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house& home | April 2017 |


house& home | April 2017 |


APRIL 2017



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Editor’s Note Calendar Home Tours Decorating: Bed Linens Project: Outdoor Kitchens Profile: Watercolorist Becky Brocato Deal Hunter: Earth Day Finds Editor’s Picks: Moms and Grads Gardening: Colorful Containers Pet of the Month: Leila


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54 FEATURES 35 Good Brick Tour Guide 39 Saving a Historic Firehouse 47 Other Good Brick Tour Homes 54 Minimalist High-rise Condo

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pring not only means colorful flowers blooming everywhere, but also a host of beautiful homes on tour in Houston and the surrounding area. Let’s start with the always-impressive Good Brick Tour, our special section complete with tour-goers guide this month. Presented by Preservation Houston, the 2017 Good Brick Tour features five winning projects representing exceptional historic efforts – and the people behind them. Our guide includes tour dates, times and a listing of the structures, as well as a fabulous feature home, Firehouse No. 2, an old brick building, circa 1910, that had sat empty with boarded windows and no trespassing signs. Take a look at it now! Next on the home tour circuit for April are three more must-sees: “Hidden Beauties” as this year’s Houston Heights Association’s Spring Home & Garden Tour with six homes open to visitors; East Montrose’s Civic Association’s 11th Biennial Foodie Home Tour and Art Walk, combining architecture, art for sale and scrumptious food; and The Downtown Lofts Tour hosted by The Historic Downtown Galveston Partnership, offering a look inside private spaces in some of the city’s amazingly restored buildings. I’d say it’s time to purchase comfortable walking shoes, if you don’t already have a pair! HOUSTON

PUBLISHER........................ Mike Harrison, Ph.D. ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER........ Susie Reisenbigler EDITOR...................................... Barbara Kuntz CONTRIBUTING WRITERS.................................... ............ Shirley Barr, Anne Breux, Barbara Canetti, ........ Marsha Canright, Sandra Cook, Linda B. Gay CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS.................... .................... Ben Hill, Julie Soefer, Jack Thompson ART DIRECTOR............................ Robert Coplin ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE.............. Christina Garza, .................................. Gia Montalto, Karen Sims PRINTING........................................ RR Donnelly

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house& home | April 2017 |

Not on tour, but we have you covered: A lovely condo in the luxury Belfiore high-rise captures the essence of minimalism with exquisite furnishings, a project by Houston’s own interior architect Anne Breux. Take a look at the home and enjoy its clean, uncluttered and simple lines. April also means Earth Day. Check out “Deal Hunter” for ways you can participate in the worldwide event, April 22, and every day of the year. Our ideas are all “big deals” in the long run for our planet. The out-of-doors brings to mind that Texas tradition of cooking out, and “Project” focuses on just that with ideas for your own outdoor kitchen. “Gardening” enhances your outdoor experience with great tips on designing eyecatching container plantings for your backyard retreat, thanks to advice from The Arbor Gate. Don’t forget Mom and the grad. We have gift ideas galore for these deserving recipients in “Editor’s Picks.” And there’s always our “Pet of the Month,” with April’s featured adoptee a sweet gal named Leila. Puppy love! Just keep those new walking shoes tucked in the closet when not in use, and you and Leila will get along great. Cheers, Barbara Blue Thumb Inc., dba Houston House & Home ("HH&H"), is a news magazine with emphasis on interior design and remodeling. HH&H does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor does HH&H or its staff assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial content appear in any publication. HH&H has not independently tested any services or products advertised herein and has not verified claims made by its advertisers regarding those services or products. HH&H makes no warranties or representations and assumes no liability for any claims regarding those services or products or claims made by advertisers. Readers are advised to consult with the advertiser and/or other home repair and renovation professionals regarding the suitability of an advertiser’s products. No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the Publisher. Copyright 2016, all rights reserved. HH&H is distributed at most Houston area Randalls and HEB stores.

P.O. Box 131845 • Houston, Texas 77219 (713) 523-6523 •

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Compiled by bARbARA KUNTZ

APRIL 2017


Galveston loft tours begin at the Opera House. Photo by N. Saum/Wikemedia

show following the theme of “Texas” in the organization’s gallery space, 1601 W. Alabama St. The juried exhibit runs through May 4. 713-942-9966,

donna e perkins at Archway Gallery

Design/Interiors APRIL 1-MAY 4: “BECOMING PAINT” Archway Gallery presents new works by donna e perkins in this exhibit, “Becoming Paint.” 2305 Dunlavy St., 713-522-2409, APRIL 9: WATERCOLOR ART SOCIETY-HOUSTON SHOW An opening reception 3:305 p.m. April 9 kicks off this

APRIL 19: SPRING MARKET AT DECORATIVE CENTER HOUSTON, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Head to Decorative Center for a one-day-only chance to see the latest in home decor trends. Showrooms launch new collections and offer design inspirations, book signings and much more. 5120 Woodway Drive, 713-961-9292, APRIL 25-26: “FLORESCENCE,” 10 a.m.-5 p.m. One of the nation’s largest competitive floral shows, the 12th biennial “Florescence” showcases floral and horticulture arrangements reflecting the theme of “Waves.”

Presented by The Garden Club of Houston, the River Oaks Garden Club and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, “Florescence” is sanctioned by the Garden Club of America. MFAH, 5601 Main St., 713-800-5345,

bartending contest, an elegant grand tasting, a decadent outdoor “Sip and Stroll” through the historic Imperial District and an around-the-world “Bistro Brunch.” 713-747-9463, APRIL 8-9: HOUSTON HEIGHTS SPRING HOME & GARDEN TOUR, noon-6 p.m. “Heights Hidden Beauties” opens the doors to six renovated and recently constructed houses displaying a diverse mix of architectural styles and gardens. Hosted by the Houston Heights Association. 713-861-4002,

APRIL 28-30: TEXAS FINE MINERAL SHOW, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.5 p.m. Sunday Visit booth after booth hosted by some of the finest mineral dealers in the world for procurement of specimens, fossils, gems and jewelry to help your collection grow, as well as meet potential menAPRIL 8-9: SPRING GIFT MARKET, tors and see, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, touch and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday feel nature's Home for the art in real Holidays Gift time. The Market show is presfree, except ents for the this minerals, of course! Set for the Holiday shopInn & Suites ping in The extravaganWoodlands, za with An example of what to see at the Texas Fine 200-plus 19333 Mineral Show, fluorite from southern Illinois. David vendors at Photo by James Elliott Memorial the Katy Drive, the event turns hotel Merrell Center, 6301 S. rooms into museum-like Stadium Lane. showplaces. 281-788-4297,

Events APRIL 6-9: 14TH ANNUAL SUGAR LAND WINE & FOOD AFFAIR The Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair brings together internationally acclaimed wineries and Texas’ superstar chefs to create a series of dining, wine tastings, an exciting

APRIL 15: VERTICAL GARDENS MADE EASY… AND AFFORABLE, 10 a.m. Let Steven Chamblee of Chandor Gardens show you how to make inexpensive, long-lasting vertical garden panels that are easy to plant and maintain. He’ll create several themed versions, then

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please send all calendar items to by second Fridays for the following month’s issue. 14 house& home | April 2017 |

draw for lucky winners to take them home. The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, 281-3518851,

local music, art and comedy hosted at numerous venues in and around downtown San Marcos.

APRIL 22: EARTH DAY CELEBRATIONS & PICNIC IN THE PARK AT EVELYN’S PARK CONSERVANCY, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Observances around the city for the worldwide celebration include “Picnic in the Park.” Grab your gingham for a day of picnicking festivities at Houston’s newest park, located at 4400 Bellaire Blvd. Enjoy everything delicious at the cafe culinary events, minifarmers market and beer and wine tastings. Boost your heart rate with fun fitness classes, kids’ activities and treasure hunts. 281-946-9372,

APRIL 29: GALVESTON DOWNTOWN LOFTS TOUR, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Here’s your chance to get a glimpse into nine super-cool urban lofts, all large, open and historic yet modern spaces in beautifully restored buildings downtown. Advance tickets are $30 available online and $35 the day of the tour. Each attendee gets a map of locations at check-in Saturday morning at The Grand 1894 Opera House.

APRIL 22: EAST MONTROSE CIVIC ASSOCIATION’S 11th BIENNIAL FOODIE HOME TOUR & ART WALK, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tour a wide variety of architectural styles at six homes from historic to modern, showing the results of diverse renovations characteristic of this eclectic neighborhood. Also make time for the Art Walk. Six restaurants will offer delectable tastings to tourgoers. Advance tickets are $15, while tour-day tickets are $20 and available at any tour home. APRIL 29-30: 2017 GOOD BRICK TOUR, noon5 p.m. both days Visit five outstanding projects recognizing exceptional historic preservation efforts during the annual Good Brick Tour presented by Preservation Houston. This year the nonprofit organization showcases properties from the late 1800s through the 1920s in neighborhoods

The San Jacinto Day Festival includes a battle reenactment and family activities.

across Houston. Advance tickets are $25 per person through April 27 online via Preservation Houston, /goodbricktour/, and $30 per person after and on the days of the tour at each featured location. Tickets provide one admission to each building on tour and may be used both days of the tour. Check out Houston House & Home’s guide in this issue, also available for free at each tour location. 713-510-3990 or email

Antiques/Vintage THROUGH JULY 30: “DECORATIVE ARTS IN THE AGE OF VICTORIA” “Decorative Arts” showcases objects from both the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Rienzi collections and includes porcelain, glass, jewelry, miniatures, wallpaper and furniture. This exhibition is one of two special shows presented at Rienzi this year. Rienzi, 1406 Kirby Drive,

Out Of Town APRIL 8-9: CHAPPELL HILL 53RD ANNUAL BLUEBONNET FESTIVAL, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday The festival boasts more than 250 juried exhibitors (home decor, gardening, artists, craftsmen, jewelry, clothing,

etc.), delicious country-style food, live entertainment and music and tours of the historic community. A special children’s activity corner provides pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, barrel train and more. A wildflower photo exhibit is on display at the Chappell Hill Historical Society Museum, 9220 Poplar St., during April and May. 979-203-1242, APRIL 22: SAN JACINTO DAY FESTIVAL AND BATTLE REENACTMENT, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The largest battle reenactment in the state is the centerpiece of the admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival. Sponsored by the San Jacinto Museum of History Association, the festival is a full day of entertainment, vendors, food, family activities, cultural exhibitors, games and fun set amid living history, music and dancing on three stages featuring country-western bands, flamenco dancers, Native American presentations, square dancers and much more. One Monument Circle, La Porte, 281-479-2421, APRIL 28-29: MR FEST IN SAN MARCOS Conceived as a one-day music event in 2008, MR Fest has since grown into an annual, weekend-long showcase of

Upcoming MAY 6-7: FAYETTEVILLE ARTWALK, 10 a.m.5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday More than 60 participating artists exhibit their creations on the lawn of the courthouse square in this juried art show sponsored by Arts for Rural Texas (ARTS). The schedule also includes performing musicians, children’s art instructions and activities and wine and food booths. 979-378-2113, MAY 6-7 and 13-14: GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION HOME TOUR, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. View Galveston’s architectural history through public tours of privately owned homes. Large, small and everything in between, the 2017 tour has something for everyone. Tickets are $30 for non-members before May 1 and $35 after and are available online. For group sales of 20 or more, please contact the foundation. 409-765-3405,


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“Hidden Beauties” at Houston Heights Association’s Spring Home & Garden Tour

East Montrose Civic Association’s Biennial Foodie Home Tour and Art Walk

HOUSES ON PARADE East Montrose, the Heights and Galveston Welcome Spring with Open Doors to Residences and Lofts


t’s time to hop on the home tour circuit, with tours popping up everywhere like beautiful spring flowers. Here’s a quick look at just some of what’s dazzling and on show this month.


Discover “Hidden Beauties” at this year’s Houston Heights Association’s Spring Home & Garden Tour set noon-6 p.m. April 8 and 9. The weekend-long event showcases homes displaying a diverse mix of architectural styles and inviting gardens. • The Anderson/Horeis Home, 805 Heights Blvd., circa 1916 • The Sawyer Home, 1433 Allston St., circa 1900 • The Zanone Home, 703 Harvard St., circa 1920 • The Hammonds Home, 821 Cortlandt St., circa 1920 • The Niemczak Home, 917 Columbia St., 2015

FOODIE TOUR Combine impressive architecture, original art for sale and scrumptious food and you have a winning day out at the East Montrose Civic Association’s 11th Biennial Foodie Home Tour and Art Walk set 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 22 in this historic area. The tour highlights a wide variety of architectural styles featuring six homes originally built between the early 1900s to modern. Tourgoers get a glimpse of how the architecture has transformed over the years, the results of the unique and diverse renovations characteristic of this eclectic neighborhood. Also visit the working studios of six local artists, all within comfortable strolling distance. You’re invited into the spaces where artists get their inspiration and to see how their crafts come to life. Many local restaurants and clubs offer special discounts for home tour patrons who present a tour ticket. The neighborhood folk music venue, Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant St., is open for the day.

• The Ogiers Home, 810 Ralfallen St., 2016 Advance tickets for the tour are $20, available through and area retailers, while tickets purchased on tour days are $25. Shuttle buses from the Houston Heights Fire Station, 107 W. 12th St., take tour-goers to the houses. Bicycle racks are available at each home. For more event information, email, call 713-8614002 or visit the association’s website at 18 house& home | May 2017 |

Here’s just a sampling of the houses on tour: • 401 Avondale St. • 903 Welch St., circa 1910 • 2202 Whitney St. • 301 Welch St., circa 1915 East Montrose is in the 77006 Zip Code and lies within the boundaries of Montrose, West Gray, Genesee and Fairview. Advance home tour tickets cost $15, while day-oftour tickets are $20 and available at any tour home. The art walk is free. For tickets and more information, visit


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Visit private homes during The Historic Downtown Galveston Partnership’s Lofts Tour.

LOFTS ON VIEW The Historic Downtown Galveston Partnership hosts The Downtown Lofts Tour on April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A unique homes event, the tour features nine spaces in beautifully restored buildings to show how downtown living has evolved. The event kicks off April 28 with a cocktail preview. Lofts tour tickets are $30 per person through April 27 and $35 per person the day of the event at The Grand 1894 Opera House, Edna’s Room, 2020 Postoffice St. The Friday preview, including the tour, is $50 per person and must be purchased in advance. All ticket holders must check in at Edna’s Room the day of the event to receive the tour map. Tickets are now available online at For more information, call 409-7809820. Lofts tour is sponsored by The Historic Downtown Partnership, The Historic Strand Lofts, Secure Mortgage, Network Funding, Peanut Butter Warehouse, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Anderson Properties, The Honorable Lyda Ann Thomas and The House Company with Tom Schwenk. More than 70 blocks of entertainment in a historical ambiance make downtown Galveston a unique residential option. The Strand boasts the longest contiguous row of iron-front buildings in the United States, including significant architecture listed on the National Historic Register. The Downtown Revitalization Coalition was founded in 1984 to represent the area and has evolved into The Historic Downtown Partnership representing a diversified area of businesses, building owners and residents. The partnership is an advocate for all of downtown Galveston, from the Strand/Seaport Historic District to the Arts and Entertainment District on Postoffice St., and promotes, enhances and sustains the economic vitality, attractiveness and quality of life in Historic Downtown Galveston. Proceeds from the Lofts Tour benefit the partnership’s advocacy and marketing programs.


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Include Euro shams when going for a classic, tailored look. Shown here are Leontine Linens' delicately crafted shams. Photo by Julie Soefer

THE PERFECT BED The Right Sheets, Pillows and Layering Create a Dreamy Haven Story and photoS courteSy of Marie flanigan interiorS


top dreaming about where you’re going to rest your weary heads once that Houston commute comes to an end. Although “the perfect bed” means something a little different to everyone, there are three elements every bed should have, and we’re here to share them with you.

SHEETS Sheets can be a topic of controversy, but time has taught that a higher thread count doesn’t necessarily make for a better set of sheets. The type of cotton and the weave are way more significant, so look for sets crafted from pure cotton or flax that haven’t been treated with any nasty chemicals. This will give you that crisp, clean feeling without the worry. “Our friends at Plush Home suggest seeking out sheets with long staples because shorter fibers tend to be itchy and more likely to fall out of weave, which will lead to pilling,” Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors says. “As a general rule, look for Giza, Egyptian and Pima cotton because they have long, luxurious fibers to create that solid foundation.” Percale is a matte finish with a crisp, clean vibe that lends a tailored look. Home Treasures’ N 45 Classico Sheets feel like sleeping 20 house& home | April 2017 |

on a cloud. Their Italian percale collection is made of the finest cotton and is incredibly soft, smooth and supple to the touch. Sateen has more yarns running vertically versus horizontally resulting in a super-soft fabric that feels heavier and warmer. While they are incredibly soft, they’re not for those who heat up at night. Check out Peacock Alley for the perfect hemstitched sateen sheets. Linen, which is made from flax, softens with use and creates a relaxed and chic vibe in any bedroom. The fibers are hollow, moving air and moisture naturally, which is great for those hot Houston summers, but they’re also natural insulators that will help trap heat when cooler weather hits your home. Sheets from Rough Linen will lend your favorite resting space a beautiful homespun charm.

LAYERING “While we love a crisp bed, it’s important to create visual interest by mixing in layers of texture through the use of throws, coverlets and duvets,” Flanigan says. “We suggest layering with the seasons, using a coverlet in the summer and switching it out for a duvet come winter for added warmth. We love Sefte throws and blankets, which are made from the fur of baby alpaca. Soft and fluffy, they’re


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ready to stand in for your heavier duvet when warmer weather comes to town.” Flanigan adds: “You can’t go wrong with a classic Matouk duvet. Who can’t resist a clean, feathery white duvet piled high at the end of the bed?”


Bed linens from Plush Home and drapery fabric from Schumacher come together in beautiful harmony. Photo by Julie Soefer

Your pillow selection tells people a lot about you and how formal you want your bedroom to feel. With so many pillow choices, it can be hard to know which ones will achieve the look you’re striving for, but beauty is most often found in simplicity. Include Euro shams when going for a classic, tailored look. Tip: You’ll need three Euro shams for a king-sized bed and two for a queen. Deluxe Euro shams are the height of a Euro but are the length of a king. They take up more space on the bed and provide a comfy, cozy feel. You can throw them on a king and they’ll take up the whole width of the bed, or you can put two on a queen if you’re up for playing with scale. Check out Bella Note for some gorgeous shams. Decorative shams come in all shapes and sizes. Use them to tie in colors that can be found throughout the bedroom.

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painted fabric. If you’re on the hunt for an expert who creates custom color and digital design work, head on over and check them out. Wishing you the sweetest dreams! Marie Flanigan is an award-winning interior designer and allied member of ASID with more than a decade of experience in the architecture and design industries.


Treat your guests to classic Matouk duvets. Who can’t resist a clean, feathery white duvet piled high at the end of the bed? Photo by Julie Soefer

“One of our favorite pillow designers, painter Kevin O’Brien, incorporates art into his pillow designs,” Flanigan says. “They always feel rich and interesting and serve as the perfect accent to your surrounding style.” Try laying your standard shams face up for a unique, minimalist approach that will have your space looking like a boutique hotel in no time. Added perk? Making your bed in the morning will be a breeze! Rusty Arena of Arena Design is a skilled fabric craftsman, located right here in Houston, who creates custom printing and hand-

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Arena Design Hand Painted Wallcoverings & Textiles 4519 Saunders Road 713-861-7630 Bella Notte Linens Home Treasures Inc. 5150 Ashley Court 713-937-7716 Marie Flanigan Interiors 2525 Driscoll St. 979-574-9686

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Home Exterior Systems designed and equipped this structure so everyone can gather in the kitchen, even outdoors.

THRILL OF THE GRILL Outdoor Kitchens Make Dining Al Fresco a Delight


he sky is clear, the weather is mild and every grill-minded chef is ready to reap the delicious flavors that only outdoor cooking can infuse. “Whether you’re grilling baskets of shrimp and veggies, a thick rib-eye steak or the perfect burger, nothing makes it easier to cook out under the stars than a well-equipped outdoor kitchen,” says Mike Logan, owner of Texas Pit Crafters, a Houston company that builds outdoor kitchens and manufacturers stainless steel grills. Logan’s personal backyard kitchen, which is out in the open and under the stars, has two islands, one with a grill and a refrigerator and the other with a smoker and a sink. “I can grill even when it rains. I’ve also got a giant umbrella,” he says. 26 house& home | April 2017 |

TODAY’S OUTDOOR KITCHENS Cooking outside is a Texas tradition, whether you're barbecuing, grilling or cooking Dutch oven-style over a campfire. Today's outdoor kitchens come in every imaginable style from the simple to the sublime. Some are extensions of an existing kitchen; others are stand-alones complete with all the conveniences — refrigerator, dishwasher, icemaker, sink and, of course, the holy grail of assorted grills. “We added our outdoor kitchen after the fact, but it has made a huge difference in how we entertain,” says Jill Peveto, recently retired from Exxon-Mobile. She and her husband, Robert, built an outdoor fireplace with antique brick and expanded their plan to create circular seating,


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Outdoor Homescapes of Houston created this kitchen to match the homeowners’ modern industrial-style home exterior. Note the outdoor pizza oven.

The folks at Texas Pit Crafters make sure everything you need is right at hand in your outdoor kitchen, including plenty of prep and storage spaces.

counter space, a beverage refrigerator, a stainless steel grill and a crawfish cooker. “We use it all the time, when our married children are visiting or even if it’s just the two of us,” she says. “In the evening, it’s a pleasure to sit outside, have a glass of wine and relax.” “Building an outdoor kitchen is a major investment in your home,” says Brent Gary of RH Peterson Products, a company that sells outdoor kitchen appliances, grills and components. “If it’s done well, it will add hours of pleasure to your home now and greater dollar value when you’re ready to sell.”

out how that might work together with pathways left open and underground pipes and wires not running where a pool might go.” As for the price tag, costs vary significantly depending on what you want. An outdoor kitchen can be as simple as an island, brick cabinet and a grill or it can be quite elaborate. Logan, who builds and outfits dozens of outdoor kitchens every year, says the range at Texas Pit Crafters is between about $3,500 for a single grill to about $60,000 for an high-end outdoor kitchen with a built-in pizza oven and a smoker grill.



After you decide, “Hey, let’s build an outdoor kitchen,” how do you get from the big blank back yard to an awesome family retreat — and how much does it cost? Here's what Houston experts, seasoned in the art of building and outfitting outdoor kitchens, recommend to homeowners who are thinking of adding or expanding their backyard amenities. To begin, do the research and have a good idea of what kind of kitchen you want. Next, choose a reputable, well-referenced contractor to help you create a detailed plan. Depending on the complexity of the site and the kitchen, expect three weeks to three months of onsite construction. “Not all people have the money to do everything they want to do all at once, so we suggest having a master plan,” says Wayne Franks of Outdoor Homescapes of Houston. “You might want to build an outdoor kitchen now and later a patio extension, additional landscaping or a pool. It’s helpful to map

Finally, what about the all-important grill? How do you choose the key component for your outdoor kitchen? “There is a huge variety of grills on the market. There are lots of bells and whistles. It boils down to what you want, how often you cook and what you are cooking,” Gary says. “I have a Fire Magic grill with a high BTU that I’ve had for 10 years. Its igniters still work perfectly and it looks good. Now that’s a good investment.” He recommends the infrared attachment, which allows him to grill a restaurant-quality steak. Logan prefers his own brand. “We manufacture our own high-end, high-quality grills, along with smokers, burners, drawers and storage,” he says. “This makes us different from 99 percent of our competitors who buy from other manufacturers.”

28 house& home | April 2017 |

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elaborate construction but it didn’t have a steel frame and it didn’t last.” — Mike Logan, Texas Pit Crafters

Before you plan your own backyard bonanza, check out advice from these Houston experts.

• KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. “Your outdoor kitchen designer should ask in-depth questions about how you cook and entertain. For instance, we design and build for clients from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Some of them don’t eat beef and this affects what cooking appliances they need and how they’re used. It’s also important to know if the homeowner wants to use the outdoor kitchen as an intimate space for family or friends or to entertain large groups. This will affect seating and traffic flow.” — Lisa Hutchurson Lynch, Outdoor Homescapes of Houston

• DO THE RESEARCH. “Talk to people who have built outdoor kitchens. Find out what they like and what they don’t like. Visit showrooms. Get ideas on line. Think about how you entertain and what you really want.” — Brent Gary, RH Peterson Products • HIRE A PROFESSIONAL. “If you’re using a contractor to build your outdoor kitchen, and most people do, select a local company that’s been in a business for a number of years and one that carries highquality equipment. We’re lucky to have a number of those companies in Houston. Get references and call the references. Remember, the contractor will be pouring concrete, running electricity and gas, and it’s going to cost a nice sum of money, so be sure that the person who is doing the work is still going to be in business and will stand behind their work. If something goes wrong and they can’t be found, it’s going to be more expensive in the long run.” — Brent Gary, RH Peterson Products • CREATE A PLAN. “Your contractor will assess the site and working with you and a designer, plan the utilities, determine how the area will function and decide what equipment you will need. This is the time to speak frankly about what you want and don’t want. There may be specifications from your homeowners association, and the city may require certain permits.” — Mike Logan, Texas Pit Crafters • MAKE A BLUEPRINT. “Have a clear design blueprint or layout before you start. Many times, people don’t have enough power or electricity to the site because fridges and icemakers can take up a dedicated circuit. The wiring and utilities have to be decided upon and put in place before the rest of the construction.” — Wayne Franks, Outdoor Homescapes of Houston • MAKE QUALITY AND DURABILITY A PRIORITY. “Durable materials are very important. We won’t install a grill in a wooden cabinet because we believe customers should invest in longevity and safety. Over the long term, people appreciate quality and durability. Outdoor kitchens should be built with noncombustible materials. I can’t tell you the number of outdoor kitchens that we have been called in to redo because the original builder didn’t use the right materials. We rebuilt one recently near New Orleans that was an

30 house& home | April 2017 |

• LIVE WITHIN A BUDGET. “Have an idea of what you want and how much you can spend — that’s the place to start. A good contractor can help direct you. But don't scrimp on the grill. Spend the extra money for high-quality stainless steel. You pay more initially, but you won’t have to replace the grill in two or three years when it starts to rust. High-quality stainless steel holds up in the high humidity and high heat of a Houston summer.” — Brent Gary, RH Peterson Products • DON’T FORGET COUNTER SPACE AND OUTLETS. “The two things you always need more of are counter space and electrical outlets. At the time, you may think you have enough, but you may want to plug in a margarita machine or a CD player. It’s more expensive to add outlets later, so do it upfront.” — Brent Gary, RH Peterson Products • KEEP COOL. “Keeping cool outdoors in the Houston summer is a challenge, but many of our customers are keeping cool with supersized, industrial or commercial-grade fans. A popular brand name is Big Ass Fans.” — Lisha Maxey, Outdoor Homescapes of Houston

RESOURCES BIG ASS FANS Haiku Home & Big Ass Solutions Showroom, as well as multiple dealers 1224 N. Post Oak Road Suite 120 855-651-3061 FIRE MAGIC GRILLS Multiple showrooms HOME EXTERIOR SYSTEMS 281-542-9577

OUTDOOR HOMESCAPES OF HOUSTON 12802 Highland Hills Drive Cypress 713-569-1341 RH PETERSON PRODUCTS TEXAS PIT CRAFTERS 31909 Decker Industrial Circle, Pinehurst 281-356-2168


Little Alsace Texas of

The S teinbach Ha us is Castroville’s Visitor Center. Built in Walbach, Alsace, France between 1618 and 1648, the house was a gift from the citizens of Alsace to Castroville because of the Alsatian roots of the original immigrants that settled here in 1844. The fachwerk framing was shipped to Castroville and Alsatian volunteers came and rebuilt it, and then donated most of the period piece furnishings. The Center is open every day but Thanksgiving and Christmas. Poppies are the provincial flower of Alsace and many sites in town are planted with them.

1-830-538-9838 •


By Shirley Barr


GO-TO GAL Houston Watercolorist Becky Brocato Talks Gardening, Art and Family

In the spring, Brocato’s arbor swing sports a canopy of Mexican Flame Vine. She plants long-stem zinnias seeds in assorted colors each March, and by mid-summer some of the stalks are over her head. Photo courtesy of Becky Brocato


hen I visited watercolorist Becky Brocato at her house in northwest Houston in February, my yard back home was bleak. But here I was greeted in front with a profusion of pale pink azaleas, a giant bridal bouquet of spirea sprinkling tiny white petals with every breeze and a handsome specimen tree I didn’t recognize. “You know it’s March when she, and her twin in the back yard, explode with color. And in late summer, their crimson bottle brushes are a magnet for hummingbirds, sometimes attracting dozens at once,” Brocato says. The gardening experience continued with a framed pink azalea watercolor in the foyer, but the sunny family room tipped the scale. This was definitely the home of an artist. Every painting on the creamy art wall isn’t by Brocato, but “most of them are mine,” she admits. The largest is a watercolor she painted after a trip to the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas. What looks like water on the floor is actually shiny tile with the light bouncing off it like rain32 house& home | April 2017 |

drops, leading my eyes to three colorful hot air balloons just outside the open lobby. “See how the biggest balloon is floating about one-third into the painting? It’s the ‘Rule of Thirds.’ I took this photograph and then realized it was so much like those in John Salminen’s book ‘Master of the Urban Landscape.’ He is one of my favorite teachers and painters,” she says. Even though Brocato has been drawing since early childhood, she didn’t start learning watercolor until after her son, Trent, finished high school. “We didn’t have art classes in Harden Jefferson High School in Sour Lake, Texas. At Lamar University instead of majoring in English — I love to write — I switched to graphic design,” Brocato says. “After graduating, I worked for ad agencies turning out brochures, ads, annual reports and even when I started my own graphics design business, every job had to meet a deadline!” When Brocato began taking workshops at the Watercolor Art

Society-Houston (WAS-H) in 2005, she was an apt student but kept repeating the basics. “I wanted to be sure I had the techniques,” she says, adding that winning smile. She doesn’t paint in other mediums because, “I love the versatility of watercolor! It varies dramatically from one painting and artist to another. I also love the luminosity of watercolor, how the pigments blend and diffuse to create amazing colors. Layering transparent pigments is delightful but challenging Becky Brocato, “Into the Storm, Venice.” as watercolor has a mind of Photo courtesy of the artist its own.” As a Signature Watercolor Art Society member, Brocato’s work has been in three WAS-H international exhibitions and won multiple awards in different shows, so currently her goal is to do more commissions. “They are so rewarding because I get to commemorate people’s memories of children when they were young, family pets…even their favorite car as I did in ‘West Texas T-Bird’ commissioned by the children Becky Brocato and grandson, Ethan Brocato, of Hugh Jackson,” she enjoy time together. Photo by Frank Brocato says. “Another commission, a bereavement portrait, was a joy to do because my painting of their brother, ‘A Life Well Lived,’ was so meaningful to his siblings.” When Brocato isn’t painting or gardening, she may be taking photos or videos of her 2-year-old grandson, Ethan (he stays with her on day-school holidays while his parents are at work), or driving her MIL (Mother-in-Love) to the doctor or on other errands. This endears Brocato to her family. In fact her husband, Frank, says he has thought up a Western song tribute: “I’m the Man Because I Have a Woman Like You.”

NOW A LICENSED IRRIGATOR Check out WAS-H’s next monthly show April 9-May 4 following the theme “Texas.” The opening reception is 3:30-5 p.m. April 9 at the organization’s gallery space, 1601 W. Alabama St. 33

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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 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.

36 house& home | 2017 Good Brick Tour |

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 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 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




38 house& home | 2017 Good Brick Tour |

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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40 house& home | 2017 Good Brick Tour |

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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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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

44 house& home | 2017 Good Brick Tour |

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


CONCRETE FLOORS Dungan Miller Design Ltd. 713-447-17230

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



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

MARBLE AND STONE Designer Stone Center 11811 Brittmoore Park Drive 713-862-0120

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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46 house& home | 2017 Good Brick Tour |


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

48 house& home | 2017 Good Brick Tour |


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


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A BELFIORE BEAUTY Exquisite Minimalist Furnishings and Accents Keep the 360-Degree Views Clear in this Luxury High-Rise Home By Barbara Canetti • Photography by Ben Hill


igh-rise living offers many options for its residents: A great view, a multitude of conveniences within the structure as well as an opportunity for many folks to re-invent the way they live. Scale down and refocus. That was the draw for a retired Houston couple that gave up their traditional three-story house and moved to Belfiore, a 26story building in the tony Post Oak/Uptown area near San Felipe Street.

BELFIORE Belfiore, which bills itself as luxury living and maintenance free, broke ground for construction in 2013 and within a few months was 75 percent presold. The first residents moved into their condo in 2016. The residences, which are about 4,500 square feet except for the penthouse, occupy half of a floor in the building. And every unit has two corner terraces, giving residents 360degree views of the city’s skylines and an additional 700 square feet of outdoor space. The units are large, with floor-to-ceiling windows stretching to 11-foot heights in the rooms. The living spaces are open to each other; the bedrooms are more private and isolated on the other side of the residences. Visitors enter the building to a spacious and modern lobby and are directed to a double set of elevators that leads to individual and private lobbies for individual homes. Each is uniquely decorated, reflecting the owners’ preferences. One of the owners chose a Scottish cobalt blue and silver wallpaper resembling clouds — an appropriate setting for high-rise living but a contrast to what lies behind the front door.

Right: A colorful cashmere throw in the spacious living area is readily at hand for an early morning cup of tea on the balcony. Louis XVI armchairs are dressed in a beautiful indigo toile.

54 house& home | April 2017 |


A flex in the back of the dining room chairs makes the homeowners and guests at ease for long gourmet meals.

STEP INSIDE Once inside the unit, a sense of calm settles in, as with any interior design project, the material and finish of the floor, here a large-plank oak stained in ebony, almost black, sets the mood and defines the style of the place. The walls are painted white and windows are covered with automatic oyster-hued screens to block out the light or heat. The interiors, by designer Anne Breux, present clean, uncluttered, simple lines. Minimalist decor highlights the treasured art pieces that hang in the different rooms. No crown molding or decorative fittings interfere with doors or walls. “There is silence from the white walls — no noise. The patterns

56 house& home | April 2017 |

in the rooms are in the art ‘and on our outfits,’” says Breux, also quoting Andree Putman. A pair of spear-like French torcheres by Gilles Derain flanks the front door, providing a soft-lighted entryway into the spacious living areas. Two matching pale linen couches face each other around an industrial-style, glass-topped coffee table on wheels designed by Italian architect Gae Aulenti. An iconic set of vintage mid-century modern Breuer Wassily chrome and saddle leather chairs — two of the very few things brought from the old home — creates a comfortable conversation area. All of the living room furniture is nestled on a large grey-toned Madison Lily rug. From

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Sleek glass tiles on the backsplash reflect plenty of light in the kitchen.

any of the seating areas, the owners can see downtown and “see the weather forecast.” Nearby, a gray velvet sectional placed in front of a large television provides comfortable seating. This is where one of the corner terraces is situated. Adjacent to the living room is a round glass dining table, “La Rotunda,” designed by Mario Bellini. The table, with its diagonal three-legged support, is surrounded by six leather high-back chairs and illuminated by a Moooi chandelier of delicate leaves of light. A dark glass credenza, which looks like steel but is actually a gray frosted glass, anchors the space. The room seduces.

58 house& home | April 2017 |

The large kitchen and eat-in area are separated from the living space. A large grey granite slab covers an island and the Miele stove, ovens, microwave, coffeemaker, wine cooler and steam oven are built into the cabinetry. A huge refrigerator/freezer is hidden behind cabinets that match the rest of the kitchen.

PRIVATE SPACES Down a hall are two guest bedrooms and ensuites with gray Carrara marble and interesting rectangular sail mirrors with soft lighting. Nearby, a wall of built-in shelves lines the hallway with books, personal treasures, mementos and photos of the family. As

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The traditional setting in the master suite opens to a balcony where topiaries will soon turn green. Amazing views of the area and city are abundant in this Belfiore residence.

the homeowners transitioned from their traditional home to this high-rise, most keepsakes did not make the move. This is the only place in the unit that deviated from the minimalist theme. The master bedroom, decorated around a piece of French fabric by Manuel Canovas used on the pillows, has access to the second outdoor space that looks west and is a frequent spot for quiet time for sunsets. Floating shelves frame the large bed with wall sconces above them. The nearby huge master closet includes a mini-office with a fantastic view. Still in the works is the gallery: A long, enclosed passageway connecting another office back to the kitchen and living areas.

60 house& home | April 2017 |

The sparse study is decorated with contemporary art, one of the resident’s passions.

HAPPY HOMEOWNERS The switch from a large house to a high-rise was terrifying at first, according to the homeowners, but they have learned to appreciate the peacefulness of the space, the uncluttered and soothing furnishings and the idea that when it is time for vacation, their home is a lock-and-leave. “It was intimidating at first, but it was a great decision.�

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Down a hall are the private spaces, including two guest bedrooms, master bedroom and master bath with gray Carrara marble and frameless mirrors.

A dark glass sideboard anchors a space where an 18th-century painting hangs above. 62 house& home | April 2017 |

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A Scottish cobalt blue and silver wallpaper in a design resembling clouds welcomes the homeowners and guests in the private lobby.

RESOURCES INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE Anne Breux BARSTOOLS & DINING CHAIRS Design Within Reach 4066 Westheimer Road 713-877-1555 DINING ROOM FURNITURE Glass Italia credenza, Cassina table at Internum 3303 Kirby Drive 832-242-9470 KITCHEN Eggersmann USA-Houston Decorative Center Houston 5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 250 713-877-8088 LIVING, DINING & BREAKFAST ROOMS Lighting Fixtures by Moooi, Kartell breakfast room furniture and Fontana Arte coffee table The Light Company 4202 Richmond Drive 713-640-5568 Uncluttered lines keep intimate areas peaceful and bright. 64 house& home | April 2017 |

OFFICE FURNITURE Hermann Miller Several retailers OUTDOOR FURNITURE Knoll Studio at Sunset Settings 2610 Sunset Blvd. 713-522-7661 RUGS Madison Lily Rugs 1727 Post Oak Blvd. 713-338-2803 SOFAS & SECTIONAL Modern Collection by Restoration Hardware 4030 Westheimer Road 713-328-3100 TEXTILES Robert Allen Design 5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 141 713-439-0200 WINDOW TREATMENTS The Shade Shop Inc. 4122 Richmond Ave. 713-469-3178

Hien Lam Upholstery “Where quality, service and price make a difference” Phone: (713) 523-3416 Fax: (713) 523-8610 819 West Drew St. • Houston, TX 77006 •

Caroline Schlemmer, Greenwood King Properties 713.864.0888

Which area of Houston is your specialty? Houston’s close-in neighborhoods including The Heights, River Oaks, West University, Bellaire, and Memorial What advice can you share on how to sell homes quickly? I work extensively with my clients to make sure their home is ready for showings and provide an in depth market analysis to ensure that the house is priced appropriately. Taking time before you put your home on the market can make a big difference to your bottom line. What’s one thing you would tell homeowners who are ready to put their home on the market? Call me! What do you do that other agents may not to ensure a seller gets top dollar? I provide an extensive marketing campaign for all my listings that is in writing. Additionally, I manage the process from beginning to closing to ensure that we get the most money we can for a property AND we get to closing. In the current market, a buyer can offer you a high sales price, but it means nothing if they can’t get to the closing table. I work very closely with my clients, the other agent, the title company and all other parties to the transaction to ensure we are hitting the milestones we should to get the property closed.

Where are the hottest markets in the Houston area? All of the close-in neighborhoods in Houston have always been desirable neighborhoods, but we are seeing them take off like we haven’t in the past. The low inventory levels are causing prices to continue to rise. Buyers should be prepared for multiple offers in many instances.


Compiled by barbara Kuntz


EARTH DAY 2017 Go Super-Green this Day and Every Day with Cost-Effective and Environmentally Friendly Products and Services COMPOSTING Turn your grass, leaves and small yard clippings into ultra-vitamin-rich mulch with a composter. C&D Hardware and Gifts sells a tumbling variety made by gardening giant Miracle-Gro with a 28gallon chamber capacity. Mixing bars and an aeration system speed up the decomposition process in this heavy-duty container. $65.99 C&D Hardware and Gifts, 314 E. 11th St., 713-861-3551,


Environment Associates Architects & Consultants' net-zero energy home in the Heights


aving energy, conserving water, harnessing the sun and wind and leaving the smallest footprint possible with environmentally conscious products and services are all big deals in the long run — and not just for your pocketbook. Think Mother Earth, specifically Earth Day, this year celebrated April 22 following a campaign of “Environmental & Climate Literacy.” Established in 1970, Earth Day has now reached its current status “as the largest secular observance in the world,” according to the official Earth Day website. We’re approaching the green celebration with “baby steps” you can start or continue to take, all the way up to bigger strides to consider so when Earth Day 2018 rolls around, you know you’ve made a difference.

RECYCLING Beef up your recycling routine of paper, aluminum, tin and other acceptable materials — like not even letting a plastic straw go into your regular rubbish. I know I pat myself on the back when my recycling volume is more than my refuse volume! Check with the city of Houston or your municipality on proper containers and days for curbside service, as well as holiday arrangements. Call 311 or visit for more information or visit your municipality’s official website. 66 house& home | April 2017 |

Capture that magic rain in a water-harvesting barrel from Baytec Containers, suppliers of industrial packaging and equipment. Consider a 50-gallon rain barrel made of FDA-approved plastic in a variety of colors, including oak wood, gray, black, deep green, beige and terra cotta. All barrels come complete with rain-catching openings at top, one faucet and two installed bulkheads. About $120 each Baytec Containers, 4761 Highway 146, 888-460-3786,

VERTICAL GARDENS Think small, and the results for you and the environment can be big. Vertical gardens save space and grow vegetables, herbs and more just as well as larger green spaces. And there are those important pollinators, too, to keep busy. The Arbor Gate in Tomball offers an attractive selection of trellises and obelisks in different price ranges to support your vertical garden. The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, 281-351-8851,

HOME APPLIANCES Most major home appliance manufacturers offer discounts around this time of year on energy-efficient models. Look for the Energy Star seal of approval, too, for additional promotions. From air purifiers to washers and dryers to dishwashers, freezers and refrigerators, April is a good month to find a deal. Energy Star,

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TINY HOMES Jon Meier, mechanical engineer and president of Backcountry Containers Inc. in Houston, constructs tiny homes from shipping containers as getaways with rooftop decks and fun, rustic interiors. The company started a year ago building container homes with prices ranging from $25,000 up to $50,000. “A majority of our customers like to get two containers and open them up to each other to make it feel much bigger,” Meier says. “At the end of the day, we do what the customer wants with respect to layout, size and decoration.” Backcountry Containers, 281-305-8325,

SOLAR POWER Integrate solar shingles into your composition-style roofing materials to capture the clean, abundant power of the sun and take control of your utility bills. “We typically install our solar shingles on southern-facing slopes to maximize the output of the products,” says Jason Brinkmann, president of Brinkmann Quality Roofing Services Inc., mentioning his company uses the new Suntegra line of photovoltaics, or PV systems designed to convert light into electricity. An average installment runs about $25,000 and delivers some 5,000 watts, with homeowners qualifying for a 30-percent federal tax credit issued the following year. Brinkmann Quality Roofing Services, 281-480-7663,

NET-ZERO ENERGY Imagine owning a home where your energy bill is $0, your water bill is $0 and much of the landscaping is edible, thus cutting back on grocery bills. That’s what LaVerne Williams and team at Environment Associates Architects & Consultants do with their “extraordinary” sustainable building methods — and have been doing so since the company’s founding by Williams in 1975. “We have one home in the Heights that is 100-percent solar powered, 100-percent rainwater and finished out with the highest air-quality system,” Williams says. “A lot of our clients come to us to design homes with quality of life in mind.” Williams says his group oversees construction of these supereco-friendly structures, earning some of his projects Silver LEED recognition and the highest honor, Platinum LEED certification. “A lot of what we do is to educate people,” Williams says. “We are an advocate of green building and want to educate others.” Environment Associates Architects & Consultants, 5828 Langfield Road, 713.528.0000,

68 house& home | April 2017 |

Brinkmann Quality Roofing Services Inc. can integrate solar shingles into your roof.

Backcountry Containers turns shipping containers into fun getaways.

I AM WATERS Founded by Elena Davis, the I Am Waters Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Houston dedicated to providing fresh, clean bottled water to the homeless through partnerships with shelters, churches and other facilities. To make a donation, contact I Am Waters Foundation, 3262 Westheimer Road,

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other’s Day and graduations, the latter whether high school or college, call for congratulations, so we’re presenting you great gift ideas for these deserving recipients. Moms always love the traditional chocolates, flowers and jewelry, and we have even more suggestions. Grads? We’re thinking of dorm room necessities and some fun ways to note that cap-tossing accomplishment. So here we go, just in time to celebrate everyone’s milestone.


$99 Treat Mom and the grad with surprise breakfasts in bed. Present their favorite morning treats on this waterresistant pine tray with foldable legs. The tray also can withstand a hot plate. Dimensions: 24 inches wide, 15 inches deep and 12 inches tall. Available through Pottery Barn, several locations, CHOCOLATE-DIPPED STRAWBERRIES & MORE

Prices vary It’s strawberry season in Texas. Make those healthy morsels even more tempting with a dip in chocolate. Shown are Godiva’s to-die-for creations. Turn to Araya Artisan Chocolate ( for its sweets made from Venezuelan chocolate, honey and exotic ingredients; Cacao & Cardamom (www.cacaoandcardamom. com) for artful, gemlike nibs; and See’s Candies (, which offers its create-yourown candy boxes with “the timeless deliciousness that has brought smiles to people for years.”

70 house& home | April 2017 |


Prices vary Ahava is established as a goto source for products based on rejuvenating minerals found in the Dead Sea. Introduced just recently, the company’s line of “Mineral Radiance” facial treatments bring the spa right to your home. Numerous locations, including Bering’s, 6102 Westheimer Road, 713-785-6400; and 3900 Bissonnet St., 713-665-0500; FIT FOR A QUEEN (OR A GRAD)

$14.99 each Ensure sweet dreams for all with these whimsical pillowcases. Made of 100-percent cotton, the cases are 30 inches wide and 22 inches tall. They’ll remind the recipient of how much they are loved. Available at C&D Hardware and Gifts, 314 E. 11th St., 713861-3551, TIFFANY & CO.

Prices vary That little blue box means something extra-special is inside. And that’s because you, Mom and grad, are extra-special. Enjoy! Available at The Galleria, 5015 Westheimer Road, 713-626-0220; The Woodlands, 9595 Six Pines Drive, Suite 590, 281-292-4360; and




Prices vary Traditional and timeless gifts for the grad are everything Jon Hart, including the monogrammable collection of well-padded computer cases ($91), makeup bags ($70-$101) and shave kits ($64-$91) in sturdy canvas and a rainbow of colors. Hot stamps for monograms are available on site at several Houston retail locations, including: Bering’s, 6102 Westheimer Road, 713-785-6400; and 3900 Bissonnet St., 713-665-0500;

$228, with a $10 fee for monogramming For Mom or the grad, Kate Spade’s Cobble Hill agenda features black, pebbled leather with matching trim, book-stripe print on polytwill lining and 14-karat gold-plated hardware. This luxe leather agenda has everything to keep the recipient organized, including a zippered exterior pocket. Several locations,


$129.95 each Tell the grad to have fun, too, with the JBL Charge 3 wireless, waterproof and portable Bluetooth speaker. The Charge 3 takes the party everywhere, poolside or in the rain, and its high-capacity battery provides 20 hours of play. A built-in noise and echocancelling speakerphone gives you crystal clear calls with the press of a button. Available through


$18 each Beautiful hand-beaded butterfly barrettes or hair clips from Guatemala make truly thoughtful gifts. They’ll love these unique creations decorating their hair. Dimensions: About 3.5 inches wide by 5 inches long. Talk about statement jewelry! Available at Casa Ramirez FOLK ART Gallery, 241 W. 19th St., 713-880-2420 LAWN FLAG


$49.99 Perfect for your grad’s dorm room, the electric popcorn maker by Holstein Housewares plugs in any outlet and with just a bit of oil, gently heats the popcorn right before your eyes. The clear plastic lid serves as a bowl when your kernels are done. A damp, non-abrasive cloth is all you need to wipe down the stainless steel kettle for the next round of popping. Available through Best Buy, Sears, Walmart and numerous other locations 72 house& home | April 2017 |

About $11-$30, depending on style and size Raise a flag to let Mom know she rules — and make it a pretty one, too, like this one from Money Makers. The fancy butterfly flag, about 28 by 44 inches, will add the final touch to her spring landscaping decor. Available at Money Makers Flags, 1517 Blalock Road, 713-461-1153,



Left: Caladiums and cocktail begonias join to make an attractive shade combination. Right: The motion and direction of red and orange colors advance in the garden for a hot combo.

COLORFUL CONTAINERS Create Spectacular Plant Combinations to Beautifully Accessorize Walkways, Pools and Patios Story and photoS by Linda b. Gay


ontainer gardening is like the icing on the cake, making the presentation and results amazing. You choose a lovely, colorful container that accessorizes with your home decor color scheme — a current trend in the green industry to market plants as home decor. A container can be used to accent a front entry or walkway, pool or patio area. It can be chosen for shape, style and color. A container doesn’t even have to contain plants if you have chosen to use one as an architectural piece or accent. Most gardeners want to put soil and plants in containers to grow flowers, herbs or vegetables. 74 house& home | April 2017 |

THRILLER, FILLER & SPILLER First is the “Thriller,” the “WOW” plant in the container and what your eyes see first. It can be architectural, have exotic colorful foliage or is a continuous bloomer and the tallest plant in the combination. Second comes the “Filler” and does just that: Fills up the container and grows 6-12 inches tall. This is a colorful, spreading plant that acts as a base plant for the Thriller. Third is the “Spiller,” and this plant prefers to grow outside and down the container, spilling out of the pot. This can be ivy, a cascading flower or weeping foliage used to soften the hard lines of the container. When creating combinations, make sure you choose plants that have the same soil, light and water requirements. The best way to come up with beautiful combinations is to put them together as a “work in progress” and see how they contrast or complement each other. COLOR TIP: You will be surprised how beautiful two plants look together. For instance, a container of all red flowers is nice, but adding a little white or yellow will make the red “pop” even more. Color attracts the eye and draws attention. The motion and direction of red, orange and yellow colors advance in the garden, while green, violet and blue colors recede in the garden.


Adele Hanson, Owner 315 Caroline Montgomery, TX 77356

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CONTAINER/PLANT COMBOS Clay is very popular because the pots come in sizes from 2 to 24 inches. Clay is porous and pulls water away from the plant so if you are an “overwaterer,” this is a great container for you. Cactus, succulents and other drought-tolerant plants thrive in clay containers. When you water plants in clay containers, you need to water the outside of the pot first, then the soil, root ball, foliage and wet the pot one last time. This reduces the amount of water pulled away from the plant. Plastic becomes our pot of choice as we age because they are lightweight and take longer to dry out. Plastic pots are short-lived when used outside as the sun breaks down the plastic material and the pots shatter. Grow plants in plastic pots that like to stay moist longer like philodendrons, monstera and ferns. 75

Canna serves as the “Thriller” in this arrangement, with sunpatiens the “Filler.”

76 house& home | April 2017 |

This cool-color pairing loves a half-day of sun.

Ceramic/glazed containers are beautiful, colorful and hosen to complement your home decor for both indoor and outdoor use.

Take an ordinary journey to an extraordinary place

Make sure there is a hole in the bottom or pot your plant in a smaller container and use the ceramic one as a cachepot. Concrete containers are used outside as they are normally large, heavy and a particular style and theme. Concrete containers are also

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porous and wick the water away from the soil and plants. You can

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line the inside of these containers with trash bags to separate the soil from the concrete and poke holes into the plastic at the bottom of the container to allow the water to drain out.

SOILS FOR CONTAINERS These tips apply to containers both indoors and out. • PEAT-BASED media is best for plants with large fleshy roots and want to stay moist longer. • BARK-BASED media is best for plants that like to dry out or the gardener is an “overwaterer.” • REAL SOIL (compost) really helps woody plants grow stronger, bigger root systems and reduces the watering time. When replanting your containers, refresh the soil you have in the container. Remove most of it and mix new soil with the old soil at a 50:50 ratio, add some organic fertilizer and replant. Thoroughly yet gently hand water.

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MY NAME IS LEILA! I am a playful dog looking for my forever home. I will need plenty of training and guidance to keep me busy. I’m housetrained, and I'm used to having free run of the house. When I’m home alone, I will need to be crated and provided plenty of high value food toys such as frozen kong or food puzzle, as I will chew on objects when I'm left alone. My original owner stated that I do well when home alone, but my recent adopter stated that I will chew on personal objects and furniture when I'm home alone with free run. I will whine for the first hour, but then I quiet down. I’m still a puppy, and will need plenty of chew appropriate toys and a structured lifestyle so that I can learn to be the best dog that I can be. I just need an owner who can dedicate their time to being with me. I have lived with other dogs in my previous home and did well with them. I will always need a proper introduction to any other pets or children that I might live with, to ensure that our relationship is off to a great start! I am available for adoption for $95, so be sure to ask for more information about me!

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78 house& home | April 2017 |

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M-F 10-5 • Sat 10-6 • Sun 12-5 or Appoint.




SMALL JOBS & REPAIRS Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling Room Additions Patio Covers & Enclosure Replacement Windows

Siding & Repairs Flooring • Wood • Tile • Carpeting Painting & Repairs Insurance Claims For Prompt Professional Service •

82 house& home | April 2017 |

281-392-9111 Frederick Cilurso


0417 houhousehome vir  
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