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The History of a New Home A 2008 home with family connections to a Heights block dating back more than 100 years STORY BY SANDRA COOK • PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAYMOND ALDERETE

A Floors throughout the first level are engineered walnut finished in a distressed chicory color. The series of botanical lithographs in the office were purchased at The Antiquarium, and the light fixture linen wingback chairs and ottoman are from Boxwood Interiors.

A tree-lined boulevard, which initially accommodated a streetcar line, anchors the Historic Houston Heights area, known for its turn-of-the-20th Century charm. Many of the original homes and architecture have survived more than a century of weather extremes and real estate trends, but various lots and blocks have been reinvented and redeveloped as opportunities arose. One of those opportunities came to be in 2008 when the homeowner’s godfather, a longtime Heights resident, sold the vacant lot adjacent to his own historic property to his godson. The lot has long history with the family and had been sold to H-E-B decades ago, when the nearby H-E-B store needed space to maneuver its large delivery trucks. After the H-E-B store

TOP OF PAGE: Many Craftsman touches were worked into the design of this recently built home. The full-front porch, complete with brick pedestals with tapered columns, evokes a Craftsman look, which is complemented by traditional plantings by Strong Landscaping. The home was featured on last December’s holiday home tour in the Heights. OPPOSITE PAGE: The overall look of the living room was created by Brett Duhon from Boxwood Interiors and features several of the homeowners’ collections. The stair wall displays close to 40 landscape paintings, while the mantle hosts an assortment of antique spools. The walls throughout the home are Pittsburgh Paint’s Santa Fe with Linen on the trim. 54

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closed, the godfather purchased the property back from the grocery chain. This transaction opened the door for the godson, a landscaper, and his partner, a downtown professional, to purchase the lot and build their dream home. The couple worked with David Weekley Homes to develop the design and build a two-story, four-bedroom, Craftsman-inspired home. It was the builder’s first custom project in the Heights, a project of their build on your own lot program. “We worked with an architect to customize the house plan,” says one of the owners. “We wanted to incorporate historic Heights touches, such as the Craftsman-style columns with the brick base with tapered column on top. We also added the tin roof on the front porch and the window shutters to the original design.” The resulting two-story home is just over 3,000 square feet with four bedrooms and three and a half baths, plus a garage apartment. This allows plenty of room for the couples frequent guests. RIGHT: The formal dining room dazzles with its iron and rock crystal chandelier from Boxwood Interiors suspended from the coffered white pine ceiling. The table was found at Z Gallerie, and the chairs were recovered and refinished by Joaquin Renteria. The china hutch had belonged to one of the owners’ great grandparents and was redone by Renteria with a milk paint finish. The two paintings are by artist Katy Frost Neil of Galveston. BELOW: The homeowners’ collections include many antique toys and animal figures, as well as paintings by local artists.


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The couple’s previous home had been a three-story townhome in Rice Military. Nowadays, they are glad to be in a traditional, two-story amidst the neighborly atmosphere of the Heights. “We love our neighbors,” says one of the homeowners. “We recently became godparents to the young daughter of one of our neighbors, and since we purchased this lot from my godfather who lives next door, to us, this is a very special block.” It’s clear the couple treasures family connections. Many furnishings in the home are family heirlooms, including several paintings, a rocking chair and a hope chest. The couple also enjoys buying furniture and art while on vacations and shipping it home. To pull together the look of their home, the owners worked with Brett Duhon of Boxwood Interiors to establish décor themes, but admit they have made adjustments to the look after settling in.

BELOW: The back courtyard features a French Quarter look with brick laid in a herringbone pattern, strings of lights overhead and French ironwork hung on the wall (a New Orleans find). Joaquin Renteria made the zinc-topped dining table; the chairs were sourced from Restoration Hardware and Thompson & Hanson.. RIGHT: The homeowners purchased the iron wall art and antique shutters during trips to New Orleans. The wicker furniture is from Smith & Hawken, while a glass-topped antique urn between the chairs functions as a side table.


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Grand Central Kitchen The owners made the kitchen the center of home, as they love to entertain. The generous kitchen functions as the hub of the first floor. The large island handles plenty of food prep, and often serves as a buffet for family-style gatherings. The deep farmhouse sink handles piles of dishes, while the Cambria quartz countertops continue to shine after countless cleanups. The homeowners desired a balanced design for the muchused kitchen. “I like that your eye doesn’t stop in one place, but the space works as a whole,” says one of the owners. And while they have both a formal dining room and a comfortable breakfast area, the couple takes advantage of their outdoor dining room more than any other option. The couples’ two pugs, Samson and Buttercup, were considered with the choice of flooring on the first level. The floors are engineered walnut with a distressed and varied finish to allow for wear. The owners also chose to put sisal on stairs to make it easier for the dogs to get up and down the staircase.

BELOW: Craftsman Joaquin Renteria made the kitchen table with antique barn wood to go with the set of heirloom antique English pub chairs and 19th Century Swedish bench. The chandelier was a wedding gift from one of the homeowner’s grandfather to his grandmother. RIGHT: Cambria quartz countertops in Sussex (on island) and Hyde Park provide resilience and beauty. The roomy farmhouse sink and faucet, both by Kohler, handles heaps of dishes. The off-white subway tile backsplash gets an Italian accent from the decorative tile piece behind cooktop, imported from Florence, Italy. All appliances are GE Monogram.


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A New Classic The homeowners selected neutral colors for the walls and finishes throughout the home. “I was raised with the idea that you decorate with art,” says one of the owners. The use of a timeless, classic foundation both inside and out allows the unique pieces in their collections to stand out, but not overwhelm. “We wanted our home to look decorated, but still feel homey and warm,” says one of the homeowners. “When our friends bring their kids over we don’t have to worry about anything getting broken.”

Resources Builder: David Weekley Custom Homes, 800.758.3238 Landscaper: Strong Landscaping, 832.567.6561 Interior Design: Boxwood Interiors, 713.528.1501 Custom furniture & decorative items: Joaquin Renteria, Fine Finishes & More, 832.277.4521 Outdoor furnishings: Shannon’s Patio, 713.237.6060 Antique prints: The Antiquarium, 713.622.7531


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house & home| February 2012 | STORY BY SANDRA COOK • PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAYMOND ALDERETE 54 Floors throughout the fir...