The 1839 Samuel May Williams House, saved from demolition in 1954 and operated by Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) as a house museum until last year, will begin a new phase in its history as it is unveiled as the Spring Designer Showhouse of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Texas Gulf Coast Chapter.
Twelve area designers are transforming the interior of the house into a comfortable dwelling for a modern family, returning it to the use for which it was first built. The makeover is scheduled for completion on Wednesday, April 30, and the transformed house first will be on public view during the First Impression preview event of GHF's 2008 Historic Homes Tour, Friday, May 2, 5:30 to 9 p.m., $60 per person.
The Williams House will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the two Homes Tour weekends, May 3, 4, 10 and 11, and from noon to 4 p.m. on the weekends of May 17-18 and 24-25, and on Memorial Day. Tickets to the Showhouse are $15, or they may be packaged with Homes Tour tickets, at a savings of $5, for a total of $30 in advance, or $35 beginning May 3.
HISTORY REDESIGNED LUNCHEON
The public is invited on May 9 to get a close look at the theory and process of the Williams House makeover at a reception from noon to 12:30 p.m., followed by a luncheon and lecture at The Tremont House, 2300 Ship's Mechanic Row with designers on the project. At 1:30 p.m., guests will be shuttled to the Williams House for dessert and a personal tour. $45 per person.
Each of the ASID-member design teams chose a room or area and was charged to create a fresh, clean and contemporary look, while respecting the heritage and history of this Galveston landmark. Participating designers and their comments on their parts of the project are as follows:
Veranda: Todd Slaughter, ASID Industry Member, The Barking Frog, Galveston.
The comforts of cool tropical living flow across this veranda. Crisp apple green and white create a fresh, breezy feeling on this oasis of a porch. A big comfortable tropical woven chair is the perfect place to curl up with a book. Bamboo, wicker, and canvas sailcloth accents are anchored by a grand distressed hand-painted king cupboard. The wicker table, distressed white ribboned chairs, and brushed nickel botanical candle chandelier create a lovely spot for alfresco candlelight dinners.
Entry Hall and Second-Floor Landing: Pamela Hoffer, Allied Member, ASID, Design Associates, Bellaire, Texas.
The Formal Entry and Second Floor landing of the Samuel May Williams House demonstrate how design elements from 19th and 21st centuries can blend beautifully and harmoniously. Original family portraits along with fresh new fabrics and contemporary art are mixed throughout.
Left Parlor/Living Room: Donna M. Jarnigan, ASID, RID, Lacy-Boone Interiors, Houston, Texas.
The history and design of this home bring back thoughts of a slower, more graceful time. An antique interior can be beautiful, but one of the mandates for this project was to make the Williams House livable for today. Contemporary furniture and art, fresh new color on the walls and crisp silk drapery are combined with existing antiques including an original chair that belonged to Samuel May Williams. All this is grounded by a needlepoint rug that combines all the colors in the room.
Armless slipper chairs and a contemporary velvet settee add punches of black and white, chrome and bright citrus.
Right Parlor: Susan Venier, Allied Member, ASID, Interiors by Decorating Den, Friendswood, Texas.
The right front parlor takes advantage of its west-facing windows to bring in sunlight and warmth. The French doors adjoining the front porch allow free movement of the island breezes through the room. Dark wood tones, shades of coral red and gold, along with period furnishings and an antique area rug provide a warm, rich color scheme.
Dining Room: Peggy Hull, ASID, Creative Touch Interiors, Houston, Texas.
Colors inspired by nature create a refreshing palate for the backdrop to this inviting dining room filled with handsome French and English antiques. A trompe l'oeil molding is painted at a dropped horizontal line to camouflage the harsh line between the walls and ceiling. Note the nod to Texas heritage with the antique prints and framed maps on the walls.
Master Suite: Crystal Reeves, ASID, CLR Design Services.
When the Samuel May Williams House was a museum, the space that is now the master suite consisted of a separate powder room (only accessible from the back porch), a small kitchen museum, and a separate bedroom.
This space has now been completely transformed into a lavish master suite that combines traditional elements such original stone and woodwork with fresh contemporary fabrics and finishes. Many of the plumbing items used in the master suite came from the Galveston Historical Foundation Salvage Warehouse.
Kitchen: Donna Vining, FASID, IIDA, RID, CAPS with Christie Blansett, Allied Member, ASID, Vining Design Associates, Inc., Houston.
The kitchen design focuses on creating a sense of the past within the present. The kitchen features two-toned cabinets, subway tile, and a versatile island. Right off the island is a breakfast table for small informal meals. Opposite the kitchen is a cozy sitting area featuring a warm fireplace. The open kitchen design allows for great conversation flow. Even when the kitchen is not being used for cooking, its cozy sitting area becomes a perfect spot to snuggle up and get lost in a book.
Utility Room: Ann Krewson, Allied Member, ASID, A. L. I. Designs, Inc., Houston.
The new utility room in this historic home is both functional and exciting. A beautiful hammered bronze party sink and faucet coordinate with the ceiling fixtures. To bring some charm to the room the window and door trim woodwork have been finished using a faux technique that creates the illusion of old worn paint. The accent wall is finished using a linen faux technique to add a touch of softness and a sense of yesteryear.
Bedroom One: Hallie Radcliffe-Canalli, ASID, RID, Radcliffe Designs.
This bedroom's design takes its inspiration from the French Creole architectural style in which the Williams House was built. The room features an 18th-century French country daybed upholstered in fabric reproduced from the historic Beaufort House pattern. Looking out the small shuttered window one can imagine majestic oaks laden with Spanish moss and feel warm breezes from the Gulf waters. Throughout the room is a collection of "favorite things" with universal appeal.
Nursery: Student Chapter, The Art Institute of Houston; Jason Broughton, Student Member, ASID, Team Leader, J Broughton Design.
The little girl's nursery offers a sense of nostalgia with a modern twist. Classic period furniture is combined with an updated color palette. Bright blues, purples and greens add a welcoming feel to the space. The ceiling line of the room allows for an interesting layout while creating space for an imaginative sky finish. The closet offers a hidden area in which the children can play. The space creates an inviting atmosphere for any young girl growing up
Ship's Cabin Bedroom: San Jacinto College Student Members of ASID, Pasadena, Texas.
This bedroom pays homage to the seafaring roots of this house. A space reminiscent of a ship's cabin, it is a room where everything has a place and a purpose. There's a vintage trunk for storing valuables found at sea and enough modern comforts to make today's sailor comfortable on dry land. The hand-painted floor cloth "Compass Rose" designed by this team completes the nautical feel.
Upstairs Bath: Peggy McGowen, ASID, CMKBD, RID, Kitchen and Bath Design Concepts.
The upstairs bath and dressing area will be the only bathroom upstairs in this grand house and must serve the occupants of three upstairs bedrooms. True to the period, white marble is used in the shower and tub area, with white hexagonal tiles on the shower floor. Unusual angled ceilings were a challenge for lighting installations and unstable flooring created a challenge for floor tile work. Retro plumbing and lighting fixtures create a fresh sensibility that embodies both past and present. This is a bathroom suite in which to relax and recover from everyday stress. A comfortable sitting area provides a space for relaxing, reading and enjoying a beverage--maybe while waiting your turn for the bath.
Cupola: Janelle Thompson, ASID, RID, Janelle Thompson Design Studio, LLC, Houston.
This small space, tucked away at the top of the stairs, was created to serve many purposes in this 19th-century home. With six windows opening in all directions, it originally offered much-needed ventilation during the hot summer months and welcome sunshine in the winter. The views during the 1800s would have been expansive and beautiful. This would have been the perfect spot for the lady of the house to sit comfortably, with summer breezes blowing, to read a book or knit a new sweater for the cool evenings by the sea. Painting the ceiling a golden hue gives the room a warm glow. The cupola provides functionality along with a private get-away for the residents of the home.