- 10611 Gawain Ln. [HAR]
HOW THAT NEW HOUSTON LOOK KEPT MAKING ITS WAY FROM OLD EUROPE “I have always felt that this North Boulevard house was the one that changed the way Houston looked at decor and antiques,” writes West U design blogger Joni Webb about a stucco mansion in Broadacres by Rice University architect William Ward Watkin, who designed it in 1923 for a drug-company executive after a 4-month inspirational European tour. The property at 1318 North Blvd. later served for more than a decade as the home of Tootsie’s founder Micky Rosmarin, who died after a heart attack last month; it’s now up for sale for $4.75 million. “Back in 1995,” Webb writes, “it was featured on the cover of Veranda and I think it was this house that marked the true beginning of the Houston Look — the white slipcover, seagrass, antique filled aesthetic whose origins I attribute to designer Babs Cooper Watkins . . . it launched Watkins into prominence.” Watkins, Webb explains, “used antiques in a casual way, her interiors were never about a hands-off approach. She mixed in religious relics and priceless antiques with vintage chairs slipcovered in inexpensive plain linen. She repurposed outside garden elements to be used inside the house. And Babs was one of the first ones who favored dramatic paint treatments that turned ordinary sheetrock into centuries old grottos.” Watkins passed away in February of last year. But Webb recalls how the home launched a store — and a whole new Old World orientation for Houston interiors: “The Veranda photoshoot not only created a new aesthetic, it also created a new partnership and the Watkins Schatte antique shop on Bissonnet was born.” The shop (still at 2308 Bissonnet, but now known as Watkins-Culver Antiques) “was an instant hit and during those days, lines would form when a new shipment was unveiled. Everyone wanted to see what Babs and Bill [Gardner] and Annette [Schatte] had bought in Europe.” [Cote de Texas; previously on Swamplot]
We only count 1 basketball court, 1 stuffed elk head, and 3 faux finishes in the 9.74-acre setup at 17020 Cypress Rosehill Rd. —previously kinda-sorta-abandoned by Anna Nicole Smith (the listing agent tells the Chronicle’s Fernando Ramirez) during some part of the bankruptcy proceedings that followed her billionaire husband’s death (and the news that she might not inherit). But maybe the relatively tame suburban stylings aren’t so surprising, given that the property has been de-vandalized, remodeled, and expanded by the current owners since the home’s last sale in 1998 (years before Smith’s death, the posthumous Supreme Court ruling, and the debut of the opera cataloguing a few of the more storybook-scandalous aspects of her life).
The property, “income-generating equestrian operation” and all, is up for sale now for $2.842 million. Also new, since Smith’s departure: a modest backyard sports complex (including a gym building, multi-use court, and putting green). Make the full circuit: