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]

08/11/09 9:01pm

“I do always seem to be showing you houses that few of us can really afford,” Houston interior-design blogger Joni Webb admits to her readers:

But the secret truth is, nothing gets me more excited than seeing a house which is NOT expensive yet looks like it was designed by a professional! Nothing is better because it affirms what I fully believe, style is not about money.

So Webb sets out to find a few inside-the-Loop homes dressed to meet her style standards — and priced between $300K and $500K. How long does it take her? Two days, poring through “hundreds, if not thousands” of HAR listings.

What does she find?


04/10/09 1:26pm

With her just-introduced line of home furnishings called Maison, New Orleans-to-Houston commuter Tara Shaw has apparently found relief from that bane of all highly successful antiques dealers: the little problem of supply.

Tara Shaw Antiques fanatic Joni Webb ended up seeing a cardiologist after a heart-racing episode at Shaw’s first Houston to-the-trade sale a few years ago — after she thought she might lose out on a set of antique chairs. So she’s uniquely qualified to explain:

Recently there’s been some rumblings that Tara was off on a new adventure, manufacturing her own line of furniture, inspired by original pieces she owns in her private collection. . . . The debut was worth the wait. The new MAISON pieces are gorgeous, their authenticity is unrivaled by anything available on the market today. Besides wonderful tables, chairs, and bookcases, there is a great array of smalls – candlesticks and mirrors, crowns and jardineres. One could certainly furnish a house with the MAISON line, that’s how extensive it is. The craftsmanship is superb, each piece was created under Shaw’s knowledgeable and watchful eyes.

A bit more hyperventilating after the jump:


01/22/09 11:41am

Itinerant Interior
Designer Ginger Barber is moving yet again: Her latest redo is on the market, reports Cote de Texas’s Joni Webb. This time it’s a 3-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath 2-story near the corner of Greenbriar and Holcombe in Southgate — but Webb spots furniture in the photos she’s seen in earlier Barber homes:

Her wonderful assortment of pine and dark wood furniture, down-filled upholstered pieces covered in linen slips, and all her textural wicker, seagrass, and stone moves from house to house almost seamlessly. . . . With no wallpaper, colored walls or patterned fabrics to contend it, the nomadic Barber can reuse her possessions, over and over again – which is a wonderful lesson to take from her.


04/25/08 1:04pm

Wheat Residence, West University, Texas

Cote de Texas author Joni Webb comes clean about her obsession with a recently constructed home in West U.

. . . whenever I drove by the house, I would slow my car to a crawl, craning my neck to try to see inside the white stuccoed home that had so captured my imagination. Through their windows, I could make out some of their furnishings – first, there was a screen in the living room, and then I could see an oversized mirror. Next – I noticed the dining room’s antique light fixture which furthered my suspicions that this was a house I would love – inside and out. By the time the sheer, linen curtains were hung – the deal was sealed – I was an official stalker and somehow, I had to finagle my way into the home to see it first hand.

This must have been tough for Houston’s highest profile design blogger, because Webb is usually obsessed with French design, and the design in this particular home was clearly more . . . Belgian.

After the jump: The stalker gets in!!!


02/15/08 7:02pm

Avalon Place House, Old English Version, Family Room, River Oaks, Houston

Avalon Place House, Old Swedish Version, Family Room, River Oaks, Houston

Houston interior designer Joni Webb takes time out from her usual focus on French design to tell the story of a home in Avalon Place that was done up first in an English country style (top photo), and then — some years later — completely redone by the same owners to something more . . . 18th century Swedish (second from top).

The English incarnation, which was captured in a Country Living magazine feature in the 1990s, had taken years to perfect, Webb reports:

. . . the finished project was perfect: a cozy English, country-style home, filled with authentic antiques, Italian oil paintings, wall to wall seagrass, faux painted yellow and red walls, toile wallpapers, Bennison fabrics and Kenneth Turner candles. It was an open, fun house – the site of many parties where people gathered around a roaring fire and lounged in the deep George Smith sofa, all the while remarking on how warm and inviting the home was.

So, it was a great surprise to many, including [Houston interior designer Carol] Glasser herself, when the wife declared she had changed. She no longer loved her home’s decor, she wanted a new look – a Swedish look – and not just a Swedish antique here and there, but a total, complete Swedish home. And so, for the second time, everything in the house was either sold or was stored and they started the process of decorating their home, completely from scratch, again.

Who best to complete this European migration? Carol Glasser, the same designer who had created the house’s first look. (This time, she enlisted help from Swedish Style expert Katrin Cargill.) After the jump, more before-and-after photos, plus nitty-gritty details of international style-travel.


12/19/07 1:57pm

Living Room of Manhattan Lofts Unit 808, Houston

This delightful unit has lingered on the market for a mere 22 months. That’s a long wait for a condo bubble that never happened. And hey, it ‘s a fun ride down the price ladder!

The grossly oversized two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath corner unit on the top floor of the misplaced Manhattan building in the Galleria was originally priced at $2.1 million, back in the swelled-heady days of February 2006. Five methodical price drops later, we’ve reached $1,695,000. That’s a lot of cuts, but we’re still not even down 20 percent: how low will the program-trading-style reductions go?

After the jump, more pics of the . . . uh, eclectic interior.


09/27/07 8:27am

Ambition Killed the Cat Wall Decal from BlikPicky property managers won’t let you paint the walls of your apartment? MarketWatch’s Ruth Mantell suggests you stick it to them:

Renters with an inflexible landlord, or those who want to avoid the mess of painting, can try wall decals, suggests Annette Hannon, founder of a Burke, Va.-based design firm.

She likes the removable decals available through Web sites such as whatisblik.com and modernwallgraphics.com. The decals come in geometric and free form patterns, with designs such as flowers, and patterns inspired by Rococo style and artist Keith Haring. A multicolored three-pack of Haring’s “Pack of Dogs” costs $23 on whatisblik.

“It’s those kinds of things that are quirky and fun, and very much something that shows your personality,” Hannon says.

“When it’s time to move, they come off really easily. And you’re not spending so much money that you become so invested in it.”

Of course, with designs like multicolored Rainbow Poops (yes, you read that right), some renters might be tempted to leave a colorful grid of decals on the wall when they move anyway—just to send a special message to that special landlord.

Photo: “Ambition Killed the Cat” decal at Blik

08/29/07 10:36am

8714 Bevlyn Dr. Exterior View

If you’re looking for a home with plenty of wood paneling, you’re probably not going to do better than this fine 1953 concoction on Bevlyn Dr., just a few blocks south of Brays Bayou in Braes Terrace. Sure, it appears sedate from the street, but the interior walls comprise a small catalog of wood-paneling possibilities.

Minutes from the Medical Center and Rice University this classic mid-century home is located on a quiet tree-lined street. Large rooms with all formals, huge Family room that leads to a sun room and the wonderful pool.

The house is 3200 square feet, sits on an oversized lot, and is listed at $384,777. At the end of the agent’s description is the requisite disclaimer:

Per seller this home never flooded.

Of course it didn’t! Otherwise you’d be looking at water lines on all the wood walls.

After the jump, photos from inside, featuring: panels!


08/15/07 12:11pm

8810 Bonhomme Rd.

This grand five-or-six-bedroom, five-bath home on four-fifths of an acre near the corner of Bissonnet and Fondren is festooned with stucco palm-tree frescoes and an aggressive porte-cochere, and can be yours for only $347,000. At that price, you can assume that the furnishings are not coming with it. Which is probably a good thing, though much of the decoration appears to be . . . encrusted on the interior.

You simply have to see this one for yourself: Tour the overdecorated interior—before it’s ruined by a new buyer—after the jump.


08/14/07 10:39am

Living Room of 310 Timberwilde Lane, Hunters Creek Village

What happens when a Memorial mansion decorated with animal skins and pairs of chandeliers meets a designer with a . . . critical eye?

Two for dinner? This designer really likes the “two” theme. In the dining room, we have two matching tables, each with matching bowl, and of course, two matching chandeliers! I’m beginning to wonder if there was a 2 for 1 sale at the local lighting company? Oh and look, we have two matching Oriental horsemen on the mantle!!! I’m kind of sorry there aren’t two fireplaces!

Don’t miss the zebra-print (we hope it’s a print) rug on the grand circular entry stair. More design entertainment in Cote de Texas’s interior tour of this modest estate on two (and a half) acres in Hunters Creek Village, not far from the Houston Country Club. It’s on the market for $8.75 million.