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house& home | September 2017 |


house& home | September 2017 |






Editor’s Note Calendar Project: A Living Room Makeover Product: Amish Furniture Editor’s Picks: Get Your Fall On Gardening: Naturalizing Bulbs Pet of the Month: Mokie



60 6

8 14 18 26 70 74 78

Bute/King Architects and Ronald Logan Interest Inc., General Contractor, are Two Longtime Firms Specializing in Custom Estate Homes & Remodels including the Mithoff Residence. See Page 60.

house& home | September 2017 |

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his year, the season of fall marks a renewal for Houston with the start of recovery from Hurricane Harvey. Our hearts go out to families who lost loved ones. To those whose homes were flooded or destroyed, we will continue to help. And many, many thanks to all the heroes out there who came to the rescue of others. We cheered you onward with tears and joy. Now, our wishes for everyone are new beginnings. We offer this initial list of resources for anyone in need of help, desiring to volunteer or wanting to contribute to the cause. HH&H will be running an expanded recovery roundup in our October issue. + + + + Click2 Houston ( is another reliable source, with phone numbers listed by county. We move forward in this issue, starting with the Historic Glenbrook Valley Home Tour. Residents of six houses in this “time capsule” area open their doors for a Jetson-setting home tour Sept. 31-Oct. 1. Our feature home, “The Swankienda,” is a HOUSTON

PUBLISHER........................ Mike Harrison, Ph.D. ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER........ Susie Reisenbigler EDITOR........................................ Barbara Kuntz CONTRIBUTING WRITERS.................................... ..............Shirley Barr, Anne Breux, Barbara Canetti, ........................Marsha Canright, Mary Chavoustie, ..................................Linda B. Gay, Whitney Radley CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS.................... .................. Nate Messarra Photography, Rob Muir, ........ Anthony Rathbun, TK Images, Chuck Williams ART DIRECTOR............................ Robert Coplin ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES.................................... ............................ Christina Garza, Gia Montalto PRINTING........................................ RR Donnelly

glamour gal with a circular sunken living room anchored by — what else? — a double-sided round fireplace. Eklektik Interiors takes a living room from drab to fab in “Light & Art,” an awesome space now spotlighted with hue-changing bulbs in high-hanging pendant globes. The shelving solution to showcase the homeowners’ impressive artwork collection is pretty darn ingenious, too, as well as beautiful. “The Amish Way” explores how members of these communities use only pneumatic tools in their exceptional woodworking. We offer options for purchasing their handmade, solid-wood furniture and cabinetry right here in Houston. Take a walk-through of a treasured River Oaks estate, now on the market for $19.5 million through John Daugherty Realtors. Thanks to Ronald Logan Interest Inc. and Bute/King Architects for their contributions to this grand home. It’s bulb time for those rhizomes, corms and tubers. “Gardening” thoroughly covers this topic, and “Editor’s Picks” helps you get in the mood with home decor and more ideas to welcome the new season. And, again, new beginnings. Best to all, 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 •


house& home | September 2017 |




Fine accessories, ar ts and area r ugs

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12 house& home | September 2017 |


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CALENDAR DESIGN/INTERIORS SEPT. 7: GIFTS FROM THE HERB GARDEN, 10 a.m. Henry Flowers of Festival Hill Gardens instructs participants on how to make fresh herbal bouquets or fragrant herbal wreaths as great gifts for any occasion. The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, 281-351-8851, SEPT. 8: TEXAS ARTIST OF THE YEAR EXHIBITION, opening reception at 6 p.m. More than 50 works in a diverse range of media by Trenton Doyle Hancock are on show through Nov. 4 as Art League Houston presents its 2017 Artist of the Year exhibition, “Texas: 19972017.” 1953 Montrose Blvd., 713-5239530, SEPT. 15-17: HOUSTON ANTIQUES + ART + DESIGN SHOW, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday Visit the booths of 75 exhibitors from across the United States, Canada and Europe to find antique furniture, decorative and fine arts representing all design movements of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and introducing vintage 20th-century modern. Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards St., 708-366-2710, SEPT. 15-OCT. 29: “SOUTHERN LIVING” SHOWCASE HOME BY MORNING STAR BUILDERS, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Come experience this beauti-

ful custom-built showcase home with views of the second fairway in Tiger Wood’s first Texas golf course community, Bluejack National in Montgomery. The home incorporates many of today’s popular design trends, including an attached guest casita and a spacious outdoor living area. From top to bottom, this home speaks to all that is “Southern Living.” Bluejack National, 4430 S. FM 1486, Montgomery, SEPT. 23: 7th ANNUAL HOUSTON MODERN HOME TOUR Presented by the Modern Architecture + Design Society, the self-guided tour gives people a chance to view great examples of modern architecture right in their own city during this day of local sightseeing and open house-style visits for lovers of architecture, design, real estate and, simply, cool homes. SEPT. 30-OCT. 1: HISTORIC GLENBROOK VALLEY HOME TOUR, noon-4 p.m. both days Rocket back to another time at this popular home tour, with six homes on view this year, along with the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport. See a split-level home, a rarity in flat Houston; a mid1970s Spanish-style home with courtyard entry; and “The Sputnik House,” so dubbed for its original Sputnik-shaped porch light. Classic cars add to the throwback fun of the event.

EVENTS SEPT. 2-3: THE WOODLANDS 15TH ANNUAL FALL HOME & GARDEN SHOW, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday Transform your house into a dream home or create the custom home of your desires with the latest products and fresh ideas at this favorite show. Feature presenter Dr. Lori Verderame of Discovery Channel’s “Auction Kings” is on hand to Shop for exquisite antiques at the Houston appraise your Antiques + Art + Design Show. Photo courtesy of antiques, repreAtlanta Fine Rugs sentatives of Cunningham Gas football and fall entertaining Products offer live cooking tips. Members of Brookwood demos both days and popular Community host a fall plant gardening expert Randy sale. Everyone enjoys free Lemmon is ready to answer parking at the site, Merrell your questions. Center & Robinson Pavilion, The Woodlands Waterway Marriott 6301 S. Stadium Lane in Hotel & Convention Center, 1601 Katy. Lake Robbins Drive, www.wood832-392-0165, SEPT. 9-10: KATY FALL HOME AND GARDEN SHOW, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.5 p.m. Sunday More than 200 industry experts in landscaping, lighting, flooring, paint, home automation and more are on hand with their products. The show also includes a Vintage Market and Kitchen & Bath Idea Center. Meet Melissa Cervantes, the mastermind behind Dumpster Diva Designs. Harold Kelly from Mélange Catering provides

SEPT. 10: BULBS AND BUDDIES, 10 a.m. Head to The Arbor Gate where Chris Wiesinger of Southern Bulb Co. and Heidi Sheesley of TreeSeach Farms help you create extraordinary gardens using treasured plants and bulbs. The Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball, 281-351-8851, SEPT 22: “FOR HIRE: CONTEMPORARY SIGN PAINTING IN AMERICA,” opening reception 5:30-8 p.m.

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


beers and wines. There’s also a Kids’ Zone, so it’s fun for the entire family. Madisonville Visitor Center, 113 W. Trinity, 936-348-9333,

Explore the history of handlettered signs with some of the pieces installed from the start of the show with others created in the gallery over the course of the exhibition. The show is on display through Jan. 7, 2018. Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main St., 713-5294848, SEPT. 23-24: TEXAS HOME & GARDEN SHOW Take advantage of this show for expert advice, money-saving tips, remodeling ideas, landscape features and everything you need for your home and garden. Attend workshops, comparison shop and learn about the latest products for your home. The show is promoted as “Texas homeowners’ best resource,” all under one roof. NRG Center, Hall C, 1 NRG Park,

ANTIQUES/VINTAGE SEPT. 16-17: HUNTSVILLE ANTIQUE SHOW, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday With a $5 admission per person good for both days, it’s a deal! Plus, you’ll find your own personal deals on antiques, collectibles, yard and garden items, vintage holiday collectibles, furniture and sterling jewelry. Walker County Fair & Rodeo grounds, 3925 Highway 30 West SEPT. 20-30: ARBOR INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUES AND INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW Arbor Antiques has brought dealers to Round Top for more than 20 years. You’ll find everything from custom furniture, fine art and handcrafted jewelry to museumquality antique pieces — and more.

Garden Club of Houston’s Annual Bulb & Plant Mart occurs Oct. 12-14.

SEPT. 23-OCT. 7: COLE’S ANTIQUE SHOW Held in Warrenton, just four miles from Round Top, Cole’s Antique Show hosts 250-plus dealers selling quality antiques, art and jewelry in the largest indoor venue in the area. SEPT. 25-30: 50TH ORIGINAL ROUND TOP FALL ANTIQUES FAIR Get ready for the golden anniversary of this antiques extravaganza! Following a theme of “50 Years of Fabulous,” the big event promises finds for festivalgoers.

UPCOMING OCT 7: WEIRD HOMES TOUR, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The tour showcases the weird, wonderful and whimsical places that make our world amazing. During the selfpaced, self-driving day, visit the homes of collectors of oddities, rare art collectors, performance artists, painters, sculptors and architects. OCT. 9-10: KINGWOOD WOMEN’S CLUB HOLIDAY MARKETPLACE, 6-9 p.m. Monday preview party, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday Vendors from all over the Gulf Coast and the nation offer a wide variety of merchandise including jewelry, food,

16 house& home | September 2017 |

women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, holiday decorations, gift items and much more at this 21st annual fundraiser. All proceeds are donated to local charities. Humble Civic Center, 3 Will Clayton Parkway, OCT. 12-14: GARDEN CLUB OF HOUSTON’S 75TH ANNUAL BULB AND PLANT MART, 4:307 p.m. early bird shopping, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday More than 500,000 top-quality bulbs from domestic and international suppliers are available at this popular event. Experienced as well as beginning gardeners find an expanded collection of hardto-find and unusual crinums, daylilies, gingers, perennials, trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and citrus plants, including exclusive offerings from the gardens of GCH members grown specifically for the mart. St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, 2450 River Oaks Blvd., OCT. 14: 16TH ANNUAL TEXAS MUSHROOM FESTIVAL, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Madisonville, the “Mushroom Capital of Texas,” once again hosts “Fiesta de Hongos” featuring 240 booths, food court, live entertainment, classic car show and Texas craft

OCT. 14: “JACK UNRUH: THE TEXANIST” EXHIBIT OPENING, 5-8 p.m. Red & White Gallery in Fayetteville presents works for sale by the late artist, whose artwork illustrates Texans’ curiosity with their state. Shop online now for Unruh’s legendary drawings at The exhibit remains on view through November. 102 W. Main St., Fayetteville, OCT. 14-15: 46th ANNIVERSARY BAYOU CITY ART FESTIVAL DOWNTOWN, 10 a.m.6 p.m. both days Celebrate the big event around City Hall, Hermann Square, Houston Public Library and Sam Houston Park with 300 artists in 19 different disciplines. The festival is a sophisticated outdoor gallery under the iconic Houston skyline, transforming our streets into artistic avenues bursting with color. Patrons also enjoy music, entertainment, food trucks and the Children’s Creative Zone. OCT. 20-21: RIVER OAKS GARDEN CLUB’S 66TH ANNUAL PINK ELEPHANT SALE, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday The city’s oldest rummage sale offers all kinds of treasures, including clothing, collectibles, home decor, furniture and plants in the 21,000square-foot Bayou City Event Center. Proceeds benefit the community through scholarships and education and conservation, environmental and beautification projects.

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LIGHT & ART Living Room Makeover Near Brays Bayou Creates At-home Gallery for Homeowners By Marsha Canright after PhotograPhy By ChuCk WilliaMs


his nicely sized formal living room was in need of an update to create a more polished look and to make the space more usable and organized. Everything was subject to change except placement of the couple’s baby grand piano. The area targeted for redesign is often used for entertaining.



Even with its high ceilings, dramatic windows, mediumtoned hardwood floors and floating stone fireplace, the room itself was too dark and it lacked a cohesive arrangement of the art and artifacts collected and treasured by the homeowners. “Our primary goal for the living room was to create a ‘wow’ factor. The couple wanted a really cool space for entertaining and also for their own enjoyment,” says designer Kathy Anderson with Eklektik Interiors in Houston. They also wanted to upgrade and invest in contemporary furnishings, and the husband, an engineer, was keen on integrating automation, especially the lighting system. He wanted the lights to change colors and to control the automation with his iPhone.

SOLUTIONS The finished room is light and polished with prime gallery space to display the homeowners’ art. Custom lighting fixtures change color and can be controlled by a smart phone. Before, the room was dark and lacked a focal point.

18 house& home | September 2017 |

SHELVING Anderson chose a long, blank wall to create adjustable shelves for displaying the couple’s paintings and art pieces. First the wall was covered in soft, white wallpaper, and the new gallery-style shelves made of alderwood were installed and illuminated on the front side of the cabinets. “These shelves can be modified so that art can be rotated and still fit properly within the space,” Anderson says. “The lighting is vertical so the shelves can be moved horizontally.” The designers staged the art to showcase individual pieces — and to achieve the “wow” factor.


The finished project has the “wow” factor and is an ideal place for the couple to entertain and relax.

LIGHTING Custom light fixtures by Robert Abbey — a total of 10 pendant globes — were installed with Philips hue bulbs, which make it possible to control lighting colors and intensity with a smart phone. WINDOWS Designers used a gauzy, white, patterned material from Carole Fabrics to cover the windows. This increases natural light without a glare and lends texture to the room. FURNISHINGS A gray-tone sofa and a taupe chair from RC Furniture form a conversation area before the wall of art. By the windows, Anderson added two mid-century-inspired swivel chairs from Kaleidoscope Furniture, which bring subtle color and shape to the arrangement. The movement of the chairs allows the homeowners to easily look outside to the pool area. A pair of touchier lamps shines direct light upward to illuminate the height of the room. RUG This soft blended-nylon rug was selected from Chandra Rugs for its lush texture and sheen. In a room with such an expansive

20 house& home | September 2017 |

hardwood floor, this piece helps to define the lounge area and gives the room a completed look. FIREPLACE The fireplace made of cultured stone was cleaned and the heavy crown molding removed, giving it a lighter, updated appeal. SPENDING & SAVING The homeowner splurged a little more on the lighting fixtures because they were perfect for the look — and because the husband loved the light play, Anderson says. They saved on the rug, which was never intended to be a focal point. Still, it anchors the room with subtle style.

ART DISPLAY TIPS Showcasing art can be a design dilemma. Anderson offers these ideas for organizing your treasures. “It’s best to group collections to get a cohesive look and not separate them, because then it looks too busy,” she says. “Also, you want your eye to move across the entire wall so the colors should be spread evenly. You don’t want pops of color to compete.”


Above: A soft nylon rug and throw pillows on the neutral couch give the room texture without competing with the artwork. Below: The stone fireplace benefitted from a deep cleaning and the heavy crown molding was removed to accentuate its contemporary styling.


RESOURCES INTERIOR DESIGN Eklektik Interiors 1300 Shepherd Drive 832-804-6300 DRAPERY/WINDOW TREATMENTS Elite Window Coverings 870 S. Mason Road Suite 140 281-395-6644 FABRIC FOR WINDOW TREATMENTS Carole Fabrics Available locally through Design House/Fabric House 7026 Old Katy Road 713-864-7550 LIGHTING Robert Abbey Lighting Available locally through:

22 house& home | September 2017 |

AREA 3735 Westheimer Road 713-668-1668 Champions Lighting 5211 Cypress Creek Parkway 281-440-5339 Eklektik Interiors 1300 Shepherd Drive 832-804-6300 High Fashion Home 3100 Travis St. 713-528-3838 Lighting Inc. Several locations Lighting Unlimited 4211 Richmond Ave. 713-626-4025

Space Planning New Construction Consultation Remodeling Consultation Custom Built-Ins Window Treatments Bedding Home Staging Accessorizing Faux Finishing Custom Furniture

281.723.9593 23

The baby grand piano — which both homeowners play — anchors the space, which is used for entertaining.


RESOURCES (Continued) Plush Home 2233 Westheimer Road 713-522-5230 Shabby Slips 2304 Bissonnet St. 713-630-0066 Star Furniture Several locations SOFA & CHAIRS RC Furniture Available locally through:


Dazzling Décor Rugs & Accessories 3003 Fondren Road 832-377-4665 Eklektik Interiors 1300 Shepherd Drive 832-804-6300

Before: This handsome space was lacking organization was under-utilized by the homeowners. 24 house& home | September 2017 |

Ladco Design Center 7900 Washington Ave. 713-868-2828 Noel Furniture 2727 S.W. Freeway 713-874-5200 Scene One Interiors The Houston Design Center 7026 Old Katy Road Suite 109 713-895-8686 www.thehoustondesign WALLPAPER Fabricut Decorative Center Houston 5120 Woodway Drive Suite 3022 713-840-9241

LIBERTY BELL ANTIQUES Specializing in high end European and American antiques, gifts and decor. 14363 Liberty Street Montgomery, TX 77356 (936) 597-4606


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All custom, a handsome mix of upholstered and wooden chairs gather around a dining room table. Photo courtesy of The Amish Craftsman

THE AMISH WAY Handmade, Solid-wood Furnishings Showcase Rich Heritage and Exceptional Craftsmanship


Furniture-grade is a key component to everything built by the Amish, including cabinets and kitchen islands. Photo courtesy of Amish Cabinets of Texas 26 house& home | September 2017 |

he Amish equate to a fascinating part of the American fabric, with the first members of these very private communities arriving in the United States in the early 18th century. Initially they came here to find freedom from religious persecution…and land to farm. While the agrarian lifestyle still predominates, the communities also continue to amaze us with their furniture and cabinetry — all pieces handmade by skilled artisans following classic and timeless craftsmanship techniques. A walk-through of these woodworkers’ shops reveals no power tools, only pneumatic ones. The pace is very methodical. “Multiple families come together at different shops. It’s generational,” says Cindy Cogdell, general manager at Amish Cabinets of Texas, owned by Daniel Kelly. “They are primarily farmers, and with their cabinets and furniture, the wood takes on a life itself.”

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QUALITY That “life” exudes exceptional quality, the top reason for choosing Amish furniture and cabinetry. “Many of our customers pursue Amish furniture for the lifetime quality and structural durability,” says manager James Lopez of E&G Amish Furniture, a local family-owned and operated business. “We provide a lifetime structural guarantee

Amish-made furniture can be crafted in almost any style, including more contemporary items that would fit perfectly in a downtown loft. Photo courtesy of The Amish Craftsman

with every piece purchased, so the customer can be confident in each custom order.” Amish furniture is made of solid hardwood, including alder, birch, cherry, hickory, maple, quarter-sawn oak, walnut and even African mahogany. It can be crafted in almost any style, from Shaker to Arts & Crafts pieces to contemporary items that would fit perfectly in a downtown loft. Products are furniture-grade, which says a lot, compared to, say, prefabricated cabinets. And with Amish-built cabinets, shutters, shelving, doors — basically anything involving wood — the woodworking quality is impeccable.


Solid knotty alder with custom fabric headboard and nail trim details come together in this Medina bedroom collection. Photo courtesy of E&G Amish Furniture

E&G Amish Furniture had this trestle table built for a customer who chose to add custom Parson-style upholstered chairs. Photo courtesy of E&G Amish Furniture 28 house& home | September 2017 |

Amish furniture in the Houston area can be either bought off showroom floors or custom ordered. At Amish Home Furnishings near the entrance of Old Town Spring, the choice is yours. “You can browse and purchase directly from our showroom, or we can custom order to your specifications,” the company states. Gallery Furniture buyers visit the Amish country several times a year and work with many small Amish production facilities to stock the local company’s stores. These same Amish workshops also produce custom solid-wood furniture for Gallery Furniture's customers. So if you don't see exactly what you are looking for in stock, you can work with the sales staff to design and order the perfect pieces. The Amish Craftsman is another specialty retail furniture store located in Houston offering floor sales and handmade furniture built to order. Customers may pick the design, solid milled hardwoods and the stain. All of The Amish Craftsman’s furniture is handcrafted by Amish builders right here in the U.S.A. Kimberley Murphy, co-owner with her husband, Steve, says The Amish Craftsman receives the most requests for bedroom and dining room sets, but the sky is the limit. “We have a staff of trained design professionals who can work on designing a specific space,” Kimberley says. “We do home visits and have a ‘Happiness Guarantee.’ We’re not




HOUSTON’S OLDEST PLUMBING SHOWROOM IS ABOUT TO BE HOUSTON’S NEWEST SHOWROOM! TARGET DATE: September 15, 2017 3590 East T.C. Jester • Houston, TX 77018 713-956-0090 • Mon-Fri, 9-5 & Sat, 10-4



w w w. w e s t h e i m e r p l u m b i n g . c o m 29

This Belwright bedroom collection is built from solid rustic cherry wood with standard saw-cut distressing details. Photo courtesy of E&G Amish Furniture Custom two-tone solid wood chairs surround this custom pedestal table made of rustic walnut and wormy maple. Photo courtesy of E&G Amish Furniture

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happy unless you are…and we’ll make it just right for you.” At E&G Amish Furniture, you’ll find custom ordering treated with white glove-style assistance. “A customer can choose any custom size to fit their space and design selections, like wood species or grain patterns, stain colors and hardware finishes,” Lopez says. “We help our customers through the custom ordering process from the start of the design to delivery.” At Amish Cabinets of Texas, everything is 100 percent custom. “If you can think of it, we can build it,” says Cogdell. “You can’t say custom enough when it comes to our cabinets and furniture.” Cogdell says most of Amish Cabinets of Texas’ clients are homeowners in the process of remodeling or building. “Those that seek us out and typically become our customers are looking for a high-quality product at a reasonable price,” she says. Houstonians’ biggest requests from Amish Cabinets of Texas are for kitchens, baths and laundry rooms, but there’s everything in between, such as gun rooms, game rooms — basically anything that includes wood. Craftsmanship details include dovetail joints, full extension glides and concealed

Heritage Village Museum 29th Annual Harvest Festival

October 20th, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. l October 21st, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PIONEER CRAFTS DEMONSTRATIONS

Artists l Pottery l Spinning l Weaving l Blacksmithing l Quilting Wood Carving l Soap Making l Basket Weaving l Honey Bee Demo Bluegrass l Gospel l Square Dancing l Buggy & Wagon Exhibit l More Friday, Oct.20 is School Kids Day from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Adults $6 - Children 5 to 11 $3 - Under 5 Free


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hinges. All pulls, knobs and crown molding are included. What you won’t find is particleboard, MDF or laminates. “We build to 1/8-inch increments, so our cabinets fit perfectly without filler boards or spacers,” Cogdell says. “The stains are custom mixed for all products. And the paint is a catalyzed-tinted varnish, which is almost as hard as a car finish.”

Amish Cabinets of Texas By appointment only 281-587-2663 The Amish Craftsman 5555 Washington Ave. 713-862-3444

THE BOTTOM LINE As for cost, if you compare similarly made furniture — that is, solid hardwood and custom made — Amish furniture can be expensive but not more so than other high-end furnishings. Prices vary with size, wood and finish. For example, a complete custom bedroom collection can Bathroom cabinetry is among customers’ top requests start at about $8,000, while custom tables and at Amish Cabinets of Texas. chairs can start at about $2,500. And Amish artisans stand 100 percent behind what they make. Our local Amish furniture dealers agree: They feel very blessed to do business with them. Freelance writer Debi Bryant contributed to this article. Since 1991

AMISH HOME FURNISHINGS Featuring Amish Handcrafted Furniture Oak • Cherry • Maple • Hickory

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ALL SERVICES Minimum Job, $500. Must be presented at time of estimate. May not be combined with other offers. Expires 10/15/17


A bright idea: Middleman billing companies offer a plethora of options and rates. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

POWER PACKAGES Find Free Weekends and Security Bonuses in Some Customized Electricity Bundles By Barbara Canetti


lthough almost everyone in the greater Houston area gets electric power from CenterPoint Energy, residents have the option of selecting their “Retail Electric Provider,� the middleman billing company that offers a plethora of packages and rates for consumers to choose from. It is not always an easy task because there are literally hundreds of plans with a variety of costs embedded in the billing process and not readily available even to the astute consumer who shops around.

34 house& home | September 2017 |

DEREGULATION In 2002, Texas deregulated the electric power industry, giving consumers opportunities to find better deals for their electric bills. The Public Utilities Commission created and launched the state-sponsored website Power to Choose ( to compare companies and rates, as well as environmental concerns (green energy, wind/solar power) about the plans.


Air-conditioning and heating units use more kilowatts of power than any other appliances. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

However, it takes experienced shoppers to sift through all the details to finally determine what program is best for them. Some companies offer free nights or weekends, low cost or free security equipment, smart thermostats or bonuses for signing up. But they all require taxes, fees, transportation charges and other operating costs that are usually passed on to the consumer.

OPTIONS Several companies, including Spark Energy LLC, offer a balanced billing option — a set rate month-to-month for a year, based on previous usage. “When it comes to electricity, many times there is a wide range of unpredictability,” says Eric Melchor, marketing director for Spark. Extreme weather — hot or cold — makes it difficult to keep track of usage, and because energy usage is directly 36 house& home | September 2017 |

related to the weather, “even a few days of heat is enough to break the bank.” The average Houston base fee would be $137 a month for about 2,000 kilowatt-hours; additional usage would run about 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. Air-conditioning and heating units use more kilowatts of power than any other appliances, so homeowners frequently have energy bill shock during the extra hot or cold months, says Jessica Sacks, director of sales and marketing for LifeEnergy. REPs (Retail Electric Providers) such as her company buy electricity off the wholesale market, which fluctuates everyday. “We fight for the customers to get the lowest possible price,” says Sacks. “We structure packages depending on usage — high usage, low usage and even flat-rate usage.” She says consumers continually search for the best package, but noted that the additional fees, many of which are required,


could account for more than half of the bill. New customers receive a disclosure form, which explains additional levies on the account, as well as terms of the contract and termination charges. To lure new customers, Reliant Energy offers free weekends, a major discount off the purchase of security equipment and monitoring and up to $4,500 in rebates for solar energy when using one of Reliant’s preferred rooftop solar installers, according to Bobby Zafarnia with Reliant. Brad Gregory, founder of, says his com-

Some energy companies offer rebates for customers who choose to integrate solar 6 power. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock



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38 house& home | September 2017 |

pany works with customers to ensure they get the best deal. is not a provider of electricity, but instead monitors all plans offered in the state and based on consumers’ previous usage, can help select the plans best suited for them. “Many companies offer specials or gimmick-plan pricings at a favorable rate to entice customers,” says Gregory, who also is chief consumer advocate for the company. “Instead of shopping for the lowest kilowatt-hour prices, consumers should be looking at which program is best for them based on their usage.” Gregory says Houston-area customers who are switching plans can input onto the website their address and meter number (listed on their present electric bills) and he can determine

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— based on individual specific usage trends for a year — which program is best. There is no charge for consumers to use his service; he is paid by the REP selected via his website. He compares his service to Expedia used by travelers. “We can actually calculate for customers what monthly bills will be for each month of history data, giving them the total cost of a plan,” says Gregory. “We want what’s best for the consumer; we have no bias or preferred company.”

RESOURCES Shop around for the best money-saving energy plan for your home. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

FOCUS ON FRONTIER UTILITIES A safe bet when it comes to electricity is Frontier Utilities. Frontier has their corporate office in Houston and is proud of hundreds of 5 star customer reviews. If you call Frontier, you will experience first-class customer service and sales consultants that have your best interests in mind. Frontier is A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau and offers a satisfaction guarantee by letting customers cancel the electricity contract within the first 8 weeks. To find out more and to get a special offer visit

CenterPoint Energy

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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 • 40 house& home | September 2017 |


September Go Local with our selection of small businesses and merchants who can help turn your house into a home.


THE GUILD SHOP Celebrating 55 years in Houston

2009 Dunlavy Street 713-528-5095 Shop • Consign Donate • Volunteer Shop Hours: Mon – Fri 9:30am – 3:30pm Sat 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Our charming resale shop carries furniture, jewelry, art, rugs, housewares, collectibles and clothing. Our ever changing merchandise has a regular markdown schedule. We have over 140 volunteers who run the Shop to generate meaningful grants to support our mission of helping the elderly in need in our community. This past year we were able to provide grants to Amazing Place, Christian Community Service Center, Holly Hall, Meals on Wheels, and the Weekley Family YMCA. Your donations, consignment, and time are always welcome at The Guild Shop!


Campania International

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FRAZIERS HOME & GARDEN DECOR 23200 Hwy. 6 North of Hempstead, TX 979-921-2906

Frazier’s Home & Garden began in 1952 in Hempstead. They are a large producer of specialized concrete pieces like benches, fountains, pavers, garden décor, animals, statues, monuments, urns, columns and balustrades. Open Thursday thru Tuesday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

“A Hidden Jewel” is what our customers say about us. Nestled under shady trees in Spring Branch, Statue Makers has been in business for 50 years. We offer great pricing on garden statuary, fountains, urns, benches and wall hangings. Hand-made pieces created on our premises have a variety of fine finishes. Check out the September overstock sale. STATUE MAKERS 2003 Blalock Rd. Houston, TX 77080 713-467-9082 Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-5; Closed Sunday & Monday


Award-winning Bella Becho Book & Print Bindery specializes in restoring and rebinding bibles, children's books, cookbooks and more. For over a decade, Bella Becho has been creating custom leather books for all occasions, including books honoring corporate executives, retirement books, corporate histories and other personalized gifts. Turn to Bella Becho for distinctive corporate marketing, print brand and event collateral.



SOUTHLAND HARDWARE THE STORE THAT HAS Almost EVERYTHING 1822 Westheimer • Houston, TX 77098 • 713-529-4743 • 832-834-5443 fax shop online @ • Mon-Sat 8-6pm and Sun 9-5pm

Stop in, snoop around. You never know what you’ll find.


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42 house& home | September 2017 |

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“SWANKIENDA” SWOON Glenbrook Home Radiates Hollywood Glamour from its Groovy Circular Sunken Living Room Article by Sandra Cook Photography by Anthony Rathbun


im and Alan Whittington discovered Glenbrook Valley, set along Simms Bayou, shortly after moving from New York City to Galveston after both of them had finished school. The now-protected, mid-century modern neighborhood was originally laid out by landscape architects Hare and Hare and developed by Fred McManus in the 1950s. Alan, an actuary, initially took a job in Galveston, and Kim, a jewelry designer, worked in central Houston, so Glenbrook Valley was a happy medium of a home base. The couple and daughter Remy have grown to love their one-of-a-kind home, its well-preserved neighborhood and its friendly “mod squad” residents.


While they had eyed multiple homes in the post-WW II historic district, the Whittingtons fell in love with the truly unique abode known around the neighborhood as “The Swankienda,” so-dubbed by Glenbrook historian and realtor Robert Searcy. Set on a rounded corner lot, this 1958 home was designed by Houston architect J.D. Dansby Jr. with a distinctive round hub inspired by the lot’s unique geometry and elevation. The cylindrical core is set off with stacked flagstone in various browns and grays, while the additional exterior walls stand by in straightforward beige brick. The residence is one of several homes in Glenbrook Valley originally built for members of the Montalbano family (of the local lumber company). The Whittingtons are only the third owners of the house. Designed by architect J.D. Dansby, this distinctive 1958 home in Glenbrook Valley boasts a striking round hub, which highlights the elevation and rounded shape of the corner lot.

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Exterior and interior details include flagstone on the cylindrical chimney, rotunda section and generous planter boxes, with the remaining walls clad in neutral brick. Large, 8-foot leaded-glass windows with a diamond pattern lighten up the facade and fill the living room with natural light.

SOCIAL CIRCLE The home’s grand, 40-foot-wide, circular sunken living room is anchored by — what else? — a double-sided round fireplace. Clearly built for grown-ups to entertain fabulously, the living room, with its central hearth and room-dividing breezeblock wings, makes up 1,500 square feet of the entire home’s 4,100 square feet. The opulent design aesthetic, known as Hollywood Regency style, includes poured terrazzo floors laid out in a rounded grid, reminiscent of the lines on a globe. “We walked into this huge, round living room and saw the big flagstone fireplace in the middle,” says Kim of the first time she and Alan stepped inside the house. “It was so different from everything we had ever seen. We loved that most of the home was original and had so many large windows. At that moment, I knew I really wanted it.” 46 house& home | September 2017 |


The master bedroom features more Hollywood Regency glamour. Homeowner Kim made the three sea fan art pieces above the bed. The couple found the yellow bamboo furniture suite at an estate sale.

PRESERVE & PROTECT The Whittingtons were thrilled to find a mid-century home that was largely intact, with original kitchen and bathrooms. The design features were fabulous, but the more than 60-yearold house needed some work. When the couple purchased the house in 2012, their mandatory first step was to have the old asbestos ceiling abated. Once that was done, the couple went to work removing peeling layers of paint on the walls and trim themselves, with additional help from Kim’s father on further spruce-ups. The couple wanted to keep the original kitchen and bathrooms intact as much as possible. While house hunting, Kim was especially taken with colors in the master bath. “I really like vintage bathroom tile,” says Kim. “I like the happy and cheerful colors, so the master bathroom was a big thing that drew me to this house. I loved the aqua tile with all 48 house& home | September 2017 |

the green accents and that sunken tub — and loved that it was all original.” Kim says she was also excited by the kitchen upon her first tour of the house. “It’s so open, has good flow and storage space, and I couldn’t resist the gold-flecked aqua Formica.” The kitchen was already nicely laid out with a logical flow and ample space and even included a triple-window over the large sink. The kitchen is equipped with a multitude of cabinets, many with their original, built-in organizational features, such as pullout shelves and shelf dividers, naturally covered in sparkling aqua Formica. These enduring features serve as a testament to the genius of 1950s design.

FAMILY FINDS For years, Kim has been an avid estate sale treasure hunter. The same can be said for her parents, grandparents and other


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family members, thus the vast majority of the decor was acquired through the family’s selective scavenging. Kim digs most every theme and shape found in mid-century decorative items, but she leans toward the 1960s end of the style spectrum. She is especially drawn to midcentury ceramics shaped like animals and atomic shapes. She and Alan also acquired many items directly from their grandparents’ homes.

UNIQUE CHARACTER TO EVERY HOUSE After living in Glenbrook Valley for five years, Kim and Alan appreciate their neighborhood is very friendly and it feels like a community. “The people are neighborly and active, and there are a lot of families with kids Remy’s age. It’s a good place for a family to grow up,” says Kim. “I like the proximity to downtown, Midtown and Montrose and all the restaurants and culture in those areas.” Kim is happy to have found such a community that’s not out in the suburbs, and says she enjoys The kitchen was already nicely laid out with a logical flow and ample space. 50 house& home | September 2017 |

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driving through the neighborhood and admiring each home for its individuality. “Glenbrook is a special enclave of Houston,” says Kim. “The neighborhood itself is like a big family where each house is a distinct character. From the front doors and architectural details to the landscaping and how each house is set on its lot, there’s a lot of character — that’s what I like about an old neighborhood.”

RESOURCES Glenbrook Valley Robert Searcy Properties 832-279-5332 RUG CLEANING Bagdad Oriental Rugs 5869 Westheimer Road 713-783-3500

The Whittingtons loved everything about the master bath: All original aqua tile, pale blue and green wallpaper everywhere and, of course the sunken square tile tub. 52 house& home | September 2017 |

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“TIME CAPSULE” TOUR 8015 Glenforest Court. Photo courtesy of TK Images


tep inside six homes, including the Whittingtons at 8035 Glenforest Court, during the 2017 Historic Glenbrook Valley Home Tour and marvel at Houston’s three-dimensional encyclopedia of mid-century modern architecture. The tour, set noon-4 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, showcases several “time capsule” homes, including a vintage tiki living room, as well as homes with updates that reflect modernday living blended with mid-century style. Glenbrook Valley is Houston’s largest historic district and Texas’ first and largest designated post-WWII historic district. In 2013, “This Old House” named Glenbrook a top pick, the only neighborhood in Texas on the list. Tour tickets are $25 per person in advance; $30 at the door. The tour benefits Glenbrook Valley Civic Club neighborhood

54 house& home | September 2017 |

markers honoring the historic designation of the neighborhood and the new updates to Broadway Boulevard, which runs through this residential district to Hobby Airport and the 1940 Air Terminal Museum. For tickets and information, visit

• 8015 Glenforest Court Owner Tara Pogue has worked to preserve the original features and character of one of the neighborhood’s most iconic homes, known as “The Sputnik House” for the Sputnik light fixture hanging above the front door. The fixture was custom built by the original owners, the Stotlers. The home features pecky cypress exterior trim, extensive poured terrazzo and many original features from light fixtures down to drawer pulls.


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 •


7642 Glenview Drive. Photo courtesy of Nate Messarra Photography • 8214 Glencrest St. A later build, circa 1975, this was originally the second house in Glenbrook built by Elmer and Myrtle Richardson, who also built the metal-roofed modernist home at 7911 Santa Elena St. Designed to be reminiscent of South American styles, it centers around a 25-foot-square main living area, anchored by a stone fireplace and accented with rustic beams. Entry is through an enclosed courtyard; the home is roofed in Italian tile. Jackson Parker acquired the home this year and has added Saltillo tile flooring and lightened the color palette to create a very open, casual home setting. 8214 Glencrest St. Photo courtesy of TK Images • 8115 Stony Dell Court This mid-mod, split-level design takes advantage of the unusual hilly topography. The current owners, Humphrey and Onyii Brown, have taken on major remodeling. Fashion designer Onyii applied her design talents to undoing years of inappropriate alterations to the home to create a sleek, modernist interior rooted in the mid-century aesthetic, but fresh and modern for today.

8115 Stony Dell Courty. Photo courtesy of Nate Messarra Photography

8002 Arletta St. Photo courtesy of Nate Messarra Photography 56 house& home | September 2017 |

• 8002 Arletta St. Cliff Talley and Larry Rucker rescued this flagstone rambler from its formerly derelict state to return it to its former glory. One of two homes originally built for sisters of the Caliva family, the home had changed hands over the years and required a complete renovation. The updated interior features sunken living areas and en suite baths with all bedrooms. It is a great example to show how these homes can be adapted to 21st-century lifestyles. • 7642 Glenview Drive A mid-century French contemporary centered around an atrium with a built-in koi pond, this house’s interior holds a bit of a surprise. Robin Berwick, the current owner, artist and proprietor of Double Trouble Caffeine and Cocktails, has turned the home into an exotic tiki paradise. An original lava rock waterfall greets you in the front courtyard. The sunken formal living room now serves as a full-throttle tiki bar. The breakfast room wall is adorned in a fun nod to the paint-by-numbers set so popular in the 1960s. You’ll be craving a Mai Tai after visiting this gem!


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BEAUTY ON THE BAYOU Treasured River Oaks Estate on Five Acres Exudes Luxury By Barbara Canetti Photography by ©Rob Muir Courtesy of John Daugherty Realtors


isitors to Richard and Ginni Mithoff’s River Oaks home — and there have been thousands of them — are immediately amazed by not only the magnificent house, but also the lush setting, the view, the ambience and the fact that they are not in the country but in the center of the nation’s fourth-largest city. One of only 10 houses on elegant Lazy Lane, this mid-century modern, light-filled structure is secluded behind a wall and sits on five acres abutting Buffalo Bayou and next door to the legendary home of Ima Hogg, now the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Bayou Bend. The Mithoffs have lived in this 11,600-square-foot house for 20 years, remodeling it after purchasing it in 1996. Although their renovation included upgrades and updates, the character of this Howard Barnstone-designed structure remains. Their recent decision to sell their beloved home was a difficult choice, but it is on the market for $19.5 million and listed with Jeanne Marosis through John Daugherty Realtors.

A MOST GRACIOUS WELCOME Enter the gate and the serenity engulfs guests with a stuccoand-glass building in the distance located behind a grove of tall pines and oaks on a grassy knoll and circular drive in front of the house and punctuated by four 16.5-foot granite towers created by American sculptor Jesus Moroles in 2000. A guest house and a pool house, as well as a four-car garage, are also on the property, but it is the massive structure in the back that consumes the site. Once inside the house and the bright, elegant entry room with comfortable couches, tranquil art and interesting multicolored chandeliers hanging from a whopping 17-foot-high coffered ceiling, visitors can start to see the incredible views.

60 house& home | September 2017 |

A grand walkway welcomes family and guests to the entrance of the house. 61

Above: The glass-walled dining room overlooks Buffalo Bayou and easily accommodates 30 for a sit-down dinner. Below: The living room is furnished with comfortable white couches and chairs.

They move into the 26-foot-long glassenclosed gallery, decorated with fabulous art glass and period furniture, and into a huge 30-footlong living room and its smaller sibling, the dining room. The floor-to-ceiling windows in these two rooms — with heights of 14 feet — are made of glazed and tinted safety glass overlooking the lush gardens and landscaping, the curve of the mean62 house& home | September 2017 |


Home Holidays for the

Gift Market Katy 2017 The 10th Anniversary Show!

Friday, November 17th 2017: First Call Shopping 10AM-1PM Friday General Admission • Open to the Public • 1PM-8PM Saturday, November 18th, 2017: 10AM-6PM Sunday, November 19th, 2017: 11AM-4PM Register online or find us on Facebook for contests and coupons!

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Above: Artwork on the walls and above accents the foyer/entrance to the house. Below: Books and photos line shelves in the family room/study.

dering bayou and the trails and terraces in the garden and greenery. It is truly a breathtaking sight. The two rooms are divided by a sculptured two-sided stone fireplace with large, imposing artwork hanging above each mantel. The dining room, with two tables and seating for 30, is decorated with a respectable amount of whimsical glass art displayed in the builtin cabinets surrounding the fireplace. 64 house& home | September 2017 |


A view of the house from the pool

THE WALK-THROUGH CONTINUES Nearby is the kitchen, redesigned by the Mithoffs, which is not only used by caterers and professional chefs, but also by the family for at-home dinners and coffee. An outside grill is also available through glass doors on a spacious veranda, perfect for al fresco dining and taking in the natural beauty surrounding the house. One room that stands out in the house is the library, with its deep cherry wood paneling and hundreds of books and family photos lining the shelves. A sculpted granite woodburning fireplace fortifies the comfortable room, and three sets of shuttered French doors lead to an iron-railed terrace, which looks out onto the landscape and pool. Nearby is a small and cozy private office used by Richard, a successful trial lawyer. First stop on the other side of the house and still on the main level: Workout room and sauna, with giant mirrors and great views of the outdoors. A bit further down the hall opens into a large sitting room and office, used by Ginni, a power-

66 house& home | September 2017 |

house community worker who frequently undertakes leadership roles for causes she believes in. The master bedroom is spacious and the omnipresent views abound: The landscaped ravines, terraced paths and stone barriers in front of the winding bayou. The huge bathroom and giant walk-in closets provide sufficient space for storage, clothing and personal space. Downstairs are four bedrooms, plus an additional informal family room and play area used by their growing family and five grandchildren. A small kitchenette is also available for refreshments and snacks. Each bedroom downstairs has its own bathroom and views of the grounds and vegetation outside.

MEMORIES A large under-the-house carport — big enough for five vehicles — has frequently been used as the setting for some of the parties and gatherings at the home. The Mithoffs have the reputation of offering their spacious home for fundraisers, entertainment or crusades for causes important to them.

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Above: The house rises behind the five acres of property filled with mature trees. Below: The garage is constructed to house a vintage car collection.

Presidents, senators, congressional candidates, as well as contenders for mayor, sheriff and state representative have graced their home, and thousands of well-wishers have joined them at these events. Perhaps the only house on Lazy Lane more visited than the Mithoffs’ home is Bayou Bend, and that’s a museum. But this residence is now and has always been a Houston treasure.

RESOURCES ARCHITECT (for upgrades) Bute/King Architects 713-621-1892 GENERAL CONTRACTOR Ronald Logan Interest Inc. 713-781-2400 REALTOR John Daugherty Realtors 713-626-3930 800-231-2821 CABINETRY Boehle Construction Services 832-998-2941 ELECTRIC WINDOW SHADES The Shade Shop 713-469-3178

68 house& home | September 2017 |

FLOORING Clouse Wood Floors 713-868-1415 INTERIOR & EXTERIOR LIGHTING Rulon Electric Co. 713-524-9662 POOL REFINISHING Watts Pool Service 713-467-3400 TILE AND GRANITE J. Rios Inc. 713-869-0805 WHOLE HOUSE GENERATOR Cummins Sales and Service 713-679-2220 www.salesandservice.


Compiled by barbara Kuntz




ur temps don’t say fall, but the calendar says Friday, Sept. 22 is the official autumnal equinox. And according to “The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” the season officially begins in Houston at 3:02 p.m. Why wait to note the occasion, especially with what fall the start of the holidays? We have some ideas to get you in the mood, despite whatever the thermometer is reading. CANDLESTICKS

Set of three, $349 Candlelight enhances any ambiance, especially during fall and winter with its warming glow to add to the sparkle and shimmer of the season. Set these rose jewel beauties out for a touch of magic. Heights are 10.5, 12.75 and 14.5 inches tall. Available at Dazzling Décor Rugs & Accessories, 3003 Fondren Road, 832377-4665, VIETRI WILDLIFE PLATES

$200-$220 for a set of four Hand-painted in Tuscany and an instant classic for everyday dining, the “Wildlife Series” brings the beauty of the outdoors to your table with exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. Salad plates are 8.5 inches in diameter, while dinner plates measure 11 inches in diameter. The series celebrates all that is irresistibly Italian: A love of life, people, nature and good living. Available at Kuhl-Linscomb, 2418 W. Alabama St., 713-5266000, ACCENT PILLOW COVERS

Prices vary A quick way to welcome fall into your home: Accent pillow covers. Pottery Barn introduces its new fall collection of “Artisanal Vintage,” a 70 house& home | September 2017 |

line that creates romantic drama with stylized florals and paisleys in tonalities of deep plum and layering linen, velvet and embroidery for texture and depth. You’ll fall in love with them. Available through Pottery Barn, several locations,


About $150 This six-quart multi-cooker combines cooking functions into one compact countertop appliance. Extensive preset options include: Pressure cook, soup/broth, meat/stew, beans/chili,


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steam, slow cook, sauté, warm, rice, porridge, multigrain, cake, egg, sterilize and even yogurt. Wow! The stainless steel bowl is removable and dishwasher safe. Accessories include a rice spatula, ladle, measuring cup and canning rack. Available through Sur la Table, 1996 W. Gray St., 713-533-0400; 803 Town and Country Blvd., 832-2013492; TEA SERVICE

$36-$148 A spot of tea, anyone? Sip in style with Jonathan Adler’s new Newport cups and saucers, sugar bowl, creamer and, of course, teapot. Adler’s porcelain set features his signature hexagon pattern in shades of blue with 24-karat

gold detailing. The ware is perfect for everyday and polished enough to impress the most discriminating guest. Each piece is dishwater safe up to 500 washes. Available through Jonathan Adler, 2800 Kirby Drive, 713-677-0792, HUMMINGBIRD CHANDELIER FEEDER

$65 Welcome those Ruby-throats, Black-chinned and Rufous hummingbirds that pass through Houston this time of year during their southern migration with this lovely chandelier feeder. The blue recycled glass from Mexico set in black powder-coated steel wire mixes with bright red (a hummingbird's favorite

color) as faceted glass drops to catch the light. Fill the feeder with nectar and become the most popular house on the block. Available through ALPACA FRINGED THROW

$298 Alpaca fibers for these soft throws by Coyuchi are sourced from small ranches in the mountains of Peru, where the animals graze in wideopen spaces and are sheared only once a year during the warm season. A finishing touch: The 50-by-70-inch throws are edged with a flutter of twisted fringe. Select from charcoal, natural or sand. Available through High Fashion Home, 3100 Travis St., 713-5283838,, and FOOTBALL DISH

$44 Add a little whimsy to your game day spread with this dish, laces and all, in 100-per-

72 house& home | September 2017 |

cent recycled sandcast aluminum. It’s a winning choice for tasty dips, sauces or salsa or nuts. Warm to 350 degrees for hot foods; freeze or chill for cooler foods. Hand wash in warm water with mild soap and towel dry immediately. Dimensions: 7.5 inches long by 4.5 inches wide and 2 inches tall. Available through Mariposa,

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artiCle and photography by linda b. gay

LEFT TO RIGHT: “Naked Ladies” Lycoris aurea, caladium “Raspberry Moon” and H. brachyandrus rain lily



aturalizing bulbs are seasonal growers: Some like warm and even hot weather, while others like cooler temps, less sunlight and shorter days. The bulbs’ growth patterns are triggered by soil and air temperatures, followed by blooming at the right times chosen by the bulbs. The cycle continues with bulbs collecting energy prior to dying down in order to resprout the following season. We refer to all as bulbs, but some could be rhizomes, corms or tubers. The key point is the word “naturalizing,” which is “of nature” and “adapting to the garden home.” Naturalizing bulbs are deciduous and die down after blooming, while perennial bulbs have foliage year-round, like crinum, amaryllis and agapanthus. Naturalizing bulbs listed in this article adapt to our Gulf Coast climate, which includes Zone 9a soil and air temperature and Zone 9a moisture and rainfall. The big key to growing bulbs successfully is having soil with air channels, and you can make that happen by working expanded shale into our heavy clay soils. It is also beneficial to amend sandy soils with organic matter or compost combined with shale. You can plant seasonal bulbs in your flowerbeds, but when they go dormant, you don’t love them so much anymore.

ROCKS & ROOTS We tend to overplant bulbs, and then we cut them in half with our shovels. So how do you have a nice garden of bulbs and every other plant you love? You create a rock garden around your shade trees where you cannot grow anything else there anyway. Hopefully your shade trees are deciduous, so in the winter they allow cold-weather sun for the spring-blooming bulbs. In a 10-by-10-foot area, use 40 pounds of organic fertilizer that will feed the tree, the new soil and the new plants. Use great care to not pile soil up on the base of the tree; leave the flare roots exposed on top. The organic fertilizer will help the tree roots go deeper, allowing you some more space to work in the bulbs.

SUMMER PERFORMERS IN THE SHADED ROCK GARDEN Summer growing and blooming plants emerge when the soil temperature is consistently 70 degrees. In part shade, warming up takes longer. • Caladiums are grown for their colorful foliage as their leaves resemble elephant ears. The first cool front will cause the plants to lie on the ground and start going dormant.

Linda B. Gay is a horticulturist and staff member at The Arbor Gate Nursery in Tomball. 74 house& home | September 2017 |

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• Montbretia or crocosmia belongs to the iris family and multiplies underground with corms producing orange, yellow or red flowers. • Kaempferias, or “Peacock Gingers,” are lovingly called the “Hosta of the South” because hosta doesn’t thrive here due to our warm winters. On the other hand, these rock-pocket plants display colorful leaves with the striking and contrasting colors of silver, black, green and purple topped off with purple iridescent blooms. • Rain lilies, including zephyranthes and habranthus, bloom after a rain. Some species are sterile, while others reseed, so be careful about planting re-seeders in a small space. I like to pull off the seed heads and disperse into the lawn area. One day you’ll come home and have a flower or two waving at you from the lawn!

WINTER GROWERS FOR A SPRING BLOOM After planting this group of bulbs, you’ll see them start to grow and have foliage all winter long, adding to the fullness of their space. • Lycoris is one of my favorite fall bloomers and flowers before the foliage, hence the name “Naked Ladies.” There are several forms of this group, but the two most popular varieties are lycoris radiata that is red and lycoris aurea, a beautiful golden yellow. • Narcissus produces single stalks with multiple flowers on the

76 house& home | September 2017 |

stalk. Some of the popular naturalizing narcissus are “Grand Primo” and “Erlicheer” (double form of “Grand Primo”). • Spanish bluebells, also called “Roman Hyacinths,” are great naturalizers for shaded spaces and produce pink, blue or white bellshaped flowers on 6-to-10-inch stalks. • Paperwhites always come at the right time, great for forcing and giving as gifts around the holidays. Once bloomed, they can be planted directly into the garden for a new bloom next spring.

MORE TO CONSIDER Some other bulb-like plants to consider are: Alstroemeria — “Peruvian Lily” Crinum — “Ellen Bosanquet” Gladiolus byzantinus — Byzantine gladiola Ipheon “Rolf Fielder” — “Star Flower” Lapeirousia laxa — “Woodland Painted Petals” Leucojum aestivalis — “Snowflake” or “Snowdrop” Lilium “Triumphator” — Hybrid of Oriental and L.A. lilies Lilium — Oriental and Asiatic Sternbergia — Yellow crocus A general rule of thumb when planting naturalizing bulbs is to plant the bulb twice the depth of the bulb. For example, if the bulb is 1.5 inches from nose to root, plant it three inches from the bottom of the hole to the top of the soil. So time to scope out your new rock garden and get growing!


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The Complete Resource Magazine For Your Home

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The Complete Resource Magazine For Your Home