07/05/17 9:30am

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]

03/30/09 8:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: MOVIN’ ON UP! “The Upper East Side of Manhattan was once all single family mansions and townhouses (after it was farmland). Most of them are now gone, replaced with highrises; some of the most expensive on Earth. I’m sure most people in West U, Southampton, Broad Acres, etc . can’t imagine Bissonnet, North, South, or Sunset being lined with highrises some day, but I’m equally sure that the residents of Fifth, Park, and Madison didn’t imagine it either.” [John, commenting on Ashby Highrise: The 9th Is the Time for Charm]

03/19/08 4:14pm

3740 Willowick Dr. in River Oaks by Architect John Staub

This time, the folks selling the home at 3740 Willowick in River Oaks are really going all out.

Maybe last November they hoped that the release of Stephen Fox’s The Country Houses of John F. Staub would unleash a new era of interest in the Houston architect — and result in a recordbreaking price for the 1955 Staub-designed ranch-like mansion backing up to Buffalo Bayou, across from Memorial Park.

The book did fine, but Staubmania never really took off. Now, almost five months later, the sellers can’t harbor any illusions.

This time, the John Staub marketing machine kicks into full gear:

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