Editor's Note: Houston is loaded with must-have houses for sale in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. In this continuing series, CultureMap editor-at-large Shelby Hodge snoops through some of our faves and gives you the lowdown on what's hot on the market.
1611 South Boulevard
What's old is new, really new in this grand home built in 1925. The current owner took it back to the studs in a three-year renovation project that transformed a slumbering dowager into a 21st century dream while maintaining all the charm of the original bones of the house. Electrical wiring, plumbing, insulation, ductwork, roof and decking were all replaced in the effort that concluded in 2009.
Attention to detail included replacing original floors with reclaimed wide-plank chestnut flooring from France and adding pristine French limestone in the entry hall, kitchen, library and sun room. No sheetrock in this facelift. To retain the character of the house, walls were plastered. With the addition, necessary to provide a more liveable space, new windows and French doors, designed to match the appearance of existing windows, were built locally using mahogany.
Walk through: Stepping into the foyer, you find the dining room to the right, the stairway and hall straight ahead and the living room to the left, all portals defined by graceful archways. Enhancing the Old World flavor of the house, the French fireplace mantel in the living room dates from the 1700s.
A light-filled sunroom provides a cozy sitting area just beyond the living room and opens to a meditation garden complete with vine-covered pergola and a goldfish pond.
Moving down the hallway from the front door, you enter the heart of the home — a vast modern kitchen designed with Old World esthetics to the right, a spacious family room to the left and, beyond, the library/study.
The house features five bedrooms and four full baths spread across the two upper floors including the master which enjoys a private sitting area. The third floor also accommodates a playroom/exercise room that could fill any number of needs.
Out back: The grandeur continues behind the main house with a dramatic pool pavilion and a three-car garage, which features 1,600 square feet of second-floor living space including a full kitchen and bath.
Landscaping: Beyond the meditation garden, a species in its own right, the vast lot features all the elements of a beautiful English garden.
Love: The tastefully sleek updating of the house that retains the Old World feel ranging from the hardwood floors in some quarters and French limestone in others, to the high ceilings and antique mantels. And you have to love the neighborhood — the tree shrouded environs of South Boulevard.
Square footage: 6,451.
Asking price: $5.9 million.
Listing agent: Cathy Blum, Greenwood King Properties.