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Island Home Design

Monday, August 30, 2010 @ 08:08 PM


By Carolin Santangelo

A quiet debate continues over which exterior veneer is preferable for our coastal clime.  

Should you choose vinyl or fiber cement siding? Fiber cement siding is the product you may know as ‘Hardie board,’ made by the James Hardie Bldg. Products, though other manufacturers, including Certainteed, GAF, etc., make an equivalent product. Some of these manufacture both siding types.
Take any two builders and one may strongly proclaim fiber cement siding, the other, vinyl. Pose the question to the same two builders on another day, or for another project, and you may receive alternate answers. A smart builder will thoroughly quiz the homeowner to determine what is appropriate for the homeowner’s purposes.
 
Fiber cement siding may ‘look’ more like wood, if only slightly; it   is often stamped with a wood-grain texture, and its painted surface usually is an egg-shell finish. Vinyl has a crisp, almost perfect look; almost too perfect in a sense.  Its finish also can be a variety of wood grain textures, with a typically more glossy finish. 
Both products will stand up to our coastal conditions as long as they are applied correctly.  (Manufacturers will nullify warranties if not installed correctly.) Vinyl siding can be rated for hurricane winds; check manufacturer’s specifications to be sure your selection will meet windstorm code requirements. Windstorm engineers also differ in their opinions of the materials.  
Some engineers recommend fiber cement siding for use in their analysis of buildings, asserting it provides more rigidity to the structure. (As such it is a heavy material, and requires two people to install.) Other engineers will perform analysis for either vinyl or fiber cement siding, not differentiating one in preference over the other. Again, each is dependent on installation techniques, which the engineer will oversee during the replacement or new construction project. 
Cement siding and an initial application of paint may cost only slightly more than the same project carried out in vinyl. Maintenance of vinyl nearly ends after installation, with a spray of the garden hose usually all that is necessary to clean it. Upkeep on cement siding, despite claims to the contrary by siding and paint manufacturers, in our area appears to often require repainting in as little as five years, (an issue which may stem from improper application) though longer periods may be possible, if conscientiously applied to manufacturer specifications.  
Cement siding color is limited only by your imagination. Virtually any is possible, though some dark colors might not hold up in our hot sun, and some may not be acceptable to your home owners’ association. 
Color may seem insignificant, but check with your HOA before starting any project. Pre-applied colors direct from fiber cement siding manufacturers are now available in a palette of a dozen to 16 colors and stained wood effects, (varies by region) and most with a 15-year color fast guarantee. 
Vinyl siding color is limited to a manufacturer’s palette – often just 10, occasionally up to 40 standard colors. Alcoa is offering its Dream Color program, with up to 700 available, on a custom order basis. This is an option that may provide just the look you want in vinyl; though if you order it, you own it. 
There will be no second-guessing your selection, and no do-over.  Premium vinyl products come with a limited lifetime warranty against color fading. You must make a confident choice, and like that color for a very long time, since there won’t be a reason or opportunity to repaint in a couple of years.
Both vinyl and cement siding are available in shingle or shake   styles to coordinate with varieties of siding profiles. Either siding is impervious to insects or rot. Should it be necessary to replace, vinyl is highly recyclable, and requires no finish or solvent to clean or maintain. Fiber cement siding often contains recycled product in its composition, and additionally is fire resistant.
While some clients opt for fiber cement siding, others are perfectly happy with vinyl for their home. Even though I’ve been hands-on with all of our own construction projects, it will be too soon for me if I never hold a paintbrush again. 
That’s why the choice for our own seaside home was vinyl, and it came through Ike unscathed. These hands are now meant for nail polish and holding nothing more burdensome than a cool, yummy refreshment. 
You, too, should assess how each choice may impact your lifestyle. Either way you go, your home’s exterior can enjoy good looks and a long life.
  Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or (409) 632-0381.
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Resolve to Find Health & Wellness on the Island

Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 07:01 PM

By Leslie Thompson & Shannon Rowan

New Year, New You ~ With Massage from Therapeutic Healthworks!

With the New Year, people regularly make a commitment to fitness and to changing their diet. The difference a person would experience if they regularly made a commitment to therapeutic massage could be life changing. Massage is not just simply a back rub, nor is it a luxury. Research tells us that massage therapy is an integral component of a well-rounded wellness program, combating everything from chronic pain to the negative effects of stress. Laxogenin optimizes the level of your blood as well as cutbacks in the stress-inducing cortisol hormone levels. It also ensures that your cholesterol condition is healthy, promoting good cholesterol and limiting bad cholesterol. It also has adaptogenic effects. These are processes that reduce cellular stress and help against type 1 and 2 of diabetes, blood balance formula is an ideal treatment.

One way in which frequent therapeutic massage can improve overall health is by lowering stress. Is important to keep yourself healthy because a lot of stress can develop into more serious illnesses such as Alzheimer, if this is the case for you check over at this website for HCA they are your local caregivers for elders. Experts estimate that upwards of 90 percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than the effects of stress.

Studies from the Touch Research Institute have shown that massage therapy effectively reduces stress and anxiety by lowering the stress hormone cortisol by up to 53 percent and also increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine and if additionally to this you use CBDA Tincture which is for everyone who can’t do THC to reduce stress.
Those aches and pains you have might stay away longer, or go away altogether, with frequent visits to your massage therapist. Massage can assist the runner with greater flexibility, reduce arthritic pain and swelling, address orthopedic injuries, improve muscle tone and increase range of motion.
Massage is an ally to preventative healthcare. On a regular basis, it can help us live a proactively, healthier life.
Therapeutic HealthWorks, Inc., is a Day Spa for Skin and Body Care. We offer therapeutic massage, as well as body masques for detoxification and deep moisture of the skin, body scrubs for exfoliation and glowing skin and holistic herbal facials and waxing. They employ the most experienced and dedicated licensed massage therapists and estheticians who care about their customers and their wellbeing. They also offer specials through facebook. Hour of operation are Monday through Saturday, by appointment, with flexible hours to fit your schedule. To make an appointment with the IWC wellness clinic or for more information, please call 409- 762-8199.
Therapeutic HealthWorks, Inc. Day Spa for Skin and Body Care is located at 2114 Sealy Galveston. Visit www.TherapeuticHealthWorks.com for more information. Danielle Barker Alvarado OTR, LMT, MTI, cnmi.

Enjoy Natural Alternatives at Happy Pretty You!

A holistic approach to improving your health addresses your mind, body and spirit as they are connected as one. Regular exercise and eating properly are a great start but you also need to care for your mind and spirit. If the mind and/or spirit are not at ‘ease’ the body can manifest ‘dis-ease’ to keep in balance.

At Happy Pretty You! Reiki Salon & Spa our philosophy is to set your inner beauty free naturally and assist you in achieving a healthy mind-body-spirit connection. To surround you in a holistic environment with natural elements, all products used are botanical based and free of ammonia, sulfates and parabens.
Imagine feeling pampered in a private and relaxing environment where artistry and beauty create a special oasis of love, peace and light naturally. Experience the ultimate in customer service, personal attention and a healing touch… release the tensions of the world and enjoy natural alternatives as you receive the happy pretty hair, skin and life of your dreams!
Hours are by appointment only to serve you better! Happy Pretty You! Reiki Salon & Spa is located at 509 8th Street. Call 409-765-5502 for more information, or visit HappyPrettyYou.com.

Discover the Benefits of Infrared/LED Sauna

Looking to help de-stress or lose weight? Beautiful Laser Center can help with their Infrared Sauna, which has LED red-light/blue light therapy for your face at no additional charge. Red light therapy is is one of the newest treatments for aging and damaged skin. It uses your body’s natural process to heal. Blue light targets to kill propionibacterium acne or the bacteria associated with acneand is approved by the FDA.

There are several benefits of the infrared sauna such as detoxification, weight loss, pain relief, skin beautification, and relaxation and rejuvenation. Although if you really want to lose weight, you should check this flat belly fix.
It is the perfect solution for helping your body get rid of the environmental toxic chemicals. The infrared heat energy deeply penetrates tissues triggering mobilization of chemicals from fat storage and directly into sweat and the magnetic therapy promotes metabolic processing of toxins to help your body expel them. Take a look at the latest probiolite review.
The infrared heat will increase the peripheral blood flow and remove fat through sweat. Weight loss is one of the great benefits of using our Vital Saunas every day. A single therapeutic sauna session will burn as much as 300-600 calories.
The rays penetrate heat deep into the skin, over 1 1⁄2 inches into the muscle tissue, and alleviates symptoms such as back pain, sprains, strains, joint stiffness, muscle spasms and headaches as well as pains due to conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It improves blood flow and oxygen to enhance the body’s natural healing process. The improved blood flow and fluid exchange to the injured tissue helps reduce pain and inflammation.
Infrared Saunas are excellent for increasing blood circulation to the skin, which is essential for beautiful, youthful, glowing skin! This increased blood flow brings important nutrients to subcutaneous and surface tissue, promoting cellular activity and growth.
Perhaps the most immediate relief you will get from basking in an Infrared Sauna is simple relaxation, as it melts away the stresses and tensions of the fast-paced life, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! Infrared heat will give your body an overall massaging effect, soothing jangled nerves and knotted muscles. This therapy can help reduce stress and enhance your body’s energy supply!
They also offer LED therapy without the sauna for those who don’t like to sweat. For 20 minutes three to four times a week, let the LEDs bath your face, neck, chest, back or other area in healing light. It’s also great for arthritis and other inflammation related conditions. It rejuvenates skin and encourages collagen production.
Mikayla Wilson suggests these treatments three to four times per week for four to six weeks to see results. Sessions can be purchased by the session at $10 per visit or $75 for the entire month. Publisher Shannon Rowan will be using the LED treatment, so look for her results in the March issue of the Islander Magazine.
Beautiful Laser Center is located at 3328 Broadway. For more information, call 409-454-9502 or visit beautifullaser.com.

Hotties Salon Offers Full Body Collagen Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is a healing strategy that makes use of red tinted light in order to stimulate the body’s natural defense systems and bring relief from various ailments. Hotties Salon was the first establishment in Galveston County to pamper its customers by producing fast results for people with a variety of skin matters.

Light therapy consists of exposure to daylight or to specific wavelengths of light using lasers, light-emitting diodes, fluorescent lamps, dichroic lamps or very bright, full-spectrum light, usually controlled with various devices such as tanning beds.
Common use of red light therapy is associated with the treatment of many skin disorders and a few psychiatric disorders. Hotties Salon light therapy beds are effective in treating acne, eczema and psoriasis, as well as rejuvenating your skin by removing lines, wrinkles and reducing scarring and stretch marks. Red light therapy firms, tones, and restores moisture to your skin while effectively relieving joint pain and even helping treat seasonal affective disorders and depression. Other medical applications of light therapy also include pain management, accelerated wound healing, hair growth, improvement in blood properties and blood circulation, and sinus-related diseases and disorders.
Stop by Hotties Salon located at 4619-C Ft. Crockett or call 409-621-4688 for more information on how red light therapy can help improve your health and wellness.

Setting Fitness Goals for the Year With Total Fitness and Urban Health & Fitness

Both Total Fitness and Urban Health & Fitness serve people of all ages and all walks of life, including novice gym goers who are discovering fitness for the first time to competitive professional athletes. They are easily accessible amiable neighborhood gyms with real people, real goals and a friendly approach to fitness.

Whether your purpose is to lose weight, gain muscle or just to become a healthier person, their friendly staff readily available to help reach your goals. Sometimes, reaching your goals means drawing motivation from the people around you. That’s why both facilities offer fitness classes ranging from Zumba, Step, Kettle Bells, Kickboxing and Core Strengthening classes. Go ahead and click here to check out this website where you can find the best boxing equipment. Boot Camp is a program designed to lift you up not put you down. Experienced personal fitness trainers will work with you to reach your fitness goals in a fast, effective, and positive environment. As a friend, cheerleader and coach, their certified personal trainers can offer encouragement and advice to keep you motivated on every step of your fitness journey.
“It’s a commitment to health, a promise to live better, and a newfound motivation to set a goal and reach for it every day,” says owner Peter Bergin. “You’ve got the desire and the will to get there and we’ve got a few reasons for you to get started today.”
Check out both facilities and class schedules online at www.galvestontotalfitness.com and www.urbanheathandfitness.com, or call 409-763-5448 for Total Fitness and 409-621-2878 for Urban Health & Fitness.

Mind-Body Center Provides Several Therapies for Health, Emotional Well-Being & Spiritual Nourishment

The philosophy of the Mind-Body Center for Alternative Medicine and Massage is to promote physical health, emotional well-being and spiritual nourishment. They view illness as an opportunity for personal growth and transformation and therapists as catalysts and guides in this process.

Mind/body medicine teaches you how to listen to your body to reduce stress and pain. They believe in the saying: “Our body knows how to heal itself, treat it well.”
The Center for Alternative Medicine offers the following services:
Massage Therapy. By its nature, massage therapy incorporates various methods to manipulate the soft tissues of the body to achieve a general state of well-being.
They offer various types of massage including: Swedish, deep tissue, trigger point, neuro-muscular, hot stone, reflexology, lympathic drainage, oncology, cranioSacral, Reiki master and couples.
Acupuncture/Acupressure: For pain, stress, sleep and digestive disturbances, headaches, fatigue and more including NAET allergy elimination therapy and herbal medicine.
Marriage and Family Therapy: Psychotherapy for individuals, couples and families, marital and pre-marital counseling, loss and grief therapy for life transitions, hypnotherapy for anxiety and smoking cessation, meditation and guided imagery to relieve stress and holotropic breathwork for self discovery.
Center for Alternative Medicine & Massage is located at 4920-D Seawall Boulevard. Call 409-762-6463 for more information, or go online to Centerforalternativemedicine.com.

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Miltello Design Can Help Create Your Dream Home

Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 06:01 PM

You need to visit Milltello Design: a unique, new and innovating interior design studio located at 4110 Avenue U. The showroom, with a contemporary design, is furnished with the latest samples for 2012.
Milltello Dessign can help you realize your dream home and interior, by working with your contractor, architect and builder to make your ideas come to life. Beyond creating a beautiful home, Milltello Design has the products and services to add to the perfect touches that will give your space a finished look.

They carry hundreds of fabrics for upholstery, draperies, custom bedding, headboards, decorative pillows and more. One of their best selling drapery lines is ADO. It is a machine washable drapery with a five-year warranty.They also offer personalized shopping assistance to help in selection of lighting, art, area rugs and accessories.
As a Centurion Showcase dealer for Hunter Douglas, Milltello Design has the latest product displays. They also carry the Alustra line. Hunter Douglas is the top-selling manufacturer of blinds, shading systems and plantation shutters. These products are backed with an unmatched lifetime warranty, an invesment that will appreciate for years to come.
Owner Bill Milligan was born and raised in Galveston. With a degree in interior design, he has worked on the island for the last 17 years.
Visit the showroon and discover how they can help you create the home you have always dreamed of. To learn more about their services, visit www. Milltellodesign.HDSPD.com
Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. After hours appointments are available upon request. For more information, call 409-539-5691.

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Design for Sleep-Overs & Slumber Parties

Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 06:01 PM

By Carolin Santangelo

It could be a symptom of the economy, that prospective homeowners are taking a good, hard look at their wish list prior to scoping out their new home design and are seeking the most effective way to utilize all the space. These new homes are meant to be shared with family and friends; though budget is often a limiting factor on what size the home can be.

Multi-purpose sleeping spaces have been incorporated into recent custom home projects (in both large and small homes). In secondary bedrooms, clients are thinking not just of single stack bunk beds, also of pyramid bunks, or built-in bunks for even more children to camp out in. A pyramid bunk is one that can have a double- or queen-size bed at the bottom and a single bunk overhead. These are particularly good for overflow sleeping space, and may even be utilized in spaces where ceilings slope.

In a couple of recent home designs, where the living room is on the main living floor for all to use, clients were interested in an additional family room on another floor that would serve as overflow space for sleeping children. Sleeper sofas can fit the bill, though imaginative options for built-in bunks with storage beneath can be constructed, preserving floor space for other family activity; television, gaming, gambling with casinodames.com or board games.

In three bedroom plans, it may be adequate to have just one room dedicated to this additional sleeping space. In four bedroom designs, and where the house may be used for rental purposes, it could be smart to outfit two bedrooms with bunks — maybe one for boys, another one for girls — with two remaining bedrooms that will accommodate separate sets of adults in privacy. A study or office can also be set up for daybed and trundle in case of overnight guests.
Bunk space can be defined that is intended for adults, too. To accommodate adults with a conventional twin mattress, the space should be 39 inches wide and 75 or 80 inches long. In one house design, a bunkroom was also to lodge men who were guests of the homeowner, and would be staying for the week while they hunted. A design for a pool house incorporates overflow-sleeping space in a loft created by the high sloped ceiling. The design includes end-to-end built-in twin beds tucked under the sloping roofline. Each built-in area has its own lighting, and a storage drawer beneath.
Options for small rooms include bunk sets angled and built into a corner, freeing floor space in front for toys and play. A bunk can be a great play area in itself! It can be a fort or castle or play house. Designs can lend themselves from woodsy and rustic, in dark wood tones (think camouflage bedding), to nautical; with incorporation of white bead board, red, white and blue fabrics, portholes, and nautical lighting.
A novel, convertible sleeping space can be created with a rope or chain style suspended from the ceiling or walls. My family beach house had rope and chain styles, way ahead of its time, conceived by my parents over 40 years ago! One room contained double bed bunks (top and bottom) mounted to the wall on one side, and suspended from the ceiling joists by heavy chain on the other side. The other room had double bed bunks, as well as a single bed platform that was hinged to the wall on one side, and affixed by heavy rope and chain on the other. The beauty of this hinged arrangement was that it could be folded up against the wall, freeing up floor space when not in use.
Your builder and trim carpenter can construct your custom design, or you can select from a variety of manufactured bunk beds and loft beds. Retailers offer a wide selection of children’s themed loft beds beginning as low as $200, and as the price goes up, may incorporate storage; chests, drawers and shelves, desks and may conserve even more space with roll out beds and trundles.
Think about the best way to accommodate your overnight guests. Nights shared together by cousins and friends as children will create memories as powerful as evenings sitting around a fire cooking marshmallows, building that huge sand castle or catching that first fish!
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381 or visit www.SeasideHomeDesign.com.

It could be a symptom of the economy, that prospective homeowners are taking a good, hard look at their wish list prior to scoping out their new home design and are seeking the most effective way to utilize all the space. These new homes are meant to be shared with family and friends; though budget is often a limiting factor on what size the home can be.
Multi-purpose sleeping spaces have been incorporated into recent custom home projects (in both large and small homes). In secondary bedrooms, clients are thinking not just of single stack bunk beds, also of pyramid bunks, or built-in bunks for even more children to camp out in. A pyramid bunk is one that can have a double- or queen-size bed at the bottom and a single bunk overhead. These are particularly good for overflow sleeping space, and may even be utilized in spaces where ceilings slope.
In a couple of recent home designs, where the living room is on the main living floor for all to use, clients were interested in an additional family room on another floor that would serve as overflow space for sleeping children. Sleeper sofas can fit the bill, though imaginative options for built-in bunks with storage beneath can be constructed, preserving floor space for other family activity; television, gaming or board games.
In three bedroom plans, it may be adequate to have just one room dedicated to this additional sleeping space. In four bedroom designs, and where the house may be used for rental purposes, it could be smart to outfit two bedrooms with bunks — maybe one for boys, another one for girls — with two remaining bedrooms that will accommodate separate sets of adults in privacy. A study or office can also be set up for daybed and trundle in case of overnight guests.
Bunk space can be defined that is intended for adults, too. To accommodate adults with a conventional twin mattress, the space should be 39 inches wide and 75 or 80 inches long. In one house design, a bunkroom was also to lodge men who were guests of the homeowner, and would be staying for the week while they hunted. A design for a pool house incorporates overflow-sleeping space in a loft created by the high sloped ceiling. The design includes end-to-end built-in twin beds tucked under the sloping roofline. Each built-in area has its own lighting, and a storage drawer beneath.
Options for small rooms include bunk sets angled and built into a corner, freeing floor space in front for toys and play. A bunk can be a great play area in itself! It can be a fort or castle or play house. Designs can lend themselves from woodsy and rustic, in dark wood tones (think camouflage bedding), to nautical; with incorporation of white bead board, red, white and blue fabrics, portholes, and nautical lighting.
A novel, convertible sleeping space can be created with a rope or chain style suspended from the ceiling or walls. My family beach house had rope and chain styles, way ahead of its time, conceived by my parents over 40 years ago! One room contained double bed bunks (top and bottom) mounted to the wall on one side, and suspended from the ceiling joists by heavy chain on the other side. The other room had double bed bunks, as well as a single bed platform that was hinged to the wall on one side, and affixed by heavy rope and chain on the other. The beauty of this hinged arrangement was that it could be folded up against the wall, freeing up floor space when not in use.
Your builder and trim carpenter can construct your custom design, or you can select from a variety of manufactured bunk beds and loft beds. Retailers offer a wide selection of children’s themed loft beds beginning as low as $200, and as the price goes up, may incorporate storage; chests, drawers and shelves, desks and may conserve even more space with roll out beds and trundles.

Think about the best way to accommodate your overnight guests. Nights shared together by cousins and friends as children will create memories as powerful as evenings sitting around a fire cooking marshmallows, building that huge sand castle or catching that first fish!
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381 or visit www.SeasideHomeDesign.com.

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New Homes are Ready for New Neighbors in Evia

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 09:12 PM
Popular single-story home as well as family home with large backyard available!

Knock off the icicles and let the sun shine – Spring on Galveston Island is here! The big Mardi Gras weekend ushers in an exciting time on Galveston Island! And with the arrival of the new season, Evia is ready to welcome new homeowners with the completion of the first homes in the Curiosity Cove Collection!
The popular single-story Finley and spacious Saint Claire offer a charming setting along Curiosity Cove with spacious front porch spaces and the design characteristics that buyers have come to expect in Evia – owners will experience the charm and character of a historic home while enjoying the conveniences and efficiencies in a new home. So, buyers will have a “new ‘old home!” These homes will be ready for immediate occupancy in March and April so the new owners can begin to enjoy an island lifestyle!

Evia is a tribute to the historic neighborhoods throughout Galveston Island and other historic cities like New Orleans, Charleston and Savannah. Classical, Victorian and Craftsman architectural styles are featured throughout Evia with community elements that beckon people to become neighbors in this island community. The Village Pool and Cabana as well as Curiosity Cove, the children’s park, incorporates the traditional sense of “neighborhood” for those who live in and visit Evia. With the spring warmth and fresh blossoms on the flowers throughout the community, it is the ideal time to get out and about in Evia’s natural setting.
Although Evia offers many attractive attributes, it will always be known as the only new community that did not sustain any flood water during Hurricane Ike due to Evia’s protection by the Seawall and the elevation of the community.
“This is a perfect time to buy a new home in Evia,” comments Billy Sullivan, one of the Evia developers. “We were so thankful to have minimal damage and no flooding during the hurricane a few years ago so new owners will know that the Seawall protection and planning for the community were done with their investment in mind. Although that is important to consider, there is no place on Galveston Island that can offer the lifestyle that we have in Evia.”
Evia enjoys a wonderful partnership with The House Company, Joe Tramonte Realty and Sand N Sea Properties. There are a variety of homes available in the community, with sizes ranging from 2,000 square feet all the way to 4,000 square feet. All of the homes are ready for any new owners to enjoy for the spring and summer season!
In addition to the single-family homes, the Town Cottages (townhomes) in Evia are situated with spectacular views of The Moody Gardens Golf Course. Owners enjoy the convenience of a “maintenance-free home” where the association cares for everything on the exterior of the home, including the required property, flood and windstorm insurance. The homes are between 2,000 and 2,300 and offer 3 bedrooms with a ground-floor master suite and two-car garage with private back or side yards.
Sugar Bean Coffee and Cream , the neighborhood coffee house and gelato café, can be found in the Village Center and is open daily. It offers a variety of coffees, teas, fruit smoothies, authentic Italian gelato, beer and wine and fresh-baked breakfast items! In addition, Sugar Bean is available for private events such as weddings or baby showers, group training and meetings. Sugar Bean Coffee and Cream can be reached at 409-974-4473.
For information on Evia, contact 409-744-5555 or log on to www.eviagalveston.com. The Evia Information Center is open every afternoon and is located at 13 Evia Main. Travel on Seawall Boulevard to 89th Street and take a right. Travel to Stewart Road and take a left. Evia is located by taking 99th Street from Stewart Road and traveling straight to the main entrance across from the Moody Gardens Golf Course on Galveston Island.

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Home for the Holidays in Evia

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 09:12 PM

Welcome home island lovers. As the Galveston Historical Foundation kicks off the holiday season with Dickens Evening on the Strand, Evia welcomes residents and visitors to Galveston Island. Evia stands as a traditional neighborhood district where neighbors walk along the sidewalks to meet their friends in the Village Center and gather in their homes to celebrate this special time of year.

“The holiday season is very special on Galveston Island with Dickens Evening on the Strand, Moody Gardens’ Festival of Lights and many other holiday celebrations,” explains Billy Sullivan of Evia Partners, LP. “Evia is proud to participate in the holiday season with many of our residents volunteering to help their island neighbors through the Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army and many other civic organizations that Galveston is fortunate to have.”

Evia stands as a tribute to the historic neighborhoods throughout Galveston Island and other historic cities like New Orleans, Charleston and Savannah. The community did not sustain any floodwater during Hurricane Ike due to its protection by the Seawall and the elevation of the community. The Village Pool and Cabana as well as Curiosity Cove, the children’s park, incorporates the traditional sense of ‘neighborhood’ for those who live in and visit Evia.

The Curiosity Cove Collection will begin in December with the creation of new homes along the park. These homes will offer single-story floor plans in addition to homes up to 2,300 square feet.

All offer ground-floor master suites and private yards. Buyers currently have the ability to choose all of the selections and customize their new home to their specifications.

Sullivan continues, “These quaint, free-standing homes are situated upon Curiosity Cove and have a great view of the park from their front porches. They will offer a nice atmosphere as neighbors treat the park as an extension of their front yard. They are brightly painted and are great tributes to the creations seen throughout the Garden District in New Orleans.”

Each weekend, people can visit various open houses, ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet. These architectural creations have been designed to reflect the architecture that has appealed to so many who visit and want to call Evia home. All of these homes are ready for the new owners to enjoy.

Sugar Bean Coffee and Cream, the neighborhood coffee house and gelato café, can be found in the Village Center and is open daily. Sugar Bean offers a variety of coffees, teas, fruit smoothies, authentic Italian gelato, beer and wine and fresh-baked breakfast items. Sugar Bean is available for private events such as wedding or baby showers, group training sessions and meetings. Sugar Bean Coffee and Cream can be reached by calling 409-974-4473.

For information on Evia, call 409-744-5555 or log on to www.eviagalveston.com.

The Evia Information Center is open every afternoon and is located at 13 Evia Main. Travel on Seawall Boulevard to 89 Street and take a right. Travel to Stewart Road and take a left. Evia is located by taking 99 Street from Stewart Road and traveling straight to the main entrance across from the Moody Gardens Golf Course on Galveston Island.

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Design for Flood & Wind…

Friday, September 9, 2011 @ 07:09 PM
Even if the Risk of Flood Seems Remote Because there Hasn’t Been Rain in Months

By Carolin Santangelo

Seven years ago this month I began contributing monthly to The Islander, except for brief interruption to its publishing history because of Hurricane Ike. The Islander is commended for commitment to this space, educating coastal residents about building and construction issues unique to the island. Recently I have visited with prospective homeowners who were unfamiliar with the topic, so worth revisiting is the requirement for flood and windstorm in addition to conventional homeowners’ insurance.

Whether buying or building, be aware that Galveston Island falls into FEMA Flood Hazard Zones and is governed by Texas Department of Insurance for windstorm coverage. Texas homeowner policies EXCLUDE flood loss, and federal grants are available only if the community is declared a disaster area by the President.
Our lives here on the coast seem priceless most days of the year. Once or twice a year, when the insurance bill arrives, we wonder whether it is enough, or too much – coverage, not price! The appearance of a tropical storm in the Gulf is another day we question our home’s insurance coverage! By then it may be too late to change.
Federal Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) delineate flood hazard zones for coastal communities. Zones determine insurance rates, and home design. FIRM maps are used by your banker, designer and builder, municipality, insurance agent, land surveyor and engineer, all assisting with definition of a home’s position and elevation relative to the shoreline.

Flooding can occur inland, as we’ve seen in northern states this year. However, flood levels, velocity, and wave action in coastal areas tend to be more damaging than inland flooding. Homes in coastal areas must be designed and constructed to withstand higher wind loads and more extreme conditions, therefore, will cost more to design, build, repair, maintain and insure, due to exposure to this environment.
Changes to flood maps are being previewed by Louisiana and Mississippi, the result of an intensive five-year study after hurricane Rita. It is likely that Texas also will see changes to its maps after completion of studies of Ike’s high water and wave action.
Engineering requirements, applicable to coastal flood and wind zones, assist in ensuring that construction and repairs are a success, and that a building resists damage over its lifetime. FEMA construction guidelines identify that flat or low-sloped roofs are subject to increased uplift, which can result in damage to interiors. In Galveston, flat roofed buildings demonstrated some of Ike’s worst affects. Moderately sloping hip roofs are most desirable to combat this effect.

Base Flood Elevation (BFE) defines the expected elevation of floodwater and wave effects during that one percent chance in any given year, of a 100-year flood. Residences must be built above the BFE, and habitable use of enclosed areas below is prohibited, and can lead to additional damage and loss. Your boathouse structure, and below the BFE, your garage and contents, or enclosed foyer, is uninsured.
Flood zones are generally referred to as “V” or “A”. Maps of coastal Texas were last updated in 2002. In simplest terms, zones are defined as:
“V” zone: closest to the shoreline, and subject to wave action and high-velocity flow and erosion during a 100-year flood.
“A” zone: subject to flooding during a 100-year flood, with conditions less severe than the V zone.
“X” zone: areas not expected to flood during a 100-year flood.
Current A and V zone definitions include the suffix “E” (e.g. AE, or VE), and a numeric value, defining the BFE actual elevation above mean sea level.
Flood insurance requirements are most stringent in V zones. Comparing equivalent houses constructed to current windstorm and flood code: an A zone homeowner may pay $400 annually, and the homeowner across the street in V zone may pay close to $4000, for the same coverage. If considering a home or lot, and all other factors are similar, it may pay to spend more for property that possesses A zone over V zone. Evaluate long-term costs associated with higher rates and risk. Over time, owners of the riskiest sites may additionally spend thousands more on maintenance and erosion control. Beachfront views are fabulous; though this location will have you paying a premium for flood insurance and protection.
BFE is the MINIMUM elevation the lowest horizontal member of the structural may be set and be insurable. FEMA 499 recommends “freeboard;” that the lowest horizontal structural member should be elevated above the BFE, and IRC requires one foot above BFE. FEMA has adopted a new term: design flood elevation, or DFE, to describe this higher elevation. Insurance costs can be reduced by exceeding design and construction practices. An elevation certificate, provided by a registered public land surveyor, defining the flood zone and BFE, is required prior to construction, and again prior to receipt of occupancy permit. Ask to see the elevation certificate when considering your purchase.
There is excitement associated with ownership of a piece of paradise. Ensure that you have a good understanding of all its associated costs, your personal risk tolerance, and insure your property adequately, so that you can continue to sleep at night and enjoy it for years to come.
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381, or visit http://www.SeasideHomeDesign.com.

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The Beach Hut… An Island Legend

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 @ 06:08 PM

Celebrity fashion designer Jorge Perez and business partner Dan Rutkin recently opened The Beach Hut, at 731 Seawall Boulevard at 8th and Seawall. “To become a legend, you have to introduce or create new ideas,” said Perez, who wants to help bring Galveston Island back to life – or at least get it back on track. When not on his home on Galveston Island he spends much of his time in Los Angeles and New York. Perez and Rutkin developed this business with hopes of bringing good fortune to the local economy. “Our locals are important because they have embraced us. It’s not my place; it’s the neighborhood’s place,” said Perez when speaking about the Hut. Many islanders have paid them a visit to witness the latest entertainment spot and the largest custom-made palapa on the island. Many have even come, just to show gratitude for creating a new local economic fund-generator that will fuel the beginning of Galveston’s new top beach destination.

In addition to great food and an unobstructed view of the beach, The Beach Hut will be home to many other fun activities such as beach volleyball, live music including popular local bands and Thunder Lane – a big one lane bowling game on the beach! The Beach Hut also features high-end beachwear, handbags, an exclusive Texas merchandise area, along with signature beach drinks such as pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris, and of course the cutest Beach Hut girls at your service. The full-service restaurant will serve up a delicious menu. Perez and Rutkin didn’t want to create just another t-shirt shop. Their goal is to become a great partner with the city.
The Beach Hut plans to host several events for many island organizations like beach patrol, local police benefits and will be the hot spot for many first annual runs. The Beach Hut family welcomes you to join them for a good time with a beautiful view of our gulf shore beaches. Check out live bands every Saturday and Sunday nights this summer and enjoy your new beach paradise palapa.
Call (409) 763-6204, or visit them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Beach-Hut-Galveston/209017605796686 for more information regarding happenings at The Beach Hut. To meet style guru and wedding industry icon Jorge Perez, visit him online at www.jorgeperezdelahabana.com.

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Island Antique Stores

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 @ 06:08 PM
Antique Warehouse Has a Proud History and a Large Inventory

On the corner of 25th Street and Postoffice is an old, pink building that houses one of the largest collections of antiques, furniture, art, light fixtures, architectural items, doors, windows, columns, hardware and other vintage memorabilia on the island. The store has occupied this location since 2004, when owners Scott and Holly Hanson moved from their former location on Mechanic Street. The building was erected in 1913 and has its own history, including housing a brothel in the 1930s and 1940s. The Hansons have been in business for 15 years. Scott likes to talk to everyone who comes to the store and is very knowledgeable, about his products and antiques in general. If a customer wants something he doesn’t have, he says he will find it.

The workshop adjacent to the store was once an old theater. It is in this workshop that he creates one-of-a-kind furniture, all made of old wood from Galveston homes and businesses that are being torn down or rehabilitated. Out of this reclaimed wood comes chairs, tables, hutches or any piece of furniture that a customer requires. Each piece is an original; unique in wood, design and colors that are commissioned by the customer whether for private homes or commercial locations.

Bacon Farm Continues to Grow

Bacon Farm Antiques and Oddities is located next to the Sunflower Café and Bakery at 1325 Postoffice. One of the newest shops in Galveston, Bacon Farm has been growing in leaps and bounds. It is run by Lisa and Harry Blair, the owners of Bacon Farm and of the Sunflower Cafe, and manned by various vendors at the shop. This small collective of six dealers moves merchandise very quickly!

Different items come in everyday; a large variety of mid-century modern pieces, true antiques, greeting cards, kitchen chotchkies and all sorts of collectibles. So each time you visit the store is a new experience. Bacon Farm is a unique shop and is definitely worth a visit. The shop is open seven days a week and the hours vary. The phone number is 409-766-9979.

Big Collection at Big House Antiques

Just over ten years ago, Mike Ragsdale and Gary Jones moved into their current location on Ships Mechanic Row and they’ve been making history ever since. Voted “Best Antique Store” by the readers of The Galveston Daily News three times, Big House Antiques has “a little something for everybody,” Ragsdale explains. “You can spend a couple dollars or a couple grand here.”

Without a doubt, you can certainly spend a couple hours there, too! Big House Antiques features a stunning collection of large antique furniture including four-poster beds, china cabinets, bureaus and more. They also stock an impressive collection of antique glassware, jewelry and books. Big House Antiques also features modern books dedicated to the history of Galveston Island. “The problem is, we like it all!” says Ragsdale.
At the time of printing, Big House Antiques is in possession of a beautiful Tiffany’s lamp, a real treasure! Also unique to this store is Jones’ other hobby: raising handfed birds. Big House Antiques is a Galveston favorite worth checking out.
Big House Antiques is located at 2212 Ships Mechanic Row. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The shop is closed Wednesdays. For more information, call 409-762-0559.

New Owner at Island Relics

Barbara Boyd is the new owner/operator of Island Relics, located at 911 22nd St. She features 20 vendors who sell art, antiques, collectibles, shabby chic and more. One of the newest products offered at Island Relics is called Wear the Beach. This adorable anklet can be filled with sand to bring part of the beach home with you. Silver cuffs and charms accent the anklet, giving it a beautiful and unique look.

Barbara’s latest project is a weekend flea market. This will be located in the garage area adjacent to the shop.
There will be six spaces for rent every Fri.-Sun. Spaces cost $25 a day and each space has a separate door that can be pulled and locked for use on multiple days. The garage is wired for electricity and tables and chairs will be provided on a firs-come, first-served basis. Call Barbara at 512-925-0290 and come by the store, seven days a week between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Island Relics will be a stop on the Art Walk on August 27, featuring three artists who also rent space in the store.

In Search Of The Perfect Pastime With Nautical Antiques

Looking for an authentic ship wheel or a vintage surfboard from right out of the 1960s? Let’s sail back in time with Nautical Antiques – One of Galveston Island’s most unique and appropriate antique shops. Michael and Adrienne Culpepper opened their nautical dream shop back in year 2000, in our much-adored historic downtown Galveston. Prior to opening, Culpepper worked closely with his father who operated a similar business in South Florida. He then set off with this dream and his Jeep. The journey lead him to our gulf coast, where many nautical enthusiasts and antique shoppers are in search of the perfect pastime.

The Culpeppers travel overseas every other year to visit ship breaking yards in other countries. Their most recent trip took them through beautiful lands such as China, India, Indonesia and Singapore. They thoughtfully gather special nautical items and trinkets such as lanterns, ship doors, flags, life rings and glass net floats with their customers’ décor needs in mind.
“We are also in the wholesale business to supply other antique shops from around the country,” says Culpepper. “We even sell to the movie business.”
Mrs. Culpepper and Holly Hanson, co-owner of Antique Warehouse, work together to help promote the Galveston Antique Dealer’s Association. Antique shops associated with GADA work collaboratively to help customers look for particular antique items in their network. If you haven’t visited this wonderful display of nautical pastimes, stop in Nautical Antiques, located at 2202 Ships Mechanic Row. Call 409-539-5469 or journey to www.PiecesOfShip.com and www.TikiBarn.com to find out more information. You can also visit the GADA website at www.AntiqueGalveston.com.

Past and Present Perfect

Past Perfect on Postoffice, one of the newest shops on the island, is an eclectic wonderland bursting with one-of-a-kind antiques, furniture, decorative home accessories, stained glass, jewelry and much more! The featured artist for the month of August is Ron Venable, a retired art teacher from the mainland, who paints salvaged doors with colorful island scenes that evoke both the past and present. His unique work is displayed in a rustic wood hutch brought to new life by Linda Vaughan, one of the shop’s dealers who specializes in painted furniture.

Drop by this friendly, happy shop and visit the owners, Karen Brandt and Donna Siedow, who are also veterans of running some of the best estate sales on the island! Past Perfect is located at 2001 Postoffice St. #1 and is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Past Perfect is hosting an artist’s reception on Saturday, August 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. showing new works by Ron Venable and several other Galveston artists and everyone is invited to attend this special event.

Star Drug Store Is An Antique In Itself

First, a small history lesson for you: In 1886 the Scanlons built two buildings; one of them the Star. Renowned architect, Nicholas Clayton, was hired to design the building with his elaborate and decorative ideas. In 1906 a local druggist, by the name of Charles J. Michaelis, bought the building and hired a skilled contractor to convert the building exterior to brick. J. W. Zempter completed this $15,000 renovation successfully without compromising Clayton’s original design.
A horseshoe-shaped soda-fountain counter was added to the pharmacy in 1917. From the 20s on, two men–George Clampitt and Grady Dickinson–maintained the integrity of Star Drug Store. In 1982, these men altered history when the Star became the first desegregated lunch counter in Galveston. A severe fire in 1998 closed the place; that is, until the Tilts family purchased the building and began restorations to the genuinely missed Star Drug Store. In 2008, Hurricane Ike dumped about six and a half feet of water inside its historic walls. With enough help from family and friends, Star was reopened three months later to once again serve its beloved patrons.

From this you can see that the Star Drug Store is an antique itself. I found this information, along with a few words from manager Celia Strain, to be very captivating. Strain is former owner of Leslie Gallery, but has been happily employed by Star for over a year now. “I love how the employees are like a family here,” she said. “Customers often comment on how there seems to be a seamless relationship between our employees.”
Star Drug Store has developed into a favorite social outlet for its many new and returning patrons. You can always count on seeing a friend there, whether browsing through some of Nathan Sweetens Peanut Butter Warehouse antiques and Galveston memorabilia or savoring a classic diner style meal with a delicious milkshake. Strain says, “Star feeds the soul as well as the body.”
Natalie Monsurd and her husband are both the proud owners of Star Drug Store. The Tilts – previously mentioned as the building owners – are Mrs. Monsurd’s parents. The Monsurds feel lucky to have secret sources in the area that provide excellent think pieces to their antique collection. You can also catch one of Mrs. Monsurd’s beautiful Cantonese performances most weekends at Star. The Drug Store is located at 510 23rd Street. Visit www.galvestonstardrug.com or call 409-766-7719 for more information.

The Hendley Market is the “Friendly Market”

That is exactly what a few local island children have termed this nostalgic, one-of-a-kind antique store of the Hendley Row building. From ‘Texas and New York Packet Line’ in 1845 to ‘Hendley Market’ as it is today, the William Hendley & Co. had started a namesake that has lived on for nearly two centuries. This historic landmark building still stands strong in the heart of Galveston Island’s Historic District. Hendley Market manager Cheryl Jenkins and eager employees Tilisha Dampier, Katie Embesi and Alexis Mogul were all very helpful in my quest for information.

This family-owned business sprouted its roots in 1979. Hendley Market seems synonymous to a museum-worthy piece of unintentional folk art. From each tabletop, decorated shelf, basket and captivating wall, spills eccentric oddities from around the world. You will discover hand-made Nativities from Argentina, jewelry and textiles from Thailand, popular Dia de los Muertos commodities from Mexico, Turkish trinkets, and French glass eyes dated from the 1860s.
“Most of our antiques are Victorian based,” said Jenkines. People “ooohed” and “aaaahed” as they drifted by the Victorian silver spoons, antique jewelry and delicate, hand-beaded coin purses. She also showed me interesting art works by local artist Robert Dampier and delightful French soaps. I learned of authentic Italian paper, popular recycled-glass bracelets and my favorite telephone-wire rings from Guatemala. Then, as if not already being impressed, Jenkines pulls out an actual ‘long-neck’ from Long Neck Village in Thailand, easily weighing 25 pounds! You can also find old Galveston memorabilia from the historic Hotel Galvez and the “Bring It Back” signature item created to boost sales after Hurricane Ike – the Hendley Market Cider Beetle. The Cider Beetle is a thoughtful hand-made package, containing all-natural ingredients, like half of a dried orange packed with mulling spices.
Hendley Market nickname, “The Friendly Market,” stems from the fact that they carry a child’s favorite thoughts on two giant round tables containing fun and insightful children’s toys at dime-store prices. “It’s fulfilling to see a kid filled with excitement, leaving the store with a bag full of goodies for only a few bucks,” said Jenkines. “We also carry a variety of fun and uniquely titled books for all ages.”
Pay a visit to Hendley Market, one of Galveston Island’s most fitting antique shops, located at 2010 Strand in the downtown historic district. Young, old, male, female, whatever you may be, you are sure to get a good feeling at Hendley Market. For more information visit www.hendleymarket.com or check out Facebook at www.facebook.com/hendleymarket. When you do stop in the market, tell Ruka hello from The Islander!

The Store for ‘Shabby Chic’

The Store opened last fall and offers an alternative take on antique shops. In addition to selling the traditional fine dishes, jewelry and furniture you’d expect to find, The Store’s owners — Cynthia Corcoran, Mary Norseworthy and Mary Sherwood — each showcase their unique talents in working with vintage materials.

Norseworthy, for example, is all about ‘going green’ and loves to make pieces she calls “shabby chic.” By recycling old wood and salvaging discarded furniture, Norseworthy is helping the environment while creating fantastic pieces that will stand the test of time. Corcoran and Sherwood share Norseworthy’s perspective. You won’t find particleboard or fake wood paneling anywhere around their shop. The Store also stocks local artwork, a large vintage linen collection and plans to feature more mid-century designs.
The Store is located at 411 25th Street and is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and by appointment; 409-392-5524. For more information, check out www.thestoregalveston.com.

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Campgrounds On & Around Galveston Island Offer It All

Friday, August 5, 2011 @ 09:08 PM

Whether you’re an experienced camper seeking a long-term site to park — or a novice looking for a place to play for the weekend – there’s no doubt you’ll find what you are looking for in the campgrounds on Galveston Island and its surrounding areas. Aside from the most basic amenities like bathrooms and hot showers, hookups for water, sewer and electric, each park is unique in what it offers its guests.
From golfing to salt and fresh water fishing, from beachfront camping to hiking in nature preserves, from river rafting to lake boating, there is something to suit every camper’s needs during summer, fall or winter travel.
Many of the island’s campgrounds suffered damage from Hurricane Ike but all have recovered or are in the midst of completing their recovery plans. Some have added many improvements. We’ve covered every campground from Galveston’s east to west ends and even added a special treat for those of us who live here and like to camp off island.

Galveston Island State Park

The state park is the only campground on the island that has sites on the beach and the bay. “It’s really two parks in one,” says park superintendent Trey Goodman. “You can play on the beach and then cross the street and enjoy fishing or bird watching on the bay.”
Highlights on the north side include an estuary filled with wildlife and a bay with beautiful sunsets. This area is ideal for those who like to hike, fish and kayak. The Bay area currently includes 20 RV sites with water and 30/50 amp electric hookups and 10 tent sites with water only.

Beachfront sites are more family-oriented and great for sun worshippers, shell collectors and city dwellers that like to fall asleep listening to waves wash ashore. Most of the 36 sites come with a picnic table. Ever wonder about those funky looking structures on the beach? Goodman believes they are “architecture left over from the 70s designed to emulate sand dunes and waves that were meant to give the shape and feel of beach life at that time.”
Whether you are a day-tripper or someone looking to spend a week or more at the park, advance reservations are always a good idea. During summer months or holidays, Goodman recommends making reservations several months in advance.
After many planning sessions and public input assemblies, exciting additions to the park have been agreed upon. Highlights of the new construction include more multi-use sites for day and overnight stays and a brand new Discovery Center geared toward education about our migrating barrier island, local flora and fauna and hurricane awareness.
Construction is expected to last approximately one year and will not interrupt current services.
Galveston Island State Park is located at 14901 FM 3005 on the west end of the island. For fees and reservations call: 512-389-8900. For general information call: 409-737-1222.

Bayou Shores RV Park

Centrally located Bayou Shores is nestled in a cove on Offatts Bayou and is surrounded by stunning views. Paddle boating, fishing and crabbing are available for water enthusiasts and for those who like the city, this Galveston RV park is the closest one to the historic downtown area.

The Moody Gardens complex, Boudreaux’s on the Bayou, the Schlitterbahn Water Park, museums, shops and restaurants are all nearby. Campground marketing manager Debora Monford calls Bayou Shores “family friendly and the best place to spend a vacation on the island.” Moody Gardens is so close you can watch the fireworks every Friday night from this resort or from the deck at Boudreaux’s, which is next door and features seafood, steaks and burgers and offers live music on the weekend.
The park has a playground, boat ramp, laundry room and activity center. All 88 sites include full hookups and are available for daily, weekly and monthly rentals.
Bayou Shores RV Park is located at 6310 Heards Lane on Galveston. For more information call 409-744-2837.

Dellanera RV Park

Nearly three years after Hurricane Ike, a completely renovated Dellanera RV Park reopened in June with 65 updated RV sites and a new pavilion.
The new beach park offers wider RV spaces to accommodate modern, expandable RV trailers and motor homes. Each site features water and sewer utilities, electrical service, and a private picnic table and barbecue pit. Dellanera boasts 1,000 feet of sandy beach, is available for day–trippers and offers wireless Internet for guests.

“This is a great accomplishment for Galveston tourism,” said Mario Rabago, interim executive director for the Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees who governs the campgrounds. “There is plenty of beachfront there for folks to enjoy. We are very pleased to see the park full again.”
The new pavilion offers showers, laundry facilities, a gift shop, umbrella and chair rentals and a recreation room. A children’s playground and a beach nourishment and dune structure project are expected to be completed this winter.
Dellanera RV Park is located on FM 3005 at 7 Mile Road in Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico. Call 409-797-5102 for more information or for reservations.

Jamaica Beach RV Park

This family-oriented gem offers more on-site activities than any other campground on Galveston Island. Owners Ron and Dora Gustafson have more than 20 years in the hospitality industry and treat their campers as if they were guests in their own home.
Located just past the west end city of Jamaica Beach, with unobstructed views of the Galveston Bay and Gulf of Mexico, the facility offers 50 sites, all of which are 30 and 50 amp concrete pull throughs with Wi-Fi. The park currently houses two swimming pools and a spa, a bounce house, a clubhouse with pool table and indoor and outdoor exercise facilities. They have a dog walk area as well.

The outdoor cinema plays two movies per week for RV park guests, weather permitting. In addition, six live Alpacas call Jamaica Beach RV Park their home! The water wars splash pond and mini golf course are both open to the public and anyone can order a pizza to go. Jamaica Beach RV Park is the only campground that sells propane on the premises. Completion of a brand new 90’ X 55’ Zero Entrance Lounge pool is expected by spring of 2012. A full-service grocery and Nate’s West End Restaurant are both within walking distance.
Jamaica Beach RV Park is located at 17200 San Luis Pass Road. For reservations or for more information call 866-725-5511 or 409-632-0200 or visit them online at www.jbrv.net.

Tiki Tom’s RV Park

Tiki Tom’s motto is “No worries!” No surprise for anyone staying at this extended-stay resort in an intimate setting on Jones Lake on West Bay near Galveston.
There are miles of shoreline a few steps down to the water for easy access fishing on Jones Lake. Filet your catch at the fish cleaning station and then walk just a few steps to prepare it at your own RV site. This area is also ideal for kayak fishermen. The park has two pavilions with tables, chairs and a barbeque for use by guests.
Tiki Tom’s RV Park has easy-on, easy-off access to Highway 45; located at Exit 4, at the Tiki Island entrance to Galveston Island. They are ten minutes to the beach or the historic downtown Strand Area with restaurants and shops and 45 minutes to downtown Houston and Hobby Airport.
For more information, or for month-to-month reservations, call 409-935-5599.

Up The River Camp

(Formerly known as Rainbow Campground)

Situated on the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels, Up The River Camp is an ideal fall or winter home away from home for the dedicated fisherman. A special underwater spring, located directly in front of the camp, keeps the water at a desirable temperature for spawning Rainbow Trout. In addition, the GRTU (Guadalupe River Trouts Unlimited) stocks the river three to four times per year to guaranty your catch!

Up The River Camp offers fishing for all, from the novice to the professional. “There have been Rainbow Trout as large as 25 inches caught in our camp,” says Garlan Light, camp office manager. “The 500-foot cliffs overlooking the river make for an incredible backdrop to your fishing experience.”
Long-time Galveston residents Jan and Mechelle Player and Robert Walker are co-owners of Up The River Camp and all three have been vacationing there for decades. “This is the fourth best trout fishing spot in Texas,” says Jan Player.
If fishing, rafting, tubing, canoeing and kayaking are not your thing, then a ten mile ride will get you to downtown New Braunfels or the Gruene historic district where you can go antiquing or visit landmarks like Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas. Specialty shops, restaurants and live authentic Texas entertainment are just a few of the local attractions minutes away from camp.
Beautiful Canyon Lake is less than 15 minutes from the campgrounds. Personal watercrafts, ski boats and pontoon boats are available for rent at the marina. Plan an entire day on this fresh water lake with depths of up to 100 feet. The Ship Store and Lucky Sailor Restaurant are open daily.
Relax in a lawn chair, tube down the Guadalupe or sunbathe by the river and watch the wild goats traverse the cliffs. Up the River is a multi-level camp that offers a beautiful scenic view in a park-like setting and rents campsites for RVs and tents, cabins and a full service house on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Their on-site convenience store is open daily.

For reservations or for more information, please call 830-964-2227.

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The Perfect Home ~ Not!

Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 06:01 PM

Story & Photos By Carolin Santangelo

I honestly believe there is no ‘perfect house.’ My husband and I have built a couple of our own, and even then, were we to build again, each would include changes. There is always room for improvement, and our needs evolve as time passes. Think of your own home – when you bought it, you thought it would be perfect for you. After time, however, you become aware of its idiosyncrasies, and flaws that you have found that don’t serve your needs as well as you expected.

It is the designer’s responsibility to make practical recommendations about elements of home design. Rules of the trades, codes, best practices and common sense must be taken into consideration for a best solution. It is important that homeowners understand the pros and cons of their own design decisions. There are times when the homeowner has reasons for making a selection that I may not have recommended. However, after review and discussion, a design can often be accommodated to suit the homeowner and incorporate the best design and construction practices.

Design decisions include space planning, room sizing and locating windows and doors for best placement. A well thought out plan should take into consideration the way the room will be used. For instance, if a set of bunk beds is to be used in a small bedroom, and the only wall the bunks can fit against also happens to be in front of the only window in the room, that will not be satisfactory, aesthetically speaking, and it’s back to the drawing board. Clients often desire very large living areas, however, room size can alternatively be too large, and furniture groupings can become awkward if rooms are oversized or ill defined, reason why you should carefully pick your furniture from Abacus Tables.

The television may not seem important in the whole scheme of things, however, prior to plan development, as an example, it is necessary to know whether a 60” or 32” television will be used. That selection will make a huge difference in the orientation of living spaces. Will the TV be used in a room in which a fireplace is also desired? Decisions about the focal point of the room need to be made by homeowner and designer. If a choice needs to be made between including a fireplace on the wall that encompasses the best views, I may suggest elimination of the fireplace. A fireplace requires a bulky mass that may obstruct window placement and thereby, views. Your view should be addressed foremost to make the most of our island environment.

This further extends to choice of window sizes: scenery should be viewed from a sitting position in a living or bedroom area. Windows that are placed too high to view the outdoors are not serving any purpose except light, and further, may not meet exit (egress) requirements. On the other hand, while we all desire the greatest use of windows to make the most of fabulous views, a balance must be achieved, as excessive use of windows can be costly both from window cost and associated cost of structural reinforcing around windows to meet windstorm-engineering requirements.

I try to steer clients away from development of a ‘concept’ house where the design may preclude livability. In discussion with clients I have addressed their interest in flat roof styles which are not very practical for our climate, and make mechanical (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems difficult to install. Flat roofs also perform poorly in our windstorm conditions, with many being stripped of their roofing materials during Ike, leaving interiors exposed to wind driven rain damage. According to Window Treatments CT, even roof line design will greatly impact your home’s window performance under extreme weather conditions.

Often, for reasons entirely their own, clients make choices I might not have chosen. Then again, it is their house.

No design decision is really wrong – when it is for your home, most design is predicated by personal preference. Your ideas may or may not be what others’ would be under the same circumstances. A designer’s role is to create a functional space that will contain the features you desire for your new home, all within the confines of the building site and your budget. After the designer’s thorough review of your needs, including the pluses and minuses of available options, you will enjoy the confidence to make decisions for your home; knowing it will provide the best value, will suit your family’s needs, and ideally, still make the most of the property upon resale.

Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381.

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I was a Lasker Home Girl

Friday, January 14, 2011 @ 12:01 AM

By Alice Melott

My name is Rebekah Boyle. I was born March 3, 1918, and my family moved to Galveston, Texas, when I was just five years old. My father left us soon after, and my mother found work as an upstairs maid for a prominent Galveston family. As it seemed she would be quite busy with her duties, it was arranged for me and my younger brother, Jamie, to stay at the Lasker Home for Homeless Children. My older half-brother, George, went to live with his father’s grandparents. I never saw him again and have always wondered what became of him.

Jamie and I were picked up from our mother and brought to the Lasker Home by a stern but kindly lady named Mrs. Frenkel and a strange looking gentleman with a long beard, funny hat, dressed all in black called Rabbi Cohen. It was Thanksgiving Day in 1923, and before we could even unpack our small grips, the home became the scene of a wonderful dinner with turkey and all the trimmings, the likes of which Jamie and I had never seen. The meal was followed by a musical fairy playlet that betokened much thought and care and was played with great charm by the children, who seemed happy, and who we would come to know as our friends and siblings. The costumes, made of paper in the pastel and autumn shades, were unusually beautiful. They were designed by the matron, and made by the older girls. There were about a hundred people present that night, all having a festive spirit about them and treating us children like members of an especially large family, and I did think that maybe this place would not be at all an unpleasant place to be for a while.

We became part of a family of more than forty children that night, Jamie and I, ranging from tiny tots up to youngsters in their teens. There were three dormitory rooms on the second floor of the home, one each for the boys, the girls, and the small babies. The atmosphere and surroundings were pleasant and homelike. We ate our meals together in the large dining room overlooking the garden on the Avenue K side of the grounds, and play in the yard under the massive live oaks occupied an important place on the daily schedule. Our mother came to visit us on her occasional day off, and although she was not able to read our school work, Jamie and I loved to show her the pictures we’d drawn or tell her stories of what we had learned since seeing her last, especially about all the fun and fancy visitors that were often there to meet with the matron or visit with Mrs. Frenkel, who I learned was in charge of the very important Lady Board of Managers. As the home was unendowed and depended largely upon an allotment from the community chest each year for its upkeep, there were frequent charitable events—concerts and minstrel shows and holiday celebrations. But apart from the fun we had, we children didn’t know what the gatherings were truly about until we grew older and learned the special importance of making a good impression on the kindly guests in our home, at whose mercy we were for absolutely everything in our young lives.

Mostly we thrived in blissful ignorance of our tenuous lot in life. When I was nine years old, we were taken for a two and a half hour ride over the city on the new streetcars that were added to the equipment of the Galveston Electric Company. The four new cars were impressive, especially since both the front and rear exit could be used, the rear one operating by an automatic safety treadle door. Whenever the streetcar came to rest, we ran back and forth through the front and back doors, laughing wildly and plopping our bottoms hard on the padded Spanish leather seats, which were softer than anything I had ever felt. And if that were not enough, that same day it was announced that Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus was coming to town the following month. It was a marvelous day and we collapsed from the excitement of it all when we returned home.

Those of us who were of age attended the public school and were uniformly proficient in our studies. I walked with the other girls every day the four blocks to San Jacinto School at Twentieth and K where six of us bragged of being one hundred percent perfect in our final music memory contest, and were named in the Galveston Daily News as the “Lasker Home girls.” It was sad at times to think of being without our parents every day, especially when the other children mocked us as “Lasker Home girls,” as children are wont to do. But there was also a sense of pride, of being part of such a lucky group of children, as Mrs. Frenkel and the matron often reminded us.

Like every family, we had our traditions. Each December, the Lasker Home was beautifully decorated for its Christmas party, where Santa Claus distributed lovely gifts from a huge electrically-lighted tree. I remember my friends Elsie and Mary attired as angels, singing “O Holy Night,” and my brother Jamie dressed as an old wise man, cotton pasted to his face with just his tiny nose peaking out above. I laughed ‘til tears wetted my cheeks, then sang carols with all my friends, our girlish sopranos tink-tink-tinking like snowflakes on glass. It was magical.

And in February each year, we paid tribute to the memory of our benefactor, Mr. Morris Lasker, by celebration of his birthday. Mr. Lasker had given money to renovate the home before I was born, and we were always told that if it had not been for his generosity, the Lasker Home would not have survived. So for the festivities in his honor, the home was always splendidly decorated in red, white and blue, in keeping with the George Washington motif that he preferred. A delicious dinner was served and a program presented, including the singing of the Lasker Day song. Rabbi Cohen would usually tell the story of Mr. Lasker’s life, which many of us older children could pretty nearly recite by heart. Some of the naughtier boys would even mouth the words along with the Rabbi. Not wanting to ever learn first-hand about the punishment closet at the top of the back stairway where the bad little children were sequestered, I always tried to maintain my decorum and stifled my giggles.
We had many carefree days and big dreams, but it was hard not to be aware that each child who came to stay at the Lasker Home, be it for a month or for several years, did so because of some insufficiency in our parents’ situation, many of them poignant. I remember one November when it was quite cold outdoors, a very small girl wrapped in blankets was brought to the Lasker Home late at night. Having broken a cardinal rule and secreted to the kitchen for a sip of water, I overheard Mrs. Frenkel discussing the situation with the matron. She said, “Here is a mother suffering mental derangement, a child, aged four, a baby, a father. When discovered the two tots were near starvation through the neglect of the mother, although the father provided ample food. The mother was removed to a sanitarium, the baby died of malnutrition. The child, Anna, has been brought to us.”
Anna became strong and happy at the Lasker Home, and we teased her as if she were our little sister. Her father spent long hours with her on every possible occasion, and every time that I saw him, I wondered why he had not fed Anna and the baby when her mother did not, babies need to be taken care of, you need to know when do boys start talking, when do they start walking, how to manage their frustration and having the right nutrition for them.

Sadly, in December 1934, Mrs. Frenkel fell ill and died at her family residence at 2424 L. Rabbi Cohen paid a beautiful tribute to her for her interest in the Lasker home and its children, and told of her many activities in our behalf. During her thirty-year affiliation with the home she had mothered several hundred children, he said, many of whom had been a credit to the institution and to her untiring work. She had been president of the Lady Board of Managers since 1904 and was elected president for life just a year before she died.
I chose to leave the Lasker Home shortly after Mrs. Frenkel died. I was 16, and became an au pair for a family in Galveston. If I had remained at the home until I was 18, I would have been given a business college course to fit me to make my own way. Yet, I continued my studies and graduated from Ball High in June of 1936, then married my high school sweetheart at the First Baptist Church of Galveston.
Growing up at the Lasker Home instilled in me a fine work ethic, so that after many years of working as a bank teller and church secretary, eventually I was able to open a home-based printing business. I began with just one mimeograph machine, but soon my business was so successful that my husband retired early from the newspaper to work for me. It was not until December 2006, after Hurricane Rita, that I finally closed the business and retired to Las Vegas to live out my days with my daughter and son-in-law. I was 88.

I remember the Lasker Home with fondness, and although I would certainly have loved to have had two parents who could dote and tend to me unconditionally as I grew, I have many times wondered if my experience might have been preferable to the practice today of putting children in temporary and unstable foster homes where they are too often further abused and neglected. At the Lasker Home for Homeless Children, I had stability and safety, love and companionship.
The day I arrived at the home back in 1923, Star Drug took an ad in the Daily News with the headline Mrs. Hinckley Nervous Wreck. It was the story of a poor run-down woman who couldn’t sweep a room without resting, but had been restored to perfect health by Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound. We joked throughout my ten-year stay at Lasker, all my growing up years, that but for Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, none of us might ever have found one another in the enormity of the Lasker Home, the heart of which was as big as its foyer.
Just three months before Hurricane Ike bore down on Galveston, an obituary ran in the Galveston Daily News about an 89-year old woman who had grown up in the Lasker Home for Homeless Children. Borrowing from what that obituary told me about her life and pulling true articles from the archives of the Galveston newspapers of the time, and using my imagination to fill in the blanks, Rebekah Boyle (not her real name) was able to tell her story.

Click on instash.com to know how you can improve your shaving habits.

Alice Melott is a Galveston essayist, among lots of other things. Join her online at alicemelottproperties.com or facebook.com/alicethewriter, or call/text her at 713-443-5432. If you have a great house with an even greater story, or if you spent time in the Lasker Home, please email alice@alicemelott.com.

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Touring the Island By Land or By Sea

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 @ 07:08 PM

Story & Photos By Lori Thompson

I just got home from one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in a while! When I interviewed Jason, owner of Galveston Jet Ski Rentals, he offered me a ride, “for a first-hand experience.”  So I took a spin. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any dolphins or sea turtles, but he told me that often they’ll come right up to an idling jet ski.

Jason has been renting jet skis on the beach at 29th Street since 2002. He is there 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, weather and conditions permitting. Only a red flag and/or lightning cause him to close.
Before taking a jet ski out, a renter is informed of state laws and local boating rules. Any licensed driver,  16 and older, can rent. You can ride alone or take one passenger.
Jason and his partner, Kyle, pride themselves on excellent customer service. Being out in the heat all day can be exhausting, but they obviously love what they do and enjoy the people they meet. The cost is $60 for half-hour, $110 for an hour. 
 
Only four blocks away, at 2500 Seawall, I met David of Treasure Island Tour Train: ‘The pink train pulled by a Jeep.’ Galveston’s oldest operating tour train was established in 1962.  
The 17-mile narrated tour lasts around 1 3/4 hours and includes interesting information about both old and new Galveston. This includes Seawall Boulevard, the remains of Fort Crockett, historic homes, Rosenberg Library, churches, the downtown business district, the shrimp fleet, Jean Lafitte’s home, Moody Mansion, the Bishop’s Palace, Ashton Villa, the Strand Historic District, UTMB Hospital and many other places of interest. The newest attractions are the tree stumps that were carved after Ike.  
 
Besides three daily tours, the train can be chartered for private tours. Often military reunions, family reunions, birthday parties and Mardi Gras groups will take a private tour.
The train has never missed a year and runs May 1 through August 31, three times a day: 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 4-12, and children 3 and under are free.
Duck Tours
At the same corner, 25th Street and Seawall Blvd., you will also find Duck Tours. The Duck is an amphibious vehicle designed after the DUKH (pronounced “duck”). The DUKH was developed during WWII for transporting troops and goods over land and water. Our Duck also travels on land and water!
 
The Duck tour starts down Seawall Blvd. with a humorous and informative narration by the captain followed by a 15-minute water tour in Offatt’s Bayou.
The rest of the tour includes some of Galveston’s beautiful 1900s mansions and the historic downtown Strand shopping district. The tour includes some of the best shopping, dining and downtown attractions. On the journey back to the Seawall, you will pass through the ‘Silk Stockings’ historical homes district.  
Tours run year ‘round with two to three tours daily; more tours during the summer months. Tours cost $15 for adults, $10 for children (two and under free). Charter rates (up to 24 people) are $275 per duck, June 1 through Aug. 31 and $250 for the rest of the year. 
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I was a Lasker Home Girl

Monday, August 2, 2010 @ 02:08 PM

By Alice Melott

My name is Rebekah Boyle. I was born March 3, 1918, and my family moved to Galveston, Texas, when I was just five years old. My father left us soon after, and my mother found work as an upstairs maid for a prominent Galveston family. As it seemed she would be quite busy with her duties, it was arranged for me and my younger brother, Jamie, to stay at the Lasker Home for Homeless Children. My older half-brother, George, went to live with his father’s grandparents. I never saw him again and have always wondered what became of him.

  Jamie and I were picked up from our mother and brought to the Lasker Home by a stern but kindly lady named Mrs. Frenkel and a strange looking gentleman with a long beard, funny hat, dressed all in black called Rabbi Cohen. It was Thanksgiving Day in 1923, and before we could even unpack our small grips, the home became the scene of a wonderful dinner with turkey and all the trimmings, the likes of which Jamie and I had never seen. The meal was followed by a musical fairy playlet that betokened much thought and care and was played with great charm by the children, who seemed happy, and who we would come to know as our friends and siblings. The costumes, made of paper in the pastel and autumn shades, were unusually beautiful. They were designed by the matron, and made by the older girls. There were about a hundred people present that night, all having a festive spirit about them and treating us children like members of an especially large family, and I did think that maybe this place would not be at all an unpleasant place to be for a while.
 
We became part of a family of more than forty children that night, Jamie and I, ranging from tiny tots up to youngsters in their teens. There were three dormitory rooms on the second floor of the home, one each for the boys, the girls, and the small babies. The atmosphere and surroundings were pleasant and homelike. We ate our meals together in the large dining room overlooking the garden on the Avenue K side of the grounds, and play in the yard under the massive live oaks occupied an important place on the daily schedule. Our mother came to visit us on her occasional day off, and although she was not able to read our school work, Jamie and I loved to show her the pictures we’d drawn or tell her stories of what we had learned since seeing her last, especially about all the fun and fancy visitors that were often there to meet with the matron or visit with Mrs. Frenkel, who I learned was in charge of the very important Lady Board of Managers. As the home was unendowed and depended largely upon an allotment from the community chest each year for its upkeep, there were frequent charitable events—concerts and minstrel shows and holiday celebrations. But apart from the fun we had, we children didn’t know what the gatherings were truly about until we grew older and learned the special importance of making a good impression on the kindly guests in our home, at whose mercy we were for absolutely everything in our young lives.

Mostly we thrived in blissful ignorance of our tenuous lot in life. When I was nine years old, we were taken for a two and a half hour ride over the city on the new streetcars that were added to the equipment of the Galveston Electric Company. The four new cars were impressive, especially since both the front and rear exit could be used, the rear one operating by an automatic safety treadle door. Whenever the streetcar came to rest, we ran back and forth through the front and back doors, laughing wildly and plopping our bottoms hard on the padded Spanish leather seats, which were softer than anything I had ever felt. And if that were not enough, that same day it was announced that Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus was coming to town the following month. It was a marvelous day and we collapsed from the excitement of it all when we returned home.

Those of us who were of age attended the public school and were uniformly proficient in our studies. I walked with the other girls every day the four blocks to San Jacinto School at Twentieth and K where six of us bragged of being one hundred percent perfect in our final music memory contest, and were named in the Galveston Daily News as the “Lasker Home girls.” It was sad at times to think of being without our parents every day, especially when the other children mocked us as “Lasker Home girls,” as children are wont to do. But there was also a sense of pride, of being part of such a lucky group of children, as Mrs. Frenkel and the matron often reminded us.

Like every family, we had our traditions. Each December, the Lasker Home was beautifully decorated for its Christmas party, where Santa Claus distributed lovely gifts from a huge electrically-lighted tree. I remember my friends Elsie and Mary attired as angels, singing “O Holy Night,” and my brother Jamie dressed as an old wise man, cotton pasted to his face with just his tiny nose peaking out above. I laughed ‘til tears wetted my cheeks, then sang carols with all my friends, our girlish sopranos tink-tink-tinking like snowflakes on glass. It was magical.

And in February each year, we paid tribute to the memory of our benefactor, Mr. Morris Lasker, by celebration of his birthday. Mr. Lasker had given money to renovate the home before I was born, and we were always told that if it had not been for his generosity, the Lasker Home would not have survived. So for the festivities in his honor, the home was always splendidly decorated in red, white and blue, in keeping with the George Washington motif that he preferred. A delicious dinner was served and a program presented, including the singing of the Lasker Day song. Rabbi Cohen would usually tell the story of Mr. Lasker’s life, which many of us older children could pretty nearly recite by heart. Some of the naughtier boys would even mouth the words along with the Rabbi. Not wanting to ever learn first-hand about the punishment closet at the top of the back stairway where the bad little children were sequestered, I always tried to maintain my decorum and stifled my giggles.
We had many carefree days and big dreams, but it was hard not to be aware that each child who came to stay at the Lasker Home, be it for a month or for several years, did so because of some insufficiency in our parents’ situation, many of them poignant. I remember one November when it was quite cold outdoors, a very small girl wrapped in blankets was brought to the Lasker Home late at night. Having broken a cardinal rule and secreted to the kitchen for a sip of water, I overheard Mrs. Frenkel discussing the situation with the matron. She said, “Here is a mother suffering mental derangement, a child, aged four, a baby, a father. When discovered the two tots were near starvation through the neglect of the mother, although the father provided ample food. The mother was removed to a sanitarium, the baby died of malnutrition. The child, Anna, has been brought to us.”
 Anna became strong and happy at the Lasker Home, and we teased her as if she were our little sister. Her father spent long hours with her on every possible occasion, and every time that I saw him, I wondered why he had not fed Anna and the baby when her mother did not.

Sadly, in December 1934, Mrs. Frenkel fell ill and died at her family residence at 2424 L. Rabbi Cohen paid a beautiful tribute to her for her interest in the Lasker home and its children, and told of her many activities in our behalf. During her thirty-year affiliation with the home she had mothered several hundred children, he said, many of whom had been a credit to the institution and to her untiring work. She had been president of the Lady Board of Managers since 1904 and was elected president for life just a year before she died.
I chose to leave the Lasker Home shortly after Mrs. Frenkel died. I was 16, and became an au pair for a family in Galveston. If I had remained at the home until I was 18, I would have been given a business college course to fit me to make my own way. Yet, I continued my studies and graduated from Ball High in June of 1936, then married my high school sweetheart at the First Baptist Church of Galveston.
Growing up at the Lasker Home instilled in me a fine work ethic, so that after many years of working as a bank teller and church secretary, eventually I was able to open a home-based printing business. I began with just one mimeograph machine, but soon my business was so successful that my husband retired early from the newspaper to work for me. It was not until December 2006, after Hurricane Rita, that I finally closed the business and retired to Las Vegas to live out my days with my daughter and son-in-law. I was 88.
 
I remember the Lasker Home with fondness, and although I would certainly have loved to have had two parents who could dote and tend to me unconditionally as I grew, I have many times wondered if my experience might have been preferable to the practice today of putting children in temporary and unstable foster homes where they are too often further abused and neglected. At the Lasker Home for Homeless Children, I had stability and safety, love and companionship.
The day I arrived at the home back in 1923, Star Drug took an ad in the Daily News with the headline Mrs. Hinckley Nervous Wreck. It was the story of a poor run-down woman who couldn’t sweep a room without resting, but had been restored to perfect health by Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound. We joked throughout my ten-year stay at Lasker, all my growing up years, that but for Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, none of us might ever have found one another in the enormity of the Lasker Home, the heart of which was as big as its foyer.
Just three months before Hurricane Ike bore down on Galveston, an obituary ran in the Galveston Daily News about an 89-year old woman who had grown up in the Lasker Home for Homeless Children. Borrowing from what that obituary told me about her life and pulling true articles from the archives of the Galveston newspapers of the time, and using my imagination to fill in the blanks, Rebekah Boyle (not her real name) was able to tell her story.
 
Alice Melott is a Galveston essayist, among lots of other things. Join her online at alicemelottproperties.com or facebook.com/alicethewriter, or call/text her at 713-443-5432. If you have a great house with an even greater story, or if you spent time in the Lasker Home, please email alice@alicemelott.com.

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Magazine Distribution Locations

Monday, September 9, 2013 @ 01:09 PM

Magazine Distribution Locations

West End Area

Pointe West Office

Terramar Mailboxes

Sea Isle Mailboxes

The West End Marina

Silver Leaf Resort

West Bay Bait & Tackle

Jamaica Beach RV Park

Seven Seas Grocery

Nate’s Steak & Seafood

Valero

Castaways

Blue Water Grill

Jamaica Beach Hardware

Buck’s West

Soaps Washateria

The West End Gallery and Decor

Jamaica Beach Food Store

Jamaica Beach Mailboxes

Galveston Island Real Estate

Hair Tech

Subway

Galveston Country Club

The Waterman

Hummel’s Store

Pirates Liquor Store

Allex’s Seafood

Sand N Sea

Stewart Title

West End Gym

Chicago Title

Texas First Bank

Prudential Gary Greene

Century 21 Real Estate

Holiday Inn Club Vacations

Spanish Grant Mailboxes

Cafe Michael Burger

Woody’s

Diamond Beach

Coastal Creations

Campeche Cove Vet.

Laundry

Club of the Isle

Newport

Seascapes Condos

61st Street to 99th Street

Flamingo’s (closed temporarily)

Sandbar & Grille

Firestone

Yamato’s

Chicago Title

GIA

John Ford Jewelers

West Isle Urgent Care

The Salon Group

61st Street Car Wash

Great Styles Salon

Spec’s Liquor

Starbucks in Randalls

Traditional Designs

Surf Shop

Rita’s

Casa Del Mar

Hampton Inn & Suites

Victorian

Seaside Bistro

Moody Bank Seawall

The Dawn Condos

The Breakers Condos

Ocean Front

Kite’s Unlimited

Premiere Cinema

Moody Gardens Golf Course

Sugar Bean

Pickering Dental

Lone Star Flight Museum

Moody Gardens Hotel Lobby

Galveston Rentals

Captain’s Landing

Homecut Donuts

UTMB Clinic

MH&T

Southland Title

Texas First Bank

Frost Bank

Chunky Funky Monkey

Freudenburg Insurance

Middle of Island (East – Broadway to Seawall to 53 St.)

Bishops Palace

Porch Cafe

Galvestonian

Palisade Palms

Islander East

Ashton Villa Visitor’s Center

Island Pier Club

Tramonte Real Estate

Tramonte Law Office

The Frog At Home

Kwik Lube Lobby

GBE Automotive

Atmosphere Salon

The Jungle

Vintage Galveston Antiques

Charlie’s Burgers

Sonny’s

Water’s Edge studio

Upholstery Plus

Economy Liquor

Di’Bella’s

Coastal Dreams B&B

Strictly Hardcore Surf Shop

Shrimp N Stuff

Hometown Bank – Main

Tom’s Thumb

Halls Liquor

Hometown Bank – Seawall

Holiday Inn Lobby

Olympia Grill

Galveston Island Real Estate

The Four Seasons Condos

Gaido’s Bar

Gaido’s Lobby

The Commodore

Float

Beerfoot

Ohana Surf Shop

Island Bicycle

Holiday Inn Sunspree

Galvez Spa

Galvez Lobby

Mario’s Seawall

Riptide Bar

The Beach Hut

Galveston Furniture

Happy Coffee Shop

C. Sports Institute

Downtown

Eatcetera

Vic’s Jewelers

Galveston Arts Center

Flea by the Sea

Buchanan Gallery

Star Drug Store

Vasstra

Modern Vintage

The 1894 Grand Opera House

Urban Fitness

O’Malley’s

Galveston Historical Foundation

Apache Mexican Restaurant

American National Insurance

Therapeutic Health Works

La Moda Salon

Gracie’s

Moody National Bank

Courthouse

Old Strand Emporium

Starbucks

Strand Brass

Tola Market

Tsunami

Harbor House Hotel Lobby

Olympia Grill at Pier 21

Rail Road Museum Gift Shop

Granite Room/Voodoo Lounge

Shearn Moody Plaza

The Rail Road Museum

Courtyard Cafe

Galveston Chamber of Commerce

Tangerine

Park Board

Travel Counselors

Galveston City Hall

City Manager’s Office

Fullen Jewelry

George Lee Gallery

Heard’s Gallery

Black Pearl

Galveston Book Shop

Bienville Social

Downtown Blooms

Mitchell Historic Prop.s

McFatridge, Baker & Deen, PC

Mills Shirley Law Firm

Haba’s

Galveston Pack N Ship

Crow’s Cantina

Front Parlor

Seaport Museum Lobby

Stewart Title

Sky Bar/Gumbo Bar

Cruz Cortez Clothiers

Wavelengths Salon

Southern Imports/Smoothies

Jammin’

Frost Bank

Mediterranean Chef

Rosenberg Library

Santa Fe Place

Jewel Garden

Passion Lingerie

Q Cafe Nada

Tina’s

Brew’s Brothers

ETC Strand Theater

Bungalow

Head to Footsies

La Rumba

Ocean Star

Nestle Toll House Cafe

Nautical Antiques

C Level

Dolphin World

Graffitti’s

Luigi’s

Tarpon House

Kitchen Chick

MOD Cafe

Wiley Gallery

La King’s

Island Music

Oasis Juice Bar

City House | Summer House

DesignWorks

Tremont Hotel Lobby

Island Divers

The Witchery

Community Credit Union

M&M Restaurant

Prudential Realty

Galveston.com

Wizzard

Maceo’s

Yaga’s

Club 21

Rudy & Paco’s

Havana Cigar Alley

Affaire D’Art

PeckArts Gallery

Board Game Island

Katie’s Seafood

East End (North of Broadway)

Karen Derr Realtor

UTMB Nurses Office 2nd floor

UTMB 5th floor

UTMB MOD Coffee Shop

UTMB Harborside

Sunflower Cafe

Mosquito Cafe

The Style Co

UTMB Eye Clinic Lobby

Moody National Bank

Arlan’s Supermarket

Emerald By the Sea

New York Style Pizza

In Room at Hotels

Hotel Galvez

Holiday Inn

San Luis

Hilton

Moody Gardens

The Tremont House Hotel

Harbor House

Other Locations Off Galveston Island

Floyd’s on the Water at Harborwalk

Bayou Vista

Convenience Store#1

Convenience Store#2

Bayou Bistro

Real Estate office

Tiki Island

Tiki Convenience Store

Tiki Plaza – lobby

Gary Greene Real Estate

Tiki Tom’s RV Park

Mainland

South Shore Harbor Resort

Visitor Center in Seabrook

Waterford Marina

Watergate Marina

South Shore Marina

Lakewood Marina

AER Parts

Hilton Clear Lake

Hampton Inn Houston NASA-Johnson Space Center

Super 8 Houston NASA Webster Area

Blackburn Ships Store

West Marine

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New Beginnings

Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 06:01 PM

By Elisabeth Lanier

Ah, January 1st – time for New Year’s resolutions, good intentions, promises to do better, or more, or less – or to do it faster, or slower. You get the drift.
And, after all the wrapping paper and bows have been tossed, after the last of the Christmas tree needles have been swept up, after all the ornaments have been put away for yet another year, the house lacks – something – and you’re back to wishing your home were more put together, or neater, or cozier, or more expressive, somehow, of you and your family.

But, where to start? It can be an overwhelming prospect when you (especially if you are the member of your family whose responsibility it is to look after your home) contemplate creating that stylish home you’ve always dreamt of. Clutter is everywhere, the curtains match nothing, the furniture is a curious mish mash of hand-me-downs, college dorm and the few pieces that you’ve actually saved for and purchased, and furthermore, you don’t have time to focus solely on decorating, what with your work, your kids and their schedules, and the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and laundry.
No wonder you’re in a quandary!
Besides, decorating your home isn’t really essential for daily life – or is it?
You may think that decorating and design are irrelevant, but I know – from my studies and from my years in the business – that, more than ever, this simply is not so. Not only do we feel better – happier, calmer, more hopeful – in a well-designed space, we perform better – more efficiently, better organized. So having a well designed home – one that truly reflects your personality and interests as well as those of your family – isn’t frivolous or inconsequential.
But, how to begin? How about breaking down your Wish List into small, discrete and do-able projects.
Do you have a bookcase or shelf in your kitchen that collects clutter – cutout recipes, store coupons, sale flyers – that’s been driving you nuts? Think about what you’d like that area to look like. Then, begin to plan for it by picking up a basket here or there, a quart of paint for the back of the shelves – and in a color that you love, but may worry about using in a broader stroke – a few pieces of decorative hardware – to use for towels or potholders or what-have-you. And, then take an afternoon and sort it out.

Or create a nest for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a large space; in face, it need only be a corner of your bedroom or kitchen. If you like what you see from your window, try to squeeze your nest into a space with a window. Again, think about what’s important to you in your nest. Is it the view – for moments of daydreaming? Is it a chair comfortable for reading – or snoozing? And, again, use your time wisely in cruising a flea market for a cozy chair, or making sure you have a good reading light. Think about the color or colors that you’d like to surround yourself with – and then paint a wall or two, or find drapery panels in that exact shade.
The point is to start. And, a small, discrete project is certainly more likely be cost effective and more likely to get finished. And, nothing builds a sense of well being like the successful completion of a project.
The point is that a new beginning starts with a single small project, successfully completed.
Elisabeth Lanier is an interior designer and space planner who, with her husband, is co-owner of DesignWorks, gallery and interior design studio, at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. She can be reached at 409-766-7599.

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Visualization

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 11:12 PM

Story By Elisabeth Lanier

Visualization: The ability to visualize – or to form a mental image or to envision. What, you might wonder, does visualization have to do with style?
Well, your ability to form a mental image, to imagine the possibilities, to see beyond what’s in front of you, could have a huge economic impact when it comes to buying property.

You see it a lot on the reality real estate shows on TV. Properties are all fixed up to be a nice vanilla box that is easy to sell. For the seller, this means spending the money to repair and renovate those things that you’ve put off. It also means that you, as the seller, may be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor for the few weeks that it takes to find a buyer.
But, if you, as a buyer, can include ‘fixers’ in what you tour, chances are you’ll get more bang for your buck. As a buyer, if you can look past the clutter, the dreadful paint choices, the incomplete ‘honey-do’ list, it puts you in a much stronger negotiating position.

Being able to visualize means that you won’t be constrained to tour only vanilla boxes that have already had money sunk into them. It means that you will be able to fix up in your own unique and authentic way. And, being able to visualize may mean thousands of dollars saved.
For some folks, visualization comes easily. For others, though, it can be hard to look past what’s in front of you. It takes practice.
Here are a few tips to help make it easier to visualize.
Look at more than just the immediate property. You know the old saying: location, location, location. A fixer in a great neighborhood is far better than a beautifully finished property in a so-so, or worse, neighborhood.

Look past cosmetic issues. Which is to say, look, instead, at the raw space in determining whether or not it will work for you. Remember: you can always fix bad cosmetics; it is more difficult, but not impossible, to change structural issues.
Cosmetic issues include things like bad wallpaper, peeling paint, chipped tiles, inadequate lighting, ratty wall-to-wall carpet, poor furniture arrangement, ineffective space utilization – even differing aesthetics. With the ability to visualize, every one of these negatives can be turned into a plus.
And, every one of these negatives was brought into play when we decided to make Galveston Island our home.
We looked at a lot of loft properties downtown searching for that precise blend of convenience and style that would work for us. But, had it not been for our ability to visualize, we would have overlooked the gem that turned out to be our perfect home.

When we toured it, there was little to recommend it to us except location and raw space. The first floor was poorly arranged for our purposes – the kitchen was practically non-existent, and what was there seemed haphazardly placed. The second floor was cluttered with furniture and the minutiae of another’s life. Wall colors were murky to us, and lighting was at a minimum.
Still, looking past all that, we could see the possibilities that bringing our own personal aesthetic to the space would afford.
Because we are a two-cook family, creating a kitchen space that worked was important. We re-arranged appliance placement, added an island, along with base cabinets and tall pantry cabinets, and installed inexpensive halogen track lighting.
The unit seemed very dim and shadowy to us – it has only two small windows and no direct sunlight – so it was important to boost the light level. I, who, as an interior designer, almost always recommend color, even just the palest wash, selected instead, a very white white, knowing that it would help to bring light to the space. Instead of picking some of the trim elements out with a different paint color, everything was painted the same color, walls, trim and doors.
I also chose to use three different finishes: pearl for the walls (which has a tiny bit more shine than flat, meaning that it’s easier to clean and that it has a slightly reflective quality to it – again to bring light into the space), satin for the ceiling, which, as you see in the photo, is the original tin ceiling, and semi-gloss for the trim and doors.
A functional kitchen, new lighting, lots of white paint and effective furniture placement throughout turned what, on first impression, looked unworkable into a warm, inviting and functional space.
So,if you’re looking for a new property, remember to visualize the possibilities. And if you simply can’t, take a design professional along with you – remember: visualization is what we do.
Elisabeth Lanier is an interior designer and space planner who, with her husband, is co-owner of DesignWorks, gallery and interior design studio, at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. She can be reached at 409-766-7599.

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Useful or Beautiful? Why Not Both?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 11:12 PM

Story By Elisabeth Lanier

A quote that I’ve loved for a long time – and tried to live by – is from the English craftsman, designer and poet, William Morris, whose design credo helped to generate the arts and crafts movement. It is this:
“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Reference to this sentiment again and again will be the basis for upcoming musings bethey residential design issues or issues of style, trends, lifestyle, color schemes, furniture, equipment, arts and/or crafts.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Hmmm– to have only those things that you know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
If you really stop to consider the implications of what this means, our houses would be a whole lot simpler; we would no longer need to rent storage units for all of our extra stuff; our real estate agents would no longer have to remind us to de-clutter to be able to sell our houses; we could find what we needed when we needed it; and we might actually find ourselves enjoying the small rituals that make up our daily lives. Who wouldn’t aspire to that?
But getting from our cluttered busy environment to one of simplicity and grace is awhole lot easier said that done.Where would one even begin?
Well, unless you are contemplating a whole house renovation – which, as a designer, I know to be a real motivating factor – my suggestion is to start small, and gradually, to build one small success on one small success. Before you know it, the junk drawer in your kitchen will contain only those items that you know to be useful – or your closet will contain only those garments that you know fit and flatter you and work for the way you live – you get the idea.
As to beauty, well, for sure, it is in the eye of the beholder but take, for example, your morning cup of coffee (or tea – or cocoa). You probably don’t even think about, simply grabbing for whatever is clean in your cupboard. But what if one – or two – of those mugs were something special, something beautiful, something meaningful?
Yeah, but it’s only a mug, you say – to which I say, why can’t it be special – or beautiful – or meaningful – or all three? Wouldn’t you want to start your day with something special or beautiful?
Pictured are three white mugs, all of them functional, absolutely capable of containing steaming, hot liquid. One is a straightforward commercial mug, sturdy with thick walls, but it is perfectly serviceable.
One is an antique, a reminder of days gone by, and special to me because it was a gift from my mother. The third one was hand-thrown on a potter’s wheel (with the tell-tale spiral clearly visible on the bottom), an inky glaze on the inside, and beautiful to me because of those decisions made by the potter. Personally, I’d rather drink my morning coffee from the special one or the beautiful one.
Or take my garden shears. A gift from an Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) teacher, they are handcrafted from steel and they are wickedly sharp. But, more, they are beautiful – look at the graceful line of the handles and howthey turn, just so, at the ends to create those lovely little curls. Yes, other scissors or shears would work as well, but these – well, thought was given notonly to how they work, but to how they look. Useful – and beautiful – in the same object!
Try to think about these little decisions and choices that we make every day aboutthe things with which we choose to fill our homes – and our lives. Think about those objects that please you, that make you smile – and those that are simply annoying. Which would you rather use?
Elisabeth Lanier is an interior designer and space planner who, with her husband, is co-owner of DesignWorks, gallery and interior design studio, at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. She can be reached at 409-766-7599.

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With the Right Clothes, You Can Do Anything!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 11:12 PM

Story By Lori Thompson
Photos By Shannon Rowan Hall

Boyce Pryor, manager of Tina’s On the Strand, is obviously passionate about what she does. TSA’s is a unique shop that caters to the discriminating, fashion conscience woman. Customers come from all over Texas to shop at Tina’s. They keep coming back because of the friendly, helpful staff, as well as the beautiful fashions. The employees love what they do and it shows. Besides Boyce, Christina Lewis and Leslie Card serve customers and share their fashion expertise. They enjoy educating customers about fashion and helping pick just the right outfit and accessories for each woman. They care more about the customer than making the sale. A happy customer looks good and feels confident. This is the goal of Tina’s.

Tina’s is ready for spring; new fashions have arrived. Spring is all about colors, says Boyce. She likes bright and bold with a lot of accessories. Sometimes just new accessories, like a new handbag, can dress up an old outfit and make you feel new and different. The biggest colors are turquoise, chocolate and lime green, but anything bright is ‘in.’ You also see bling on just about everything, from shoes to costume jewelry. Sequins, crystals, metallics and bright prints are all the rage this year. Designers also realize that in a recession everyone is watching what they spend. With this in mind, they are paying special attention to detail and design so buyers get the most they can for their money.

Tina’s carries several exclusive lines. They are the only shop in Galveston to carry the Mary Frances line of handbags. These colorful, bright bags are perfect for dressing up just about any outfit. Tina’s also exclusively carries Avant Garde jewelry, a French line that is both modern and timeless; a big seller. A popular clothing line is Matchpoint Linens. Even though linen is ‘guaranteed to wrinkle,’ these are favored because linen breathes and helps you stay cool in the warm, south Texas spring weather. One of the most requested items in the shop is the Magic Necklace. Instead of string, this necklace is made of a flexible wire. You can wear it as a bracelet or a necklace and it can be twisted and shaped hundreds of ways.

The store, owned by Allen and Tina LeCornu is located at 2326 Strand. For more information call 409-762-6818 or visit online at www.tinasonthestrand.com
Tina’s is more than just a fashion boutique. It is a place to feel at home, learn about fashion, and buy fashionable clothing and accessories that make you look and feel beautiful. As Boyce says, “great clothes empower us.” and this is for any occasion, we can feel empowerment with the right clothes, look in this prom dress stores to find amazing dresses for your night. Our snapback hats stand out in their patriotic patch designs. From the Trump 2020: Make Liberals Cry Again to American Flag patched designs, we have a design that matches your conservative values. Our state leather patch hats are engraved with a unique logo that stays put. The patches are made from 100% handmade leather. Also, we have leather patch hats over here.

Champagne Not Just for Special Occasions

David Welch

Well the New Year has begun and I bet many of you toasted to it with some sort of sparkling wine or champagne. For many of us, the only time we drink the bubbles are for special occasions such as New Year’s Eve or a wedding reception.

What we are missing out on is that sparkling wines are one of the most versatile food wines out there. Their light citrus flavors and crisp acidity make them an ideal match for many foods. These wines will cleanse your palate and be enhanced by a good match. Try a nice sparkling wine with roast chicken and see how the two complement each other.

Many people don’t drink Champagne or other sparklers because they have been trained that good champagne is expensive like Cristal, Krug or Dom Perignon. The truth is that there are several sparkling wines that are food friendly, widely available and do not break the budget. For example, Cava, a Spanish sparkler is often available for under $10.

Look in your grocery store for Cristalino Cava Brut or Freixenet Cava Cordon Negro Brut. Both of these sparklers feature crisp citrus flavors with hints of green apple. Another great lost-cost sparkler is Prosecco from Italy.

These wines are generally available for $10 – $15 and can be found in most grocery stores and at almost any liquor store. A commonly found brand name is Zardetto Prosecco Brut. This wine features pear and green apple flavors and matches very well with spicy foods.

There are several nice sparklers made here in the United States; many are the equals of anything coming from Champagne, France, but without the same kind of price tags. For some U.S. sparklers that won’t break your bank, try Domain Chandon and Gloria Ferrer in California, and Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington. Both make some very nice bubble juice. With Domain Chandon, your best bet is to go with a Blanc de Noirs, made exclusively from Pinot Noir grapes. It will feature a nice nose of citrus and strawberry and has a great flavor profile that pairs it well with chicken and salmon. Gloria Ferrer makes excellent Blanc de Blancs (100 percent Chardonnay). It features aromas of Meyer lemon, toast and green apple with a matching flavor profile.

Drink this one with raw oysters and you will know why this is considered a classic pairing. The Chateau Ste. Michelle Blanc de Blancs features a nose of pear, golden delicious apple and toast. The nose repeats on the palate and this versatile sparkler can go with almost any light fare. The U.S. wines mentioned are found in most grocery stores and liquor stores and cost between $12 – $20.

Finally, if you are going to settle for nothing less than the real thing — classic champagne — you are going to have to go to France and up your price point a little bit to get something that drinks well. In the $25 – $40 price range, there are several great choices.

The two that are easiest to find are Veuve Cliquot and Moet et Chandon White Star, these wines will feature a nose of ripe citrus, toast and green apple and will have a nice tart/sweet balance on the palate.

These will usually run around $35 but if you keep any eye out, they sometimes go on sale for less than $30.

In conclusion, champagne and sparkling wines are very versatile and food friendly wines. They work great as an aperitif, with food, and as a palate cleanser during a night of big food and big wines. Don’t save them for the special occasion; they are great wines that bring flavor to any get together.

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More Money, More Problems?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 09:12 PM

By Lyndsey Garza

(Part 2 of 2 – Continued from May issue)

If you read my article published in May’s issue then you, as a faithful Islander reader, received the facts regarding the legislative processes that will need to occur in order to have the fate of gambling with dream jackpot be decided upon by the residents of Texas in a popular vote. You also received the breakdown of how the legalized gaming supporters have proposed the state would distribute the millions’ of dollars worth of tax revenue received from casinos and slot machines. If you missed last month’s issue, or are picking up The Islander Magazine for the first time, you can find it on the publication’s website, www.theislandermagazine.com. This month, I am going to address the debate between pro-gaming and anti-gaming parties and my thoughts on the gaming debate and how it could affect Galveston Island’s economy..
Supporters of legalizing gaming within Texas have been at this for over 20 years. They recently caught the spotlight due to the Texas budget shortfall, which has been quoted anywhere from $15 to $27 billion dollars, depending upon who you talk to. As mentioned in my previous article, Texans generally do not want any kind of tax imposed upon them, whether it’s necessary to begin correcting this historical budget deficit or not. Our state is simply looking for other alternatives, and they just are not there.

The option that we are facing currently is to stop funding basic federal programs, such as education. (Because none of us are concerned about the options of education and grant/federal aid money that are and will be available for our children and grandchildren, right? That makes sense to go ahead and cut funds here in this account.) This is simply an option that I am not happy to watch unfold on the evening news. Katy ISD let go of teachers, mind you interrupted their classes, to let them know that they were expendable, then promptly replaced by a more cost effective replacement, the substitute. To that I say, “What?!”

Obviously, money is the driving benefit gaming supporters are focused on. The laws proposed often require steep taxes from the operators that purchase the licenses needed to run their establishment which is leading to mobile gambling in sites such as dhankesari. The revenue that would be obtained from the patrons would provide even more cash that would benefit the state, as well as the local city and county the establishment was located in. Employment would increase in a 30-mile radius of any casino or slot online location. Have you seen the amount of people needed to fully staff these resort casinos offering hotel rooms, food and beverage choices, entertainment through shows and concerts, janitorial and custodial needs, marketing and sales? I could go on and on.

These casinos are done in a grand fashion, also bringing construction back to the island, which in itself carries a lot of jobs and a pool of employees deeply hurt by the economy, who are ready to work! In response to the increased employment that would be brought to the area, I get a lot of replies about the low-middle income jobs that casinos tend to offer. People say, “These types of jobs will only attract low-average income families to populate the island, not a strong tax base.” The Island needs any major contributor to its employment options — period. After Ike, the island could only stand by and watch in horror as its number one employer, the University of Texas Medical Branch lay off over 3,000 people. This was a devastating economic blow to Galveston, the businesses that support the school, and the residents that owned those businesses. This was an economic hit felt by more than just those 3,000 UTMB employees. Also, I am shocked to hear that Galveston would suffer from a low-average income family living here. I think that most of the residents of the city that live here full time behind the Seawall are, quite frankly, those families. Why not get more job options that create proud residents who would be proactive in the future and stability of our truly vulnerable island? Much of the gaming tax revenue would also be put towards property tax relief for these proud, employed, home owning residents of Galveston. Why not just make life better?
Tourism, the number one industry on the island, would boom! Gaming would not take over what this island already has gained in the past century – the concept that Galveston Island is not just a tar covered beach, but a destination and second home haven for Houstonians. As an island, we already have so much to offer families, beach lovers, history buffs, nature lovers, art enthusiasts, and shopping addicts. There really is something for everyone here.

This increase in the tourism industry would positively impact many of our residents who own local businesses, as well as the true entrepreneurs amongst us. It would also attract the larger hotel and restaurant chains, looking to make money. These all need more employees! Other anti-gaming supporters speak about the moral dilemmas that would be then faced by the general population when gambling is legalized in an area. These moral dilemmas would include crime, drugs, and many other problems that Galveston has never experienced. Really? Crime is here; drugs have been and will continue to circulate throughout any community (yes, even Kingwood and Plano).

The increased amount of visitors will also be cause for a larger police and fire department to deal with these issues. I think we all can agree that these particular areas of the city have been victims of the pinch lately, and personally, I would prefer it if the city of Galveston could overstaff these positions, please?

Again, you will not find many other Islander lovers and supporters (BOI at heart) who want to see this Galveston grow and prosper more than I do. I am simply stating my opinions about a business decision that would impact our community, and what I see as a golden ticket. This island, despite change, will always have its problems, whether we vote them in or allow our elected officials to do their jobs making decisions. I am simply speaking the truth regarding the present state of the island’s economy, as well as the itching call for change that has caught my attention recently.
Well, in my opinion, at least.

Lyndsey Garza is a Galveston resident of 13 years, is the Director of Sales – Texas with Terramesa Resorts, a licensed Texas real estate broker and a provisional member of the Junior League of Galveston County. Please don’t hesitate to e-mail her with comments, questions, anything real estate related at lyndsey.garza@terramesaresorts.com. Additional information about the resort style communities she promotes and loves can be found on the following websites: Pointe West, Galveston Island – www.pointewestgalveston.com and The Hollows on Lake Travis – www.hollowslaketravis.com.

Pelican Rest Luxury Marina Slated for Summer 2011 Opening

A destination point for summer season 2011; Galveston’s new Pelican Rest Marina Village will celebrate completion of its much anticipated luxury marina. The marina, located on the north side of Offats Bayou, a long-standing natural yachting hub for Galveston, will be the newest and one of the most upscale in Texas.
Pelican Rest Marina, billed by the owner as the “Gateway to Galveston,” will be a part of a multi-use, high-end marina complex in the center of a growing and vibrant area in Galveston. The new marina will serve as a social and commercial hub and destination for boaters along the entire Gulf Coast.

The marina site, scoured by Hurricane Ike and left riddled with debris has been transformed into an inviting lush manicured and landscaped tropical showpiece with a wide variety of palms, tropical plants and flowers, a stunning new fountain and private pool and well laid hard-scape paths.
After only a few minutes on the site, visitors will be delighted with frequently visiting brown pelicans looking for fish, resting on pilings, or going for a leisurely flight around the bayou and understand how the owner’s coined the name.
Currently under construction, Pelican Rest Marina is a state-of-the-art concrete floating SHOREMASTER system that is designed to house 60’ and larger class fishing yachts. “From the beginning, the owner was clear…Build the best marina possible,” emphasizes Bryce Fisher, SHOREMASTER Regional Sales Manager.
SHOREMASTER, working with local marine engineer Marcus Michna, Principal and President of Shelmark Engineering, LLC, designed the marina to be functional for boats over 100’ with wide walkways and fingers, expantial room to maneuver within the marina footprint and overflow room for larger vessels on the perimeter.

Pelican Rest members and visitors have access to deep water slips and accommodations for mega yachts, transient dockage for overnight stays, an industry leading fire protection system, potable water and 30, 50, 100 and 200 amp electrical service. When completed, Pelican Rest Marina will be the most protected deep water marina in Texas.
As a “white-glove” marina, patrons will have access to all Marina Village facilities and a wide range of on-site services. The historical island landmark, Smitty’s is scheduled for upgrading and remodeling, and will be the on-site Marina Bait & Tackle facility that will provide fresh seafood, bait, ice and tackle and marina supplies. Land- and water-based shuttles will be available to ferry guests to Galveston hot spots, hotels and golf courses and Scholes International Airport at for private aircraft.
Pelican Rest clients can also take full advantage of VIP Vessel Concierge Services which include fuel and standard maintenance assistance, laundry, transportation, deliveries of provisions and Wi-Fi. Pelican Rest has a secure entrance, on-site security and ample parking for the marina and guests.

Pelican Rest Village will offer the finest in waterfront living. The luxurious tropical landscaped condos will have an awe-inspiring view along with the amenities of a restaurant and private pools. The Marina Village will have water sport rentals such as sailboats, jet skis, kayaks and small fishing boats.
Pelican Rest’s grand vision of a World Class Marina Facility will welcome Galveston residents and visitors as they arrive on the island. It will set the stage for what a coastal island community should and will be and will surely enhance the already charming island city.
For more information about Pelican Rest Marina, please call 409-744-2618, visit the website www.pelicanrestmarina.com or email info@pelicanrestmarina.com.

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Story By Lyndsey Garza

Welcome back to the Galveston Island we all know and love, with the reviving sunshine and nice coastal breezes! Thank you visitors and second homeowners for returning each year around the same predictable time, spring break! Spring break has been socially accepted here on the island as the beginning of the season. The two weekends and week that makeup Galveston’s spring break provide us locals will go through for the next six months. I have to admit, I do not like the traffic, crazy jaywalkers running across the Seawall with no shoes on back to their hotels, waits at restaurants, and how it suddenly becomes difficult and time consuming to go anywhere on the Strand or Seawall.
I would like to take this time to say, “Thank you, island visitors and tourists” for allowing us Galvestonians to benefit in various economic ways as a result of your love and appreciation for this little island we call home. These visitors and tourists are where our new Galveston property owners come from, as well as providing the majority of our city’s tax money. As Texans are known for their pride, I am sure that local residents other than me appreciate the financial means that the tourism industry absorbs during the season. The tourism industry plays a vital role on our island. Also, thank you to the same group for your support for over two years now, during our community’s effort to get past the trauma and damage we all experienced to some level after Hurricane Ike paid our town a visit almost three years ago. Even though I drive the Seawall on a daily basis, I find myself still in awe of how quickly and efficiently this town came together to revive and rebuild. Look at how fabulous Galveston Island looks! I know everyone reading this article has to be impressed with our community’s tenacity and determination.
Welcome back to Galveston, tourists and potential property owners! This is the Galveston you know and love, and with your consistent support, I see nothing but upward potential for Galveston Island. Trust me, we have missed you guys!
I have decided to take this opportunity of writing the real estate update article to educate you on various areas and communities on the Island that many of you may not be familiar with. For the next few issues, I will focus on two communities that have been receiving a lot of attention in the real estate world. This article will introduce you to the eastern-most Galveston high rise community, Palisade Palms, as well as the western-most resort community, Pointe West.

Palisade Palms
Palisade Palms is the premier luxury beachfront condominium development in Texas, on Galveston Island’s east end. Palisade Palms consists of two 28-story tall towers, making it the tallest structure in Galveston. With expansive beach views and luxurious interiors, this building suits everyone’s needs. Resort style pool, state of the art fitness center, tennis, game room where you can play now at slotzo, 24-hour concierge service, and party areas mean there is always something to do. From bay units to penthouses with expansive balconies, every view is breathtaking. Enjoy the sun rise and set over the sparkling Gulf of Mexico. Watch the ships roll in and out, and dolphins play. All this, right in your front yard. Most condo projects on the island force you to cross the Seawall in order to access the beach. At Palisade, you are on the beach. One unique fact about this particular part of the island, is that the beaches are actually growing. Engineered with hurricanes in mind, you can rest well.
Palisade Palms is experiencing strong sales, and the consumer desire is just as present today as it was in pre-development. Although it is the largest condo project on the Texas coast, very few units are available for purchase.
Eaton Realty extends the invitation to anyone wanting a tour of the property, for either purchase or vacation/long term rental. This is a place where family memories can be made on the beach, while also providing all the creature comforts one could ask for. If you want the best of the best, this is the opportunity you cannot pass up. Contact Eaton Realty at 409-996-9999.

Pointe West
Pointe West was designed as a 1,000-acre traditional master planned resort community, boasting six miles of water frontage consisting of the Gulf side beachfront and Galveston Bay. The idea of buying a lifestyle, rather than just a piece of property, continues to lure buyers looking for that perfect place to create family memories. The amenities that Pointe West offers have made the development well known. The central area of the development is a fabulous Gulf-front Beach Club that offers extensive recreational activities, such as swimming in the infinity edge pool, sunbathing and relaxing in the provided chairs and cabanas, playing a competitive ping pong game on the pool deck, working out at the fully equipped fitness center, and eating a meal from Breeze’s, Pointe West’s casual restaurant. The on-site hospitality group is also located here, and features professionally managed vacation rentals, and an activities staff who create weekend plans such as kids’ movie nights, bicycle tours, crabbing, arts & crafts, and live bands with drink specials at Topsider’s, their open air bar. There is an additional pool located on the bayside of the resort for guests and owners to enjoy as well!
The number of contracts and sales of homes through March have been increasing. There is demand and desire for information on available properties at Pointe West. There are three property types available at the resort to choose from: single family homes — both custom built and the beachside cottages, custom home sites on the beachside and bayside ready to be built on, and the easy lock and leave lifestyle of the two- and three-bedroom condos scattered throughout the resort. If you are looking for that perfect beach property that allows everyone in the family to enjoy themselves, make sure to consider Pointe West.
Contact Galveston Real Estate Resource’s Pointe West specialists at 409-515-0716 or 409-515-1412. For information on booking a vacation rental, contact Pointe West general manager, Patrick Cummins at 409-632-0616. This information may also be found at www.pointewestgalveston.com.

Galveston’s Version of March Madness
Whew! How about that Spring Break we just enjoyed? It’s been a busy month for Galveston realtors: writing offers, working with buyers, showing property, answering phone calls, replying to the e-mails.
I have a small inkling we are going to have a fabulous time this summer. Since I was too busy with work or spending time with my fabulous family and friends, I missed a lot of NCAA tournament games.
I am willing to put my money on an increased number of closing and pending properties statistics in my May article. We will bring those May flowers with regards to Galveston real estate, as the popular saying goes.

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By Elisabeth Lanier

Did you go to school for that?
As a matter of fact, I have a formal academic background in art. I received my BFA from North Texas State University (now called The University of North Texas, College of Visual Arts And Design), where I also started graduate work and did some teaching. Later, I transferred to the University of Houston where I received my MFA. Since then I’ve stayed pretty close to the academic art world, teaching at various colleges and universities over the years including Galveston College, Houston Community College and the University of Houston. My current teaching ‘home’ is Alvin Community College where we have a great studio and offer credit and non-credit jewelry making and metalsmithing classes. Next to making art, teaching is my second passion. One reason it’s so rewarding is that I am continually learning and growing because of it!
Where do you get your ideas?

I’m glad you asked about ideas because one thing that differentiates ‘art jewelry’ from other types of jewelry (such as designer jewelry or fashion jewelry), is that it originates from an idea – meaning it has some sort of intellectual content, as opposed to being purely ornamental. The value of an art jewelry piece is aligned more with artistic expression and aesthetics than with the intrinsic value of materials used. Inspiration for my one-of-a-kind work comes from a variety of sources: historical painting; classical sculpture; historical styles of ornament; architecture and architectural embellishment; historical jewelry forms; iconography; and my own history of ideas as they develop; accumulate; merge and diverge.
How long does that take?
Most of the time I don’t want to know! Of course, with my production and limited-edition work, which is more design and retail-oriented, I do know the time involved — to the minute in fact. But that is only because labor is a key pricing component. Otherwise, when I’m making a one-of-a-kind piece, I don’t count the minutes, hours, days or months. That would only hinder my artistic freedom and ruin the pleasurable experience of creating, which for me is the greatest benefit of being an artist.
Define “artist.”
There are a lot of stereotypes, but I can honestly say that I know a lot of artists and none of them are starving. Seriously though, I believe an artist is someone who expresses ideas in innovative ways. There are many kinds of artists and many levels of art making. To me, to be a – I hesitate to use the word “professional” because it implies so many things, so I’ll say “serious”— to be a serious artist means your life is predominately defined by your artistic pursuits and vice versa. In my own experiences as a visual artist, I often feel like I am also an inventor, engineer and sometimes even a poet!
How would you describe your own work?
I work in several veins: There is my production and limited-edition work, which is comprised of jewelry design inspired by nature. This collection of work is reminiscent of natural forms such as twigs and seed pods. It pays allegiance to elegance and wearability and is designed to appeal to a broad audience.
Then there is my one-of-a-kind, mixed media art jewelry. In this ever-evolving practice, I often combine two-dimensional or low-relief pictorial space with three-dimensional jewelry forms. That is to say, pictures form the central visual and conceptual elements of my fabricated brooches, lockets, neckpieces and other jewelry forms. My diminutive pictorial expressions are either invented or borrowed from art historical sources. I use a variety of art materials and techniques to create the images that are chosen for their emotional and intellectual impact as well as their aesthetic value. The fabricated jewelry forms that support and contain the images are contemporary yet suggestive of historical styles of ornament. They are primarily fabricated from metal, but often incorporate more eclectic materials. They are characterized by strong symmetry and bold scale.
Why do you make art?
I can’t help myself! That sounds silly but it’s pretty accurate. Art making is something I have to do. There is an inexplicable drive – one I think most artists have, to conceive ideas then manifest them in objects we make.
Why do you think art is important in today’s culture?
Art does so many things: It keeps us grounded. It celebrates beauty. It reflects our humanity and reminds us of our mortality. It connects us to nature. It represents our individualism. It links us to our past. It innovates for our future. I could go on and on and on…
Are you from here originally? If not, why did you choose Galveston Island?
I was born and raised in Galveston but lived away for many years because of my husband’s work. When we had the opportunity to move back to the states after residencies in Brazil, Alaska and England, we chose to make the island our home once again. I have always been very proud of Galveston for its diversity, history, natural beauty and its arts community – and the water – we love being near the water, weather hazards and all!
What are the special opportunities and/or challenges of making art in Galveston Island?
I don’t see any challenges really, at least not in a negative sense. The island is perfect for a non-stressful, artistic lifestyle and there are endless sources of inspiration for all types of artists. Furthermore, there’s strong community support for the arts, plenty of galleries, a year-round tourist and second-home retail client base. The Galveston Arts Center keeps us all connected locally, and the proximity to Houston makes it easy to connect to other artists and to get any art materials one could possibly need.
This feature was created to bring our readers’ attention to the professional artists who live and work on or around Galveston Island. Recorded by Elisabeth Lanier, these interviews hope to demystify some of the misconceptions and myths surrounding art and artists. Lanier is an interior designer and space planner who, with her husband, Steve, is co-owner of DesignWorks gallery and interior design studio, at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. She can be reached at 409-766-7599.

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By Carolin Santangelo

Just when you think the new house or remodel is almost complete; selections of the myriad of finishes and material options are behind you, there remains one last item to really put the icing on the cake.
You coordinated the floors with the cabinets, picked the ideal countertops and decided on a complementary color palette for the walls. It’s all coming together. So what could possibly be left?
The piece d’resistance will be the way that your cabinets are accessorized. And by that I don’t mean the decorative items hanging from the walls. Those are all nice. The final feature that your new kitchen or bath requires is cabinet hardware.

Oh, sure, you’ve seen others that don’t use hardware – are you really going to grab that sticky edge of the door until the varnish or paint rubs off over time from the grease and oils? From a strictly functional standpoint, you could get by without hardware, knobs or pulls. Although the best thing you can do to promote the longevity of the finish is to go ahead and drill holes in those new doors (eek, yes, I know it is hard to drill a hole in the perfect finish, but it’s for the best) and prepare to mount hardware.

The materials are reasonable, although the dollars can really add up, depending on your choices and size of your kitchen, and this can be a DIY project. Check for instructional videos on-line that should assist, or ask for assistance at the big box store. Here’s my tip: Measure twice! Prices can range from as little as $1.59 each, up to $30 and higher, per piece. The average kitchen may contain just 20 or 30 doors and drawers, and yet this number can easily climb to 70 to 100 individual pieces and more in large kitchens.
It can be important to coordinate a hardware finish with lighting fixtures or other features of the room; this should still leave you plenty of options. Select from matte black, rubbed bronze, antique brass and copper, weathered, polished or satin nickel, stainless steel or pewter. Knobs and pulls are also available with inserts of ceramic, crystal or glass.

You may be able to find hardware in shapes of forks and spoons, fruits or vegetables, seashells, fish or whatever floats your boat. There will be options, which lend themselves to contemporary, modern and traditional, even colonial, country and farmhouse styles. See the Bucksnort Lodge collection at www.kitchencabinethardware.com/Unique_Novelty_Knobs.html for unique tropical and nautical choices.
If you are unsure how new hardware may look on your cabinet color, Merillat Cabinetry has a cool and simple interactive web tool that allows the user to select a cabinet door style and color finish, and then grab and place a Merillat hardware item to see how the finished product will look. You can place a pull or knob on both door and drawer to get the big picture. That helps eliminate the guesswork. The hardware and doors are shown to scale, leaving no room for error: www.merillat.com/our-products/product-types/cabinetry/classic/decorative-hardware/index.html.
If you are just looking to dress up existing cabinets, you may still be able to find a wood color that is similar to your own to select from. Then again, if you are ready for a full kitchen or bath remodel, you may be able to get great ideas from their website.

If your kitchen or bath already has old pulls on the doors or drawers, it is important that you seek replacement hardware with the same center-to-center dimension of the mounting screws, to match the existing drilled holes. There isn’t really a standard; there are many size variations. Check, too, that removal of the current hardware won’t leave a telltale outline in the stain or paint that may be hard to cover without refinishing. Replacement of knobs is much simpler.
This will be an easy and reasonable way to instantly dress up your kitchen or bath. An eye-catching design and complementary finish can provide the finishing touch that the room needs.
My dad always says, “It’s like putting earrings on a woman.”
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net or 409-632-0381, or visit www.SeasideHomeDesign.com.

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A Lot for a Little, Or a Little for a Lot

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 @ 05:11 PM
A Unique Lot Presents Design Challenges & Opportunities

By Carolin Santangelo

How exciting! You‘ve been informed that a residential lot just hit the market in a location where you always dreamt of building an island home: It could be on a canal within a short boat ride to the bay and intra-coastal waterway, within walking distance to the Strand in the midst of the Historical district, or beach front to behold the beauty of each morning’s sunrise over the water. And to make it even better, the price is within your budget. You’re not going to let this one get away – a quick call to the real estate agent and off you go, with check book in hand, to make an offer and sign a contract.

When you first see the lot, maybe it’s not quite as large as you hoped. But remember, “Location – Location – Location”, and this location is what you have hoped for. The realtor shows you the plot plan and you realize the lot configuration is a geometric shape that probably does not have a name – maybe a pie with a curve and a couple of extra sides. No wonder the price is below market. And to make matters worse, the neighbor walks over, introduces himself, and tells you that you probably can’t build on it because of its size or odd shape… Or can you?
Before you pass up this deal in paradise, take another look, and remember that with a little imagination, careful thought, and good planning, the perfect home can be designed for an imperfect lot. This challenge may provide opportunity for a unique and special home just for you.
Homes can be designed to fit just about any shape and size residential lot; a rectangular shape is not required, and sometimes not even as desirable. It may be necessary to take tree locations into consideration to ensure their preservation on the site. The design process starts with the property survey plat; certainly you’ll want full knowledge of the city and subdivision setbacks. Thoroughly review subdivision covenants; which define restrictions, and can be different throughout, sometimes specific to each lot and block. Building side setbacks can range from as little as three feet, up to ten feet, on either side of the building footprint. Additionally there are likely to be front and rear building setbacks. The city has its own set of restrictions which are the default in cases where a property is not otherwise defined.
Setbacks are developed to preserve your neighbor’s view as well as your own, and also to permit access in cases where the setback includes drainage easement or other utilities. It doesn’t matter how wide the remaining available area may be, once you start dreaming, it’s never enough!

Homes can be planned around the smallest of lots: It is not unusual for water front lots, especially canal lots, to be divided into the minimum square footage that the city will permit, so a developer can make the most of that very valuable frontage and the cost of its expensive bulk-heading. It is also fairly normal to encompass a curved or angled lot line at the end of cul-de-sacs, and/or along canal frontage.
Where a lot is particularly narrow in one section, your first thought may be that a narrow rectangular house plan is the only option. When necessary, a house can be designed to take up almost every inch of the buildable footprint. The design can start with the buildable footprint (lot minus all setbacks), blocking in room spaces; orienting public rooms and bedrooms where possible to accommodate views. If the location is fortunate enough to enjoy adjacent palms or other nature scenes, these may be highlighted. At the same time, any disadvantages can be evaluated, and if necessary attention diverted away; for instance, a particularly unattractive neighboring house (you know who you are!) or busy or unbecoming street exposure.
CAD 3D software adds immeasurably to the design and visualization process, though I still start most plans with pencil and paper sketches! The rooms are like building blocks that must fit into the confines of the lot as prescribed by the survey plat and defined setbacks. The design moves on into the CAD realm and then construction drawings when a satisfactory conceptual plan has been defined relative to the client’s wishes.
The resulting shape may very well present a staggered building line, which can sometimes be utilized to ensure views from different angles within the home, giving it extra interest and providing more natural light. The addition of porches and decking to these offsets can incorporate private decks for bedrooms, and tucked away spots to hide exterior air conditioning units. Covered porches add interest and style, and also shield the house and its doors and windows from the hot sun’s western exposure, and provide protection from inclement weather.
Windows are so important in bringing our beautiful outside environment in, and every l offset provides yet another opportunity to frame and enjoy those views. The view is often the most important consideration; take advantage of this feature that makes your lot priceless!
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381, or visit www.SeasideHomeDesign.com.

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Rene Wiley, Studio Artist

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 @ 03:11 PM

By Elisabeth Lanier

Did you go to school for that?
Absolutely! I have my BFA from Sam Houston University, but I don’t think they taught me art. Actually, my studio experience there was in ceramics – all phases – glazes, firings, etc. I loved ceramics! I couldn’t have been more shocked that painting came to me later in life.
After college, I married and we had kids – three beautiful daughters – and that kept me stepping for about a decade. But, then, my mom and I attended a workshop in Austin taught by Ray Vinella, a well-known Taos landscape painter. That was a special week – hard and frustrating, but he taught me that painting was simple, really. Now, I paint nearly every single day.
But, if I weren’t painting, I’d be doing something – when the kids were little, for example, I sewed all my own clothes. No two ways about it, somehow, I’m going to create.

Where do you get your ideas?

I get up in the morning, go out to walk to dog and look up at the sky. I get excited about what I see – the morning light, peoples’ faces – I get so many ideas that there aren’t enough hours in the day to paint them all! But you have to show up – in the studio – and you have to start. You have to show up and you have to get involved with your work. And the idea for one piece leads to the next idea for the next piece. Also, I let myself make a lot of starts. I’m not so worried about the finishes, as long as I’m making a lot of starts.

How long does that take?

Well, since we opened the studio/gallery, I’ve found that the 6-week sections of time (between ArtWalks) have been very helpful to me by creating a deadline. In a way, it’s refreshing to get to/ have to start all over every 6 weeks with a clean slate. I get in there and straighten out the studio, file pictures, put my books away. Then I might work on older, unresolved work; I can rethink things and work on those pieces – or create wholly new work.
Of course, it also takes a lifetime, too.

Define “artist.”

Oh, wow. This may seem strange, but, to me, an “artist” is just being human like everybody else. I think we all have that part of our brain that is artistic; for some, that part remains unused, but for others, those of us who do use that part of the brain, well, then that part becomes larger and demands more energy. It’s too bad that some let that part of their brain atrophy – it needs exercise.
Being an artist is a lifestyle – it but it’s also a God-given part of who you are.
In my opinion, “talent” is tricky – because I think it’s more about having a passion and being willing to work hard to accomplish the things I see in my head.
Throughout history, artists are people who have ideas; they’re always thinking, and cooking up new ways to seeing things.

How would you describe your own work?

Welcoming, friendly, a feeling of coming home. My family and I have a passion for this island, and I want to show Galveston through the eyes of one who loves it. When a client tells me that I paint as they see it – I love that. My work has always been about hospitality. I want it to be inviting. I think feeling estranged – in any way – is the worst feeling.

Why do you make art?

I have no choice. If I couldn’t make art, I’d make my own clothes again, or upholster everything in the house. I have to make. I’m always the student, wanting to get better and better.

Why is art important in today’s culture?

I don’t think there’s been a time in history that is wasn’t important. As I said before, I think it’s fixed in our brain, and after tending to life’s basics, after we’ve fed and clothed and housed ourselves, we want art. Perhaps, today more so than ever because we have more leisure time to think about other things. I think that learning and creating are essential to the human condition.

Are your from here originally? If not, why did you choose Galveston Island?

No, I was raised in Houston and Huntsville and Conroe. My extended family has a house on Sea Isle that we treasure. Leaving the beach – those Sunday evenings were the worst. So, when my husband had an opportunity here, we moved the family. And, we love it! The old Victorian houses especially, with their intricate and beautiful craftsmanship. In our house, I feel as if the ghosts of those artisans surround me – it’s a constant inspiration to me.

What are the special opportunities and/or challenges of making art in Galveston Island?

The opportunities are that I feel very welcomed here. So many artists are located here and their support as a group has meant so much. And, of course, the easy-going atmosphere is comfortable. Also, so many people come here from elsewhere and, with the studio/gallery, my work is seen by many of them. When they drive over that causeway, they’re looking for something new, something different. As to challenges, well, there are storms. And, it’s expensive to live here and not a safe as I would like. I want my surroundings to be calm so that I can create mayhem in my studio. But, then, these challenges give us the opportunity to re-set, don’t they?

This feature of The Islander is a way to bring to our readers’ attention to the professional artists who live and work on or around Galveston Island. Recorded by Elisabeth Lanier, these interviews hope to demystify some of the misconceptions and myths surrounding art and artists. Lanier is an interior designer and space planner who, with her husband, Steve, is co-owner of DesignWorks gallery and interior design studio, at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. She can be reached at 409-766-7599.

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Libbie’s Place New Facility Recently Opened

Friday, September 9, 2011 @ 06:09 PM

Story & Photos By Lori Thompson

As the population ages, more and more people are choosing to care for their elderly relatives at home, be they grandparents, parents, siblings or spouses. Full-time care giving is a rewarding vocation, but can become quite stressful. An option that many caregivers are choosing is an adult day-care center. An adult day care center is just what it sounds like: a place for “senior adults 55 and older who may be experiencing memory loss or physical impairments that can benefit from daily assistance with medication, help with personal care and structured social activities so they may continue to lead meaningful lives while remaining in their community.” Placing relatives in such a center, for several hours a day, is a wonderful way to help them stay connected in a safe place as well as to provide a well-deserved break for loving caregivers.

Libbie’s Place is such a center. Libbie’s Place is a community outreach mission of Moody Methodist Church, a nonprofit organization focused on helping older adults stay in their community through provision of medical and social services and caregiver support. It was created “to inspire senior adults in the community to rediscover and experience the joy of life through compassionate assistance with daily living activities and caregiver support,” as the mission statement reads. Participants may attend 2-5 days a week from 7:30-5:45. There is no geographical limit to families who can participate, as long as transportation can be arranged. Buses are provided for an additional fee. There are two bus routes, one on the Island and one on the mainland. Besides providing care, Libbie’s Place offers a Community Support Group on the 4th Tuesdays of each month at 5:30-6:30. This is open to all caregivers in the community, as part of their outreach program.

Libbie’s Place is licensed by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, the same organization that oversees nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home health care agencies. It can serve up to 30 participants a day and is staffed by a Licensed Social Worker, Certified Activity Director, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Consulting RNs and Dieticians, Care Associates, Bus Drivers and Volunteers. Services include assistance with personal care, lunch and snacks, medication administration, structured activity groups and personalized care plans. Participants enjoy art, music exercise, devotions and discussion of current events, “today in history,” and a riddle of the day.

There is also plenty of time for games, visiting and just enjoying the company of others. Libbie’s Place has been located on the campus of Moody Methodist Church since opening in 2001, until moving to their permanent location at 5402 Ave. U, which was opened in June. The official ribbon-cutting was last month. This new facility includes a large activity/dining room, craft room and a quiet rest area. Plans are in motion for a garden so participants may enjoy the outdoors while contributing to their community.

Libbie’s Place is funded by the United Way, donations and fundraisers. Money is given in special donation envelopes and as memorials. Major fundraisers include engraved bricks and the annual Luau celebration. A Financial Discount Program is available for qualified applicants, as funds are available. It is a VA approved provider and several participants are veterans, including vets from Viet Nam, Korea and even two from WWII!
Participants are very happy at Libbie’s Place. They are often heard saying things like:
“It’s a nice place to come to. Everybody is so friendly.”
“It’s a home away from home.”
“You’re not alone. They care about you.”
“I’ve met a lot of people.”
“It’s wonderful! I’ve had a chance to get out with people my own age and do things.”
“We have lots of one-on-one time.”
“I can’t ask for a better place.”
The 3rd week in September has been designated, “Adult Day Services: Building and Supporting Communities.” This has been celebrated since 1983 when it was proclaimed by former President Ronald Reagan. This week is set aside to “raise awareness of the availability and accessibility of adult day programs nationwide.” Libbie’s Place plans a special lunch outing that week for participants and their families.

Alice Williams is the Executive Director of Libbie’s Place. She has a BS in education and recreation and also a MS in community and health promotion and education. She became a licensed social worker in 1997 and has been in the field of aging since 1990. Originally from Ohio, Alice has lived in Galveston since 1986. She particularly enjoys the small town atmosphere and the diverse “cast of characters” and of course, the beach and Seawall.

Libbie’s Place is located at 5402 Ave. U. Phone: (409)741-2538. Also visit the web site at www.libbiesplace.org.

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MVP Sports Logistics

Friday, September 9, 2011 @ 01:09 PM
An Example of Happiness in Professional Excellence

By Leslie Thompson

What is it that drives you to pure happiness? For Jan Loman and many others it’s simply caring enough to make a difference in other people’s lives. Loman is president and founder of MVP Sports Logistics which I discovered is located right here on Galveston Island. Originally from Wichita Falls, Texas, Loman has ventured across the world and back ultimately settling here in her favorite historic island home. Throughout her professional life she has gained experience in areas like International Real Estate and Mortgage Banking. Loman’s love for sports developed naturally paralleled with the maturing of her sons Wesley and Winston who continuously excelled in athletics. Loman identified her passions in life and fearlessly sought after them ultimately creating her dream job.
It all began when a billion-dollar logistics company asked Loman to run their European office operations. While abroad, she developed a “golden” business plan. Through negotiating discounts and saving travelers thousands of dollars going from the United States to Europe, Loman created an unbeatable service model in which she would later build into her own business operations. Loman said: “The goal was to eliminate the ‘hassle factor’ in relocation by not only working with the large corporations with negotiating on their behalf pricing and time moves, but handling all the logistical needs of the executives, politicians, film and music industry professional’s families and loved pets.”

When devastation hit America on September 11, 2001, traveling abroad came to a halt for most Americans. Scratched but not scarred, Loman packed up and headed back home to Texas. She then began a new career in mortgage banking and one day presented her same business model to a bank executive, but this time specifically involving the moving of professional athletes. Her idea was graciously accepted and supported. This idea came to be what is now the largest firm dedicated exclusively to relocating professional athletes. Loman expressed, “[Her] sole purpose for starting this company is to help professional athletes and their families make a smooth transition to their new city, home, school and remove the stress of integrating into a new franchise.”
By providing almost 100 various relocation services from mail forwarding, vehicle transportation, obtaining doctors’ records or birth certificates, or even disposing of unwanted household items – to arranging the new local newspaper delivery, hiring new housekeeping and personal chefs, or having an interior decorator add the final touches, MVP Sports Logistics does it all.
“The most valuable thing we can offer is providing a service they can trust,” said Loman. “These professionals need someone they can trust with their most valued possessions and most confidential information.”
Throughout the interview, I was in awe of Loman’s compassionate nature. I could plainly see that she cares for her clients as if they were family. “Once you move someone’s underwear – you get to know them personally,” said Loman jokingly. “And when nothing goes missing – that is priceless. You are a blessing to them.”
The majority of MVP Sports Logistics’ business is created by word-of-mouth advertising. Loman works closely with many high-profile celebrities such as Carlos Boozer, the highest paid Chicago Bull player, and NFL tight end Jeremy Shockey. “I’ve completed five moves for Boozer and his family and friends in the last 13 months,” said Loman. Amusingly enough, Shockey had called her that very morning before our interview. Loman explained how he called, frantically asking for help packing up and moving in about one week. She assured him it was possible and that he should not worry.
Loman’s job is very challenging, but she enjoys each and every relationship with her clients. Tennis star Venus Williams also works with Loman, offering her own design firm services to many of Loman’s clients. “Venus is the most delightful female athlete I have ever worked with,” said Loman.
Loman expressed how it has been difficult dealing with the recent lockouts in professional sports. When needed, she is always ready to jump on a plane to make things happen; outside of annual Mardi Gras! Galveston celebrations and Krewe de Gambrinus parties of course!
The horizon looks promising for MVP Sports Logistics as preliminary meetings with the Chicago Bulls to discuss the possibility of moving coaches and entire franchises are in effect. With top sports agents, real estate producers and professional athletes behind Loman’s efforts, MVP Sports Logistics is destined to continue excelling.
A top real estate producer out of Miami, FL said, “Jan, you should clone yourself. Thanks for the hands-on service for my client. I am telling everyone about your services. What you do helps all of us in our efforts to provide the highest quality of service.” An executive at Reliant Park summed it up perfectly when they said MVP Sports Logistics “know[s] everybody and can take care of every detail easily and quickly.”
Their goal is simple: to relocate professional athletes to a new location quickly, stress-free and at the lowest possible cost. Think of the many untold hours manifested in the process of moving to a new home while also making a career change; MVP Sports Logistics was created to remove this stress and ensure all transitioning needs are met, but on a much larger scale. Don’t miss Loman in our May 2012 magazine issue featuring successful female business owners residing on Galveston Island! For more information you may visit www.mvpsportslogistics.com.

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Bang for Your Buck

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 @ 03:08 PM

Seeking Efficiencies in Design

By Carolin Santangelo

This is a great time to purchase on the island and construction activity has been affected along with the overall softening of real estate prices. Those in the market can evaluate a surplus of existing homes. It comes down to available inventory; what is in your price range, does the plan suit your family, and if not, what would the price tag be to upgrade it? To find answers, prospective homeowners are investigating remodeling and addition, and new home design and construction.
It may be a good time to enter the building process. I say often: “It is not for the faint of heart. It can take six months to a year, or longer, in a love / hate relationship with your builder (and spouse).” At the end, however, your family may be able to achieve just exactly what is desired.

In this economy, it is vital that a floor plan deliver everything it can; without wasted floor space, and also with enough of the features that are required, like enough closets, and adequate room sizes for each intended use. This does not mean that your house has to be boring. You can have a custom design with impact in all the right places. There are ways to remove fluff without losing charm and style.
Great local builders are ready to compete for your business, though they aren’t giving anything away free. They will review materials, features, and finishes for your proposed home, make recommendations for those that are within your budget. Interviewing builders and visiting their respective products will assist you in decision making. This is not a popularity contest, and not based only on who is quoting the best price per square foot! It is part reputation, part personality, and part performance.
Maybe you’ve seen a house you would die to own, and it is way out of your price range. With careful space planning and attention to room sizes, it may be possible to take a concept you long for, design to fit your pocketbook and the site, and still retain that look and feel you desire.

The design stage will be critical to getting the most bang for your buck. Raised construction on pilings is expensive. An odd shaped house, or with many protrusions, can require more pilings and concrete, and consequently, be more costly to build. In general, two-story house designs are more reasonable to construct than an equivalent sized one story, due to this extensive piling foundation requirement. Stacking an upper floor directly over exterior walls of the lower level is most practical, reducing need for costly beams. Use of 2’-0” increments in the design is not always possible, though is the height of efficiency to eliminate material waste. Unusual sizes could lead you to wonder whether another house could be built from the dumpster while your home is under construction.
Good design should achieve functionality without waste; ideal is a plan with the most effective use of space. For instance, hallways need to be wide enough to move things around, though not wide enough to hang out in. Two-story foyers can be dramatic, however, high ceilings and excessive width are costly to construct, and also to heat and air condition over the life of the home.

Families are re-assessing bedroom size, understanding this is not where much time is spent, instead placing priority on comfortable, and not enormous, space in public rooms. More homeowners are opting not to include a fireplace in the main living area; acknowledging it is often underused, placement can compromise furniture arrangement or view, and can steal precious square feet from the plan.
Standard cabinet sizes and appliances will greatly assist in controlling your budget. Use of 42 inch tall wall cabinets is nearly requisite in kitchens in our area; elimination of soffit above, that requires additional framing and finishing can help offset added expense of cabinet height. As an alternative to upper cabinets, open shelving suits seaside styles. Both of these promote an open feeling. Ranges and built-in microwaves on an exterior wall permit less complicated and more efficient direct venting.

Paneled wall treatments are integral to cottage style, and can be accomplished with application of chair rail or wainscoting directly to sheetrock, painting the inset panels to match. This is an effective way to curb costs. Bead board adds charming effect, but is not necessary to hand apply individual 3” strips, instead, paneled sheets can be used, making installation fast and simple. Lucky too, that with this look, white paint can be applied over paint-grade wood, also assisting with keeping down costs.
Both designer and builder want the homeowner to attain the home of their dreams, and can make suggestions about a project; however, it is still up to the homeowner to stay on track with the construction documents, keep changes to a bare minimum, and make selections in line with allowances, to rule out costly surprises.
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381, or visit www.SeasideHomeDesign.com.

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Stylish Walls

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 @ 03:08 PM

By Elisabeth Lanier

Thinking about ‘style’ for this month’s article, and what it means (a distinctive appearance, having distinctive features), and having just hung a new exhibition in the gallery, got me musing on stylish walls and how to achieve them – especially in this economy, when we are looking to stretch out dollars while remaining stylish in our homes.
One really doesn’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on art. And, one can do it without resorting to reproductions which, after all, are copies – some better than others depending on the printing process – of something real.

So, let’s look at other forms of art which do require multiple copies – and how those differ from reproductions. There are, of course, posters. But, here, I’m talking about a real poster, used to advertise a real event – not something being sold as wall art. A rock concert, a theater production, a bull fight, whatever it is that is of genuine interest to you – these events are all likely to have been advertised through the posting of posters. See if you can’t snag one of these to adorn your walls – not so coincidentally, express something about the interests of your home’s inhabitants.
Then there are prints – wood block prints, linoleum block prints, silk screen prints, etchings, darkroom photographs – all of these methods are subject to the vagaries of the human hand. Which means that the resultant prints are individual and subject to variations, some subtle, some less so. Because of these variations, print runs are limited – and it says so on the print. But this also means that the print you choose for your wall is as unique and individual as you are – and isn’t that part of what style is all about?
There are other, more technologically advanced printing methods – lithography, offset printing, all the way up to present-day digital printing – that are capable of producing the exact same image hundreds, even thousands of times over.

But, let’s say you are not a fan of any kind of reproduction. How can you express your own sense of style on a limited budget?
Maps are an ingenious and innovative way of creating wall art. You might be lucky enough to find a lovely old map of some part of the country that is dear to you – check your local flea markets or a good second-hand bookstore. Or, hang a contemporary map and use it to illustrate, with ribbon or markers where your travels have taken you. This, then, becomes not only an original piece of wall art, but a very distinctive one as well.
A way of hanging original work on your walls that artists have employed for generations is the ‘barter.’ And, it’s true that among artists this means trading one original piece of art for another original piece of art – which is one reason that artists’ homes are the interesting, varied, textured and unique expressions of personal style that they are. But, there is nothing wrong with asking the artist who created a piece which you extravagantly admire if they would consider a barter for something that you can offer, be it produce from your garden, or a service that you provide in your line of work (an engine tune-up, a manicure, painting the walls of your bathroom, a lesson in computer technology). Be creative with what you can bring to the table and you may end up with a cherished work of art.
Lastly, and in my mind one of the best sources of original and relatively inexpensive artwork are exhibitions hosted by local colleges. Colleges that offer art classes, or those that offer a Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA), or those that are art and design schools, organize students’ work for exhibition and sale. This is a great time to catch a rising star, and in do doing, to encourage a budding artist. Check your local newspapers or online sources for times and locations. (Some great local resources would be Galveston College here on the island, College of the Mainland in Texas City, and for the more adventurous, Glassell School of Art in Houston.)
Just bear in mind that your walls don’t have to look like something off an assembly line – with a little persistence and imagination, your walls can be filled with original, engaging and inexpensive real art.
Elisabeth Lanier is an interior designer and space planner who, with her husband, is co-owner of DesignWorks, gallery and interior design studio, at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. She can be reached at 409-766-7599.

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Drought: A Long Period With Little or No Rain

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 @ 03:08 PM

By Jan Brick, Certified Master Gardener

Is your garden as dry, burned up and crispy as mine? Recently there has been much discussion of the problems associated with the drought. Garden writers and horticulturists are valiantly making suggestions of the best plants to use in our landscaping plans and home garden. Most of us agree that native and adapted plants are the best as well as those plants that we have observed actually surviving and thriving this summer but what about the long term? We must have a plan if these climate changes continue with cold winters and freezing weather then hot, dry, drought conditions in summer. With no apparent relief in sight, perhaps we should consider alternative gardening practices. As I pull up the dead and dying annuals that I had always enjoyed, I am seriously considering a change in my landscape attitude. With that said, let’s take a serious look at the concept called “Xeriscape.”

Xeriscape refers to the conservation of water through creative landscaping. Originally developed for drought-afflicted areas, today the principles of xeriscape have a broadening appeal. Landscaping projects can benefit from this alternative as we have come to realize that water is an expensive and limited resource, xeriscaping lowers consumption of water; xeriscape plants along with soil grading and mulching takes full advantage of rainfall retention; with xeriscaping, less time and work is needed for maintenance.
The world’s first Xeriscape Demonstration Garden was created at the Denver Botanic Gardens in 1986. Its design was based on seven principles.
Plan and Design
Create a plan that indicates the areas for turf, beds, views, screens and slopes.
Soil Amendment
The ideal soil in a water-conserving landscape does two things: it drains quickly and stores water at the same time; this can be achieved by increasing the amount of organic material in your soil and keeping it well aerated. Compost is the best additive; peat moss and rice hulls can be helpful as well.
Plant Selection
For best results, select native or adapted plants along with drought-resistant plants. Group plants with similar light and water requirements in an area that matches these requirements. Grassy areas will require the most water while shrubs and perennial beds will require approximately half the amount. For south and west exposures, use plants that need a minimum of water while along the north and east exposure, choose plants that require more moisture. Planting trees helps to reduce evaporation by blocking wind and shading the soil.
Efficient Watering Techniques

Soaker hoses and drip-irrigation systems offer the easiest and most efficient watering for xeriscapes because they deliver water directly to the base of the plant reducing moisture loss from evaporation and encouraging root absorption at a slow rate. Xeriscapes can be irrigated efficiently by hand or with an automatic sprinkler system, however avoid oscillating sprinklers and sprinklers that throw water high in the air or release a fine mist. The most efficient sprinklers release big drops close to the ground. Water deeply and infrequently to develop deeper roots. To reduce the chance of evaporation do not water during the heat of the day and install a rain sensor if you have an automatic sprinkling system.
Mulch
Mulch keeps plant roots cool, minimizes evaporation and reduces weed growth. Cover the soil around the plants with commercially produced mulch, leaves, coarse compost, pine needles, wood chips or bark. Organic mulch will eventually incorporate into the soil and will need to be reapplied. The mulch layer should be several inches thick with no spots of bare soil. Keep mulch three inches or more below the height of your slab to minimize the chance of termite problems.
Alternative Turf
Probably the biggest change for the home landscape would be a change in the type of turf selected. Removing and replanting already established lawns could be an expensive option but may be a logical alternative for new homes and commercial development keeping in line with the popularity of ‘going green.’ Research shows that warm-season native grasses that have been cultivated for turf lawns, such as buffalo grass and blue grama, can survive with a quarter of the water that the cool season bluegrass varieties need. New cultivars of bluegrass, such as Reveille, and tall fescue, can reduce typical bluegrass water requirements by at least 30 percent. Fine fescues can provide substantial water savings and is best used in areas that receive low traffic or are in shady locations.
Maintenance
Avoid over fertilizing lawns. Turf areas should not be cut too short; taller grass (about three inches) is natural mulch that shades the roots and helps retain moisture. Annuals and perennials in garden beds need some pruning from time to time to remove dead stems, promote blooming or control height and spread. Much of this plant material can then be used in the compost bin.
The theories of a xeriscape garden may take some time and effort to actually incorporate as a course of reality in individual home gardens and landscapes but taking one step at a time; converting one area at a time can eventually accomplish this worthwhile goal.
Meanwhile as we are facing the daily challenges of just trying to keep something alive, we should follow Dr. William Johnson’s advice: “This is the time of year when we may tend to neglect our plants in the landscape and garden. A little care now will not only help help your plants withstand the rigors of summer weather, it also will reward you with a flush of color during the late summer and fall seasons.”

Flowering Plants that appear to be surviving and thriving the dry weather include the following:
Bulbine
Duranta
Esperanza
Ice Plant
Knock-out Rose
Lantana
Magnolia
Mandevilla
Marigold
Oleander
Plumbago
Penta
Periwinkle
Plumeria
Purselane
Texas Ebony
Tunera

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Chill Out…Surf’s Up Dude!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 @ 02:08 PM

By Annie Willow

Chill out this summer as you enjoy the beauty of the island. Put on your flip flops and head to the sand where there is an abundance of colorful umbrellas, comfy chairs and cones made of flavored snow for everyone. Cool gentle Gulf winds are waiting to dance through your hair as pelicans soar over calm gentle waters with grace. If you are a local or a tourist visiting Galveston, these great tips will help you keep your cool and appreciate your island experience with joy-n-ease.
Extreme temperatures combined with high humidity can make a summer day challenging even here on the coast. The human body is designed to cool itself naturally through perspiration. The sweat is released from our pores as temperatures rise and then as it evaporates away from our body our core temperature is lowered and our skin is cooled. In high humidity areas our bodies retain more heat and it takes longer to evaporate so it is important to take precaution when having fun in the sun.

A body that is well hydrated will feel cooler. Drink lots of water throughout the day and stay away from carbonated beverages as they dehydrate you rather than quench your thirst. Cucumber lemon infused water is extra hydrating, budget friendly and surprisingly tasty. Add a peeled and diced cucumber along with the juice of a lemon to a pitcher of ice water. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals while reducing acid in the body make this a refreshing summer drink.
Air conditioners are working overtime this time of year. Check your windows and doors for cracks, gaps and leaks that may let the cool out and the heat in. Switching your ceiling fans to summer mode will pull the warm air up and better circulate the breeze of the fan. Hang bamboo blinds behind your curtains to block the rays of the summer sun while creating a cool tropical feel to your beach home. Next time you change the a/c filter put a drop of peppermint essential oil on it and let the cool minty aroma freshen the air.
You know it is hot when you get out of the tub and you are sweating. Rosemary essential oil will transform your steamy bathroom into a cooling spa environment. Add a few drops of rosemary oil to your bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion. Rosemary is refreshing, energizing, and assists with taking the heat out of your body in addition to having antibacterial properties to help you combat odor during the day.
Summertime is what kids live for… friends, fun, and food! Freeze juice boxes before trips to the park or beach for flavorful slush drinks. Frozen sliced bananas, cubed melon and grapes make a healthy refreshing snack. Fill an ice chest with water balloons for a bomb of a time. Add food coloring to water and freeze in plastic containers overnight. When little attitudes are as hot as the summer sun, put the colorful ice blocks in a wading pool for story time in a floating rainbow.
Frozen water is a pup’s best friend during the dog days of summer. If your pet is serene inside make sure there is a fan blowing to keep the air circulating. There may be ‘hot spots’ that occur while you are away that you may not be aware of. Get a rope chew toy wet with water then freeze. Put frozen toy in their kennel for a refreshing chew during the day. If your pooch frolics in the yard place a ventilated doghouse in a shady area to prevent them from getting overheated. By midday the sun has warmed their water beyond the drinking point. Get an extra large bowl for their water. Freeze water in a smaller container and add to their bowl so they can have a refreshing drink throughout the day.
Everyone enjoys a relaxing walk or bike ride on the beach or the Seawall. Avoid the heat of the day as you take in Mother Nature’s finest by exercising early in the morning or in the evening. Wear a hat to shield your face from the direct summer sun and lightweight cotton clothing to allow your body’s built in cooling system to work properly. Sunscreen and polarized sunglasses are a year round must even on cloudy days. Go slow so you can see all the wonders of the island and prevent getting over heated.
Stick your toes in the sand and enjoy every moment of the last days of summer. There are plenty of memories of cool island times still to create. Surf’s up dude… pack a bag, grab a friend and chill out!
Annie Willow is proud to be an Islander By Choice, the mother of an American soldier, and the grateful owner of Happy Pretty You! Reiki Salon & Spa. A private, holistic environment to set your inner beauty free naturally. Come in for the pretty and leave feeling happy! For more information, go to: HappyPrettyYou.com or call 409-765-5502.

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Sportsman Road Survivors

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @ 05:07 PM
Designed to Enjoy, as well as Withstand the Forces of Nature

Story By Carolin Santangelo

My interest was piqued when the homeowner I had just met casually mentioned she had designed the foundation for her own home. To a construction geek like me, that is like an invitation to a party! I had to know more.
Barbara and Gary admit to beginning the design for their new house on the back of a paper napkin. They had lived for 12 years in a repurposed fish camp house on Sportsman Road. The small structure has been in this location for more than half a century, is thought to be nearly 100 years old, having probably been moved there in the 1950s. Its evolution included extending into an existing covered porch, closing it in to create a cohesive master bath and closet suite, and increasing the length of the house yet again, with another covered porch forward of it, facing the west exposure.
After 12 years on site, the homeowners knew what they wanted in a new home and began designs for the piece of land right next door. It seems they thought of everything. Construction of this fabulous home took nearly three years, and they were still in the midst of it when Hurricane Ike landed.

The fish camp suffered serious damage from Ike when a portion of the north wall was torn off and floorboards buckled and washed out of its living area. The water’s depth reached a height above the top of deck railings of the little house. Homes on either side were literally swept to sea.
Next door, the new home withstood most of the ravages of Ike. Gary was on-hand in the new house overnight during Ike to witness it. But that’s another story. The ground level foyer was inundated with nearly three feet of floodwaters creeping up the circular stairwell. A prized sculptured brass and glass cocktail table of herons in a natural looking setting of reeds sustained damage, though has been restored as centerpiece of the round foyer. Its nicks and chips have a harrowing story to tell.
Today, all is well, not only in the home constructed to, and beyond, current windstorm requirements, but also at the fish camp, come guest house, which has been reconstructed and now includes impact resistant windows and shutters.

The new home, constructed by Steven Papacuri, of Gulf Coast Homes, Inc., is built well above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), and includes not just impact resistant windows and doors; it also has the added protection of mechanical shutters. That the homeowners wish to be especially protective of their home is understandable under the circumstances. A civil engineer, Barbara credits David Franklin, Aran and Franklin Engineers, for executing the final structural design. It was Barbara’s initial concept though, which prompted use of 14-inch, above-grade concrete pilings set on a poured concrete curtain wall with depths from three to four feet, and interim beams 18 inches deep; becoming an integrated network of concrete and steel, further connected to sub-pilings extending 35 feet below grade.
Preparation for catastrophic weather events includes a whole house generator. It is powered by propane and has kicked on as recently as the last few weeks, from on-going interruptions of service due to salt corrosion on electrical lines. Storage abounds, making use of every conceivable space beneath the eaves, and is insulated with spray foam. Even mechanical spaces are insulated, providing for conditioned air in which to operate the heating and air conditioning equipment, making for a most efficient system.

The fiber cement siding exterior in a soft peach with white trim is beautifully accessorized by a stacked limestone treatment around the pilings below, up to the base of the house, only adding to the home’s overall feeling of permanence. White aluminum rails are a lovely complement, continuing the theme in this low-maintenance exterior.
Use of windows and glass doors in the home’s design is extensive, benefitting interior spaces with the full impact of sweeping views of the bay, causeway and wetlands. The interior is finished in exotic wood finishes and exquisite custom cabinetry, topped with unique stone counters. Everywhere are mementos of family and travels; artwork found in the places they visit, or which demonstrate connections to their hometowns and locales. The circular stairwell is encompassed by brass railing, conceived by Barbara and Gary, which emulates reeds and cattails.

Designed with the accommodation of extended family in mind, the floor plan includes four bedrooms, each with adjoining baths. Large living areas are centered on each of the two main living floors, each with a bowed wall facing the bay, and connecting to wide expanses of slate covered porches with comfortable weatherproof chairs to take in the sunsets. A conditioned, custom wine room is convenient to the family room. Glass railings topped with wood rails expand the spaces from front to back of the house by extending views throughout from the wetlands to the bay.
Barbara and Gary dedicated their hearts to the planning of this home and details show it at every turn. They are ensured many years of pleasure by their keen pursuit of all those features that will sustain this house for the future.
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381, or visit www.SeasideHomeDesign.com.

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Architectural Style

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @ 04:07 PM

Story & Photos By Elisabeth Lanier

Style. Well, I thought if I’m writing a column about island style, it might be a good idea to define style. The dictionary says: “A distinctive appearance typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed; the combination of distinctive features characterizing a particular group, school or era.” Please note the repetition of the word “distinctive” in describing style, which, in turn, may be described as “characteristic of one thing, and so serving to distinguish it from other things.”
Today, we’re going to talk about architectural style: what it is, what it isn’t, and how to get it.

Let’s say you’re contemplating a renovation of some part of your home, an exterior spruce up, or interior redesign, maybe your kitchen or master bath. In order for your renovation to flow, that is to blend harmoniously, you do need to pay attention to the architectural style of your building. Generally speaking, this is a more critical issue with the exterior of your home than with the interior. Still, a wildly modern glass and chrome kitchen in an otherwise nicely appointed Victorian home will grate on you – unless the renovation is designed with care and knowledge.
There is a lot of misinformation out there, especially on the home/style reality shows. For example, recently, I learned the so-called definition of a “mullion” on one of these shows. According to the hostess/designer, a “mullion” is a decorative strip that is applied to make a single large pane of glass appear to be smaller panes. In point of fact, a real mullion is the vertical structural member that divides adjacent window units.
“Muntins” are the strips of wood separating and holding actual small panes of glass in a window (or door or piece of furniture). Muntins create a grid system used to divide small panes of glass into a single window sash.

Why is this important? Well, if you take these programs as gospel, you could end up with a home that is a hodgepodge of styles. And that takes your style quotient from 10 to zero in a hurry.
So, the first thing to take away is to know the architectural style of your property. If it’s not obvious, there are many good resources, which will help you such as the library and the Internet. One of the very best resources for period architectural details and elements isour own Galveston Historical Foundation. Don’t hesitate to use their library and their expertise.
So, maybe your home was built after the Victorian era – a 1920s bungalow or a more recent tract house. When you go to renovate, make sure that the style that you borrow from is an accurate representation of one architectural style and not a pastiche of several glommed together. Nothing is less stylish than a mish-mash of inconsistent and mismatched elements.

A flattened “A” gable on a front porch is a Victorian detail; don’t use it on a Colonial Revival home. Likewise, shutters were not used on every residential style home; check to make sure that yours was – or was not – one of them. Don’t use solid shutters on the second floor of your home; second floor windows were fronted with slatted shutters – so one could see through them to the street below.
Be careful with windows. The windows of a Victorian home typically were ‘1 over 1,’ i.e., a double-hung window with one large pane of glass over one large pane of glass. This showed the wealth of the homeowner in that they could afford costly large panes of glass. The windows of homes older than that were more typically ‘6 over 6’ or ‘8 over 8.’ If you are renovating to that design ideal, replicate the details.
You don’t have to be a slave to the architectural style of your home, but please don’t ignore it either. Lots of the products on the market today honor various historical styles. For example, you can put down a tile floor in your new bathroom that identically matches the pattern of a by-gone era. You can find sinks and toilets and claw-footed tubs that replicate those of the Victorian era. And, if you’re lucky, your home might still have some of its original lighting fixtures. But, if not, not to worry; several lighting manufacturers are producing good-quality, accurate replicas of period fixtures. Contemporary elements can be introduced to leaven your renovation – unobtrusive track lighting, or a mosaic mural, or an unexpected splash of nonconforming color, or over-sized features.
Lots of design elements and details go into the completion of a successful renovation – siding and roofing materials, chimney details, window and door styles, porches, flooring, wall treatments, lighting fixtures, cabinetry, fireplace details, plumbing fixtures, colors and materials. Just make sure that your choices are in harmony with your home.
Elisabeth Lanier is an interior designer and space planner who, with her husband, is co-owner of DesignWorks, gallery and interior design studio, at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. She can be reached at 409-766-7599.

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You May Get a Charge Out of This!

Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 02:06 PM
Electrical Issues for New & Remodeled Homes

Story By Carolin Santangelo

Galveston Island has recently been the victim of inconsistent, at best, and total loss of, at its worst, electrical power. A buildup of salt corrosion on wire connections and at transformers has been the culprit in interruptions of service. The lack of rain is certainly detrimental to landscapes and agriculture, as well as risk of wild fire, but who knew how it also could affect electrical service.
When the loss of power first occurs, our initial fears are “How long will the power be off?”, “How hot will it get?”, then later, “What will it do to my electric appliances and fixtures when the power returns?”
There are a few things that you should consider whether building or remodeling, and separately, that you can do to upgrade your home’s existing electrical systems. One of the good things is a generators, in the market you can different option of generators for sale.

A whole house surge protector can be installed in your home to minimize power surge damage. This is not a $10 to $20 power strip that plugs into the wall. The whole house surge protector is a moderately priced piece of hardware, priced as little as $200. Its installation by a licensed electrician will cost about the same. The investment could save a lot of grief and costly appliance repair or replacement in the long run. Installation is required in circuit breaker slots on the electrical panel; installing two 20-amp breakers will provide the best protection, or a 220 volt 20 amp breaker can be installed.
A couple of years ago, after several power outages at our home, we had to replace the digital control panel on a brand new double oven. We subsequently had a surge protector installed. After recent outages, I found that our wine chiller would not come back on, a big disappointment; though after some investigation, we discovered that it was not the chiller, thank goodness, but that the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI or GFI) had tripped. The wine chiller is now performing just fine; too bad the wine may not be saved!
GFCIs may be considered for installation in any older house that does not have this protection. GFCIs monitor electricity flowing in a circuit, switching off if the current flowing from the circuit differs from the amount returning to it. Residential code has required GFCI protection since the 1970s, which are required for exterior locations, baths, garages and kitchens. These are meant to trip, and interrupt electric service, to protect from electric shock. Even if GFCIs are installed, keep an eye out for repeated interruptions in certain circuits, as they will wear out over time. Hair dryers and space heaters are notorious for tripping GFCIs. Luckily, they are easily replaced. Test GFCIs by plugging in a light and looking closely at the outlet to see a TEST button. Push the test button, which should kill the power to the light. Pressing the reset button will place it back in service. GFCI’s cost about $10 each but must be installed by a licensed electrician.

A much bigger investment in electrical power, and one that many clients are now including in their plans, is a stand-by generator. Cost of equipment alone can be $5,000 or more. The generator is connected to house wiring and to an alternate fuel source. It automatically powers essential appliances in case of a catastrophic weather event such as lightning, tornado or hurricane that interrupts local power service. It runs on fuels such as gas, diesel (usually for industrial service), natural gas or LPG. Where natural gas (NG) service is available, this is a convenient alternate source. Where NG is not available (e.g. parts of the West End), propane tanks provide an alternate fuel source.
The stand-by generator automatically transfers the house back to utility lines when power is restored. It will offer higher power levels than a portable generator, potentially powering your entire home’s appliances. This eliminates rotating a portable generator’s power to various appliances, especially if you can’t be on site at all times. Corrosion-resistant aluminum housing is available on some models, to keep saltwater corrosion from deteriorating its enclosure. It can be installed on a mechanical platform much like air conditioners are installed on raised houses, above the Base Flood Elevation and must be installed by a licensed electrical professional.
These considerations for your home may ensure comfort as well as the longevity of your expensive appliances. Check with a licensed electrician for more details, or consult with your builder in preparation for new construction or remodeling.
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or (409) 632-0381, or visit www.SeasideHomeDesign.com.

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Story & Photos By Carolin Santangelo

Medieval scholars believed that there was something intrinsically divine or perfect to be found in the geometry of a circle. Indeed, on the west end of Galveston Island, there exists a round house, whose use of space is prized by its current owners, TJ and Dan.

This island structure is not a yurt, and it is not a geodesic dome, and as a round house built in 1968, it is a classic example of mid-century genre. Mid-century architecture refers to buildings designed in the 1950s to 1960s. At its construction, this was one of the first houses in the west end subdivision of Sea Isle. Its aero-dynamic shape has helped it withstand storms, including Hurricanes Alicia and Ike.




The present owners of the round house were pleased to have the opportunity to acquire the property from the wife of the original owner in 2007. In deference to its unique character, they have changed very little about it, except for paint colors, which have been a dramatic and exciting improvement. The addition of an in-ground pool; a perfect circle, of course, is a wonderful compliment to the already dynamite site, a strategic corner with canal views in three directions.

The structure is raised on piling construction like most every other house on the island, however, any similarities end there. From the moment you enter the ground level foyer with its massive timber and bolt constructed stair open to the floor above, you realize you are experiencing something unusual.

The living area at the top of the stair is central to the house, with kitchen open to one side, and porch open to the opposite, and benefits from a wide circular skylight above. The owners found an ‘oh-so appropriate’ semi-circular sectional sofa to outfit the living room, making a perfect conversation area around the fireplace. Track lights lend a modern touch that fits right in to the overall theme.

The rooms on the interior of the house are designed in wedges and attention to detail is obvious (or not so obvious, in reference to its hidden doors) in everything. Interior walls are extra thick and laid-up in board and batten style cedar. The battens are not traditionally constructed, but are closely spaced, for an appearance completely reinforcing the mid-century theme of using geometric shapes to tease and stimulate the eye. Doors throughout are treated to the same battened effect, and without casings, when closed, are virtually invisible along the wall. Even the mechanical closet shares this unique treatment.
It would have been interesting to see actual construction of the house in 1968, because there are elements of the structure that can only be surmised. The wide skylight sits atop a banded, round steel collar, with wood beams supporting the ceilings and roof, radiating off at angles. Even the roof is a marvel, in that supporting radiating beams alternate carrying a valley or a gable ridge of the many peaks.
The original structure had fewer windows, with windows only just below the roof gables, than it currently enjoys, and the additions are an apparent improvement. The kitchen boasts one of these. Dan particularly appreciates the position of the kitchen in proximity to the living area, and finds it the easiest kitchen to work in that he has experienced. Both TJ and Dan cook, so the two stainless steel sinks come in handy when both are working in the kitchen. Its original features include built-in blender, warming drawer, can opener, as well as built-in Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer. Its angled bar, fitting into the wedge that is the kitchen, places the cook in the middle of the action, facing guests at the bar and views through the living area, and out to the wide porch overlooking the canal system and pool.
TJ and Dan had to make a big investment with replacement of fridge and freezer shortly after acquiring the house. After removal of the appliances, a long undetected leak was exposed, along with the resulting rotting of the floor boards beneath. The floor repair was an immediate priority, however not quite as easily solved as running down to the lumber yard for a stock replacement, as the floor was discovered to be constructed of 3” x 6” tongue and groove timber. After special milling, the repair was made and new fridge and freezer are safely ensconced in the kitchen.
The house is unique to the island and is in good hands. The owners have been entrusted with its care, and are sensitively making only minimal changes to maintain its distinctive characteristics. Thanks to TJ and Dan for sharing their island treasure.
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381.

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Building a Color Story

Friday, May 13, 2011 @ 06:05 PM

Story & Photos By Elisabeth Lanier

As an interior designer, one of the things that I am consistently called upon to furnish for my clients is a color story. The color choices with which we surround ourselves reflect a truly personal and unique selection because it is in the choice of these colors that we make a statement about what we cherish and hold dear – even if it is abstracted into a paint color or the shade of the rug under our feet. For this reason, when asked to help a client, I usually ask them how they would like their space to feel – because I’ve found that folks are better able to describe feelings better than color. Or, I’ll ask if they have something – an old quilt or a postcard of a beloved painting or a photograph – that they care deeply about and wish their space to mimic.

So, how does one build a color story? For the sake of this article, let’s say that you are my client, and that you’ve recently returned from a trip all the way across the great state of Texas. You’ve taken lots of pictures of that vast plain, that immense and windswept landscape, and you’d like your home to reflect that feeling; wide open and spare, like a great exhalation.
Look closely at all the colors in your photo (or quilt or postcard). In this photo, you will see hues of sand, taupe, straw, fawn, greige — sort of a concrete gray, kind of a lavender gray — tan, greens — both dark evergreen and new green – and, occasionally, a hit of yellow-green.
In building a color story from this photograph, my first pick would be a large element, one that has the fewest choices available – in this case, the wall-to-wall carpet – because other elements, especially paint colors, offer far greater selection. Here, I’ve selected a sand color for the carpet, while for the kitchen floor I’ve chosen a gray quarry tile, and a natural travertine (straw-colored) tile for the bathroom floor.
Next we work on other elements that have slightly more choices available. Here, I’ve chosen sand-blasted glass tiles – a gentle fawn for the kitchen backsplash and a soft dove-gray for the bathroom tub surround and, for the kitchen countertops, a Delicatus White granite.

The wall paint colors that I’ve selected are subtle shades of gray, from warm to cool, while a deep olive green serves as an accent wall in the great room. A wonderful way to unify the disparate parts of a color scheme is to use a single color for all the trim pieces. In this instance, I’m using a white tinged with just a hint of straw.
Lastly, I’m showing a few examples of upholstery fabric to tie into the overall color scheme: a sturdy gray and taupe tweed, perfect for the big sectional or sofa, with an evergreen ultra-suede for the side chairs, and a deep olive, again for accent, perhaps as toss pillows.
The result is a harmonious, simple and expansive color scheme that will inspire you to breathe as deeply as you did when overlooking that vast Texas landscape.
It’s easy to embrace color in your home, especially if you have an inspiration piece – just remember that building a color scheme is as easy as looking around.
Elisabeth Lanier is an interior designer and space planner who, with her husband, is co-owner of DesignWorks, gallery and interior design studio, at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. She can be reached at 409-766-7599.

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Ultimate in Utility

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 @ 12:04 PM

Story & Photos By Carolin Santangelo

Growing up we called it a “utility” room. It contained all the necessary mechanical equipment that kept the house running. It was a good size room just off the kitchen, with a back door to the outside. It had a large closet to enclose the breaker box, hot water heater and furnace. This room included the washer and dryer, laundry tub and a big chest freezer, where we kept extra turkeys bought on sale at Thanksgiving and the side of beef.

Above the appliances were a bank of wall cabinets that housed everything from cleaning supplies to the roasting pan and large serving platters that only came out at the holidays. Between kitchen and laundry was a three-quarter bath with sink, toilet and shower.
Our dog, Tinkerbelle, slept in the mechanical closet, because it was the warmest place in the house during the winter!
Gone are the days when the washer and dryer are installed on the ground level of our raised island houses, or in basements in the North or mid-west. We deserve better than that. For many older island homes, laundry was often an afterthought, when a weekend fish camp was all that was conceived, and then the demands of vacations with extended family at the beach, with all the towels and linens that it requires, needed to conveniently be washed, and so the connections were patched into the garage.

During the design phase for small houses and weekend homes, it is tempting for the prospective homeowner to suggest they can get away with a compact closet space to house a stackable washer and dryer. I don’t recommend this, and as a matter of fact, have never developed a house design that limited the laundry space to this extent.
While your place on the island may be a weekend house now, and you think you can get by without a larger laundry area, what if someday you (or the next owner) will live there full time and may have need of more functional space to manage weeklong laundry needs?
At a minimum, I recommend a space that can accommodate side-by-side washer and dryer, with cabinet space above. A floor drain is recommended, though not required by building code in all areas. Having the exhaust vent recessed into the wall can help to conserve space required for this bulky attachment.
Where the location on an exterior wall will permit, I particularly like to include a modest sized (not dinky) window that will allow the person tasked with the laundry to have natural light, and a view of the outdoors while they fold clothes.

In larger houses, the space can be designed to incorporate an adjoining room to function as a butler’s pantry, for pantry goods as well as storage of those extra or seasonal serving items and stemware. It may even include a beverage cooler, or an additional refrigerator. In the largest homes, optional features of this space may be computer desk, hobby and craft storage, so plan for extra electrical outlets, cable and phone connections, too.
Front load appliances can be installed at floor level, with a work surface above, or raised on storage cabinets for easier access. A recent client requested a built-in platform just high enough to fit her laundry baskets out of sight below.
In my own home, the laundry includes a full size stainless steel utility sink. It comes in handy for those larger items that need to be pre-treated or soaked, and is a great place to wash the dog (has a ceramic tile surround for easy cleanup). Adjacent is a small chest freezer, which also makes a great folding surface. A folding step stool fits snugly against the wall. Wall cabinets above the sink contain the iron and cleaning supplies for the whole house, and a hanging rod above the freezer (and hidden from the kitchen behind the door) is used to hang those items that should be air-dried. Above the washer and dryer is a window with a pleasant view of the palm trees on the side yard, and across to the piers. That’s why we’re here, isn’t it?
Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381.

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Studio Tour Kicks Off at Bogan Gallery

Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 04:03 PM

2011 marks the second year that Galveston’s most prominent artists have opened their studios for public tours. Based on similar events across America, this tour has the added attraction of taking place in one of America’s most historic cities. Visitors will be treated to studios in lofts, in historic homes and everything between. The tour is free and open to the public.The 2011 Studio Tour kicks off with an artist’s reception on Friday, March 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Bogan Gallery. Stop by and meet all the studio tour artists, view a sampling of their works, and pick up information about the tour.

The show at Bogan Gallery is comprised of several examples of each Studio Tour artist’s work, and these will remain on view/sale through April 23. Saturday, March 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the first day of the studio tour which continues during the day Sunday, March 13, from noon to 5 p.m.This is a wonderful opportunity to interact with the artistic community in Galveston and to see the wide variety of inventive spaces used for studios on the island. Each artist will offer their works for sale, and will have information on the location of the other studios on the tour. In addition, Saturday evening is an ArtWalk evening where local galleries, including Bogan Gallery, will remain open from 6 to 9 p.m.
This year’s participating artists are: Stephanie Thomas, Danny Pickett, George Bowes, Gayle Reynolds, Marie Leterme, Martha Terrill, Janet Hassinger, Kamila Szczesna, Kathy Nixie, Sallie Anderson, Loretta Trevino, Rene WIley, and Robyn Pandolph. A wide range of media is represented from kite making to watercolor, from ceramics to cloth design. Supporters, without whom the tour would not be possible, include Galveston.com, the Galveston Historical Foundation, AHGI and the Galveston Arts Center.
Also at Bogan Gallery from March 11 through April 23 is wood sculptor Chris Hedrick whose art is an extension of himself. It reflects his passions: reptiles, surfing, wildlife, cars, construction and certain shapes and foods. Whether in sculpture, paintings or mixed media, his work is defined by unique – frequently tongue-in-cheek – combinations of subjects and contrasting materials. Currently he is creating small scale sculptures in exotic hardwoods – using the natural colors and grain of the woods as descriptive elements in the sculpture. The pieces are playful with odd combinations of subject and materials. All of Hedrick’s pieces are made from a single piece of wood, but the trompe l’oeil effect is astounding.
Bogan Gallery is a Fine Arts Gallery located at 2217 Postoffice. Gallery hours beginning March 12 will be Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Call 409-765-1711 for more information or visit the gallery website at www.bogangallery.com.The gallery accepts most major debit and credit cards, checks, cash, Bogan Gallery gift certificates and offers payment plans on select pieces.

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My Favorite Things

Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 04:03 PM

Story & Photos By Carolin Santangelo

Galveston Island, like other seaside communities, has many homes with unique “coastal” features.
Many of these features stand out from the crowd, and have become my favorites. However, including all into a single design might make for an unusual structure. Think of it like Dr. Frankenstein working with spare body parts in his “La-bor-a-tory”. Not all the notable features I like could or should be used together, so I will share just a few that I might include if I had the opportunity to design and build a new house of my own again.

There is a cupola on one house that I particularly enjoy; it is combined with the sentiment of a lighthouse. That this cupola stood through the powerful winds of hurricane Ike makes me appreciate it more. Because it is a mostly glass structure, I’m not sure it could be reproduced today, as windstorm requirements might be difficult to accommodate without special engineering, since this was probably built about 20 years ago.
With the many varieties of roof materials available, my first and favorite choice would be a metal roof. Not just galvanized metal, as found on old farmhouses, but heavy gauge aluminum, with a Kynar patented finish. This lends the perfect, cottage look to island style, and in a maintenance free, long lasting bright finish that will withstand the rigors of gulf coast extremes.

Our island is a place where we are free to use exterior colors that we might not have used in suburbia. My new favorite exterior siding color is one I see on every trip along the seawall. Over time, this condo complex has replaced its aging taupe colored stucco with fiber cement siding painted in a variety of colors, with a coordinated beach-y effect. It has acquired a fun, new personality with this facelift.
My personal favorite is a cheerful, bold, aquamarine color trimmed so aptly in crisp white, which might go great with my choice of roofing (above).
Operable shutters are not a necessity as long as impact resistant (hurricane) windows are installed; however shutters with shutter dogs would complete the ideal look. Shutter dogs are metal decorative tieback hardware (originally hand-wrought iron, but now available in rust resistant aluminum and stainless steel) that served a function of holding the shutter open against the wall on the outside.
If it is necessary to close the shutters, the shutter dogs are turned to release, and shutters are fastened closed from the inside, providing security against the elements. If operable shutter dogs are not required, they also are available as a fixed decorative accessory.

Assuming there were no height or floor level restrictions in the neighborhood, I’d further include a viewing tower atop the house. It wouldn’t need to be large; in fact that is part of the charm of a loft tower. It would incorporate comfortable bench seating with throw pillows, and have windows low enough to view the scenery from a seated position all around. It could be outfitted with a powerful telescope to view the stars at night. The windows would all have opening sashes, so that the breezes can be enjoyed, and would help ventilate the whole house on those days when the temperature is just right.
These are just some of the features I would try in incorporate into a new design of my own. You too, can dream; start taking photos or clip pages from a coastal magazine, make selections of colors and materials, so that you can include a few favorite things of your own when you are ready to start a home construction or remodeling project.

Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects. Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381.

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Enjoy a Fireside Chat

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 @ 11:02 AM

Story & Photos By Carolin Santangelo

Franklin D. Roosevelt immortalized the fireside chat during the 1930s, understanding the importance of setting a scene where the nation could imagine him sitting in their living rooms, speaking to each directly.

On the blustery days we experience during winter months, you may be grateful to have a fireplace. A roaring fire entices one to sit inside awhile and enjoy a fireside chat, or to curl up with a good book. If you want to incorporate a fireplace into your new home, or remodel an existing room with fireplace, there are important items to take into consideration.

Scale of a fireplace, in relation to the room it will be featured in, is critical. A fireplace can command your attention and may become the focal point of a room. If the fireplace is to be used in a room with a competing view of the outdoors, a lot of thought needs to be given to its position. The presence of a fireplace may reorient seating areas within a room. Seating areas should permit equal viewing of both the outdoors as well as to the interior and fireplace. This can occasionally be difficult to do and can compromise comfortable seating arrangements.

Where a house plan has been developed to fully encompass the buildable footprint on the site, it may be necessary to bring the fireplace inside the room, as the additional distance that it would otherwise protrude will not be acceptable to the city or subdivision which enforces building setback lines. If inside the room, one must keep in mind the space that it will consume, as the fireplace becomes an unavoidable large mass. Prefab firebox installation usually requires a depth of a minimum of 2’4” into the room to its front face.

If your ideas extend to having built-in cabinetry on either side of your fireplace for books, collectibles or an entertainment center, the space that will be consumed will likely be a minimum 2’ depth all across one end of the room. A hearth, if desired, will also encroach into the room. In a large room, this can be a beautiful focal point. In a small room, unless handled very carefully, this look can come across as overwhelming. To conserve space, a hearth of the same finish material as the fireplace face can be inset flush with the floor, for an extension of the required non-combustible surface.

Another complication to fireplace location is the position of a large television, if it also will have a presence in the room. The television will compete for attention and becomes another diversion, whether from the fireplace as focal point, or the view as focal point. Mounting mechanisms of TVs will extend out from the wall. If planned for, flat screen, wall mounted televisions can be recessed into spaces above the fireplace. While a very good use of space, it may not be the look for everyone, as it still presents a large black, blank screen when not in use.

Your choice of finishes can determine the style of the room and may range from stacked, split or round rock, brick, granite or tile. Contemporary fireplace styles often incorporate a flat finish for the face, sometimes even without a mantel. Popular are ceramic tile, marble or granite to provide this clean look.

Double-sided and peninsula fireboxes are available from Heatilator and other manufacturers, which can be utilized between living and dining areas, for instance, or between master bedroom and bath. Manufacturers now offer exciting decorator feature fireplaces, as well as electric fireplaces and direct vent fireplaces; others feature remote controls.

Even in the largest of homes on the island, homeowners sometimes make decisions in favor of the view instead of incorporation of a fireplace in the living space.

While it may be an attractive element in your home’s style, if your home is small and your primary interest is to conserve space, then maybe a fireplace is the feature to live without.

Consider how often you may actually use it and decide if it fits into your life style. If its use in the plan will compromise your view of the beautiful outdoors, it may best be left out of the scope. You can always invite friends to visit around your chiminea or fire pit.

Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects.

Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381.

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Have a Back Up Plan with Solar Panels

Monday, December 6, 2010 @ 07:12 PM

Story & Photos By Justin Owens

In the quiet historic island neighborhood of Denver Court, you wouldn’t even notice the 10 solar panels on top of Cheryl Watson’s garage roof if you were driving by. As much money as they are saving, their purpose is more than just lowering her electric bill. This unique system actually is comprised of a backup power center located inside her garage, with eight batteries in a neat and lockable cabinet.

This system has been designed to provide power to Watson’s kitchen circuits in the event of a power outage.

“Especially for long outages like we have after hurricanes, I would really like to have a ceiling fan, my refrigerator, radio/TV, and maybe some outlets along the kitchen counter to use, without the hassle of a gas-powered generator,” she said to me at the 2010 Home & Garden Show. After a few months of planning and decisions, she now has everything she had hoped for.

This system was an adventure for us and different than our regular “grid-tied” solar power systems.

A “grid-tied” system comprises generally of the solar panels, an inverter which changes the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the solar panels to alternating current (AC) electricity (which is what our homes use), and the connection to the power grid. These systems are the most common due to their lower costs, but if the grid power goes down, so go your lights.

The Watson house PV (solar electric) system is what we call a “grid-tied with battery backup” system. This system works pretty much the same way as a “grid-tied” system, but the difference is in an additional power center and an isolated breaker panel. In this instance, the isolated panel provided the circuits for the kitchen appliances Watson had requested.

During normal operation, the solar panels provide power to all of the home’s energy needs. During an outage, the power center keeps all of the electricity produced by the solar panels confined to the sub-panel. During the day, the solar panels work continuously to charge the batteries and power the loads. At night, the loads draw power from the batteries. Then it starts all over again the next day, up until grid-power resumes and the system automatically goes back to normal operations.

It is similar to that of a backup generator, but without the noise, smell, maintenance and worry about fuel supply. These systems also qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit and are an option when considering any backup/standby generator.

Renewable energy has been picking up along the Texas Gulf Coast, and there is no better place for it than in Galveston. With our abundance of sunshine and breezy waterfronts, islanders have the opportunity to harvest our renewable resources and use them to our advantage.

Justin Owens is an island resident and founder of Gulf Coast Renewable Resources, Galveston County’s premier renewable energy and rainwater harvesting company. Founded in May of 2008, they now provide services for school districts, non-profit organizations, commercial institutes and homeowners. For more information, please visit their website at www.GulfCoastRenewableResources.com.

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Give the Gift of Mobility

Monday, December 6, 2010 @ 07:12 PM
Design for the Accessible Home

Story & Photos By Carolin Santangelo

Goals for the New Year may motivate you to undertake projects to make your house more accessible. You may be considering improvements for your own convenience, or you may need to accommodate the special needs of a loved one in your household. If you are considering a new home or an addition to or remodel of your existing home, there are features to incorporate into the design that will make your home more welcoming, and that will permit more independence for those whose physical condition is limiting.

Many of our island homes are multi-story; whether quaint Victorian, charming bungalow raised above flood elevation, or beach or bay house constructed on pilings. While a single level house with no elevation changes might be the biggest criteria to meet for many who are disabled, it is possible to have an elevator installed in a multi-story home to minimize part of this issue. Beyond that, there are other alterations that can be made, or careful design incorporated into your plans that will reduce the effort of those who are disabled.

ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliance, or total barrier free design may not be necessary in all circumstances, and will depend greatly on individual physical limitations. (Refer to www.Access-board.gov/ADA) If mobility is hampered by a walker or partial use of a wheelchair, it is possible to implement modest changes that will permit greater ease of use.

The next biggest obstacle to mobility, after elevation change, is door size, making a walker or wheelchair difficult or impossible to negotiate. Doors can be virtually any size, from 24” width and up, usually in 2” increments. (Yes, even smaller, and those with old homes may find unique custom sizes!) To maneuver a wheelchair, a minimum of 32”, or 2’8”, door is recommended. If the approach to a door is angled, it should be 36” wide.

It is a nice sentiment to add 3’ wide doors throughout the home, however, that alone won’t enable a handicapped individual to function without assistance. Space limitations may be the biggest constraint in accessible design. ADA compliance will require wide open designs of kitchens and baths, and rooms where a wheelchair will be expected to navigate.

On paper, these will have a look of wasted floor space; though will be necessary to accommodate the required five foot turning radius of a wheelchair. Approaches to fixtures such as sink, toilet, and bath or shower will need to be clear, and be openly accessible to fit a wheelchair beside or beneath, while the person transfers from wheelchair to fixture. Accessible toilets range from 17 to 19 inch height, or raised seats can be installed. Grab bars are a necessity to assist with safe transfer.

Bathtubs are dangerous for many of us even without disability, so a walk-in tub or roll-in shower is optimal for independent use. The roll-in shower will take a lot of space, and without a curbing to contain water, can promote drainage and slip/fall issues. Prefabricated roll-in style shower stalls are available in various sizes. Single handle bath and shower faucets are recommended throughout. Vanity cabinets will require a clear knee space for seated or wheelchair access. Other items will assist, such as a shower seat, a tilt mirror over vanity, and storage shelving built to appropriate heights.

There are measures that can be undertaken to design the kitchen for ease of use. Rather than a central work island, it also will require wide open turning spaces, and wide pathways for use of walker or wheelchair.

According to A Marco from Amarco Plumbing, as with bath vanity, the kitchen sink will require clear knee space below, which may require adjusting drain plumbing to get it out of the way. Raised dishwashers are recommended for ease of use, and a microwave installed on or below counter level is a thoughtful feature. A faucet with integrated pull-out spray head offers additional convenience. Base cabinet pull-out shelf features that are becoming very popular in the mainstream are a good fit into the accessible kitchen as well, promoting handy access to pantry goods and kitchen implements.

You may be thinking of a parent or grandparent’s needs in order to make them comfortable at home. Or, you may be interested in ensuring greater access as your own mobility is hampered by advancing years. Given the opportunity, most of us would choose to retire in the comfort of our own home as long as we enjoy some mobility.

The demand for accessible housing will increase as the population ages. Your home can be remodeled or designed with modifications that will provide you with comfort and convenience to meet these needs.

Seaside Home Design, LLC endeavors to educate Islander readers regarding a full spectrum of home design and construction issues; products and materials, and construction techniques; particularly those specific to seaward construction, and also profiles interesting custom-home design projects.

Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381.

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An artist reception and preview for Electric Theatre Radio fans will be held on Friday, Nov. 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the J Bangle Gallery. All are invited — fans, friends and second cousins — to an evening with Electric Theatre Radio Hour host George Douglas Lee. Get the low down on how he creates his art (you guessed it) he makes it up.

Enjoy the First Annual Electric Theatre Radio Hour award ceremony that will feature the newly established ‘Good Egg Award’ to a lucky recipient who has no idea it’s coming. Lee has promised to get out his guitar and learn one of his songs all or part of the way through.

“Out Of His Depth,” an exhibition of unique and vibrant acrylic and watercolor paintings will be featured at J BANGLE GALLERY on Saturday, Nov. 27 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Lee’s newest paintings are inspired by the Gulf of Mexico and feature under water seascapes as well as impressions of beach and marsh landscapes. He has also created a series of pieces which feature stamped metal ceiling panels, circa 1915, framed in century-old red pine from Galveston Island homes; aptly named, “Ceilings On The Wall.”
Over the years, Lee has shown extensively in Galveston and the greater Houston area.

George Douglas Lee earned a BFA in fine arts and graphic design from Sam Houston State University. He has worked as an illustrator, graphic artist and audiovisual specialist. His work includes portraits, landscapes, surrealism and non-objective pieces, accomplished in a variety of styles and media.

Lee was born and raised on Galveston Island and was recently commissioned to do a portrait of Galveston Band Director, Frank Incaprera, which is displayed in Galveston’s City Hall. Lee is also a produced playwright, screenwriter and performing musician. For more information about the artist, go to www.georgedouglaslee.com.

Just in time for Christmas, stationary featuring Lee’s favorite art, music and comedy CDs will be available for sale. Artwalk wine and cheese will be available.

J Bangle Gallery and Frame Shop is located at 1124 25th Street, Galveston, Texas. Call 409- 763-6161 for more information.

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GHF wins 16 Pinnacle Awards from IFEA

Saturday, October 9, 2010 @ 12:10 AM

The International Festivals and Events Association awarded 16 Pinnacle Awards to Galveston Historical Foundation on September 15 at IFEA’s 55th annual convention in Saint Louis, September 15 through 17. IFEA gives the awards each year in recognition of excellence in event and organizational marketing and promotional product development. This is the largest number of Pinnacle awards GHF has won in a single year. In 2009, GHF won 11 IFEA awards.
GHF took seven top awards in its budget class in the worldwide competition. Gold awards went to GHF’s 2009 Dickens on The Strand 30-second television commercial; GHF’s 2010 “Going Green” Historic Homes Tour 30-second radio commercial; GHF’s new Facebook page (best social media site); GHF’s “Going Green” Historic Homes Tour catalog; GHF’s “Going Green” newspaper ad; GHF’s 2009 Victorian Bed Races at Dickens on The Strand (best new event within an existing festival); and GHF’s 2009 Rebirth 5K Race (best new event).
The IFEA honored GHF with six silver awards for the following: 2010 Battle of Galveston poster (best promotional poster); “Green Revival” Historic Homes Tour media relations campaign; “Dickens’ Dream” T-Shirt (best T-Shirt design); “Dickens’ Dream” Puzzle (best other merchandise); Visit Historic Galveston (best single display ad); and Historic Galveston Rebirth stationery and envelopes (best company image pieces).
The IFEA gave GHF three bronze awards in the following categories: best commemorative poster for its “Green Revival” Historic Homes tour poster of Eugene Aubrey watercolors; best single newspaper display ad for its “Dickens Dream” newspaper ad; and best single magazine display ad for its “Dickens Dream” magazine ad.
GHF staff members responsible for creating the award-winning promotional products were Clay Wade, events director; Jami Durham, events coordinator; Peggy Clark, events coordinator; Michael Bowery; events coordinator; Molly Dannenmaier, marketing and public relations director; David Canright, graphic designer and photographer; and Denise Alexander, director of museums and museum programs.
Freelancer John Rice produced the gold-winning television commercial. Volunteers Bob Ford and Vandy Anderson produced the gold-winning radio commercial and the gold TV audio track.
Galveston Historical Foundation, the second-largest local historic preservation organization in the U.S., preserves and revitalizes the architectural, cultural and maritime heritage of Galveston Island for the education and enrichment of all. For complete information about GHF’s programs, events, attractions, and stewardship activities, visit www.galvestonhistory.org.

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WHOA –

Saturday, October 9, 2010 @ 12:10 AM
What does HOA have to do with my home design

Story & Photos By Carolin Santangelo’

Conformance with deed restrictions can lead to a picture perfect neighborhood!

WHOA – What does an HOA have to do with my home design?
Whether designing to build, or redesigning to add on, you must be aware of restrictions applying to your subdivision; the bylaws and rules of the Home Owners’ Association (HOA).
You may have purchased in a neighborhood that has deed restrictions, which can also be known as by-laws, or covenants. Covenant is an old word with the sacred connotation of a pledge or commitment. At purchase, owners make a commitment to abide by the rules.
If you are considering purchasing a home or vacant land within a developed subdivision, there is a high probability it is governed by deed restrictions. Confirm this with the seller or listing agent, and request a copy for review prior to closing. Most real estate purchase contracts require the seller provide the buyer with a copy for review prior to closing. Or, you can purchase a copy directly from the homeowners’ association for a nominal fee. Should you have any concerns about your intended plans for the home or property, request clarification from the HOA.
Lack of knowledge of the restrictions is not an acceptable defense should you attempt to construct something out of character with these rules. It behooves you to have a good understanding before you sign on the dotted line. If you have purchased in a subdivision that has rules, you must assimilate! You have a responsibility, which you signed upon, to adhere to these. Seek approval of the HOA prior to any construction or improvement; even painting and color selection may require review!
There is always one guy on the block who bought because he found the neighborhood attractive, and then says: “Nobody is going to tell me what I can do!” Management companies have attorneys at their disposal, which will first warn with a letter, and if needed, can pursue legal encumbrances on the property. An HOA has first right of lien – and if what is done with a property, in violation of the deed restrictions, is worthy of it, the HOA can pursue legal action to get the issue corrected.

Conformance with deed restrictions can lead to a picture perfect neighborhood!

Your lot may be 50 feet wide, and you are thinking of constructing a home or addition that will take advantage of its width, yet the build-able footprint may be as little as 34 feet. Subdivision restrictions vary, and may require as much as 8 to 10 feet wide side yard setback. Where subdivisions do not define a building setback, city ordinances take precedent. For example, Galveston mandates a minimum 3 feet wide side yard setback for lots less than 50 feet wide at the street. While a neighborhood might like to enforce more; for instance, 5 feet, unless it is part of the covenants, only a 3 feet minimum setback can be enforced. Every neighborhood is different, some have deed restrictions on rear setback lines of as much as 15 to 20 feet, and others, usually along canal waterfront, may have no definition.
Occasionally a prospective client has an idea of a house design found in a plan book or on-line, and after a quick evaluation it is apparent that it won’t fit on their lot! What seemed to be an adequate width is constricted by building setbacks in a way that won’t permit a house plan of the size or configuration the homeowner had in mind!
Similarly, when planning an addition, there can be limits to what can be constructed. Just because a pre-existing patio or deck has been there for ages, a room addition in that location may not be acceptable. Aerial, or overhead, restrictions and easements may not permit a more permanent structure. Height restrictions also exist in some deed restrictions: limiting by either of height in feet, or height by number of floors.
There are developments which require specific features; i.e. exposed rafter tails for a cottagey look, metal roof, specific lighting, or an aesthetic that only their architectural control committee may be able to define; including types of siding, specific color palettes, or articulations that will define each house as unique. All these items can impact the design of the home. Make yourself familiar with the restrictions that apply to your property before planning a remodel, addition, or new construction. Comply with the terms; do not assume that a waiver will be awarded in your case. You can still have a great house on the island, and maintain a great relationship with your HOA and the neighbors!
Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409-632-0381.

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Galveston Galleries

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 @ 12:09 AM

Bogan Gallery highlights Local Color

Bogan Gallery continues with the paintings of artist Joyce Howell in her one woman show, “Local Color.”  Howell’s abstract works use softly blended colors of blues, grays and greens to promote a mood of calmness and serenity while other works use orchres, oranges and browns to impart a feeling of gentle warmth. 
Works that she calls, “stains,” are made on paper using inks, tea, varnishes and oils.  A Howell painting is the perfect way to bring the colors of the sea and sand into your home.
 
New to Bogan Gallery is artist Diana Atchetee, who is inspired by nature, particularly birds such as cardinals, ravens and hummingbirds.  
Atchetee’s hummingbird works are done in her signature style and add beauty to any modern or traditional decor. She pays particular attention to the details which distinguish each bird while adding a decisively human element, such as lettering, to reflect the relationship between man and nature. 
Faithfully adhering to the vibrant colors nature has assigned to the fowl, Atchetee chooses the background and lettering colors to create an equally vibrant man-made backdrop.
  Bogan Gallery is located at 2217 Postoffice in the heart of the historic downtown arts and entertainment district in Galveston, Texas. Hours and days of operation are: Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Bogan Gallery accepts most major credit and debit cards, cash, checks and offers payment plans on select works. 
  For more information call 409-765-1711, or visit the website, www.bogangallery.com   
   

DesignWorks presents Saralene Tapley: ‘Free Floating’

 

“Free Floating,” an exhibition of new paintings by Saralene Tapley (Galveston Island, TX.) opened on the August 28 ArtWalk at DesignWorks Gallery and continues until October 3.
Saralene Tapley (Galveston Island, TX.) takes a respite from producing the exceptional portraits for which she is justly known, to produce these artful studies of bodies at play in an unfamiliar medium – water. She is at her expressionistic best in these paintings of people cavorting in water.
Expressionism is a style of painting in which the artist seeks to express emotional experience rather than an impression of the external world. Expressionists characteristically reject traditional ideas of beauty and harmony and, instead, employ exaggeration and distortion to express and emphasize the inner world of emotion.
Tapley’s abundant talent continues to shine forth – her exceptional skill handling paint – her deft and imaginative use of color – but in these paintings there is something more. Having lived in other parts of the world, she also brings to her own work exposure to a variety of world cultures, counter-culture artwork and ancient and contemporary techniques, while her subject matter has to do solely with human experience.
In this body of work, she exactly captures the feeling of being weightless and at ease in the water. Resting, twirling, somersaulting, pirouetting, these studies of others and self-portraits express the effortless quality of being in the water. Tapley is fascinated by the play of light, by the buoyancy of bodies and by the luminescence of color, all while being under water. These compelling images are, at once, vigorous and graceful studies – vigorous in being painted with broad strokes and daubs, and graceful in capturing the effortlessness of free floating.

 The Gallery at DesignWorks is located at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, closed or by appointment, (409) 766-7599.


   
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Shady Character

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 @ 03:08 PM

By Carolin Santangelo

pergolaThis is the time of year you find yourself seeking out a breezy, shady spot to sit a spell. It is late in the summer, heat is built up in the atmosphere and by now we’re almost weary of it. Even the gulf isn’t very refreshing when it is so warm.

 

The best house design for our locale will incorporate outdoor areas such as open sun decks with thought given to some kind of shade or cover.  Shady porches are an integral part of most prospective homeowner requests. It is particularly important for those who have spent time on the island before and have a pretty good idea how prevailing wind and sun direction will affect their new home’s livability.

 Recent clients include those whose homes were irreparably damaged by hurricane Ike; their original homesteads having succumbed to a wrecking ball. After the sadness has passed, many of these clients embraced the opportunity to build a new custom home, specific to their family’s needs. Each knows their location well, benefits as well as disadvantages, and none would live anywhere else.

 If budgets permit, most prospective homeowners who have the opportunity to develop new designs, desire covered porches both on the street side — for protected access to front entry — and on the view side — whether that be beach, bay, canal or preserve — for easy access to and from living areas.  While the western sun exposure gets a bad rap, don’t neglect to cover areas that are east facing, which can use a break from summer’s hot early morning sun.

A feature that is being incorporated into covered decks is a screened enclosure, often intended for outdoor dining, with direct access to indoor kitchen and eating areas. Screened–in porches ensure unwanted guests like mosquitoes or other seasonal bugs don’t interrupt outdoor dining events. 

 A pergola can be an attractive and reasonably priced addition to most any style existing home, providing relief from the sun. Pergolas can be a quick and easy construction project over an existing deck. Manufacturers even package pergolas for purchase as kits. This may be a DIY (do-it-yourself) project for those who are handy and so inclined. Local contractors can probably whip up a project of this type within days. Open joists, particularly of 2” x 8”, or greater depth, will provide filtered shade, which may be great solution if you are concerned about reducing natural light to adjacent indoor areas. 

On the other hand, this look won’t provide rain protection in the event you’d like to entertain outdoors and a sudden rainstorm (we’ve recently had plenty of them) would spoil your event. Though a pergola can even be combined with removable canvas shades, this will barely stop a shower, and a canvas cover ideally should be removed in the event of extreme weather.

A more permanent alternative is to add a covered porch, with roof, to your deck or to parts of your deck. A partial cover can be added, for instance, over just half the deck. Any size cover or overhang projection may be possible. Always review your construction decision with your local HOA and city. There may be restrictions on the type of elevated or overhead structure that is allowed. No structure (decks, etc.) is permitted within a lot’s building set backs or easements and a building permit will be required.

 Make sure that your contractor is experienced and has a good reputation. Ask for references and to see his or her previous work. You need a contractor who will do a good job of roofing and flashing appropriately where roof cover joins the existing, so that water penetration into the walls won’t become an issue. This means making certain that metal flashing is tucked beneath the bottom of existing siding and laps over the top of the new surface to be applied.

 If you plan to add any type of porch cover, make sure it is sensitive to the scale and design of your house; so that it doesn’t overwhelm or offend it. You are looking for a feature that will provide comfort at the same time it adds character to your home.

 Seek out a shady spot and find your happy place!

Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. To contact her, visit: SeasideHome@windstream.net, or call 409-632-0381.

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Gift Shops of Galveston

Friday, July 2, 2010 @ 01:07 PM
Find treasures at the Island’s many gift shops along the beach
Treasure Trove
by lori thompson
 
If you look up and down any coastline, you’ll see plenty of gift shops.  Galveston beach is no exception.  There are several shops on the Seawall that stand out among the others.
Murdochs is the oldest gift shop in town.  At 100 years old, it still stands over the water at the end of 22nd St.  In fact, in April of this year, they had their 100 year celebration.  The money raised by this party was given to Ronald McDonald House.  Laura Flores runs Murdochs now.  The shop has been run by the same family all these years.  They are known for their extensive seashell collection.  They also carry just about every type of Galveston Island souvenir you can think of.  According to Laura, “If you can’t find it here, you won’t be able to find it!”  The tin roof bar that is part of the same building features frozen drinks, beer, and sodas that you can enjoy out on the deck, sitting in a rocking chair.

 
A bit further east, at the end of 5th Street, you will find Wings.  Wings owns and operates over 30 locations across the beaches of America.  WingsThey feature high quality clothing, swimwear, shoes, souvenirs, and beach accessories.  Since its founding in 1978, Wings has offered the best selection at affordable prices.  It is known for its trend setting designs that are unmatched by the competition. Check out their website:  wingsbeachwear.com for daily specials and other featured products.
 

Bargain BeachwearAt 4708 Seawall you will find Bargain Beachwear. For the past 25 years, Bargain Beachwear has offered the largest selection of swimwear in Galveston.  They feature plus-sizes for both men and women.  According to the owner, Izzy, any size, from XS to 5XL can find swimwear, beachwear and T-shirts.  Those custom T-shirts can be created from over 1,000 designs.  The moment you walk into Bargain Beachwear, you notice the wide variety of clothing and souvenirs displayed literally from the floor to the ceiling.  Stop in for a coupon for 15% off any merchandise!

 


As you continue west along the Seawall, you will find Dolphin World at 8910 Seawall.  They offer a huge selection of brand name beachwear, sportswear and swimwear, as well as accessories such as hats, shades, sandals, tanks and tees.  They also carry souvenirs from small-scale boats, seashells, hermit crabs, and just about everything else you can think of. 

Finally, Treasure Trove is located in Jamaica Beach.  Treasure Trove is not a souvenir shop or “shell shop” according to owner Debbie Kubeczka.  They carry resort/casual wear, bathing suits and cover ups, candles, bath and body products, home, garden and deck décor and plenty of gifts and seasonal items.  In addition, they feature Vietri hand-crafted Italian ceramics.  Clearly, Treasure Trove IS a treasure trove for quality gifts and garments.  Visit them at giftsandgarments.com.

With such a variety of gift shops on the Seawall, you are sure to find just the right souvenir, gift, swimsuit or clothing!
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Taking an 80s Contemporary to New Urban Modern

Thursday, July 1, 2010 @ 02:07 PM

By Carolin Santangelo

Facing stunning sunset views of the back bay, and with canal access, Cindy and Dave almost had it all in the house on the far west end they purchased five years ago. The three bedroom, two bath house had enough sleeping accommodations although it didn’t have enough living space. In a somewhat constant state of improvement, its great features have been enhanced over the last few years. 
An attractive built-in pool was added first; its amenities include in-water bar stools that overlook the bay.  The original 80s contemporary style (or ‘contemptible’ style, if you will, due its poor use of space) had high clerestory ceilings, which contained huge and impressive, though generally useless, volumes. After a couple of  years dealing with the constraints of cramped living and dining areas, Cindy and Dave decided to enlarge the space by enclosing an underused deck. It was a great solution; it utilized the existing structure and did not require additional pilings.  
 Their initial interest was just to increase the kitchen size and push the dining out onto the enlarged new space.  After talking to a builder, it became apparent that it wouldn’t cost much more to expand their project and include more space in the master bedroom above and add a half bath, by taking in its open deck. 
The decks never served the homeowners well as they did not provide adequate shade from the west sun. Nor were the decks weather resistant; open slat deck boards permitted rain to fall onto the deck and ground level patio below. While it would ordinarily seem counter productive to eliminate deck in our environment, where outdoor entertaining is so important, there would be no shortage of decking; the house now boasts a small covered porch over an existing open deck with room for seating, and which protects the front door, as well as original extensive decking from house out to another large deck above the boat slip. 
The newly expanded dining room enjoys windows on three sides, extending views not just toward the bay, but up and down the canal in both directions.The addition of a standing seam metal roof shade cover over the large west facing windows also provides protection for the exterior deck stairs below which access the front door.  
Interior PhotoMost recently completed was a lowered ceiling above the volume living room. The new ceiling creates the floor for a new loft above, at the same time bringing the ceiling down to a height that has better scale which is more conducive to relaxed entertaining. Their recovered storyboards — collected in overseas travels, which floated away from the ground level storage area during Ike — now grace the living room walls.  Here, IKEA storage components are an ideal, clean looking display for other artwork.  
For the kitchen, Cindy shopped the sales and sourced IKEA cabinets in a warm brown stain, accented with stainless steel hardware and glass door inserts. Maple butcher-block slab countertop along one wall contains the workspaces, stainless steel appliances and under mount sink, which Cindy and Dave installed.  White subway tile makes a clean looking backsplash. A 10 1/2 foot solid bamboo parquet slab makes an enormous island that is central to the remodeled kitchen, dining and living areas. Its shape promotes flow around the kitchen and its size provides a great buffet surface. Bar stools encourage guests to enjoy their refreshments out of the way of the workspace.  
Aside from the initial structural addition, Cindy coordinated contractors for interior finishes which she and Dave could not do themselves.  The work was not complete when Ike visited the island in late ’08.  Furnishings, unfortunately, were stored on the ground level and most everything was a loss.  While interior damage to the house was limited, enough moisture came in under the front door to make the yet unfinished end-cut wood floor cup and buckle, requiring sourcing of hard-to-find matching pieces from Lumber Liquidators.  The boat dock was seriously damaged during Ike, and Dave personally rebuilt it when contractors were in heavy demand. 
All in all, this was a most resourceful makeover;  making the best use of features and spaces already contained by the original house, adding only a few hundred feet to its original 1,500 square feet, and yet expanding its functionality in so many ways.  

Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. E-mail her at SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409.632.0381. The home featured in this article is a popular weekly rental while the homeowners travel during the summer. For information about renting it, go to www.vrbo.com\232406.

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What Is WPI-8 ?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 @ 03:06 PM

by Carolin Santangelo

What Is WPI-8 ?  And what does it mean to my construction or remodeling project?
Hint:  It isn’t an acronym for engineers using wands, potions and incense to analyze your project.
  WPI-8 is the certificate of compliance that is required upon completion of coastal home construction, which certifies a home as insurable for windstorm coverage with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Think of it as ‘windstorm proof of insurance.’
Home DamageOur location along the coast and on a barrier island comes with all the benefits of island living; sand and sun, recreational watersports, bird watching and fishing. This setting, seaward of the intra-coastal waterway, comes also with special requirements for construction, additions or exterior remodeling. It is precisely because of the close proximity to bay and beach, and its inherent
higher risk due to exposure to tropical storms and hurricane force winds, that these measures are necessary.
  Once the design phase of your project is complete, drawings will be provided for engineering review, prior to acceptance by the city permitting department.  You or your builder / contractor may identify the TDI-approved engineering firm that you wish to use.  A windstorm engineer’s plan review — and follow-up, on-site inspections — are required for all new construction and exterior
remodeling to achieve the WPI-8. The engineer may package services together, with a single fee for plan review and inspections. During the framing process, it will be up to the contractor to schedule inspections at appropriate times. Once construction is completed to specifications, the engineer will sign off and a WPI-8 certificate is issued by the TDI.
  There are perceptions that the windstorm engineering criteria may unnecessarily cost the homeowner more in construction and labor costs.
If you are paying for the service, however, don’t you want to ensure you are getting the best-engineered product, which will withstand the rigors of coastal weather conditions?
  In discussion with David Franklin of Aran & Franklin Engineers, we talked about how important some features, and engineering analysis, are to the ultimate performance of the entire structure.
hold-down connectorA hurricane tie is a small, but mighty piece of hardware designed to hold roof rafters to the walls of the house. There are a wide variety (whole catalogs) of clips that can be installed on any roof / rafter /wall configuration. These generally cost just a couple bucks apiece (note that hundreds may be required, depending on house size).
  On a larger and more dramatic scale, substantially more beefy hold-down connectors may be specified to be used at critical positions throughout the house, but still cost only $25 to $35 each.
  Last month extreme high winds were experienced overnight on the west end, and in the morning it was discovered that two houses in Sea Isle had been severely damaged. These older homes, which faced the beach, had deep roof overhangs and porch covers that caught the wind.
Hurricane Ike had not seriously affected either of these, and we can’t say what kind of tornado-like winds may have been experienced this time. However, predating current codes requiring application of hurricane clips or other connectors, both of these sustained catastrophic damage to their roofs and consequently, to their interiors.
  David Franklin recommends a maximum roof overhang of 24 inches; an overhang less than this can be supported fully by the integral rafter tail extensions.  Beyond 24 inches there must be additional engineered support.  Additionally, porch overhangs should be supported via a combination of:  connection to the roof, transferring wind load pressures from the roof through supporting posts and down to the pilings or foundation.  Internal to the structure, shear walls are often used to resist the ‘overturning moment;’ to the layman, this means to make sure the house doesn’t twist in the wind. Shear wall is built of plywood panels on one or two sides of an interior wall, to assist in keeping the structure rigid, resisting undesired movement. When winds are applied to the roof, loads are transferred to the shear wall, which in turn, transfers pressure to the floor and to blocking between stringers.
BoltsEach project is different, though at strategic points hold-down connectors may be specified, along with extra bolts, beams, metal strapping, shear walls, insert shear panels or steel plates. Your project may include any or all of the above.
  It may even be possible to apply connectors to your existing structure. If you have an older house, it may be prudent to hire a windstorm inspector to identify vulnerabilities in the structure that will benefit from reinforcement.
  For the homeowner, these may seem to be non-gratifying details of your home’s construction.  These special features will be installed behind the walls, immediately covered up with sheetrock and siding, never to be seen again.  However, you will be able to sleep well at night, knowing that your home is designed and engineered to meet most extreme coastal weather conditions.

  Consultation courtesy of David Franklin, Aran & Franklin Engineering, Inc. www.aranfranklin.com, 409-935-5200.
Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC.
To contact, visit SeasideHome@windstream.net, or call 409.632.0381.

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