By Cynthia Lescalleet
For The Leader
When an award-winning custom home’s design inspiration is a 22-foot vintage shuffleboard table, you’d think the homeowners might be impassioned, die-hard players.
Not exactly, though they are getting better at the game, says Rhonda Dupree, half of a Heights couple with a penchant for entertaining. Dupree, a financial services exec, and Jeff Bailey, who’s in energy sales, figured shuffleboard would be something their guests might enjoy, regardless of their age or skill level.
“And, by the way, it’s beautiful,” she says of the table, an antique one purchased at auction in Bellaire for an undisclosed amount. Its restoration has been ongoing.
Having the shuffleboard table accessible – meaning on the first level of their home-to-be – was just one of many design decisions that resulted in a one-of-a-kind domicile geared to entertaining and an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
Whitestone Builder President David Gordon describes the 3,607-square foot home’s design vibe as “rustic, industrial, contemporary.” That’s the inside. The exterior reads Craftsman-Cottage. The new home sits on one of four urban-scale lots located on a former light industrial site on Ashland St. and is in the Houston Heights West Historic District.
Dupree says the unique tabletop harkens an old ice house and that motif “fanned out” its design influence throughout the home.
As floor plans go, the Ice House section of the home connects first floor living spaces to the garage, accessed from an alley behind homes on the block. To bring the outside inside, there’s a glass garage door that opens to a patio and fire pit. Up a few steps, an adjacent family room has a 15-ft. wall of folding doors that fully retract.
Gordon says the latter was one of the project’s design challenges; the client wanted to open up the room – with screens to keep out the bugs.
Dupree says the design theme in the Ice House “was to use anything old or that used to be something else.”
Thus, trash can lids morphed into unique overhead lighting and sections of pipe became cabinet legs in the kitchen. Furnishings, meanwhile, include a bar made from old tequila barrels and seating once used by a Baptist church. Even the flooring had a previous life – as antique beams, planed and hand-beveled by the builder for that purpose. Sections of shiplap rescued from a salvage warehouse became beams in the dining room and master bathroom.