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The lovely white Queen Anne Victorian residing on ArlingtonStreet now belies the first horrible impression InteriorDesigner Laura Michaelides had of it. But I could tell by the cross Gable in front, the extra wide center
hall and pristine architectural style that it did have the makings forbeing a great house, recalls Michaelides.
Katie and Mike Biernes ultimate decision to buy and restore theArlington house wasnt one made in haste.
They began their due diligence by meeting with Michaelides, whowas introduced to the couple by their realtor, Kelly Walsh.
Kelly thought that since I had worked on a number of old houses including my own that I could help them assess the viability ofones that caught their eye, says Michaelides.
THE HOUSE THAT KATIE & MIKE RE-BUILT
HEIGHTS COUPLE ENJOYS OLD STYLE AND NEW AMENITIES BY SUSAN FOX PHOTOS BY MIRO DVORSCAK
From the exterior, the Bierne house denotes unassuming charm. The entire front porch was rebuilt. The front door is a salvage find, and the transom was added.
InteriorDesignerLauraMichaelidessits on thefront stepswith theBiernes:Katie, Mikeand babyBarrett.
The new light-filled kitchen makes way for a growing family. The backsplash is a white polished subway tile, and the countertop is honed granite. The topon the rustic island table is Carrera marble.
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In the end, the couple had doubled the homes original 1,220 squarefeet to include two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, in addition to aguest room and bath, master suite, study, kitchen, and living and diningareas downstairs.
The fact the house had a restorable center hall was a top influencerfor the couple. Today, it is so dramatic and harks back to an era whencenter halls were significant to the time period, according to Katie.
This house really was in horrible shape, recalls Michaelides. Theoriginal floor plan had been destroyed, the transoms inside were gone,and the 11-foot ceilings had been lowered to 8 feet.
The good Michaelides found with the house, though, outweighedany negatives.
With the kind of ceilings it had along with the roof height, I couldsee that some wonderful spaces could be created. You could see that itreally was utterly charming, says Michaelides.Before
AFTER: A new-olddoor was installed, thecircular attic entry wasclosed up and thehallway expanded.The pendants arefrom Brown Lighting.A new stairway wasbuilt off the hallway.The original one wasa steep climb in theback of the house.
BEFORE: Along theway, the front doorhad been modern-ized, and the centerhall had been by com-promised. A circularceiling entry into theattic had been addedjust inside the thresh-old.
AFTER: At the end of the center hallway is a sitting area. For great inex-pensive art impact, the couple had installed as one large piece of art 10 artcanvases purchased at IKEA. The rug underneath a bentwood gardenbench mimics a grassy feel.
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STEPPING INTO NEW TERRITORYWe originally were looking at newer homes that alreadyhad been renovated. Kelly then began talking to meabout doing a project of our own, says Katie.
All I knew after seeing this house was that it could beexactly what we wanted. I had this clear vision from dayone, says Katie, who along with her husband had neverlived in such an old house and neighborhood. But whenwe met Laura and saw some of her projects, we knewwere in good hands.
The couple hired Don Broman, owner of BromanDesign & Construction to turn the dream into a reality.In the real estate world, it is said location is everything,and in the case of the Beirnes, it was especially true.
When I move from Kentucky to Houston eight yearsago, it took me two years to find the Heights. I wasimmediately drawn to the area. Being an artist myself, I
AFTER: The kitchen is new construction. Cabinetry is by Giles Construction. The floors are oak; the countertops are a black honed granite. BEFORE: Dated kitchen was void of personality and space.
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just felt a spiritual connection to the houses, theporches, big oak trees, the various mix of peo-ple, and all the small neighboring shops, saysKatie.
Plus, Katie notes, Its located in walking dis-tance of 19th Street (a popular shopping andentertainment strip in the Heights), not to men-tion the walking trails along HeightsBoulevard.
MAKING IT THEIR OWNI had an entire scrapbook that I had been past-ing pictures in for about two or three years. Ieven included photos of things I liked and past-Before
BEFORE:Archways and alu-minum windowsadded by a previ-ous owner wereremoved to restorethe original look ofthe home.
AFTER: The wallcolor is FrenchGray by BenjaminMoore. KatieBierne bought thewhimsical chande-lier fromAnthropologie.
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ed them into the book. That scrapbook came along with me to manymeetings with Laura, says Katie.
Katie and Mikes collection of ideas helped steer the project so thatboth designer and builder could create the house of their dreams. In the back where the original kitchen was, we pushed it out so that we
ABOVE: The living room features new oak flooring with an area rug byEmmett Rugs. Most of the artwork is from Koelsch Gallery.
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could expand the space, add windows and add banquette seating, saysMichaelides.
We pushed out the roof upstairs and added dormers to allow forhead room and to turn the attic space into two bedrooms and a bath,she adds.
The countertop in this bath is Caesar stone; the flooring is an expensive navypenny tile bought online. The industrial light fixtures are from Home Depot forunder $50 each. The door is new and made to look old.
ABOVE: The master bedroom is located on the first floor; its bath ispurposefully not connected to the room, however.
BELOW: The master bath is both pretty and interesting, thanks to themarble top and old chest of drawers-now vanity. Open shelving fills whatotherwise would have been lost space.
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Katie says that rather than place the master bathinto the bedroom, they situated it off the hallway.Its a nice feeling to have two separate spaces, whichmeans less noise, fewer wet towels laying around andjust less mess that can spill over into the bedroom.
We also have four dogs, and we designed thelaundry room around them, says Katie. Laurahelped design the space so that their crates and alltheir accessories fit perfectly. There are pocket doorson each side of the room, so you can get to thekitchen and the master hallway. It makes it all soconvenient and tidy.
The thought of all the history within these wallsjust takes my breath away. I feel so honored to livehere, and to make my own history with my family,says Katie.
ABOVE: One of the guestrooms. The wood floor is new, as is thetransom.
LEFT: The guest bath features an old cabinet that was painted whiteand topped with Carerra marble.
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BEFORE: The upstairs space wasone huge room with small dormers.
AFTER: The dormers were raisedand pushed out to carve out extraheadroom.
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First Level After
Second Level Before Second Level After
First Level Before
RESOURCESFOUR SQUARE DESIGN STUDIOwww.foursquaredesignstudio.com713-802-1699
BROMAN DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTIONwww.donbroman.com713-862-2570
GILES CONSTRUCTION (kitchen cabinets)713.806.8437
KOELSCH GALLERY (art)www.koelschgallery.com713-626-0175
MARK OBERHOLZER, RHODES PARTNERSARCITECTS512-473-0923
LIVING ROOM DINING ROOM KITCHEN
FLOOR 3-1/2 FT.LOWER
LIVING ROOM DINING ROOM