1914 Mission Revival Home Restored to Former Glory … and So Much More
By Barbara Canetti
Photos by Benjamin Hill Photography
Liz Hanks says it was the seven sets of original French doors that sealed the deal for her. As she and her Realtor toured the 1914 Mission Revival house in the Houston Heights in 2015, she immediately fell in love with the enormous amount of light coming into the rooms through those old doors with the original wavy glass.
“I feel like I’m outside when I’m in here,” says Hanks, who moved into the newly renovated house with her husband Stephen Schroder and daughter. A second girl was born since they moved into the house, which Hanks says accommodates the family perfectly.
The house had fallen into severe disrepair over the last few decades. Dee Todd-Simmons of HDT builders remodeled and expanded it from 1,500 square feet to its present 4,083 square feet in 2013.
Some of the wide-plank walnut floors in the entry, upstairs rooms and master closet are original to the house, as are light fixtures in the living room, butler’s pantry and an upstairs bathroom. Reclaimed pine was used in the other rooms. And, in the remodeling process, an old photo of the house showing a parapet was used to recreate that adornment on the roof with the original window, which was found in the attic.
A large crumbling brick fireplace in the center foyer was rebuilt and is the first thing visitors see when entering the two-story house. It separates the formal living room from the formal dining room, but sets the tone of the entire house.
Most of the walls in the downstairs are white, and Hanks selected several bold furnishings to bring color and pizazz to the rooms. A small powder room off the living room was wallpapered by The Wallpaper Lady in a lively, bright floral design that coincidently coordinates with the accessories on the nearby couch.
The footprint of the original house ends with the living room and this is where Todd-Simmons crafted the expanded floor plan.
First up: an immense kitchen with a T-shaped quartzite island and more than ample amounts of cabinets and open shelves. The six-burner (plus a griddle) Wolf stove with bright red knobs is adjacent to additional ovens built into the wall. The rest of the countertops are honed granite in a dark color. A bright breakfast room has been transformed into their daughter’s “kitchen” playroom because Hanks realized they used the table built into the island for most meals. Five molded plywood Cherner style bar stools surround the island.
The kitchen opens into the sprawling family room, which also has a sunken wine storage area. A large fireplace with window seats on either side fortifies the room, with a long couch and comfortable chairs surrounding a round wood coffee table.
“We just love this house. There are so many giant open spaces for us,” Hanks says.
The back entrance to the house has a bricked mudroom and is lined with shelves for shoes and storage. It also is where their two dogs prefer to lounge in the sun.
A back staircase leads up to a guest room/playroom/office/ studio. A queen-size Murphy bed drops down when guests spend the night. The room is decorated with fun Star Wars art by Houston artist Jon Garner who uses reclaimed wood for his unusual paintings. Three side tables in the shapes of Texas, Massachusetts and California (states where the couple has lived) are placed beside comfortable chairs.
The family’s more private area is accessed through the staircase in the family room. A beautiful stained glass window, created by Karen Farrell of Farrell Art Glass, is at the landing going up the stairs. At the top of the flight of stairs is another office area and the large master bedroom and bathroom. A dainty slipper tub and good size shower line one side of the bathroom; two matching sinks in soapstone counters flank the walk-in closet. The bathroom is decorated with two sizes of limestone tiles.
The girls’ bedrooms and bathrooms are in what was the upstairs in the original floor plan. A center hallway separates the rooms and a small computer nook was created where the former staircase had been.
“This house was very easy to move into. And the neighborhood is so walk-able,” Hanks says. “We use all the space, plus the front patios that we put in.” They also erected a pergola on the side of the house that resembled one found in another old photo of the home.
Because the outside space is limited, Hanks makes use of vertical gardens for her plants and butterfly nursery. And, she did leave room for two very active beehives, which she hopes will start producing some fresh honey soon.
405 East Main,
Farrells Art Glass
1123 East 25th
Ravenscourt Landscaping & Design LLC
The Wallpaper Lady
Crate and Barrel
(Land of Nod)
12848 Queensbury Lane
Bug in the Box