In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Three, Number Three, March 2007|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
Historic Houston Heights Spring Home & Garden Tour “The Colors Of Our Lives”
We hope you will all come out to play with us on Saturday and Sunday, April 14 & 15, for the 2007 Historic Houston Heights Spring Home & Garden Tour. A taste of this year’s line up of homes and gardens is featured below.
Advance tickets are $15 each and may be purchased after March 9 at Another Place in Time (421 W. 11th Street), Buchanan’s Native Plants (611 E. 11th Street), Karen Derr & Associates (1545 Heights Blvd.), Eclectic Home (345 W. 19th Street) and the Houston Heights Association web site ().
On the days of the tour, tickets will be $17 each and may be purchased at the Heights Fire Station at Yale and 12th Street and at each home on the tour. A luxury bus shuttle to all of the homes is included; the route begins and ends at the Heights Fire Station.
Chair: Kristi Synek; Chair-Elect: Christine Spin
Candlelight Dinner 2007
On Friday, April 13, Winter Street Studios will be transformed into the much-anticipated HHA event of the year, chaired by Chris Silkwood and Kelly Simmons. Following a casual, private preview of the 2007 Home Tour homes and gardens, “The Colors of Our Lives” Candlelight Dinner & Auction will feature a gourmet dinner by Massoud’s, and colorful martinis will be flowing once again, courtesy of Heights Liquor on 11th Street.
The auction committee, led by Sandra Crook and Cindy Wingo Hemenway, has collected a treasure trove of items, including beautiful jewelry, fun travel packages, elegant party packages, fine wine & accouterments, luxurious spa packages, pampered pet packages, exquisite home and garden décor, and collectible antiques, and we can expect an emphasis on artwork in keeping with the event’s art studio backdrop. Emcee extraordinaire John Blass will once again lead the live auction of three amazing works of art, including the event’s cover art, an oil on canvas (shown above) by internationally-acclaimed artist John Palmer; a ceramic mosaic by our very own Winter Street Studios artist Chris Silkwood; and a metal yard sculpture by Houston’s favorite art car guru Mark Bradford, aka “Scrapdaddy.”
Winter Street Studios will be brought to colorful life by design genius Angela DeWree, owner of Design and Inspiration, and Kristal Kirksey and her Jubilee Design Team will work their magic once again on the event’s powder rooms, transforming the plain into over-the-top luxury. We are extremely excited and proud to announce that Eclectic Home on 19th Street is once again generously donating beautiful gifts for each and every guest. And, if you’ve ever wondered what happens to those event photos that are snapped by our resident photographer, Mark Williamson, during these events, they will be displayed in a continuous loop projector show on one of the walls during the event.
The attire theme is “Color-licious Cocktail,” so wear your favorite color - the brighter the better! The price for a reserved table of ten is $1,000 and individual tickets are $100 each. Table Hosts will receive signage on their reserved table, acknowledgment in the evening’s program, and an invitation for two to next year’s (2008) Kick-Off Party. (While we did increase the price this year for the event, it is still priced well below the average fundraising gala in Houston, and it is important to remember that the neighborhood benefits from these proceeds.)
We’re already receiving reservations for the event, and we must limit the attendance to 450 - rather than our usual 500 - due to space restrictions at Winter Street Studios, so please act early. Invitations will be mailed in mid-March, but you may reserve your table or tickets now onlineor by calling 713-861-4002 and leaving a message at extension 3.
Do you like the historic character of our 100-year-old homes - you either own one or want to buy one - but would like yours to be bigger or modernized, and you don’t want to hurt the historic character of the historic home? Do you just like to see photos or slides of historic buildings and learn about them?
Do we have the program for you! Come to HHA’s March 12 meeting at 7:00 PM at the Houston Heights City Hall and Fire Station, W. 12th and Yale, and marvel at what can be done. The little bungalow grows up.
Randy Pace, Houston’s historic preservation officer, and Heights builders will show and tell how to have your cake and eat it too: how to have a comfortable 100-year-old home and keep it historic. Randy will also talk about partial abatement of City of Houston property taxes for doing significant improvements to your old home if it is in a City historic district or is a City historic landmark.
Builders who have committed to the program at this writing include Gilbert Perez of Bungalow Revival and Adam Wells of Clerestory Homes. If you know of a builder who works on historic buildings and might want to participate - either by having a table or presenting slides or photos - ask your builder friend to contact David Beale at 713-426-3240 oror call David yourself, and David will contact the builder.
This program is designed for those who own old homes in the Heights, for those who are thinking about buying one, for those who are interested in preserving the historic character of the Heights, and for realtors who have clients who are interested in historic homes. It is designed also for those who are concerned about whether and how they can add on to their old homes if they are in a City historic district.
The Houston Heights Association does not endorse, approve, or recommend any builder whether mentioned in this article or not.
Coming Up Next Month
At the April 9 General Meeting, the spotlight will be on the public schools within our boundaries. Speakers will include HISD School Board Trustee Natasha Kamrani, Principal Kevin Beringer of Harvard Elementary, and Principal Connie Berger of Reagan High School. You won’t want to miss this!
Also at the April meeting, AFS, an international student exchange program, will make a presentation to inform Heights residents of the opportunities for hosting foreign exchange students and also for Heights students to study abroad.
Tour Help Wanted!
The Spring Home & Garden Tour, April 13 to 15, is in need of volunteers to docent at homes, handle ticket/drink sales, or be shuttle docents. In exchange for working a 3-hour shift, each volunteer will receive a ticket to the tour.
Even if you have worked previous home tours, don’t assume that we will contact you; the contact information we have may be out of date. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Denise Martin ator 713-868-4119. Leave your name, telephone number, and email address (if you have one).
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following 2007 Platinum sponsors:
Historic Houston Heights Spring Home & Garden Tour - “The Colors Of Our Lives” - Homes On The Tour
We hope you will all come out to play with us on Saturday and Sunday, April 14 & 15, for the 2007 Historic Houston Heights Spring Home & Garden Tour. A taste of this year’s line up of homes and gardens appears below.
1113 Rutland Street
When they initiated conversations with their architect, the owners of this newly constructed home were committed to maintaining the architectural integrity and scale of the neighborhood. The dramatic contrast between the “Houston Heights bungalow” exterior elevation and the “comfortable contemporary” feel of the home’s interior creates a dynamic tension that delights and intrigues the emotions. With one exception, all of the home’s rooms engage the courtyard and swimming pool. The generous use of porches, windows, and glass doors creates a magnificent interface between indoors and out, making each an equally important part of the living space.
1233 Yale Street
The Lula Doughty home, located at 1233 Yale Street, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a City of Houston Landmark structure. Named for Miss Lula Doughty, a Heights schoolteacher and principal, this Victorian-style home with Greek Revival influences was built around 1906. It boasts 12-foot ceilings, 7-foot windows, and much of the original interior trim. Special features include an incredible tri-fold door between the entry and living room and an unusual tilt window in the first floor bath. Over the last 20 years, Don and Debbie Broman have lovingly restored their home. Don designed and built a beautiful library to house their collection of antique books, some dating back to the 1890s. The homeowners’ adjacent 1940s house has been remodeled for use as a conservatory for art, music, and entertaining, and features Debbie’s collections of vintage 1940s knotty pine and bamboo furniture. As avid organic gardeners, their landscape is overflowing with fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, and vegetables.
614 E. 5th Street
Built in 1998, this loft-style home mixes old with new in a barefoot-comfortable style. As you enter through 100-year-old cypress doors, you’re welcomed by an open plan reminiscent of a 20th century firehouse. The interior features concrete floors, counters, and fireplace and a 22-foot pressed tin ceiling. The owners’ rotating collection of contemporary Vietnamese paintings accentuates the subtle color palette. In the back, a large pair of enclosed porches is set amid lush landscaping. The raised lap pool with adjoining iron gazebo is almost hidden within the eclectic subtropical garden. A mesmerizing fountain accents a pond alive with fish, and birds, butterflies, and a working bee hive are at home in the 100-year-old native longleaf pine. The homeowners have also seen to it that the home is a comfortable haven for their beloved dog, Chocolate Mousse, and his friends.
615 E. 8th Street
They say the best surprises come in small packages and this charming 1920s bungalow is no exception. Purchased by the current homeowner in 1999, the home maintains much of its original design, a simple and refreshing contrast to the more common luxuriously updated kitchens and baths. Every square inch of the home is filled with artwork from both local and internationally acclaimed artists and an eclectic mix of antiques and modern furnishings. The homeowner’s personality and collections from her international travels are apparent in the creative backyard space, designed to reflect her favorite travel locale, a Balinese seaside resort.
622 E. 8th Street
Modeled after the façade of an 1850s mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans, “Trinidad” was designed by the homeowners and Creole Design and constructed by Allegro Builders. Some of the home’s many details include curved double verandahs, a barrel-vaulted ceiling entrance, Brazilian cherry wood floors, and stained glass windows. Other period details were replicated, including rope, dentil, and egg-and-dart moldings. Designed for entertaining and repose, the stone-tiled rear porch opens onto an outdoor kitchen and a two-story “relaxation room” overlooking a Tuscan-styled pool and lush landscape, all conceived by KJ Development.
1130 Cortlandt Street
This typical Heights bungalow, with front gable and exposed flared rafter tails, came to life in 1912 with two bedrooms and one bath. (If you look carefully, you’ll find at least three other examples of the original design remaining in the neighborhood.) In the late 1970s, the interior was completely redone; the only remaining original interior feature was a set of French doors. The current owner purchased the home in 1995, and in 2005 a total renovation took the house down to the studs, leaving only the front gable. Square footage was added at the rear and in a second-floor extension over the driveway. The renovation included recycled oak floors, new molding, new double-hung windows, salvaged interior doors, new siding, and the home’s original porch swing. The result is a spacious home that is both old and new - a comfortable mix of architectural features, styles, materials, and décor.
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following Spring 2007 Gold sponsors:
Heights Youth Art Show
It’s that time of year again - Spring Home Tour and the Heights Youth Art Show. Last year’s art by young Houston Heights artists was amazing, and we expect this year to be even better. In order to include as many artists as possible, we will be accepting only one piece from each child. There will be ribbons and prizes awarded.
What may be entered: All work must be two dimensional - no crafts or sculpture. All work must be ready to hang (framed and wired, mounted or matted with velcro tabs on the back) and must have a label on the back with name and phone.
Who may enter: Any child in grades Pre-K through 12 who either lives or goes to school within the Houston Heights Association boundaries (“inside the boundaries of North Loop 610, North Shepherd Drive, Washington Avenue, and Studewood to North Main to North Loop 610” per HHA Bylaws; schools include Harvard, Helms, Love, Hamilton, Reagan, etc.).
Location: Heights Fire Station, 12th & Yale.
Times: Art Drop Off and Registration on April 12 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM and April 13 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Artists’ Reception on April 13 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Art Show April 14 and 15 during the Home Tour. Art Pick Up on April 15 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM and April 16 from 9:00 AM to Noon.
The January paint drive was far more successful than expected. Starting out on a damp chilly morning didn’t stop the generosity of our neighbors. In 3 hours, we collected over 900 gallons of paint weighing in at 4.5 tons, along with $700 in donations. Your efforts will keep the battle against graffiti in operation into the summer. Since I don’t have the capacity to store that mountain of paint, the surplus was donated to the Art Car people, a theater group, and some local artists. Nothing was wasted.
May 2006 was the birth of the Anti-Graffiti Squad. Since then, graffiti has been reduced by 95% of its former amount. Repeat graffiti is way down. Many former locations are no longer being tagged. The most impressive aspect is the cooperation of an increasing number of property owners taking steps to reduce being tagged. This success has allowed the area covered by the Squad to be increased. The area now encompasses Loop 610 to the north, I-45 to the east, I-10 to the south, and Durham to the west, with a little wiggle room to cover Houston Heights proper.
If you missed the paint drive but would still like to help, you can always contact me atDonations can also be made through the on-line newsletter.
Awards Dinner Results
The following awards were presented at the 33rd Annual Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Dinner on February 25. Watch for more details in future issues.
President’s Award: Lauriel Hindman
Boulevard Beautification: Cynthia Corn Parker
Community Improvement Awards:
Corporate Citizenship: Allegro Builders (Lambert Arceneaux, President & CEO)
Marcella Perry Award: Greg and Lanna von Baden
Citizens of the Year: Kelly Simmons and Keith Crane (pictured below with Mark Williamson after he announced their selection)
Free Wills For Low-Income Seniors
The Houston Bar Association’s Elder Law Committee is sponsoring a free Will-A-Thon open to all Harris County low-income seniors (age 60+) who wish to have a simple will prepared. Qualified applicants must sign up in advance, then go to the Third Ward Multi-Purpose Center located at 3611 Ennis, Suite 118 on April 26 for will preparation and May 10 for will execution.
Interested seniors must call the number below between Monday, March 19 and Friday, March 30 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. For more information, call 713-228-0735.
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following Spring 2007 Silver Sponsors:
Perception or Reality?
The Houston Heights Association (HHA), like many other civic societies that depend on a few passionate volunteers, has long suffered from being perceived as a small elite group of zealots seeking to enforce their own views on their neighborhood.
I have lived in the Heights for 22 years and for years was also under that impression. It is only since I was elected to the Board of Directors of the HHA that I fully understood what the Association was trying to achieve and how much voluntary time and effort were being expended by a diverse group of residents.
As an urban planner, working throughout the US, I have had a great deal of interaction with civic associations and citizen steering committees. I have found the HHA to be unique in that it does not labor under the constraints of a homeowners’ association and represents a wide range of interests. Unlike most other civic groups, the HHA has considerable financial assets. This is the result of wise investment of the revenues generated by your annual dues, remarkably successful home tours, and other events as well as generous donations by area sponsors.
The Association was formed in 1974 to preserve, maintain, and enhance the neighborhood’s historic character and the quality of life that make it a special place in Houston. This requires constant vigilance and the active and sympathetic participation of all Heights residents, young and old, whether they are retirees, realtors, builders, lawyers, business people, artists, architects, doctors, or homemakers. It requires commitment from individuals to preserve, restore, and maintain historic properties. It requires commitment and an enormous investment of volunteer time to maintain and nurture the Boulevard and all the magnificent trees that define the neighborhood’s green spaces. It requires commitment and volunteers to maintain the Heights Fire Station as well as Donovan and Marmion Parks, both of which are owned by HHA. It requires the participation of parents and residents to help improve the schools in the neighborhood. It requires constant interest and effort to try to influence city policy so that the integrity of the neighborhood can be legally preserved.
Far from being an elite group, the elected board of the HHA is constantly seeking to recruit residents to serve as board members and calling for volunteers to participate in all its constituent committees. With the influx of new residents and considerable change in the demographics of the neighborhood, it is an uphill battle both to keep everybody informed of ongoing activity and to find and seek the help of all those who are willing to spend their time safeguarding their most personal and important investment - their homes and their special quality of life.
If any Heights resident, new or old, feels left out or ignored or perceives themselves as being dictated to by a small and elite group, they only have to participate in the HHA’s many activities to realize how welcome they are, how diverse the opinions of their neighbors are, and how much the whole neighborhood can benefit from their efforts.
Membership in HHA is available on our Web site (clickto join, renew, or give a gift membership).
Annual Heights Fun Run Help Wanted
Tired of this cold weather? Ready for some good ol’ Texas outdoor activities? Well, it’s time to start planning the annual Heights 5K Run and Walk, known as our Fun Run. It will be held on the first Saturday in June, which is June 2.
We are in need of a chairperson for the committee that puts the whole thing together. We also need people to help in the supporting cast. The choices are plentiful. We need help to arrange for food/beverage, artwork and collateral, T-Shirts, water stations, infrastructure, etc. Things are already underway. A professional race manager will handle the actual mechanics of the race.
Let us know what you can do by sending email toor leaving a message in voice mailbox 4 at 713-861-4002. Tell your friends about our great event - this year will be better than ever!!
Our thanks to the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
Jim & Barbara Potter - Historic District Signs
Tim Martindell - Historic District Signs
Kay Sasso - Historic District Signs
Naomi & Jonathan Smulian - Parks, Boulevard, Flower Gardens
17th St. Condo Owners Association - Graffiti Abatement
Please welcome the following new or returning members to the Houston Heights Association.
Amydell & Bill Beardshall
Heights TEC, Thomas Arena
George Jones & June Ferrill Jones
Richard, Wendy, and Shelby Lynn
Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital
Texas Elite Title Co., David Payne
Tunstall & Riveron Law Group, PLLC, Steve Tunstall
The Houston Heights Association is proud to have the following Spring 2007 Bronze Sponsors:
Summary of Board Organizational Meeting
President-Elect Jim Potter called the meeting to order at 6:35 PM on January 9. The 2007 General Meetings will continue to be held at 7:00 PM on the second Monday of every month, and the 2007 Board Meetings will be held at 6:30 PM on the third Monday of every month.
Jim Potter was formally elected 2007 President. Mark Williamson was elected President-Elect, Janet Buchheit was re-elected as Secretary, and Jim DePitts was elected as Treasurer.
The HHA Leadership Matrix was discussed so that Vice Presidents and Committee Chairs could be elected and appointed. Prior to any elections or appointments, Kathy Russell tendered her resignation from the Board because she will be leaving Houston in March. Kathy will continue to work on the Spring Home Tour until she leaves.
The following slate of Vice Presidents was elected: Genie Mims, Vice President of Information & Communication; Taylor Moore, Vice President of Meetings & Membership; Joellen Snow, Vice President of Community Outreach; Janice Evans-Davis, Vice President of Historic Preservation & Maintenance with Jonathan Smulian working with Janice on this committee; Chris Synek, Vice President of HHA Property Management with Suzanne LaBarthe working with Chris on this committee; Jim DePitts, Vice President of Financial Affairs. The position of Vice President of Sponsorship and Fundraising was deferred until the January 15 Board Meeting.
Programs for the next fourteen months of General Meetings were discussed. The Community Improvement Award nominations and program were discussed. The meeting adjourned at 7:50 PM.
January Board Summary
President Jim Potter called the meeting to order at 6:35 PM on January 15. Minutes from the December 18 meeting were discussed, amended, and approved. Minutes from the January 9 Organizational Board Meeting were approved. The Financial Statement was discussed.
Past Presidents Mike Easley and Kent Marsh and Sponsorship Committee Chair Chris Silkwood addressed the board regarding issues and plans for the 2007 year.
Filling the board vacancy of Kathy Russell was discussed. Candidates nominated should attend the February 19 Board Meeting. Sharie Beale agreed to fill the Vice President of Sponsorship and Fundraising vacancy.
Janice Evans-Davis reported on the proposed changes to the lot size and building line ordinances. A motion was passed that the Board adopt a resolution in support of minimum lot size and special building line calculations that is based on 60% of a block’s total square footage.
Jonathan Smulian gave a report on the proposed development at 5th Street and Oxford. The Board gave Jonathan the authorization to speak in opposition to this development at the City Council Meeting on January 17.
Newsletter items, the Community Improvement Award nominations, and Awards Dinner were discussed. Meeting adjourned at 8:55 PM.
History For Sale
If you are in the market for a cute Craftsman bungalow, please take a look at this month’s sampling of properties for sale in the Heights. The HHA newsletter began listing historic properties for sale in the Heights in hopes of deterring demolition and relocation of our existing housing stock and instead encouraging renovation and expansion.
Many of the houses listed below have been completely updated. Each of the properties is listed for less than $500,000.
The number of demolitions in Houston Heights jumped to 222 between January 5 and February 5. This represents an increase of 10 demolitions over the previous month. 2.4 demolitions or relocations occur in the Heights every week. At this rate, 1,000 structures, the equivalent of 45 entire blocks, would be lost by the year 2016.
Historic District designation is the only legal option for deterring the destruction of our historic housing stock. If you live within the boundaries of the two proposed historic districts and have not yet done so, please sign and mail in the petition in support of the historic districts. The petition, maps of the proposed districts, and additional information are available.
Below is a list of the latest demolitions or relocations.
Calendar of Events for March-April 2007
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web sitefor more information.
Saturdays through June 2, Galveston Historical Foundation presents demonstration classes at its salvage warehouse. Topics include remuddling versus rehab, preparing your historic house for a hurricane, and window and shutter repair. $10 per class. For more information, visitor call Lori Crossno at 409-765-7834, Ext. 37.
March 22-24 and 29-31, Opera in the Heights presents Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. For more information, visitor call 713-861-5303.
March 24-25, 12:00 noon to 6:00 PM, Woodland Heights Centennial Home Tour. Homes on tour are 205 Bayland (home of William A. Wilson, developer of Woodland Heights), 3301 Morrison, 411 Highland, 504 Woodland, 3302 Beauchamp, 3012 Beauchamp, and 530 Byrne. Tickets are available at many locations around the neighborhood for $15 in advance, but will cost $20 on the days of the tour. For more information or to order tickets online, visit.
March 31, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Hamilton Middle School 6th Annual Spring Fling, 139 E. 20th at Heights Blvd. A day of fun and games, good food, and great music - from school bands to local Heights musicians.
June 2, Fun Run
October 7, Bicycle Rally
November 30 - December 1, Holiday Home Tour
February 24, 2008, Awards Dinner
April 4-6, Spring Home Tour
Copyright and Submissions
The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.
Copyright 2007, the Houston Heights Association and/or the authors unless otherwise noted.
Newsletter inquiries, suggestions, or submissions should be directed to:
Editor, The Heights, P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270-0735;
email ; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.
Staff and Contributors
Editor: Mark R. Williamson
Assistant Editor: Kathleen S. Williamson
March contributors: David Beale, Janet Buchheit, Karen Derr, Bill Dijak Photography, Janice Evans-Davis, Lauriel Hindman, Paul Luccia, Genie Mims, Jim Potter, Kelly Simmons, Jonathan Smulian, Sheila Tybor.