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Fine accessories, ar ts and area r ugs

W W W. C A S T L E F D C . C O M

3819 Fondren Rd. (Fondren & Westpark) • Houston, TX 77063 • (832) 201-1000 2

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MAY 2017



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Editor’s Note Calendar Project: Easy DIY Fixes Deal Hunter: Charity Guild Store Finds Editor’s Picks: Father’s Day Gift Ideas Gardening: Exotic Tropical Plants Pet of the Month: Chico



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Put Drees Custom Homes on your short list of home builders to consider if you are house shopping or plan to build a custom home in the Houston area. The familyowned, award-winning company stands ready to create the perfect home with your personal touches. See page 12. For more information, visit

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36 A 1926 Colonial Revival House 48 A 1916 Craftsman/Mission Home 56 Galveston On Parade

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Sunday 1pm-5pm 7



Over 30 Years of Experience on Residential & Commercial Properties. • Dramatic Uplighting • Delicate Moonlighting • Feature Lighting

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have notes, notes and more notes for you this month, from exciting to more serious to a bit of silly, even a little zany. On the exciting note, hop in the car to Galveston for the city’s 43rd Annual Historic Homes Tour presented by Galveston Historical Foundation. In addition to the eight fabulous homes on parade, the foundation is showcasing two select properties as part of its “Rehabilitation in Progress” program. Galveston is lush with tropical plants, many suitable for our humid Houston clime, too. Add heavenly fragrances to your yard with ideas from The Arbor Gate, which carries this month’s featured “Gardening” plants at its expansive Tomball nursery. “Project” covers easy DIY jobs and other upgrades needing a little help from our professional friends, while “Deal Hunter” takes a walk through Houston’s charity guild shops for incredible finds. You’ll think you’re at a Sotheby’s or Christie’s auction house! And for Father’s Day, “Editor’s Picks” gives you great gift options for this deserving guy. On the more serious note, Galvestonians, Houstonians and all Gulf Coast-area residents are well too familiar with hurricane season. We’re again offering important information on preparedness. In addition to many plan-ahead basics, we’re going beyond to make sure you and your family are protected from possible high winds and torHOUSTON

PUBLISHER........................ Mike Harrison, Ph.D. ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER........ Susie Reisenbigler EDITOR...................................... Barbara Kuntz CONTRIBUTING WRITERS.................................... ............ Shirley Barr, Anne Breux, Barbara Canetti, .............................. Marsha Canright, Linda B. Gay CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS.................... .............................. Illumine Photographic Services ART DIRECTOR............................ Robert Coplin ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES.................................... ............................ Christina Garza, Gia Montalto PRINTING........................................ RR Donnelly

Now accepting Credit Cards-


house& home | May 2017 |

rential rains with suggested safeguards for your homes. It’s true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I remember sitting on our front porch when Hurricane Ike was building power inland in a strange, almost magnificent way. I finally had to retreat inside, as the first of many branches fell. We had water, pre-prepared meals, extra dog food and a passel of chew treats for our two sweeties, flashlights with fresh and standby batteries and candles ready to go. Here’s the zany note: I started cooking bacon once safe inside that night. Like pounds of it. Crazy, huh? Maybe it was my nervous anticipation pushing me to do something other than listen to the giant storm brewing: A gentle crackle-crackle with the overhead vent buzzing, rather than the whoosh-snap-andboom outside. Anyway, we ate a lot, and I mean a lot, of BLT sandwiches for the next few days. I still love a good BLT, especially with an over-easy egg in the middle and fresh avocado slices tucked inside. Now that’s a note on indulgence! Be safe, have fun and 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 •


10 house& home | May 2017 |


With Minimum Countertop Purchase Call or Visit our Showroom for Details


3602 W. 12th St. near Hempstead Rd Find us on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, HOUZZ or PINTEREST to see current trends and up to date pictures.



If you are house shopping in the Houston area or plan to build a custom home, put Drees Custom Homes on your short list of home builders to consider.

The Elmsdale is one of the many two-story floor plans available to build in the Woodtrace development in Tomball.

Drees is a family-owned custom builder, which has been creating upscale homes, with your custom touches, nationally for 90 years and in Texas for a quarter century. Two and a-half years ago the company expanded into the Houston market and is now building in eight nearby communities, according to Division President, Christian Sommer. Drees is pronounced like “trees” with a D. New to the Houston market, Drees Custom Homes has already become an award-winning Houston home builder.

Award-Winning Builder


Light-filled, airy interiors are designed for style and comfort by a team of Drees architects. 12 house& home | May 2017 |

The award-winning Linley model home located in the Retreat at Augusta Pines in Spring

Drees was honored with two 2016 GHBA Prism Awards for Best Product Design over $600,000 and for Best Family Room design — in the Linley floor plan — featured as a model in The Retreat at Augusta Pines in Spring. “At Drees Custom Homes, our philosophy is doing it right, with the utmost quality and integrity. Our goal is to deliver an outstanding customer experience while planning and building the home of your dreams. We offer home sites and customizable floor plans in Houston’s top-rated communities and school systems,” Sommer says. In addition to custom work, Drees also has move-in ready homes at price points ranging from $350,000 to $1 million-plus. When it comes to a new home’s style and comfort, a photograph can tell the story, but actually visiting these homes is better still. Seeing is believing. Schedule a tour of the Kentshire move-in ready, a threebedroom, three-bath home with about 3,000 square feet

The Kentshire model home in the community of Grand Central Park features an oversized kitchen island and a stunning family room with a 12-foot slider opening to the outdoor living area.

situated on a broad cul-de-sac in Grand Central Park in Conroe. The home’s stylish stucco stone exterior is offered on a lush, pristinely landscaped lot, and the interior is open and light-filled. It’s listed for $499,900. Grand Central Park, a Johnson Development community, is located just five miles north of The Woodlands. Despite its serene quality, the development will include mid-rise business centers with world-class shopping, dining and entertainment. Or, imagine coming home to the handsome move-in ready Bancroft home in the Friendswood Development community of Woodtrace, located near Highway 249 in Tomball. This home is an expansive four-bedroom, fourbath family home with lofty ceilings, an open floor plan and many amenities. It features an outstanding contemporary kitchen, beautiful dark hardwood flooring throughout, more than 4,000 square feet and a three car garage. It’s listed for $564,000. “Our company strives to offer and deliver custom homes

that will fit your budget, without sacrificing quality. We start with a wide selection of plans and many pre-priced custom options and then we have the ability to personalize the customization of your home through our in-house team of professional architects.” Sommer says. Drees Custom Homes stands by its product. “After closing, our warranty department is on call to handle any items that may need attention. In addition, 90 days after closing we personally call to ensure the homeowner is completely satisfied,” he says. Buying or building a home is a serious undertaking and many factors need to be considered, Sommer says, and he recommends that homebuyers start by checking out the Drees website at To learn more about Drees Custom Homes of Houston and schedule your personal tour, contact the community Market Manager or stop by one of the nine beautifully decorated model homes open daily.

For more information, please visit


Compiled by bARbARA KUNTZ

MAY 2017


A dozen private water gardens and koi ponds open to the public during the 2017 Houston Pond Tour. Photo by Dan Cook

DESIGN/INTERIORS MAY 5-6: The JOY OF QUILTS, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday Presented by the Quilt Guild of Greater Houston, the 2017 show also includes a live auction, silent auction and basket raffle. The guild, a group of quilters and quilt-lovers over 300 strong, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to this art form. Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash Road, Stafford, MAY 6-JUNE 1: “THINGS I SAID” AT ARCHWAY GALLERY Veronica Dyer’s exhibition, “Things I Said,” opens May 6 with a reception 5-8 p.m. and remains on view through June 1. Dyer works primarily with acrylics to create abstract works in this show, a

series of paintings incorporating layering of paint and other materials. Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy St., 713-522-2409, MAY 11-14: SPRING DASH MARKET, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday DASH, Design | Art | Style | Home, is a thoughtfully curated show featuring the best of local and national dealers offering unique finds for the home including contemporary, industrial, midcentury modern, antiques, retro and vintage, fine/decorative art, textiles, architectural elements and more. A $10 ticket is good for the entire weekend. Proceeds benefit Citizens for Animal Protection.

Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards St., 713-552-7752,


be on hand to talk with visitors. Sponsored by the Houston Pond Society and the Lone Star Koi Club, this self-guided tour spans the greater Houston area, with half the ponds open on Saturday and half open on Sunday. A $10 ticket is good for both days and can be purchased in advance at the Nelson Water Gardens and Nursery in Katy or at any of the tour homes on the days of the tour. 713-528-5614, or

MAY 6-7: HOUSTON ANNUAL POND TOUR, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. A dozen private water gardens and koi ponds open to the public highlight serene garden pools to huge multi-pond landscapes — and with showquality koi. Pond owners will

May 9: BRIE ARTHUR DINNER AND LECTURE, beginning at 5 p.m. Peckerwood Garden hosts a special evening with horticulturist, author and PBS correspondent Brie Arthur. Her first book, “The Foodscape

MAY 13: FLOWER-PALOOZA, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Pop Shop America gives attendees a chance to shop stylish indoor gardens like terrariums, flower crowns and more florals, as well as essential oils (think Mother’s Day!). You’ll also find vessels in an abundance of styles. Pop Shop America Boutique, 321 W. 19th St.,

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

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Get it while it’s hot at the Houston Crawfish, Crab & Grill Festival. Photo by Todd Crusham

Revolution,” will be available for purchase at her presentation. Space is limited, so advance purchased reservations are necessary. Peckerwood Garden, 20559 FM 239 in Hempstead, 979-826-3232, MAY 13: HOUSTON CRAWFISH, CRAB & GRILL FESTIVAL, 2-11 p.m. The festival gives the entire family a taste of crawfish, crab and everything grilled from local restaurants, caterers and food trucks. Kick up your heels to live performances by zydeco, R&B, soul and reggae bands, as well as some of Houston’s most popular DJs. A Kids’ Zone and arts and crafts venders add to the day. Hobby Event Center, 9906 Gulf Freeway, 281-931-4993,

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 MAY 5-6: 2017 GALVESTON ISLAND FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL, 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday The 8th annual event offers something for everyone, from wine parings, specialty food items, culinary talks, artisan

16 house& home | May 2017 |

exhibits and live musical entertainment. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn secret tips from popular chefs and wine makers. 5600 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, www.galvestonfoodandwine MAY 5-7: 18TH ANNUAL ANTIQUES FESTIVAL IN MONTGOMERY, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday The Historic Montgomery Business Association once again presents this familyfriendly festival with an extended late-night “shop until you drop” on Saturday. Enjoy food, beer and wine as you hunt for that perfect find at this free event.

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, wine tastings 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 and are avail-


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Purchase a handmade creation at Empty Bowls Houston, an annual fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank set this year June 3. Photo by Paula Murphy

able online. For group sales of 20 or more, please contact the foundation. 409-765-3405, MAY 25-JUNE 25: SOUTHWEST GOURD FINE ART SHOW “Inspired by Nature, Refined by Imagination,” this annual show features more than 100 carved, painted, inlaid and otherwise creatively enhanced gourds by the nation’s best artists. Most of the gourd art is for sale and visitors will find something for every kind of home or office decor. Admission is free. Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, 228 Earl Garrett in Kerrville, 830-895-2911, MAY 27-28: 21ST ANNUAL ROCKPORT FESTIVAL OF WINE & FOOD, 2-11 p.m. Saturday, 2-10 p.m. Sunday

A fundraiser for the Texas Maritime Museum, this year’s festival following the theme of “Casinos & Cabernets” includes more than 100 varieties of wines, VIP tastings, lectures, food and shopping vendors, live bands and beer booths. On the grounds of the Texas Maritime Museum, 1202 Navigation Circle, Rockport. For ticket information, contact:

UPCOMING JUNE 3: EMPTY BOWLS HOUSTON, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Purchase one-of-a-kind creations from 2,000-plus handcrafted bowls donated by Houston-area ceramists and craft artists as a fight-hunger campaign and fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank. The empty bowls serve as a

18 house& home | May 2017 |

reminder of all the empty bowls in our community and the world. Live music, soup ingredients donated by presenter Whole Foods Market and prepared by staff at the food bank’s kitchen and artist demonstrations throughout the day add to the popular event. Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main St., JUNE 3: EXTREME WEATHER READY EXPO, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The annual Houston/ Galveston Hurricane Workshop aims to prepare residents for hurricane season at the expo in Hall A of the George R. Brown Convention Center. As well, fun, games, prizes and great information on how to prepare for emergencies are also part of this free event. Presented by the

expo group, Ready Houston and the city’s Office of Emergency Management. JUNE 3-4: THE WOODLANDS 15TH ANNUAL HOME & GARDEN SHOW, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday More than 200 local home improvement professionals are on hand to show their wares, from kitchen cabinets to new countertop designs to barn doors — and to answer your questions. Special guests include J Schwanke, TV personality and author, with tips on making your own floral arrangements; and Randy Lemmon, popular “GardenLine” host. Don’t miss the sizzling backyard cooking demos by Cunningham Gas Products. Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center,

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Kohler’s Verdera lighted medicine cabinets turn any space into a makeup vanity for about $340-$420. Shop for Kohler’s Verdera line at Ferguson. Photo courtesy of Kohler

EASY FIXES Rejuvenate Your Home with Simple DIY Projects and Affordable Upgrades by the Pros ake your spring cleaning beyond the basic steps of reorganizing and clearing out closets, cabinets, drawers and pantries. Freshen up entire rooms with the following DYI projects and other updates just a phone call away from a professional. Whichever route you take, you’ll love the results — and find a price matching your pocketbook.


Salvaggio of Door Clearance Center. “Replacing a traditional interior door with a sliding barn door adds more space and creates a modern focal piece.” Door Clearance Center sells pre-finished front doors with decorative glass starting at $449 and barn doors with track kits starting at $298.



Let’s begin at the beginning: Your front door. New doors can dramatically enhance your home, both outside and inside. “Changing your front door instantly adds more curb appeal and can bring more light into your home,” emails Jason

That old hardware in the kitchen and/or bath needs to go, and you can do it yourself within a wide range of budgets. New knobs and drawer pulls instantly improve these two rooms with just a few turns of a screw. You’ll be amazed at the

20 house& home | May 2017 |

Round Top Vintage Market

Weekend Market open all year: Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A quality venue featuring Antiques ~ Vintage ~ Collectibles ~ Art Indoor Dealers Spaces ~ Climate Controlled ~ Over 12,000 Sq Ft • 1235 North Hwy 237, Round Top, TX 78954


The graceful design of Moen’s Arbor faucet brings an elegant touch to any kitchen and comes with motion-sense capability and a spot-resistant stainless finish. Photo courtesy of Moen

difference. Check with your favorite hardware store for endless options. Dingy and out-of-date faucets are eyesores with a DIY solution, too. Turn to Bering’s, billed as “The Original Houston Hardware Store;” Decor Builders Hardware with a brand-new showroom just in time to celebrate 45 years in business; Ferguson with its extensive offerings; and other plumbing supplies shops with full inventories of the latest-and-greatest in kitchen and bath faucets. You'll find designer products to more modestly priced brands, and all will add functionality and beauty to your home.

PAINT & WALLPAPER Paint is the No. 1 biggest bang for your buck when it comes to rejuvenating any space, and a rainbow-plus palette of colors is yours to choose from. Just prep (the very most important step), paint and presto! You have a “new” room. Emtek’s crystal knobs make a stylish statement. Bering’s carries many Emtek styles, ranging from $7-$19 each. Photo courtesy of Emtek 22 house& home | May 2017 |



UP TO $300 DISCOUNT Minimum Job, $500. Must be presented at time of estimate. May not be combined with other offers. Expires 5/31/17


A DIY project or a job for a professional, wallpaper can say, “WOW,” as shown here with a bold trellis pattern in a powder room. Photo by Julie Young/The Wallpaper Lady

A new front door adds curb appeal, while new interior doors add character. Photo courtesy of Door Clearance Center

Call on The Wallpaper Lady, Julie Young, who offers installation, removal and repairs of wallpaper in residential settings, as well a few commercial sites,” for DIY projects needing professional assistance. “Wallpaper is back!” Young says. “This is not your grandmother's stripes and flowers. Today's hot wallpaper trends are all about texture, like grass cloth, cork, faux stone or wood; bold geometrics; and luxe with silver, glitter, shimmer, pearl and glass beads. “There’s also sass, such as a traditional pattern like a damask ‘sassed up’ by overscaling the size and using unexpected colors like fuchsia on silver. And graphics, too. Huge photo murals, cartoons, handwriting script, many custom-fit to the wall.”

Young adds wallpaper actually visually expands a space, making small rooms look larger. The most popular areas for wallpaper are powder rooms, dining rooms, nurseries and accent walls in bedrooms.

24 house& home | May 2017 |

FAUX FINISHES Stop staring at that old piece of furniture, wondering if you should keep it or toss it. Give it a fresh coat of paint for a stately, elegant look with faux-finishing coatings available in a can. Amitha Verma’s line of paints, sealers, antiquing glazes and even brushes can transform any relic or bargain find into a designer-like piece. Or, turn to the professionals at Anything But Plain, an artists’ studio that specializes in decorative painting and plas-


Give your sofa and other furniture pieces facelifts with meticulous reupholstering by the experts at Hien Lam Upholstery. Photo courtesy of Hien Lam Upholstery

ters with impressive and award-winning results. Launched by interior designer Janie Ellis in 1989, Anything But Plain offers everything from dimensional layering of artisan textures and hand-painted murals to extraordinary cabinet and furniture finishes.

REUPHOLSTERY Since 1990, Houstonians and people from beyond seek out family-owned and -operated Hien Lam Upholstery for its custom antique reproduction furniture, upholstery and reupholstery, as well as custom home decor textiles such as slipcovers, draperies and bedding. Their success with high-quality work began at the Lams’ original 3,000-square-foot shop and continues at their present 32,000-square-foot operation in Montrose. “The majority of our reupholstery requests are for sofas,” says Henry Lam, manager. “We do a lot of those.” Lam says the process begins with a client supplying the furniture and selected textiles. The master craftspeople at Hien Lam then remove the old fabric, retie any faulty or broken springs and replace the padding — all before the reupholstering begins. “We look at the product once again afterward,” Lam says. “If we need to add more cushioning or adjust the fabric, we take care of that. We want our customers to be completely satisfied.” Price points depend on the scale of the project, as well as any detail work, such as nail heads. Costs usually start at about $950 with a turn-around time from 10 days to two weeks. 26 house& home | May 2017 |

RESOURCES DOORS Door Clearance Center 8245 North Freeway 713-937-9132 FAUX FINISHES & WALLPAPER Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint 1200 Blalock Road 832-831-0949

HARDWARE Bering’s 6102 Westheimer Road 713-785-6400 3900 Bissonnet St. 713-665-0500 Decor Builders Hardware 3311 Richmond Ave. 281-530-9884 www.decorbuilders Ferguson Multiple locations

Anything But Plain 7026 Old Katy Road Suite 277 281-444-2070

UPHOLSTERY The Furniture Refurbisher 817-682-5914

Artistic Paint Solutions by Patty Hoffman Wall Designs 281-480-WALL

Hien Lam Upholstery 819 W. Drew St. 713-523-3416

Faux Magic Designs 713-825-9999

Keys Upholstery 5400 Mitchelldale St. Suite A-10 713-864-7299

The Wallpaper Lady Julie Young 713-528-5614 www.wallpaperlady


Clear and tinted security film from Armor Glass protect this Missouri City home not only from harmful UV rays, but also from burglars, hurricane-force winds and even explosions. Photo by Michael Fjetland/Armor Glass International Inc.

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION The Time is Now to Take Precautions Before Hurricane Season Arrives By Barbara Canetti


s summer approaches, we hear the same warnings every year: Prepare now for the upcoming hurricane season. And again, take heed: The warnings are serious and everyone should know and remember the devastation hurricane winds, rain and surge can create. The National Weather Service has declared May 3-7 Hurricane Preparedness Week, offering a seven-day plan to help prepare for a potential destructive force of nature. The Gulf Coast area — and even communities far from the coastline — can be threatened by 28 house& home | May 2017 |

the dangerous winds, flooding, tornadoes and massive damage. Take the time now to prepare before a storm makes landfall.

PLAN AHEAD Know your risk by monitoring media, including television, radio and social media outlets. Develop an evacuation plan well in advance in the event a storm surge threatens your home and neighborhood. Know where you will be going and have your vehicle ready (gassed up) in case you must leave in a hurry.



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A Touch of Class offers Hurricane Fabric by AstroGuard for a quick fasten of protection. Photo courtesy of Hurricane Fabric

Rolltex Shutters’ hurricane-resistant shutters seal and protect your home. Photo courtesy of Rolltex Shutters



Assemble enough supplies (food, water, bedding, batteries, etc.) that will get you through at least a week. Be aware utilities may be turned off in your area for an extended period of time. Have nonperishable and canned goods, at least a gallon of water per person, medications, cash (banks and ATMs closed), a crank or battery operated radio and flashlights. Also have a manual can opener and a first aid kit on hand. And don’t forget toiletries and personal hygiene items.

Of equal importance, get your house ready. Perhaps the most vulnerable places in your home are the windows. There are several techniques for protecting the windows, but each requires attention in advance. For instance, Mike Fjetland of Armor Glass explains that windows can be protected with a high-tech film applied on each windowpane. “Windows are the weakest link of the building,” he says. “If you protect your windows, you protect your home.” The film, which is four times thicker than solar films, offers a shield of defense against flying debris, even if the glass breaks. The clear or tinted film, applied directly to each pane, also serves as a safety net against heat, sun and even burglars who try to break windows to enter a home. Another way to safeguard windows is to have custom coverings made. Richard Paulson, owner of a Touch of Class, explains that any opening is susceptible to damage. His products include lightweight, nylon-hybrid translucent fabrics affixed to the outside of each frame capable of protecting windows in a Category 5 hurricane with 200 mph winds. “The Hurricane Fabric is not invasive. The fasteners remain on the exterior of the house, and you just install each covering by snapping it into its corresponding window. It probably takes about five minutes for each,” he says, adding that storing the items is easy, as they fold up into a small bag.

PETS Have food, water, toys and leashes on hand. If you have to leave, take your pets with you or arrange for their removal to a safe place.

INSURANCE Check with your agent to make sure all policies are up-to-date and coverage is adequate for the home, car and boat. Remember, homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding, and flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period before it is valid. Also, secure important papers (insurance policies, wills, medical records, bank info, deeds or mortgages, birth and marriage certificates and recent tax returns) in a safe waterproof and fireproof location.

30 house& home | May 2017 |

Your Complete Home Care Same Name, Same Phone Number Since 1991


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 •

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RESOURCES A Touch of Class Custom Cabinets Hurricane Fabric 281-353-7166 Armor Glass International Inc. 713-213-5080 John’s Shutters & Repair 409-316-9922 Kiss Generators 832-723-6030 Shamrock Roofing of Spring uses GAF specialty roofing shingles offering impact-resistance capability and even lifetime guarantees. Photo courtesy of Shamrock Roofing of Spring

Rolltex Shutters 281-991-9200 Shamrock Roofing of Spring 281-393-7777 Storm Guardian Generators 291-648-2177 Generators Windstorm Services LP 832-818-7873

Don’t be left without electricity. Instead, invest in a generator. Kiss Generators is an authorized dealer of Kohler generators. Photo courtesy of Kohler

GENERATORS Many problems arise after the storm for homeowners when electrical utility lines are down and until power is restored. Having a generator, either a portable one or a home-style standby power system, is necessary to keep appliances running and eliminating the problem of surges. Burt Koenig of Kiss Generators notes that in the greater Houston area, electric grids are often overloaded even when there is no hurricane, and there is a potential for power failure. Having a customized generator available will save the plethora of electronic devices in a home when power is restored because the house will be protected against surges. “A surge could fry the computers in the refrigerators, televisions, washers — almost all appliances have a computer in them,” says Koenig. “At least with a generator, you will have uninterrupted service that mitigates surges.” 32 house& home | May 2017 |

THE ROOF An often forgotten item to check prior to any storm is the roof. Paul Martin with Shamrock Roofing urges homeowners to get their roofs inspected before any storm season. During Hurricane Ike, between 20 to 40 percent of all homes damages suffered roof problems. “A lot of those problems could have been avoided. Loose shingles, vents or flashing can be addressed ahead of time,” says Martin, who notes his company does free inspections. “The last thing you want to be is in a long line of insurers waiting for a new roof after a storm. “As our grandparents used to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Martin says.

The high performance, flexible mini-ducts of the fit easily behind walls and ceilings, eliminating the need for unsightly and cumbersome metal ducts and allowing you to maintain the architectural integrity of your home. is also draft-free and removes more moisture from the air. Call this certified contractor for more information on the

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34 house& home | May 2017 |


HARRY AND HARRIET WETMORE HOUSE Couple Gives 1926 Galveston Beauty a Fresh, New Life By Marsha Canright Photography courtesy of Illumine Photographic Services


ich in history and style, the house at 1606 25th St. in Galveston might have been lost to vacancy and vandalism but instead, a lively couple has given the dark-red brick beauty a new life, a fresh face and a modern livable interior. Located equidistant between Broadway Avenue and Galveston’s Seawall, the two-story Colonial Revival home was built in 1926 for the seafaring captain Harry Wetmore and his bride, Harriet. The family, which grew to include two sons and two daughters, kept the property for almost half of its 90 years. It is one of the featured houses on Galveston Historical Foundation’s Homes Tour on May 6-7 and 13-14. New owners Gayla and Billy Wiggins have fully renovated the home’s interior creating a contemporary, open-floor plan with perfect flow. Thirty-one windows fill the rooms with abundant light, and a long galley kitchen stretches the length of the house overlooking a pool, patio and rear guest quarters. “I wasn’t sure about this house when we first saw it, but now, it’s an absolute delight. It’s a happy house, full of joy,” Gayla says.

TO THE TASK Originally constructed with an uncharacteristic openness for the 1920s, the house underwent the Wiggins’ efforts to recreate the home by removing closets, which were built after the Wetmores left. Gayla re-imagined the upstairs floor plan to fashion a master suite with a walk-in closet, rare in Galveston’s older residences, and a luxurious master bath. The second bath on the upper floor has a refinished claw-foot tub. “I’m the visionary and my husband is the doer,” she says. To honor the home’s history and original owners, the couple decided to restore the captain’s wall safe, which is burrowed in a

36 house& home | May 2017 |

A functional galley kitchen with a 1920s porcelain sink overlooks an expansive backyard with pool and patio. 37

Fresh interiors reflect the new owners playful, relaxed lifestyle just blocks from the Gulf of Mexico.

downstairs room, and to maintain the elevator installed in the 1950s. Also, a framed black-and-white photograph of the Wetmore family sits by the fireplace. It was given to the Wiggins by the Wetmores’ granddaughter. The project took the couple and their contractor, Victor Galvez, more than a year to complete. The first task was to rehabilitate the guest quarters so the Wiggins could live onsite while the restoration of the main house was underway. Galveston County Pool & Spa built the pool while the house was being renovated. Slender columns frame the elaborate entry, and a side porte-

38 house& home | May 2017 |

cochere over the drive leads to the back yard. The house has about 2,200 square feet. Upstairs there are two bedrooms in addition to the master suite, and downstairs are the seating area by the original fireplace and a roomy dining room with a blue glass chandelier by an artist in Victoria. Rooms are painted in Sherwin-Williams’ “Kilim Beige,” and the kitchen and upstairs bath are painted in “Misty Gray.” Paintings in the house are by Shannon Sawyer, the assistant district attorney in Port Aransas, where Billy Wiggins was the school superintendent.

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A BRIEF FAMILY HISTORY One of the original occupants, Sherman B. Wetmore, the Wetmores’ oldest son, graduated from the New York Maritime Academy, as his father had. He served in the Navy in World War II and was much decorated, ending his career as a rear admiral. He returned to Galveston where he became a Galveston pilot, following in his father’s footsteps. Sherman B. Wetmore was chairman of the Galveston Maritime Committee that successfully lobbied to create a maritime academy in Galveston, which was approved by the U.S. Maritime Administration in 1962. The Texas Maritime Academy, officially renamed Texas A&M University at Galveston in 1979, might not have lasted had it not been for the relentless efforts of individuals like Wetmore, according to the official history. The Wetmores’ eldest daughter, Elizabeth, lived in the house her entire life. She was a third-grade teacher at Crockett Elementary School for 33 years. A working elevator installed in the 1950s hugs the original staircase. The captain’s wall safe is visible when the elevator rises to the second floor. 40 house& home | May 2017 |

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The 1926 Harriet and Harry Wetmore House is one of the featured homes on Galveston Historical Foundation’s annual tour.

RESOURCES CONTACT Galveston Historical Foundation 2228 Broadway Ave., Galveston 409-765-7834 CONTRACTOR Victor Galvez Remodeling 409-939-5040

42 house& home | May 2017 |

PAINT Sherwin-Williams SWIMMING POOL Galveston County Pool & Spa Galveston, 409-316-2020 Houston, 281-282-2080

CLR Design Services, Inc. is a residential and commercial design firm specializing in remodels and new construction.






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

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46 house& home | May 2017 |

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THE HANS AND MARGUERITE GULDMANN HOUSE Mission and Craftsman Elements Combine Seamlessly in this Popular Tour Home By Barbara Canetti Photography courtesy of Illumine Photographic Services


hundred years ago, when the Hans Guldmann family built their spacious family home at 1715 35th St., Mrs. Marguerite Guldmann complained she couldn’t get groceries delivered because her house was out in the country on Galveston Island with no roads leading to it. The large house, which the family occupied for 60 years, is featured once again on the 43rd Galveston Historical Foundation’s annual home tour — for the third time. The Craftsman- and Mission-style home is a favorite because of its lovely and bright interiors, its historical significance and the fact that it sits on 1.3 acres of land. The expanse of the homestead is unique in Galveston, where houses were purposely built close to each other for wind protection and lot size is usually quite small. The present owners, Mikey and Allen Isbell, purchased the 5,500-square-foot house in 1983. “It was an overgrown mess,” says Mikey. “Yaupons and cherry laurels everywhere. You could hardly see out the windows.” The property was cleared decades ago and now boasts of lovely vistas from every angle. None of the windows are draped or covered, allowing natural light to flow into every room.

STEP INSIDE As visitors approach the red brick house and its green tiled roof, the large two-story, wrap-around porches immediately invite lazy day opportunities. Open the glass-fronted door and once inside, the dark wood floors, the high ceilings and the immense staircase — divided at the top — greet guests. The

48 house& home | May 2017 |

A large, bright living room in the front of the house is attached to a sunroom that overlooks the garden. 49

A majestic staircase is the first thing visitors to the Guldmann house notice. The wooden staircase divides at the top landing, one side leading to the bedrooms and the other to a storage area.

Isbells have photos from the Guldmanns’ days and ironically, much of the furniture placement today resembles the original owners’ choices. “We haven’t changed much, except the kitchen and bathrooms. Otherwise, the house is still the same as it was back then,” Mikey says. The foyer is grand and spacious, with a homemade desk nestled in the corner, handcrafted by one of Allen’s ancestors

50 house& home | May 2017 |

in the early 1900s five generations ago. Turning to the left through one set (of three) pocket doors is the spacious living room and the dining room, which is the largest room in the house. “It was designed so big because the owners entertained frequently,” she says. The dining room is decorated today with Mikey’s grandmother’s oak dining room table and buffet from Alba, both preserved perfectly.


MORE FEATURES A yellow butler’s pantry with storage for holiday dishes and stemware and an eclectic collection of birdhouses leads into the all-white kitchen, which was recently updated again. But the original white hexagon tiled floor remains, a reminder of the house’s original spirit. A glassed-in porch — one of three in the house — serves as a small office for Mikey; Allen’s book-lined study is nearby. And in the study is one of many fireplaces, designed and decorated with pastel-colored tile but totally not the style of the house. “I think the fireplaces are cool and they have a real modern look to them, but they are original,” she says. Upstairs are five bedrooms, including one room that served as the schoolroom where the Guldmann children were educated by a nanny who lived in the nearby room. The other guest rooms are decorated in period furnishings and one leads out onto the large sleeping porch along the south side of the house, catching the Gulf breezes all day. The master bedroom, also attached to the porch, has a large en suite bathroom and walk-in closets.

A pair of matching decorative sculpture lights are mounted on the newel posts at the foot of the staircase.

52 house& home | May 2017 |



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The red brick 1916 Guldmann House on 35th Street in Galveston is a combination of Craftsman- and Mission-style architecture.

There is also an attic, not open to the public, as well as a cemented basement, which is used for storage and laundry. But tucked in the corner of the basement is a large — but empty — wine cellar. “There were bottles from a long time ago,” Mikey says. “But I don’t think I would drink any wine that has been stored down here.” 54 house& home | May 2017 |

RESOURCES BACKSPLASH Floor & Decor Several locations LED LIGHTS IN KITCHEN The Home Depot Multiple locations

STONE COUNTERTOPS Nancy’s Cabinets & Granite Countertop 6723 Stewart Road Galveston 409-877-6577 nancyscabinets/ STOVE COOKTOP Kenmore Multiple dealers

FAUCETS I WHIRLPOOLS I HARDWARE I SINKS I TOILETS I TUBS Westheimer Plumbing & Hardware is in the process of rebuilding our showroom after the driver of a car in the parking garage behind us lost control of his vehicle and went through the parking garage and crashed into the roof of our showroom. No one was seriously injured, but the damage to the showroom is significant. We have relocated our entire staff and a great many displays to our Warehouse Showroom. We hope you will come to our Warehouse Showroom as we rebuild our Kirby Drive showroom! We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Charles Hurley, commission merchant and former mayor of Galveston, owned this 1868 two-story Southern house at 1328 Ball St. showcasing Greek Revival features.

GALVESTON ON PARADE Get Ready for Architecture, Dinners, Happy Hours and a Mom’s Day Brunch During the Galveston Historic Homes Tour Photography courtesy of Illumine Photographic Services


alveston Historical Foundation opens the doors to some of the city’s incredible architectural history through public tours of nine privately owned homes during its 43rd annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour. Tours are scheduled 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 6-7 and 13-14. Tickets are $30 for nonmembers before May 1 and $35 after and are available online at Members of Galveston Historical Foundation can purchase specially priced $25 tickets by calling 409-765-3405 or by visiting any of the foundation’s retail locations. “Early Bird” tickets come with a full tour pass and are limited to 100 per Saturday for $50 each. Tickets are available for

56 house& home | May 2017 |

both Saturdays of the tour and allow you to enjoy access to three tour homes from 8-10 a.m. “The annual homes tour highlights the island’s architecture crossing decades of construction and design, as well as houses both large and small,” says Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s executive director. “Galveston offers a unique collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century houses that will intrigue visitors and captivate historic house buffs. “Come join GHF and these homeowners as we welcome visitors from across the country to experience historic Galveston of the past.”

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HOMES TOUR SPECIAL EVENTS Seats are limited at all special events with pricing, times and reservations available at

May 5 and May 12 at 7 p.m. History on Tap Dinners

Grocery merchant Thomas Bollinger and his wife, Maggie, were the first residents of this two-story Victorian house located at 1601 Postoffice St.

Enjoy a specially created dinner cooked by an award-winning chef in a tour home. Homeowners will lead you on a visit of the property while you relish a one-of-a-kind evening in historic Galveston. Featured homes are the 1916 Guldmann House on May 5 and the 1925 Swiff and 1926 Wetmore homes on May 12. At $150 per person, the event includes a homes tour ticket.

May 6 at 5 p.m. Hendley Happy Hour Take a rare peak into the restoration of this iconic Galveston building with craft beer, wine and light appetizers. Guests will be allowed onto the third floor for an unparalleled view of The Strand at $50 per person.

The former City National Bank, 2219 Market St., is currently being rehabilitated for use as a private event venue. 58 house& home | May 2017 |

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May 6, 7 and 13 at 8 a.m. Bishop’s Breakfast The 1892 Bishop’s Palace will open its doors for an exclusive breakfast in the main dining room. Enjoy breakfast, a complimentary audio tour of the house and tour of the house. The $85 package per person includes a homes tour ticket.

May 7 and May 14 at 9 a.m. President Harrison Shuttle Tours The 1925 Joseph and Helen Swiff House at 1602 25th St. contains 10 rooms and 19 closets.

The galley kitchen at the Harry and Harriet Wetmore House, 1606 25th St., stretches the length of the home. 60 house& home | May 2017 |

During GHF’s Harrison Shuttle Tour, participants trace the parade route of the late President Benjamin Harrison, learning about his visit to the city and important Galveston landmarks along the way. Tickets are $15 per person.


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May 7 and 14 at 3 p.m. Ortiz Penthouse Happy Hour & Tour Relax with cocktails and tour in the penthouse home of Frank and Blanche Ortiz. This incredibly preserved residence was last renovated in 1979 and has been immaculately maintained with the Las Vegas style of the Ortizes. Tickets are $40 per person.

Galveston Historical Foundation relocated this two-room alley house, circa 1880, to its current location at 811 Broadway.

May 14 at 9 a.m. Mother’s Day Brunch at the 1838 Menard House Complex Celebrate Mom with a hearty brunch, door prizes, flowers and more in Menard Hall, then take a tour of Galveston’s oldest residence, the 1838 Menard House. At $70 per person, the cost includes a homes tour ticket.

The living room at the Hans and Marguerite Guldmann House, 1715 35th St., is filled with natural light. 62 house& home | May 2017 |

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James Jefferson Davis, former vice president of the Galveston Wharves, commissioned architect George B. Stowe to design this house at 1915 Sealy St.

The 1899 William and Ella Dugey House at 3007 Ave. P suffered substantial damage from the 1900 storm. The Dugeys rebuilt it in 1901. 64 house& home | May 2017 |

The 1915 Henry Hildebrand House at 3624 Ave. R 1/2 is a "Rehabilitation in Progress" project by Galveston Historic Foundation.




GET THRIFTY Shop Houston’s Charity Guild Stores for Rare Furniture Finds

A vintage burled-oak sideboard from The Guild Shop of St. John was a deal at $180. An old photo found inside indicated the original owner lived in Scotland.


ere’s a vintage burled-oak sideboard and a red silk Queen Anne-style sofa…am I dreaming I’m in Christie’s or Sotheby’s auction houses in New York? Wake up and look at the prices, Shirl. You are at the Charity Guild of Catholic Women Consignment Shop, one of many of Houston’s popular charity guild resale stores. One young woman has furnished her house with finds from charity resale shops, including a stunning mahogany dining table that seats eight. She bought it on final clearance for less than $300 at the Charity Guild of Catholic Women. 66 house& home | May 2017 |

Another friend has a hand-carved walnut coffee table signed by the artist from the Memorial Area Ministries (MAM) Resale Store. A steal at $180, she said she would have paid more because it is so unique and the perfect size for her space. Here’s a blueprint of Houston charity guild resale shops, but always check websites before you go for change in hours, days and other instructions. Also, if you are bringing items to consign, you’ll need to complete, print and brings forms provided online with you. Shop websites also list items acceptable and not acceptable.

Houston’s Acclaimed Jeff Law, “The Plant Whisperer” and Designer Seen on TV, Chronicle, Playboy & Magazines 2 hour consulatations, $200-$250 67

The Blue Bird Circle 615 W. Alabama St. 713-528-0470 Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday Consignments are by appointment only. The Blue Bird Circle has a reputation for great furniture, but they don’t take everything every day.

Charity Guild of Catholic Women Consignment Shop 1203 Lovett Blvd. 713-529-0995 Open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Saturday Guild sends checks promptly upon the sale of your items and has separate entrances for household and apparel. Expect a line, so pack your patience.

The Guild Shop of St. John the Divine

This Chinese wardrobe quickly earned a "Sold" sticker at Memorial Area Ministries Resale Store. Photo by Shirley Barr

2009 Dunlavy St. 713-528-5095 Open 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday Packed with priceless gems from River Oaks mansions, The Guild Shop features a rotating inventory of furniture, rugs, art and collectibles.

MAM (Memorial Area Ministries) Resale Store

This buffet was recently marked at less than $300 at the Charity Guild of Catholic Women Consignment Shop. Photo by Shirley Barr

68 house& home | May 2017 |

1625 Blalock Road 713-468-4516 Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday A Spring Branch treasure! You’ll find easy donation drop-offs, plenty of parking and most importantly, terrific furniture buys from downsizing Memorialites.


Compiled by barbara Kuntz




ark your calendars for June 18, as it’s that time of year again to show Dad how much he’s loved and appreciated with an extra-special gift for Father’s Day. Ties are always nice, but we have more ideas for you to consider. Hopefully one of the following selections will fit your dad to a T.


$200 and up Call Rubin’s Custom Rugs & Fine Carpet for a consultation now, very stealthily, for a surprise set of custom-designed car mats just in time for Father's Day. Upon client approval, the company’s master craftsmen take your pattern concepts to their workrooms to create your one-of-a-kind gift. Rubin’s Custom Rugs & Fine Carpet, 3130 Rogerdale Road, 713-784-1180, OXX COFFEEBOXX


$999 Dad is going to LOVE his new hobby with this small yet extremely capable drone, which folds up to about the same size of a large camera lens. DJI gave the Mavic Pro more than four miles of range, 21-plus minutes of flight time and a top speed of 40 mph. Even if you lose signal while flying, just use the controller to make the Mavic go into return-to-home mode and avoid obstacles while it comes back to you. Available through Amazon, Best Buy, and

$229 Billed as “the world’s toughest coffee maker,” OXX’s product is ideal for the jobsite and anywhere hot cups of coffee are in demand, such as RVs, boats, camping, hunting and fishing trips and Dad’s garage workshop. Now available in a new desert tan, the rugged COFFEEBOXX brews the perfect cup using single-serve coffee pods. GUAYABERAS


$229 After a hard day’s work or just for weekend relaxing, Dad deserves his own spot to wind down, and this hammock is quilted for his cushioned comfort. Made of breathable Sunbrella, a fadeand mildew-resistant acrylic fabric, the hammock comes with highquality steel hanging hardware or can be used with a stand (sold separately). The hammock is reversible, too, with stripes on one side and a solid color on the other. Available through L.L. Bean, 70 house& home | May 2017 |

$140-$150 each Dad’s next favorite shirt, these guayaberas popularized in the 1950s by the likes of Ernest Hemmingway are crisp and ready for any occasion, from casual to formal. Also known as the “Mexican wedding shirt,” the garments feature pin-tucked ventilation panels for warm weather and four front-panel pockets for pizzazz. Dad will look great in one of these shirts, designed for a timeless, classic look. Available through Paris Texas Apparel Co., 1022 Wirt Road, Suite 318, 800-941-1410,

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$369-$399 Dad will be super-excited about the built-in GPS, water resistance up to 50 meters and the brightest screen Apple has ever made in this leading-edge innovation partnered with Nike. The perforated Nike sport band reduces weight and improves ventilation. The faces display the time in both digital and analog styles. Add to these features applications from messages to Apple Pay to Siri…. Dad will say thank you! Available through



$200 Give Dad the style that started it all: The original Ray-Ban metal aviator available in multiple lens colors with just as many options for polarized lenses that boast a perfectly layered construction of glass and polarized film. The result is a high-performance lens that truly protects the eyes, while looking mighty stylish at the same time. Available at Sunglass Hut, multiple locations, LIMITED EDITION YETI RAMBLERS

$39.99-$49.99 Show Dad some love this Father's Day with a Limited Edition Rambler from Yeti. Double-wall vacuum insulation keeps drinks piping hot or ice cold, a no-sweat design means no rings on surfaces and the tumblers are dishwasher safe. Say thanks for all the hard work with a gift that's as wild and tough as he is. C&D Hardware and Gifts, 314 E. 11th St., 713-861-3551, 72 house& home | May 2017 |

$119.95 We all scream for ice cream, and now Dad can make that and frozen yogurt, sorbet and gelato with the Gelateria from Cuisinart. Just add fresh ingredients into the spout, press the control panel for texture and the innovative paddle design whips up two quarts of your desired confection in 20 minutes. Scoop into bowls and you have an official Father’s Day celebration. Available through Sur La Table, several locations, PM 75 UPRIGHT SMOKER

$1,695 Let Texas Pit Crafters design and build a highend stainless steel smoker that will have Dad cooking mouth-watering meats for the entire family. The Houston area-based company prides itself on lifetimelasting products that perform exceptionally and look great, too. “Our niche is to build products that are unique and appeal to the most discriminating of customers,” Crafters’ website says. Available at Texas Pit Crafters, 31909 Decker Industrial Circle, 281-356-2168,


on Yale

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t only takes one hard freeze to bring us back to the reality that we do not live in a truly tropical climate. Seeing the dead Queen and Pygmy palms brings me back to re-evaluating my garden and selecting plants that do not need covering in the winter or replacing in the spring. I have included a short list of root-hardy tropical perennials and the most coldhardy palms for sun and shade areas. A tropical perennial can freeze back to the ground in the winter, return from the roots the following spring and flower prolifically again before cold arrives once again. When planting these tried-and-true choices, work expanded shale into the soil, as this permanent soil amendment loosens clay soils, creates air spaces for the roots to grow and allows plants to breathe. 74 house& home | May 2017 |

Angel Trumpets emit a wonderful fragrance at night.

One of the main reasons tropicals do not return in the spring is their roots die due to heavy clay soils that prevent plants from developing a large, healthy root system prior to going into the winter. You only get one shot to get the planting right, and shale is the cheapest form of “insurance” to grow that healthy plant.

BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS Angel Trumpet (Brugmansia) is a big, fast-growing, leafy and sun-loving accent plant. It produces flowers that may be pink, white (single or double) or golden yellow. The flowers are fragrant starting at dusk, emit fragrance throughout the night and are pollinated by sphinx moths. These plants can grow 6 to 15 feet tall in a season and are very easy to propagate by cuttings. If these plants freeze to the ground, in the spring cut the stems back to 3 inches and fertilize with a granular, organic fertilizer like Arbor Gate Blend. Once the soil warms up, shoots will emerge and grow quickly when the soil and air temperatures escalate. Do not be tempted to prune them, as they will fork naturally, and this is when the first round of large, fragrant trumpet flowers appears. Shirley Temple Hibiscus is my favorite hibiscus, as it grows into an 8-to-10-foot tree, can have hundreds of blooms on it at once and suffers minimal freeze damage. They are soft pink, single flowers with dark-red eye zones. A solid white form emerged in the market last year and is called the Shirley Temple “Alba.” Grow this in full sun or part shade and enjoy! I have also heard this plant called Anderson Crape Myrtle by a local.



Drought-tolerant Lady Palm loves the shade and is slow to spread.

The most cold-hardy, single-trunk palm is the Butia capitata, also known as the Pindo palm or the Cocos plumosus palm and grows to 10-15 feet tall. It is from South America and very drought tolerant, slow growing and can be used under the power lines and not get decapitated by the power company. The Butia has a beautiful silver or green feather frond instead of a palmate frond, giving this palm a more tropical feel. It needs to be the replacement palm for the Pygmy and Queen palms, as Butia will never need to be replaced. NOTE: This palm should be planted with 50 percent expanded shale to loosen the heavy clay and sandy soils, as this will aid the palm in overwatering and during periods of high rainfall.

Pindo Palm is a single, solitary trunk palm for full sun and dry areas.

A wonderful hardy, slow-spreading palm is the Rhapis palm, also known as the Lady Palm. Grow this drought-tolerant palm in shaded areas under large trees and watch it slowly colonize an area — and no, it is not invasive. It has beautiful, dark green fronds with leaflets that are corrugated and rigid. It can grow 4-6 feet tall and adds just a touch of tropical to a native yaupon bed. This unique palm can also be grown in a container for the shaded patio or inside the home, as it is a low-light interior plant and incredibly hardy.


Choose Variegated Tapioca as a great accent plant for sun or shade.

Stromanthe Triostar is a short-clumping shade-lover brightening any garden area.

In the hot, humid tropics, colorful foliage is the summer theme because these plants grow fast and big. Color and texture replace the look of flowers. Variegated Tapioca has deep yellow and green palmate leaves attached to light-colored trunks by pink stems. Growth habit is upright, and the multi-trunk stems give a full, shrubby look. Grow as a container plant or garden accent in full sun to part shade. It can grow 5-7 feet tall and as wide in a summer, but don’t overwater, as this can rot the underground tuber. One of our showiest, shade-loving foliage plants is Red Ginger or Triostar, even though it is not a true ginger. The Latin name is Stromanthe tricolor (if you want to do further research on it) and really brightens up shaded areas with beautiful maroon, green and white leaves. Use as an accent plant in the ground under native trees or in a shaded patio pot with friends. There are so many hardy tropical plants. I only highlighted a few. To learn more about tropical gardening in Houston, watch for my “Tropical Summer Session” to be held this summer at The Arbor Gate Nursery in Tomball. Enjoy this lovely spring!

Linda B. Gay is a horticulturist and gardener at The Arbor Gate Nursery in Tomball. 76 house& home | May 2017 |

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