RUSTIC ELEGANCE Morning Star Builders Celebrates Grand Style

Morning Star Builders Celebrates Grand Style
editor’s note
Authorized As-Is Dealer
6757 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. W. • Suite 200
Houston, TX 77064 • 281-955-0861
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WE ARE experts
ctober is here: get ready for
fall weather (who’s not
ready?) and a season of
exciting, home-focused events for
every interest. This month’s calendar
features a well-rounded sampling of
tours, ranging from historic neighborhoods to modern innovations.
Lovers of charming homes from
past eras can tour one of Houston’s
largest intact concentrations of
Craftsman, Arts & Crafts,
Foursquare and Mission architecture
during the Eastwood Historic
Home Tour. Don’t miss our feature
story on the 1920s bungalow of
Eastwood resident Roberto
Cervantes, beautifully written and
photographed by Sarah Gandy.
History buffs can trace the progression of Houston’s skyline during
the Greater Houston Preservation
Alliance’s Walking Tour, featuring
Downtown’s Evolving Skyline. For a
side trip to the ’60s, our feature
story on the new look of the
Houston House apartment building
provides a groovy perspective on
downtown living.
For those who prefer to ogle
homes that are at the forefront of
architecture, the local chapter of the
American Institute of Architects
showcases nine homes that represent
achievements in contemporary
design. The Houston Solar Tour
highlights the nexus of innovative
design and engineering with 17
homes and business across the
greater Houston area open for tour-
PUBLISHER......................Mike Harrison, Ph.D.
ing. Tour organizers have collaborated to bring the Green Energy Fair to
the City of Houston’s Energy Day.
Be sure to check out our preview of
these tours starting on p. 48.
Coming early next month on
Nov. 5, the 2011 Kitchen & Bath
Tour, presented by the Texas Gulf
Coast Chapter of the American
Society of Interior Designers, features 10 outstanding projects by
Houston-area designers. Houston
House & Home is proud to be a part
of this tour by producing the official
guide to the tour within this issue,
starting on p. 19. Congrat-ulations
to all the homeowners and designers
on another outstanding tour!
Without a doubt, there’s much to
experience, admire and learn about
happening all over our great city.
Chart your course in inspiration,
and bring home incredible ideas for
your upcoming projects.
Sandra Cook
[email protected]
Follow us on Facebook & Twitter
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER ....Susie Reisenbigler
EDITOR ........................................Sandra Cook
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS ..............................
....Anne Breux, Sarah Gandy, Joetta Moulden
ART DIRECTOR..........................Robert Coplin
Custom Draperies & Bedspreads
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Duette® Shades • Silhouette® Shades
Solar Shades
Shop at Home Service available. We’ll do the measuring and
installation–just call or visit online at
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Southwest Area
Mobile Showroom • 713.781.9009
Since 1981 Woodlands Area
Mobile Showroom • 281.362.0640
........................Sarah Gandy, Ben Hill, Jill Hunter,
................................Richard Payne, Janet Lenzen
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES ................................
Marie Brashears,Tina Laplaca, Frank Larmore,
......................................................David Marsh
INSIDE SALES ................................Pete Rocha
PRINTING..........................DROR International
Monday - Friday 10 am - 5:30 pm, Saturday 10 am - 5 pm.
All major credit cards accepted.
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Blue Thumb Inc., dba Houston House &
Home ("HH&H"), is a news magazine with
emphasis on interior design and remodeling. HH&H does not knowingly accept false
or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor does HH&H or its staff assume
responsibility should such advertising or editorial content appear in any publication.
HH&H has not independently tested any
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has not verified claims made by its advertisers regarding those services or products.
HH&H makes no warranties or representations and assumes no liability for any claims
regarding those services or products or
claims made by advertisers. Readers are
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No reproduction is permitted without
the written consent of the Publisher.
Copyright 2011, all rights reserved.
Subscriptions available for home delivery at
a cost of $25 per year.
P.O. Box 701038
Houston, Texas 77270-1038
(713) 523-6523
home tours
GHPA Walking Tour:
O C T. 9 AT 2 P. M .
The Greater Houston Preservation
Alliance hosts this guided walk through
downtown’s architectural history,
Eastwood Historic Home Tour
O C T. 1 5 - 1 6 , N O O N TO 5 P. M .
Tour six beautifully restored homes in this
historic neighborhood just east of downtown.
1893 Kiam Building, an early example of a multistory downtown office building.
Houston Solar Tour
O C T. 1 5 , 9 A . M . TO 1 P. M .
Experience solar power in action by touring your
choice of 17 featured homes and business in the
1929 Gulf (now Chase) Building
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ABOVE: The Eastwood home artist/designer/architect Roberto Cervantes
exhibits clever creative touches at every turn. The arched built-in cabinet is
original to the kitchen, which is painted a wasabi-like green. The colorful
objects on the shelves complement the striped table, designed by Roberto.
OPPOSITE: The stair landing was added during renovation, replacing a small
doorway that opened to steep attic stairs. A new stairway was also constructed in order to match the original oak wood floors throughout and to
make the steep angle less severe. The painting is by Ryan Gieger.
Craftsman with a Twist
Houston designer creates a nature-inspired bungalow redo
Story & Photography by SARAH GANDY
Back in 2006, designer Roberto Cervantes decided to buy his 1920s bungalow in Eastwood for practical purposes as much as anything. “The
house had been renovated in 2005 and all the electrical and plumbing
had been redone,” says Roberto, “That meant I could get an inspection
on it, get a mortgage approved and move right in.” All of these were
essential elements for Roberto who was looking to move not only his
home, but also his business from of a rented loft space. Another key characteristic of the property: there was ample space in the backyard for
Roberto to build a separate studio for his multi-faceted design business.
“There was nothing wrong with the house,” says Roberto. “Most peo70
ple would say it was fine.” And yet, for the designer and artist, best
known publicly for his restaurant interiors, such as Barnaby’s, T’afia,
Coppa, and Brasserie 19, the home still needed some refinements.
Though the ideas for the house would start flowing quickly, any renovations would have to wait. “I moved in and decided to stabilize my business in the home first,” says Roberto. “Meanwhile I designed and built
the studio behind the house, paying for that as I went along. Once that
building was complete I was able to move my business there and begin
work on the house itself. I didn’t do any renovations until 18 months
after I moved in.”
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“We decided to open the
kitchen to the dining room
in order to make it a more
livable space for today.”
Ideas in Motion
When the time came for the home redo, Roberto
collaborated on the design with Ben Johnston (at
the time the two had a design business together,
but each now owns separate companies—Roberto
owns Archi-Arts and Ben owns Avondale Design
Studio). One of the most dramatic changes came
in the kitchen area which had been chopped up
with pantry spaces and doorways.
“People during that time period tended to
break up homes into compartments,” says
Roberto. “But we decided to open the kitchen to
the dining room in order to make it a more livable
space for today.” To make sense of the new open
floor plan, Roberto and Ben designed a
Craftsman-inspired partition wall with an arched
opening which helped delineate the kitchen from
the dining room. “We also decided to paint the
rooms different colors—green for the kitchen and
orange for the dining room—in order to define
the spaces separately.”
Another minor floor plan change that created
significant visual impact was the decision to open
the attic stairs to the main living area. When
Roberto bought the house a small door closed off
the stunted set of stairs leading upstairs. “The stair
landing didn’t exist and the stairs were extremely
steep,” says Roberto. “So we got rid of the door,
replaced the stair treads with oak to match the rest
of the house, and made the slope of the stairs less
severe. We designed a new stair landing to come
out into the space, which also created a nice focal
wall for art or family photos.”
RIGHT: In the dining room, a large painting by Houston
artist Seth Alverson over looks the old zinc-topped dining table made by Noir. Roberto and architect Ben
Johnston designed a Craftsman-inspired wall to provide
a distinct boundary between the rooms, yet allow the
two rooms to feel connected. The chairs are goatskinbacked Tyler Chairs by Oly, while the shell chandelier
uses naturally occurring holes in the shells to string
them together.
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“A lot of people are into
neutrals, but I wanted
something richer. The colors
I used are saturated, but not
Smoother Surface
Among other issues were some aesthetic choices that
previous owners had made. “The walls were all textured; the ceiling had been troweled,” says Roberto.
“So we smoothed out all of those surfaces and
added wood trim in order to be more consistent
with the time period.”
Some of the more intricate trim work occurs
on the living and dining room ceilings, where
stained wood is applied in a Craftsman-derived
pattern. “It’s the look of a coffered ceiling, only
flattened,” says Roberto. “It’s an embellishment to
the room that brings a deep, rich color without
lots of contrast. It’s actually a modification of
what would be typically seen.”
When it was time to pick colors for the home,
Roberto drew inspiration from the home itself and
its surroundings. “A lot of people are into neutrals,
but I wanted something richer. The colors I used are
saturated, but not unnatural,” says Roberto. “The
orange is a terra cotta color and it’s found in the tiles
on the front porch. The green is a compliment to
that orange. The orange you could get through rust,
the green comes from a copper patina—they’re still
colors found in nature.”
Likewise, Roberto kept a natural, but visually
stimulating palette when it came to furnishing the
home. “Throughout the house I’ve used wood,
metal, and hides,” says Roberto. “These are all nonsynthetic ways of showing color, pattern, texture, and patina.”
RIGHT: The generously sized chaise, covered in fabric by
Kravet, sits opposite a matching sofa. The patchwork
rug is handmade and available through Archi-Arts. The
sconces above the fireplace are antiques from Canada,
while the copper pendants are from Rejuvenation
Lighting and Hardware.
BELOW: Piano is a Helpinstill Roadmaster, which was marketed in the 1970s as a
portable piano that entertainers could easily take on the road. It was invented by
Charles Helpinstill, who still performs in Houston under the name Ezra Charles.
Roberto bought the iconic piano twelve years ago through and ad in the Greensheet.
ABOVE: Roberto chose a soft grey paint for the office to provide a visual break from
the other color-saturated rooms. Custom wood tables were made by a Houston-based
craftsman from Texas pecan trees. The large painting and the comic strip installation
art are both by Roberto Cervantes. The handmade patchwork rug is available through
Whether it’s ceiling trim, goat hide chairs, or light fixtures, Roberto
isn’t afraid to twist the inspiration from the past in order to create his own
unique space. Musing on the two lighting pendants in the living room,
Robert notes, “Light fixtures from (the 1920s) were pretty clunky and
actually not very beautiful, so sometimes you have to take departures in
your decorating. The living room fixtures are more of a ’50s style, and
when they were shown in chrome in the catalog they indeed look very
’50s. But in a copper finish they take on a completely different look—and
suddenly they work with this space.”
Out the back door, Roberto’s new 900-square-foot studio also shows
that different decades of design can live in harmony. The studio stands in
contrast to the brick bungalow—it’s a modern construction with flecks of
color throughout the grey façade. The two buildings, says Roberto, exemplify his philosophy: “I appreciate modern design, but I also appreciate
past designs—and ultimately that’s where all modern design came from.
It all draws inspiration from the past.”
OPPOSITE: A painting by artist Ryan Gieger hangs above an Italian Deco antique
dresser in Roberto’s peacock-hued bedroom.
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E N D TA B L E S :
A R C H I T E C T:
Design Studio, 713.876.0432,
SERVICES, 713.890.1043
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