous Rehabilitation of the Gov. William P. Hobby House (1929) in Old Braeswood GSMA Inc., Architect Pintail Construction, Contractor Moss Landscaping, Landscape Design Deer Park Independent School District Renovation of Wolters High School (1930) in Deer Park George Watanbe, AIA / cre8 Architects Brae Burn Construction Company, Contractor City of Houston & Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation Rehabilitation of The DeLuxe Theater (1941) in the Fifth Ward Smith & Company Architects Prime Contractors


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1. Dentler Building, 1923 1809 Summer St. High First Ward Historic District 2017 Good Brick Award

2. 2219 Kane St., circa 1885 Old Sixth Ward Historic District 2016 Good Brick Award

with the wooden sashes repaired and reused. The first floor was redesigned with open kitchen, living and dining areas that take advantage of abundant natural light. In contrast to the simple, modern design of the new spaces, the entry hall was restored with its original molding, front

door, sidelights and transom. The reconstructed staircase leads to the bedrooms, bathrooms and storage areas on the second floor. Preservation Houston recognized the owners with a 2017 Good Brick Award for their successful effort to bring new life to a sadly neglected building.


This two-story apartment house was built by George H. Dentler, whose food and condiments business is best remembered for manufacturing Dentler Maid Potato Chips. In 2013, new owners purchased the derelict building and embarked on a comprehensive renovation project that combined four apartments to create a single-family home. Over the years, the building had fallen into disrepair with extensive deterioration of the outer walls. Almost one-third of the front facade was disassembled and rebuilt using the historic bricks. Termite-riddled joists holding up the first floor had to be replaced, as did severely damaged floorboards. Original windows were painstakingly restored,

This Victorian cottage had been vacant and neglected when new owners purchased the dilapidated house and moved it to a prominent intersection in the Old Sixth Ward Historic District. The historic structure was renovated to serve as an office and guesthouse near the owners’ other Sixth Ward home. Salvaged columns were used to reconstruct the missing front porch, which was designed with the aid of historic photographs. The enclosed side porch was reopened to bring additional light into the house. The original floor plan was largely maintained and misaligned doors were centered through the three main rooms. The bathroom was enlarged and a long bar of built-ins was installed to pro-

vide workspace and a kitchen. Custom millwork supplies storage, and a folddown bed easily converts the work area into a guest room.

The project accommodates a surprising number of uses in a small space. The creative effort received a 2016 Good Brick Award from Preservation Houston. 47

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3. 309 Sampson St., circa 1895 East End 2016 Good Brick Award

In January 2014, a half-dozen Victorian houses were moved from their original East End site to this location to prevent their demolition. This house was the largest of the six. Although it was extremely deteriorated, the structure was remarkably intact, with all its historic doors, windows and trim in place. The first job after the move was squaring the tilted, rotted structure and repairing two large holes in the roof. The low sloping rooflines above the front and side porches were carefully reconstructed while retaining historic exterior detailing. The interior layout was maintained, except for the removal of one wall to create a large, open kitchen and dining room. The middle bedroom was converted into a bathroom core.

Original woodwork, doors and windows were restored, while interior work enhanced the home’s historic textures. Renovated rooms now showcase original art created by the owner and his friends.

Preservation Houston presented the owner with a 2016 Good Brick Award for the dramatic transformation of a decaying eyesore into a neighborhood landmark.

5. Isabella Court, 1929 1005 Isabella at Main St. Midtown 1993 Good Brick Award



Isabella Court is the lone survivor of the many Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings that formed an important retail corridor along this part of Main Street beginning in the 1920s. Local developer Pierre Michael hired architect William D. Bordeaux of Miami to design this threestory structure, which contains two residential levels above ground-floor commercial spaces. Sixteen apartments open onto a roofed, open-air courtyard distinguished by elegant iron balconies, railings and gates as well as a faux wishing well trimmed with delicate ironwork. Each unit is unique, with some apartments featuring split-level floor plans. Ornate light fixtures and Taos-style fireplaces contribute to the flats’ distinctive appearance. Even the small pass-through cabi-

nets where milk and ice were delivered are still in place. The rehabilitation of this one-of-akind building earned its owners a Good

Brick Award from Preservation Houston in 1993. The courtyard and three apartments will be open to visitors during the Good Brick Tour. 49

Profile for Houston House & Home Magazine

0417 goodbricks vir  

2017 Good Brick Tour Guide Preservation Houston Good Brick Awards

0417 goodbricks vir  

2017 Good Brick Tour Guide Preservation Houston Good Brick Awards