Several miraculous remodels, makeovers and even complete home rebuilds caught our attention — and readers' too — during CultureMap's first five years of covering residential real estate in Houston and beyond.
In a city with a reputation for tearing down rather than fixing up, these undertakings helped restore faith in the preservationists who care about maintaining historic architecture and go to great lengths to rescue local treasures for future generations to enjoy. We've included what we consider were the five most impressive projects, as well as a "one to grow on."
Click on the links to see some of the before and after photos. You'll be amazed.
Saving a Heights bungalow
Brie and Scott Kelman knew restoring the Craftsman-style house at 1207 Harvard St. would not be easy. First, they'd have to face the three feet of trash covering every floor, the mold on the walls, the holes in the floor and the crumbling asphalt roofing material siding that hid the original wood structure.
"We had issues getting through the (Houston Archaeological and) Historic Commission, despite the fact that our remodel plans met the ordinance," Brie told CultureMap this summer. "After we were denied by them and they suggested the demolition route, we appealed their decision to the Houston Planning Commission. We won the appeal — hands down."
With inspirational photos in hand, the Kelmans worked with David Seeburger of P&G Homes to bring the house back to life.
Mid-Century Mod extreme makeover
When Belinda and Chris Skoog purchased a ransacked structure at 8008 Colgate St. in the historic Glenbrook Valley neighborhood, they realized all that really was left of the house were the four exterior walls and the main staircase.
"The house was beyond a remodel with holes in the roof and tree roots going into the house under the carpeting over 30 feet."
"It was all about the staircase, location close to downtown and being a Mid-Century modern," Belinda told CultureMap. "The house was beyond a remodel with holes in the roof and tree roots going into the house under the carpeting over 30 feet."
Teaming up with Houston Mod, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization, the couple began from the ground up with new underground plumbing and new slab. The house at 8008 Colgate was saved after more than 17 months of rebuilding.
Innovative renovation at Project Row Houses
Three Rice University architecture school graduates are out to make sure the kitchen — the social center and essential room — is a part of all homes with their urban renewal project, the InHouse OutHouse. The team installed a pre-fabricated core of full kitchen and full bathroom, complete with heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing services into a historic Project Row Houses structure in October 2012.
Designed by Andrew Daley, Jason Fleming and Peter Muessig, the InHouse OutHouse just pops into any existing (or possibly new) structure for an instant renovation or addition.
Preserved Montrose Craftsman-style house
Owning a classic Craftsman-style home dovetailed with this owner's job as a principal at a local award-winning architectural firm and desire to maintain and update the structure being mindful of its historic fabric.
The house, located at 1507 Hawthorn St. in Montrose's Mandell Place, includes a complementary, freestanding 325-square-foot structure in back, part of a 2012 addition designed by the Logan and Johnson Architecture (LOJO) principal/owner to complement the main house with its own style.
Cozy rental escape in Round Top
In 2011, during a casual Saturday afternoon drive in the country with their children, Paige and Smoot Hull stumbled across a farmhouse for sale in Round Top. Sitting on one and a half acres with a detached two-car garage, the property needed plenty of updating — and was the perfect beginning for their ventures into innkeeping.
The inn further inspired the dynamic duo to establish a new antiquing business.
The Vintage Round Top, a charming 2,400-square-foot abode, sleeps up to six and has been reserved for everything from girlfriend weekends to escapes for couples seeking an easy getaway to a home base for Round Top and Marburger shoppers. The inn further inspired the dynamic duo to establish a now-successful antiquing business, also called The Vintage Round Top.
And the one to grow on, the Weingarten mansion
When the old Weingarten mansion in the historic Riverside Terrace neighborhood went up for sale in August for $2.2 million, questions swirled around whether the 5,480-square-foot home on almost five acres at 4000 S. MacGregor Way would be either to sold to buyers willing to take on a complete restoration project or developers hoping to build multiple homes on the property.
The good news: The new owners are Lori and Darryl Schroeder, who have publicly stated they envision the French-inspired chateau built in the 1930s for Houston grocery magnate Joe Weingarten as a showplace property.
We can't wait to see the mansion and grounds restored to their original glory.
CultureMap is celebrating its fifth birthday with a big party on Oct. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the new JW Marriott Houston Downtown, with a portion of proceeds going to Casa de Esperanza. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online.