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SPECIAL SECTION: 2019 Good Brick tour
Benefiting Preservation Houston

On the Section Cover:
A six year renovation completed last year includes an octagonal dining room with handpainted wallpaper depicting scenes from Hermann Park. View this 1929 home in the Shadow Lawn historic district, as well as four other homes or workplaces, on Preservation Houston’s sixth annual Good Brick Tour. Photo by Julie Soefer

Preservation Houston’s 2019 Good Brick Tour

All five locations on the sixth annual Good Brick Tour will be open for guided tours from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 2, and Sunday, November 3. Information is available at preservation
www.houston.org/goodbricktour . Please remember that Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 3.
Advance tickets are available for $25 per person through Thursday, October 31, and may be purchased online at www.preservationhouston.org/goodbricktour.

Tickets will available for $30 per person at each tour location during the tour weekend. All major credit cards will be accepted. Proceeds from the Good Brick Tour benefit Preservation Houston’s education, advocacy and community outreach programs.

Tickets provide one admission to each location on tour and may be used both days of the tour. Tickets are not refundable.

You may begin the Good Brick Tour at any location and proceed in any order you choose. The complimentary Houston House & Home guide will be available at each tour location.

Street parking is available at all tour locations. Please observe posted parking regulations. Some streets in Midtown require paid parking on Saturday.

Restrooms are not available at any tour location. Food and drink may not be brought inside any tour location.

• Please wear flat or soft-soled shoes and be prepared to climb stairs.
• Interior photography and videos, including photos and videos taken using mobile phones, are not permitted at any tour location.

For additional information, e-mail contact@preservationhouston.org or call 713-510-3990 during regular business hours Monday through Friday.

 

Welcome

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Preservation Houston’s sixth annual Good Brick Tour of award-winning historic homes and workplaces. We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to visit five outstanding privately owned historic properties on Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3.

Since 1979, Preservation Houston has presented Good Brick Awards to celebrate exceptional historic preservation projects and the people who make them happen. The Good Brick Tour was created in response to your requests for an inside look at these unique buildings.

Our sincere appreciation goes to the owners for restoring their historic homes and buildings to high standards and opening them for the benefit of Preservation Houston. This year we are showcasing properties from the late 19th and early 20th centuries in five distinctive neighborhoods. These are not museums, but rather functioning workplaces and family homes.

We especially want to thank our many hard-working volunteers, led by our dedicated Good Brick Tour co-chairs Lin Chong and Cheryl Joseph, as well as the enthusiastic location chairs, docents and Preservation Houston board members who help make this event possible. 

We are very grateful to our sponsors for their generous support of Preservation Houston. We are especially pleased to be working with Houston House & Home again this year and thank Susie Tommaney and the magazine staff for creating and publishing the 2019 Good Brick Tour guide.

Most of all, we would like to thank you for attending this year’s Good Brick Tour and for supporting Preservation Houston through your interest and involvement. You are ultimately our best advocates. After the tour, tell your friends and neighbors about the projects you’ve seen, talk about the importance of local landmarks and historic districts, and let our public officials know that you care about preserving our shared heritage. 

If you are not yet a member, please join Preservation Houston by visiting our website at preservationhouston.org/join.

Thank you, again, for your support. Enjoy the tour.

Sincerely,

Kate McCormick                                            David Bush
President                                                                  Executive Director

UNLOCKING THE PAST

Architects Peeled Back a Century of Change to Shine New Light On Coulter-Sweeney House Story by Natalie de la Garza | Photos courtesy of kinneymorrow architecture

Down on Kane Street in the Old Sixth Ward is something of a clown car, a 19th-century house with a board-and-batten face and a gable roof that proves looks can be deceiving.

“It looks like a little cottage from the street,” says architect Michael Morrow. “You perceive it one way from the outside and then you go in, and it seems really large and has a more complex story.”

Morrow, who owns the home with his wife, Taryn Kinney, a fellow architect and partner in their firm kinneymorrow architecture, is ready to share that story during the 2019 Good Brick Tour.

The couple purchased the house in 2005. Tired of renting and looking to buy, a friend mentioned a cute little house in the Sixth Ward – the price of which seemed to be dropping by the week. Though they didn’t realize it at first, the two soon learned that the structure was actually comprised of two houses from two different lots that were moved and put together around the turn of the century in order to make room for a big, corner porch Victorian on the two vacated lots.

“They were moved before the advent of the automobile,” adds Morrow. “I don’t really know [how] but I can surmise that it involved some horses.”

In the 1920s a two-room addition expanded the house further; while subsequent subdivisions — into a duplex, then triplex, and finally back to a single-family dwelling, and the efforts to hide these changes — contributed to a disjointed and incoherent space.

 “The plot thickened,” says Morrow.
With the discovery that the house had “a whole life of its own before [they] came upon it,” Morrow says they wanted to plug into that story through the renovation, with the goal of expressing the two different houses and the addition while ensuring the whole remained greater than the sum of its parts.

The oldest house, a Gulf Coast cottage dating back to 1876, is in the front and contains the living room and study. The ceilings were vaulted, the front door re-centered, and the roof and floor reconstructed and leveled.

The bedrooms and bathrooms are located in the second house, which is perpendicular to the first. The addition in the 1920s turned the porch that ran along one side into an interior hallway that was not only slightly sloped for drainage, but bracketed by walls diagonal one way at one end and diagonal the other way at the other.

“After losing sleep about it for a couple of weeks, I just built a thick wall that contains all of the wonky wall inside of it, so now there are these really thick door openings into the rooms,” says Morrow.

In rebuilding the hallway, Morrow says they also laid the floorboards in the same orientation one would lay porch boards “just to remember that’s what it was.”

The dining room and kitchen, the two rooms added in the 1920s, now open to both of the original houses. Four skylights installed overhead allow in a lot of natural light, making the space a “pleasant room” where Morrow says they spend most of their time.

Despite the house’s seemingly complete transformation, Morrow says that, as an architect, “everything’s 90 percent done all the time.” Though Morrow laments that architects never seem to finish their own home – “It’s kind of like the cobbler’s children have no shoes,” he says – participating in the Good Brick Tour pushed the couple into a “new phase of renovation.”

In addition to planting trees and turning the “cliff outside the back door” into a finished deck, the biggest change is the result of a new paint job, which left the exterior a dark gray-black color.

Still, Morrow stresses that his home and others in the Old Sixth Ward are “living, breathing houses that have changed and continue to change and have normal people living in them.” He hopes that tour-goers will see this, and that it will change the perception of historic homes, which he says are not all “coffee table quality.”

“These are very humble working-class houses,” says Morrow. “The houses in this neighborhood went through two wars, the Depression, got whacked up into duplexes, triplexes, went back to single-family. They’re very flexible, so they are very modern in that respect.”

Morrow adds, “It’s not like colonial Williamsburg here. It’s a very vital neighborhood, like any other.”

RESOURCE

kinneymorrow architecture
Taryn Kinney
Michael Morrow
713-409-9517
2219 Kane Street
kinneymorrow.com

ADDITIONAL 2019 GOOD BRICK AWARD WINNERS

Nancy & Jim Butler for restoring the Jack R. Tenison House (1935) in River Oaks

Congregation Beth Israel for restoring the original chandelier in the Temple of Rest mausoleum (1935) at Beth Israel Cemetery

Jon Deal and Todd Johnson for rehabilitating and repurposing the Riviana Rice silos (1960) in First Ward as SITE Gallery Houston at the Silos

Harris County for restoring The Rebirth of Our Nationality mural (1973) in the East End

Houston Methodist Hospital for relocating and restoring the Extending Arms of Christ mosaic (1963) in the Texas Medical Center

Harriett and Truett Latimer received the Preservation Houston President’s Award for their outstanding service and contributions to historic preservation in Houston and Texas

1. Mr. & Mrs. Albert L. Ladner House (1941)
3362 Del Monte Drive
River Oaks
City of Houston Protected Landmark
2012 Good Brick Award

Oilman Albert L. Ladner and his wife Josephine hired architect Hamilton Brown to design this elegant Georgian Revival-style home. The current owners purchased the property in 2008 and began a multi-year restoration that carefully preserved the house’s historic character.

 The greatest challenge was restoring the original steel casement windows, which were rusted and deteriorated. All of the windows were removed and repaired individually. Original plaster walls, moldings and woodwork were also restored.

Tourgoers will see the classically inspired formal rooms, including a unique oval dining room with custom wallpaper featuring birds of the Gulf Coast, as well as comfortable contemporary living spaces.

Preservation Houston awarded the owners a Good Brick Award in 2012 for their careful restoration of this historic landmark. Photo by Jim Parsons

2. Mr. & Mrs. Frederick C. Bammel House (1895)
1819 Sabine Street
High First Ward Historic District
City of Houston Protected Landmark
2019 Good Brick Award

This traditional Victorian home was built for railroad worker Frederick C. Bammel, who lived here with his wife Caroline and their five children. The colorful restoration features original gingerbread trim, stained glass and historic hardware.

The house required significant work when the current owners purchased the property in 2017. Sagging floor beams had to be reinforced and inappropriate alterations removed. Compatible salvaged materials were used to replace rotting wood wherever possible, and wallboard was removed to reveal original tongue-and-groove construction. The owners’ eclectic collections are now displayed throughout the house.

Preservation Houston recognized the project with a 2019 Good Brick Award. Photo by Enrique del Valle

4. Maria Boswell Flake Home (1912)
3515 Fannin Street
Midtown
National Register of Historic Places
2019 Good Brick Award

Many tourgoers will recognize this impressive building as the former location of Adkins Architectural Antiques, but the house was originally built as a private residence in the affluent South End. In 1922, the property became the Maria Boswell Flake Home for elderly women who had limited funds and no families. It is one of the last surviving houses in this part of Houston.

When the current owners began repurposing the building as law offices, they restored the ornate woodwork and decorative elements throughout the two-story house. The elaborate interiors reflect the transition from traditional Neoclassical design to the more informal Craftsman style. Tourgoers will see original stained glass and hardware, the impressive main staircase and massive fireplace, all just as they were 107 years ago. 

Preservation Houston presented the owners with a Good Brick Award in 2019 for their careful rehabilitation and repurposing of this historic property. Photo courtesy of Hester + Hardaway

5. Mr. & Mrs. Joseph C. Brown House (1929)
4 Shadow Lawn
Shadow Lawn Historic District
2019 Good Brick Award

Prominent local businessman Joseph Chenowith Brown and his wife Elva constructed this gracious family home in Shadow Lawn, one of several Houston neighborhoods inspired by the private places of St. Louis. Noted architect Cameron C. Fairchild designed the house in the fashionable Georgian Revival style.

The current owner purchased the property in 2012 and began a multi-phase project that was completed in 2018. Guided by the original architectural drawings, the renovation preserves the classic style and historic character of Fairchild’s design while adapting the house for modern lifestyles. Great care was taken to maintain the home’s architectural integrity and exactly reproduce historical details that had been damaged or removed over time.

A highlight of the tour is the octagonal dining room with hand-painted wallpaper featuring scenes from Hermann Park. Tourgoers will also see the formal rooms on the first floor and the family room and kitchen in the new addition.

Preservation Houston recognized the rehabilitation of this significant house with a 2019 Good Brick Award. Photo by Peter Molick

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