The owners who had long occupied a 1940's Georgian house on a large corner lot in Avalon Place sought to replace the structure with one similar in style. Of primary importance to the owners, the presence of the 8,000 square foot house was conceived to blend with the scale and age of the surrounding houses. To achieve this effect, this new structure is reminiscent of an existing stately Georgian home on the main street frontage, with a stylistically appropriate wing having been more recently added along the side street.
The formal entertaining rooms on the first floor are arranged en filade on either side of a double-height central stair hall with a dramatic, sweeping elliptical stair and balcony. On axis with the central stair hall, the family room offers a full view of the rear garden and lap pool. The casual rooms and bedrooms are organized around the double-height back stair hall, defined by vertical wood paneling.
L. Barry Davidson Architects was the architect and interior designer on this house, completed in December 2015.
REGENCY MANOR ADDITION
The current custodians of the Regency style house, designed in 1941 by architect Harry D. Payne, engaged the architecture and interior design services of L. Barry Davidson Architects for the firm’s extensive work in Georgian style architecture. It was a primary goal of the project team to preserve the original front and side façades and rework the incremental additions in a cohesive manner to suit the needs of an active family with three young children.
The placement of the new open loggia as an extension of the house and on axis with the pool offers a completely unobstructed view of the entire garden, referencing the sweeping lawn of the English country house. The loggia is defined by a colonnade of cast stone Doric columns centered on the outdoor fireplace and summer kitchen.
The main gathering spaces were left largely intact, with new generous openings aligned to allow a continuous vista from the front to the back of the structure. The needs of each successive owner had resulted in fragmented circulation and utilitarian furr-downs throughout the second floor. The simple move of shifting the main bedroom hall 18” and now lit by a new barrel vaulted ceiling cove allowed the new second floor rooms to fall into place along a spine.
L. Barry Davidson Architects was the architect and interior designer on this house, completed in January 2015. This house was selected by Preservation Houston for the 2016 Good Brick Award.
A new house in River Oaks representing the English townhouse vernacular shows that a historically correct structure can be as livable as it is distinguished. The Palladian central hall plan was employed to seamlessly connect the formal and informal rooms with 8-foot cased openings with divided-lite glass transoms. The illusion of age is owed to the generous use of clear sealed American cherry raised paneling, richly stained wide-plank walnut flooring and antique brass hardware and light fixtures. It is against this warm patina that the owner’s American furnishings, both family heirlooms and newly acquired, are tastefully composed.
From the exterior, the house is nestled behind an established oak tree on a lot rather narrow for the area. The architecturally appropriate exterior materials include the use of: Cushwa brick in a Flemish bond with grapevine tooling; smooth, buff cast stone and gray slate roof from Spain. Unusual in terms of the immense scale of many of today’s new homes, the intentional use of modest 10-foot and 9-foot ceilings on the first and second floor, respectively, contributes to the sense that the house could have been built a century before.
L. Barry Davidson Architects was the architect and interior designer on this house, completed in January 2013.
This two-story urban residence, sited on a 60' x 120' tree-lined corner lot in Southampton, was designed for an architect and a lawyer who desired an urban retreat with well-crafted details. The project is influenced by the restrained yet rich use of materials of the Shaker style as well as south Louisiana vernacular architecture, from which the ‘witch's hat’ roof profile was derived. The austere linearity of the standing seam metal roof plays against the continuous rustic stone base, composed of a stone blend quarried in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. The smooth white plaster walls are crisply punctuated by soft gray-green clad windows.
The main informal rooms, defined by a random rectangular slate floor, include the kitchen, butler’s pantry and double-height family room for entertaining. Reclaimed wide-plank oak flooring differentiates the informal areas from the formal study, dining room and large library housing the owners’ extensive book collection. Through cased openings with operable shutters, on axis with the front and back stair, the family room opens up to the gallery above to create a sense of airiness and visual connection. The use of vertical grain Douglas fir throughout the interior extends the Shaker influence.
The owners of this 1940s brick house on a corner lot in River Oaks sought an architecturally compatible addition to emphasize the New Orleans style aspects of the house. Vernacular motifs of covered wood balconies, porches and wood shutters were judiciously integrated into the massing, with care given to preserving the scale of the existing structure. The existing and new brick areas were seamlessly blended with the use of a sacked plaster finish, traditionally applied with burlap sacks.
The owners needed a side entry to accommodate a new mud room entry for access to the newly enlarged kitchen from the side garden. The existing small study was completely rebuilt into a larger library with a gabled ceiling and new fireplace. An existing full bath was replaced with an office nook and expansive powder room with custom glass sink.
The interior finishes were selected in cool tones, to give the effect of a coastal aerie. End grain vintage oak flooring was used in the informal rooms, including the kitchen. The wall paneling in the vaulted study is pecky cypress.
This house was completed in December 2008.
We were given a four-acre trapezoidal lot in the Rivercrest area of Houston on which a gracious, 10,000 square foot house was sited out of view from the street for privacy and a dramatic arrival sequence. The configuration of this house sought to preserve the density of the existing mature live oaks and loblolly pines.
This Southern Colonial home owes its authenticity to the materials, details and parti. The exterior materials consist of a slate roof, brick veneer with cast stone accents and flagstone terraces and drives. The cast stone elements, including a double height colonnade, keystones, sills and exterior fireplace surrounds, punctuate the field of antique rose Cushwa brick. The parti is a Palladian central hall plan with flanking wings--the work areas of the kitchen and laundry are located in the south wing while the private rooms are housed in the north wing. On the second floor, the bedrooms are arranged around a large billiard room. Deep, full-width porches carried across the front and rear on both levels of the house are frequently used for gatherings, collecting the breeze and offering extensive views to the grounds.
The bright interiors, with 12-foot ceilings on the first floor, provide an open and spacious refuge for this large extended family. Great care was taken in choosing the interior materials and finishes, including aged wide plank black walnut floors, custom walnut doors and cherry and walnut paneling. An additional layer of detail was added to the large public rooms in the form of wood beams, plaster ceilings, ornate moldings and a domed ceiling over the grand stair. The custom marble fireplaces in the living and dining room were hand carved in Italy.
This house was featured in the February 2007 issue of Houston House & Home and was on the 2006 Houston AIA Home Tour.
GEORGIAN COUNTRY HOUSE
Modeled on the English country house, this house was designed for a retired couple who desired a spacious home in which to entertain their children, grandchildren and frequent guests.
Motifs common to the Georgian style were articulated in the exterior massing and details. The front entry is defined by an arched pediment and cast stone wall panels. Cast stone pilasters and a fan light frame the front door. The flanking chimneys and two-story wings enhance the architecturally correct façade. Custom cast stone columns at the rear terrace are in the Doric style with entasis.
The interior central hall plan with its expansive rooms, high ceilings and detailed moldings lend a sense of grandeur while the relaxed interior finishes were selected for their livability.
Both from Louisiana, the owners desired the south Louisiana vernacular type of the Acadian cottage for this West University Place house.
“Soft red” and “hard tan” brick from New Orleans were used for the exterior walls and fireplaces. The Acadian style extends to the interior with the use of old growth pine lintels above the windows, pine shutters and antique longleaf pine floors.
Transom doors and ten-foot high ceilings lend an expansive quality to the interior, reminiscent of a time before air-conditioning. The cabinetry and trim is brown cypress from Louisiana. The old growth pine beams in the family room are in fact structural.
This sprawling Italian style villa is sited on a large wooded property in the Memorial area of Houston, Texas. To accommodate the owners' extensive program requirements, the visual scale of the structure was diminished by varying the roof lines and massing with an accumulation of various structures. The main living areas are housed in a three-story central tower, with a two-story five car garage with guest suites and a one-story guest house. These structures are woven around an outdoor living area and pool with generous porches and breezeways.
The exterior materials were selected to convey a sense of age and warmth. The clay tile roof incorporates a blend of five colors. Texas Leuders limestone on the exterior and faux finish plaster entries create the illusion that the structure was built entirely out of stone.
This house was published in the October 2013 issue of Houston House & Home and the Fall 2013 issue of Modern Home Builder.
On a corner lot in West University Place, this contemporary version of a Mediterranean vernacular reflects the surrounding neighborhood while emphasizing the owner's desire for well-crafted and high quality materials. The U-shaped plan extends the house along the two street frontages, with the owner's workshop terminating the massing at the rear of the lot. A distinctive curving loggia of arched brick openings defines the corner entry.
Warm earth tones were employed throughout the exterior and interior. The light beige brick veneer is interrupted with a continuous rust toned brick accent course and window surrounds. The exterior woodwork is mahogany and Douglas fir and gutters and downspouts are copper. As a skilled hobbyist woodworker, the owner's admiration for the Shaker tradition of furniture making influenced the richness of material and precise detailing of the interior. To showcase the owner's extensive art collection and Thos. Moser furniture pieces, the dramatic interior is decidedly American, a Shaker style jewel box of full-height maple paneling with continuous American cherry trim.
L. Barry Davidson Architects is currently working with the owners to craft a new house, also in West University Place, complete with a new, well-appointed workshop.
The owners of a narrow, wooded urban lot desired an updated English Norman style house. We responded to the site configuration and complex program requirements with a U-shaped plan to preserve an existing mature tree and allow open views to the terraced courtyard. A central hall connects the formal and informal areas along a spine, while the second floor playroom serves as both an open gathering area and circulation to the bedrooms.
Referencing the English Norman style, we incorporated motifs and materials such as intricate brick patterns and corbelling, limestone surrounds, an octagonal Tudor style chimney and parapet walls. Contributing to the formal massing of the house, the first floor was raised 30" above grade for a flood prone site.
This Pennsylvania style farmhouse is sited on a large, wooded property in the Champions Forest area of Houston. The farmhouse parti is unique in that the structure can be viewed from all directions. To that end, the use of the gable form and splayed headers establishes a rhythm throughout the exterior. The configuration of a two-story main house with one-story wings gives the illusion of age, that the farmhouse had been added to over a number of years.
The exterior materials are Pennsylvania “Green” and Arkansas “Garden Moss” natural stone, culled for their intense green and rust coloration. The natural slate roof complements the stone and enhances the dormers. The interior stained vintage pine woodwork and wide plank floors have similar warm values. Valley Forge flagstone floors, soapstone and bluestone counters were selected for their tones and northeast origin. The family room, as the hearth of this farmhouse, is accented with a rustic flagstone fireplace, Douglas fir ceiling and clerestory windows.