In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Six, Number Three, March 2010|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
2010 Candlelight Dinner and Auction
Want to feel like a celebrity? On Friday, April 9, come see and be seen at the 2010 Candlelight Dinner and Auction. To begin your evening, enjoy a private preview of the six tour homes from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. At 7:00 PM, head over to the feature event, “Now Showing… The Candlelight Dinner,” at Master Car Care, 2305 Yale Street. Once you slip past the red velvet ropes, prepare to be star-struck by the spectacular decorations created by chairs Donna Bennett and Kristi Synek with help from Angela DeWree’s Design and Inspiration. Sip on a “Heights Side Car” courtesy of Heights Liquor on 11th Street while you admire vintage vehicles brought in especially for the night. Bid on the enticing auction items and dine on a gourmet dinner prepared by Massoud Catering. You’ll even leave with a beautiful favor generously donated by Eclectic Home.
The auction is sure to dazzle. In the spotlight is artwork from fine artist Kevin Peterson who has created an iconic painting (featured on the poster above) just for the event. There will also be a collaborative new release from Chris Silkwood and John Palmer. Satisfy your inner starlet by bidding on a paparazzi-worthy private dinner at the exciting new Phil’s Texas Barbecue or a pair of green amethyst briolette earrings with multi colored sapphires provided by Judith Ann Jewels. And that’s just the beginning. There are lots of new and exciting surprises planned by auction chairs Pam Kunkemoeller and Kit Davis, so you won’t want to miss a second of this night!
The price for a reserved table of ten is $1,000, and individual tickets are $100 each. This is sure to be a sell-out party, so reserve your table or tickets now online .
The 2010 Candlelight Dinner and Auction is going to be the Houston Heights Association event of the season. So get set folks… it’s show time!
For the Birds:
Houston Audubon Society at the General Meeting
The Heights is a remarkable sanctuary for our Texas native & wild bird species. To learn all about our fine feathered friends and habitat preservation, don’t miss the March 8 HHA General Meeting at the Heights Fire Station.
Our special Guest is Mary Ann Weber, Education Director for the Houston Audubon Society at the Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center. Mary Ann has a great program packed with information about wildlife habitat and bird sanctuaries that you can provide in your Heights garden.
Don’t miss an assortment of LIVE feathered friends, and big birds! See you at 7:00 PM on Monday, March 8, at the Historic Houston Heights Fire Station and City Hall, 12th and Yale Streets. Join us - Everyone is Invited!
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2010 Platinum sponsors:
2010 Spring Home and Garden Tour
“Now Showing… The Houston Heights”
This year’s Spring Home and Garden Tour, scheduled from noon to 6:00 PM on April 10 and 11 will star six extraordinary homes and gardens. Chairs Danae Stephenson and Linda Eyles are excited to announce the featured homes:
Descriptions and photos of the featured homes are available in the PDF edition of this newsletter and on the home tour web page.
Advance tickets are $17 each and may be purchased beginning March 6 at Another Place in Time (1102 Tulane), The Artful Corner (3423 White Oak), Buchanan’s Native Plants (611 E. 11th Street), Eclectic Home (345 W. 19th Street), and Waldo’s Coffee House (1030 Heights Boulevard) and online . Day-of-tour tickets are $20 and may be purchased at Buchanan’s Native Plants, Another Place in Time, Heights Fire Station, and at each home.
Included in the ticket price is a luxury shuttle bus to all the homes. The shuttle begins and ends at the Heights Fire Station at Yale and 12th Streets, where parking is available.
In addition to the tour, this year the Houston Heights Association will be holding a very exciting raffle. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the individual tour homes and where tour tickets are sold. The drawing will be held at the HHA General Meeting on April 12.
Items Sought for Candlelight Auction
The auction committee has already gathered some very exciting items for this year’s Candlelight Dinner and Auction, but they need your help! If you or someone you know would like to donate an item or a gift certificate for goods or services, please contact Beth Martin at . A member of the auction committee will be happy to pick up your item or certificate and will bring you a donor form to fill out.
Youth Art Show 2010
The Education Committee is proud to announce the fifth annual Youth Art Show. This year, the exhibition will return to the Historic Heights Fire Station and will run in conjunction with the Houston Heights Association’s Spring Home and Garden Tour, April 10 and 11 from Noon to 6:00 PM.
Once again, this will be a juried show featuring two-dimensional artwork from students (kindergarten through high school) who live or attend school in the greater Heights area. A panel of local artists will serve as judges, and prizes will be awarded in several categories. All entrants will receive ribbons.
An Artists’ Reception on Friday evening, April 9, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM will kick off the event, and the show will be open during the hours of the Home Tour.
Volunteers Needed for Spring Tour
Volunteers are still needed to help with the Spring Home & Garden Tour. If you are interested in working on a committee, being a docent in a home, helping out at the Candlelight Dinner & Auction, or acting as a guide on a shuttle bus, we want to hear from you.
We need people to fill the following positions on Saturday, April 10, and Sunday, April 11, either noon to 3:00 PM or 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM: 200 docents at homes, 40 ticket sellers at homes, and 12 guides on shuttle buses.
No experience necessary. Compensation: one free ticket to the Home Tour. Join our fun Volunteer Pool by contacting Janet Buchheit at , 713-207-1894 (office), or 713-868-9471 (home). You’ll have a great time, work with neighbors, and make new friends!
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Spring 2010 Silver Sponsors:
The next Houston Heights Association Restoration/Historical Committee meeting will be held at 607 Harvard on Thursday, April 8, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.
OK, how many two-story homes in the historic Houston Heights have a stucco exterior? Actually, very few. When one is a vintage 1911 home built at 607 Harvard Street, at the corner of White Oak on a double lot, you just know it is special. Special because this home has the potential of being a modified Sears Roebuck plan historic home. Yes, Sears did sell homes from their catalogue until the late 1920s, and we have a select few of them in Houston Heights. This home is also unusual for the Heights because the home was influenced by the famous Prairie school of design and constructed with brick and stucco and included curved porches. These features were in fact original to the home as verified on an original plat map of the Heights, which shows it with the same exact footprint, straddling two full lots.
Used as a rental fourplex until the 1980s, the home then was purchased by a builder and gently renovated and restored to being a single-family residence with garage. A French drain system was added and concrete poured on the dirt floor cellar to make it into a finished basement. Ceilings were vaulted in bedrooms with loft area over a library. Following the contractor came another owner who had property development and renovation experience, who finished the garage apartment. They also flew flags of their alma maters and their sons’ military affiliations which many in the neighborhood recognized. Finally sold again to the present owners who needed more family room and better schools and had the good fortune with “an alignment of the stars” as they called it, to buy it. They, too, have had a lot of renovation experience in the Heights with three other properties.
Meeting attendees will see first-hand the results of removing Grecian columns and a 300-square-foot bar and changing room configurations to fit some Vastu Shastra system design principles from India. These principles are based on an ancient treatise dating back thousands of years. This home now reminds the owners of their honeymoon in Bali and homes in India with furniture, art, and textiles.
This meeting will highlight a most unusual example of a one-of-a-kind home in Houston Heights. Attendees will see what beauty and character can be maintained in the historic Heights neighborhood using modern construction techniques and ancient Vastu principles and painting. This meeting will be enjoyed by all as this energetic and lively Heights couple tell us its meaning for them.
The Houston Heights Restoration/Historical Committee meetings are open to the public bimonthly to learn about history and restoration in keeping with an appreciation of the historic nature of Houston Heights. Membership in HHA is encouraged, but not mandatory to attend these events.
Please let Committee Chairman Dean Swanson know if you have a restoration project, historical structure under restoration, or historical information or photos pertaining to the Heights to share at future meetings. Dean can be contacted at or 713-880-2832.
Eastside Constable Renewals
Our current agreement for this project will end on May 31, 2010. In order to continue this service through the end of 2010, we need residents to subscribe for this seven-month period for $175 by April 15. Your subscription will begin June 1 and end December 31. This is just $25 per month to provide additional law enforcement in our neighborhood as well as vacation watches, home security surveys, and direct access to the dispatcher for quick response time to calls for help or for reports of suspicious activities. We must have this money in hand from 300 subscribers in order to continue the service.
This period will start just as school closes and crime increases during the summer months. Many of you have vacations planned and this will also provide you with additional protection while you are away.
If you wish to subscribe, please send your name, service address, phone and email address along with your $175 check to Houston Heights Association, P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270. Credit card payments can also be made through PayPal which is available at our website under the caption “Constable Patrol Program” on the left side of the page. Payments for the service will appear as “PayPal” on your credit card statement.
We need your email address to periodically send you statistics and important updates about the program as well as the dispatcher phone number. We also need to provide the constable’s office with your phone number.
Thank you for your consideration to support this important neighborhood program.
Fun Run Planning
Save the date for the upcoming Heights Fun Run on Saturday, June 5. We are looking forward to another successful fund-raising opportunity and coming together as a community.
If you have an interest in volunteering, please contact Andrea Sharp at . Looking forward to seeing all of you in June!
March 2 Primary
In case you are new to Texas or forgot everything you learned in Political Science class, let’s take a look at the Primary Election & Precinct Conventions on Tuesday, March 2, and possible runoff on April 13.
In 2010, Texans will vote for 177 positions, including Governor, Congress, State Legislature, and more than 100 judges and other local officials. Also, each precinct will determine which political party will conduct precinct elections for the next four years.
Please bring your new blue Voter’s Registration card. If you don’t have the card, bring your driver’s license or similar ID.
Once you have voted in the Primary, you qualify to attend and vote at the “Party Precinct Convention” (GOP) or “Precinct Caucus” (Democratic, Green, Libertarian, etc.), the most basic level of our democratic system. You owe it to yourself (and to your well-behaved children) to experience the system at work. Report back to the same room in which the day’s polling took place to meet your neighbors, hear others introduce initiatives that may become your Party’s platform if adopted later at senatorial district and state party conventions, and choose delegates to your party’s Senatorial District Convention.
Primary ballots usually include Propositions for each party. If approved by the voters, Propositions are considered at higher-level conventions to become part of each party’s platform. That is how you can help form your party’s positions on issues of concern.
Please don’t forget the races for County Chairman and Precinct Chairman for your party at the very bottom of the ballot. Winners will direct your local party for the next four years, and as you know, all politics are local!
Please read and study everything you can find on the candidates who are running in the Primary. One good source is Houston League of Women Voters. Talk with your friends to compare your thoughts. Read some blogs. By casting a vote, you are buying your “license to complain.”
Census 2010: Houston Counts
The Census Bureau and the City of Houston want to remind you to expect your census questionnaire to arrive in mid-March and request that you answer the ten questions and mail the form back by Census Day, April 1.
For more information on the census and how it affects Houston, visit and .
Our thanks to the following donors for their generous support of the programs of the Houston Heights Association.
BDF Suez Energy North America, Inc. matching funds of Keith Crane & Kelly Simmons - Firestation Endowment
Sara Summer Bonario - Boulevard Maintenance
Ruth Davis - Boulevard Maintenance
ExxonMobil Foundation, in honor of volunteer work by Matt and Christy Stewart at the Rose Garden
AnnMarie Johnson - Parks, Boulevard, and Flower Gardens
Kemp & Company/Wild Heart Art
Eleanor & Robert Lane - Boulevard Maintenance
Bill Lehnert & Walter Stowell - Firestation Endowment in memory of Doug Grissom
Sam & Mai Lindsey
E. Drew Mehlhaff - Parks
Charles & Anne Smith - Boulevard Beautification
Yes, we know it’s a bit early, but if you think you might be interested in volunteering as a docent or in some other capacity for the 2010 Holiday Home Tour, please email your name and email address to Elizabeth Poirrier at . Happy Holidays!
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Spring 2010 Bronze Sponsors:
The Houston Heights area has been featured in two recent articles in the national media. The March issue of National Geographic Traveler Magazine has a short walking tour of our area in the On Foot section. The article gets a few facts wrong, but it mentions our Spring Home & Garden Tour as well as a number of our local sights and businesses. You can check it out online here.
The food section of the online New York Times carried an article “Remixing Regional Flavors in Houston” in February. Four of the five restaurants they discuss are in or near Houston Heights! Read the full article online here.
Support Local Business
Please support our local business community. Shopping local saves time and gas, and it keeps your money within the neighborhood.
A good starting point would be to consider our business members and sponsors. Our current sponsors are featured in every newsletter and on our web site, . Our business members are also listed on our web site through the “Area Businesses” tab and in our semi-annual printed Business Directory, coming up in the April issue.
Please welcome the following new members to the Houston Heights Association.
Boom Boom Room, Jackie Harris
Kim & Eric Castillo
Houston Heights Helpers, Herman Lehman
Jimmy & Glenna Mathews
My Design Team, Louis Fernandez
Occasions Fine Gifts, Barbara Guerra-Grainey
Susan Love Fitts Communications
LEED Construction In The Heights: Green and Mainstream
Nestled among a mix of bungalows, two-story traditional architecture, and the ever-present quirky, the new Heights residence at 711 East 19th Street blends with the flavor of the surrounding neighborhood, while still making its own statement. From the beginning, homeowners Darryl & Dawnia Willis dreamed of a home that was healthy, sustainable, efficient, and comfortable, while fitting into the community. With that said, they also wanted a home that was unique with a contemporary flare.
As part of the effort to create a sustainable home, this Heights residence has been carefully designed and built to achieve a LEED certified rating. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide third-party verification and a concise framework for identifying and implementing sustainable design, construction and operations practices.
Key areas that LEED considers in its rating system are: water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, energy savings, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources. This rating and certification process creates an incentive to build in a more environmentally friendly manner. Homeowners and prospective buyers are assured that a house with a LEED certification outperforms traditionally constructed homes and can significantly increase the market value of a home. With a well-integrated, holistic design approach and a committed team of homeowner, architect, builder, and a third-party LEED consultant, this home highlights that the means, methods, and benefits of achieving a LEED certification are readily accessible and affordable.
The implementation of this philosophy started with the preparation of the site. When the homeowners purchased the lot, it included a home not original to the site, at that time being used as rental property. Instead of tearing the home down, as so many people do, the homeowners found a buyer to move the home, update it, and repurpose it for low-income housing.
The livability and special features of this home buck the assumption of what most believed to be indicative of a green home, such as expensive energy systems, stark details, impersonal materials, and ugly solar contraptions. Instead, this home is a carefully planned balance between innovative materials, energy efficiency, water efficiency, and luxury appointments. One such innovative and sustainable material is a warm, dark colored wood called Ipé used for the front porch flooring. It is a Brazilian hardwood that is naturally immune to decay, insects, and mold and is fire-resistant. More notably, the wood originated from an FSC-certified supplier. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mandates and oversees the responsible management of forest harvesting.
While the Energy Star rating system exceeds national energy codes by 10 to 15%, this home takes it a step further by substantially exceeding the Energy Star rating. This accomplishment is partly due to the radiant barrier applied to the roof decking. The barrier reduces heat gain and improves energy performance.
Behind the scenes, many steps were taken to ensure the house has greatly improved indoor air quality and ventilation. The home’s ventilation system has a dehumidification mode and dual air filters, with one located at each return air vent and the other at each air unit. During construction, all vents and duct openings were protected from dust with covers, and the air system will be run continuously for a 48-hour flush-out before the homeowners move in. The indoor air quality is also protected from the attached garage pollutants through a complete sealing of the wall from the foundation to the top of the wall. Other indoor air toxins such as dust, mold, mildew, and other allergens are greatly reduced by the homeowners’ choice not to use carpet.
Site elements implemented to support sustainability and efficiency include a high efficiency irrigation system, a permeable terrace, non-toxic pest control measures, and drought-tolerant turf.
Houston, it’s time to ‘green up.’ Interest is at an all-time high and the long-term benefits of green construction are proven. The successful planning and construction of this home proves that the ideas and concepts of building sustainable and green are not just for the homes on the fringe, but can be included in a well-appointed home for fine living.
Organic Lawn Care Events
Our Green Obsession: A Beautiful Lawn without Polluting? Find out how when Paul Tukey, founder of the non-profit SafeLawns.org, comes to Houston to address lawn care professionals and consumers on ways to have a green, “safe” lawn. Three events featuring this nationally known organic lawn care expert are coming up in early March, two in our neighborhood:
• Monday, March 8, 6:30 to 9:00 PM - Tukey will teach a class for the general public on the topic of organic lawn care and sign copies of his book The Organic Lawn Care Manual. Urban Harvest event. Oberholtzer Hall, University of Houston Central Campus, $20 at the door. Use the “Organic Lawn Care” featured event link at .
• Tuesday, March 9, 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM - Organic Turf Management Seminar for landscape industry professionals. United Way, 50 Waugh Dr, Houston 77007. Keynote speaker Tukey will delve into the economics, science, and business of going organic. $50 to the public, $35 to members of OHBA (the Organic Horticulture Business-Education Alliance, a committee of Urban Harvest, ).
• Tuesday, March 9, 6:00 to 8:00 PM - First Texas screening of Tukey’s new documentary, A Chemical Reaction, about Canada’s lawn and garden pesticide revolution. United Way, 50 Waugh Dr, Houston 77007. $10 at the door or FREE to attendees of the Organic Turf Management Seminar. Light refreshments.
For more information on any of these events, visit or contact Ms. Chris LaChance, WaterSmart Program Coordinator at TX AgriLife Extension Service, at or 281-218-0721.
Calendar of Events for March-April 2010
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 site .
Every Monday, 7:30 to 10:00 PM, Houston International Folk Dancers introductory lessons at Oddfellows Hall, 115 E. 14th.
Through April 15, Neighborhood Tax Centers provide Houston area residents and families earning less than $50,000 with free tax preparation. Convenient hours at locations throughout Houston. Call 211 or visit for more information.
Through March 6, UpStage Theatre presents Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. Visit for more information.
March 26 through April 10, Opera in the Heights presents Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. “Who doesn’t love opera’s most famous lovers? Mimi and Rodolfo, the most popular work ever… at the end, Puccini doesn’t leave a dry eye in the house.“ Visit for more information.
March 27, 9:00 AM, the Lymphoma Research Foundation hosts its inaugural Lymphomathon, a 5K walk, at Stude Park, 1031 Stude Street. The event is free but registration is requested. Rep. John Culberson’s Chief of Staff, Tony Essilah, a lymphoma survivor, will speak before the walk begins. To learn more, please visit .
April 10, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Hamilton Middle School invites everyone to their annual Spring Thing Family Carnival on the school playground (22nd Street entry). To become a donating sponsor, contact Allison Hartzell at .
June 5, Heights Fun Run
October 3, Bicycle Rally
December 3-4, Holiday Home Tour
February 27, 2011, Awards Dinner
April 1-3, 2011, Spring Home Tour
At The Fire Station
Every second Monday, 5:00 to 7:00 PM, and every fourth Monday, 8:00 AM to noon, the City Council District H Satellite Office is open at the east door.
Every third Tuesday, 6:30 to 8:00 PM, Greater Heights Super Neighborhood Council meeting.
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 2010, 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
Stephanie Babb, Katy Bomar, Janet Buchheit, Anne Culotta, Angela DeWree, Linda Eyles, Lauriel Hindman, Betty Lawson, Elizabeth Poirrier, Tony Riedel, Andrea Sharp, Dean Swanson, Sheila Tybor.