15 houstonians who make our homes a better place to live

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House & Home's 15th Anniversary Salute to 15 of Our Favorite Home Improvement Professionals


  • 15house&home | November 2009 | house and home on l ine . com16

    John Puffer, a.k.a. Big John at Montalbano Lumber1309 Houston AvenueThis big, tall Montana native beganhis career as a museum preparatorpainting old stagecoaches at aWestern museum in Montana. After35 years as a geologist, he returned tohis passion for paint and for the lastnine years has managed the paintdepartment at Montalbanos onHouston Ave. Awkward do-it-your-selfers and master contractors alike getthe same level of respect and attentionfrom John, who favors Pratt &Lambert brand paints. He can mixand match colors like nobodys busi-ness, has a cult following, and is theRembrandt of house paint inHouston.

    Sam Roberts Roberts Carpet & Fine Floors8 locationsWhen Sam started a small one-manstorefront carpet business on Fondrenin Houston in 1984, he discovered hehad a knack for selling. As businessgrew and he added staff, he alwayshad the highest sales figures, and nowonder. His high-energy enthusiasmcoupled with in-depth knowledge ofhis product meant you couldnt notbuy a carpet from him. What keepshim fired up? The creative process,he says. Flooring makes an enor-mous difference in the way yourhouse looks and feels. When someone

    comes into our store, we want themto choose floors they love. And fiveyears from now, we want them to stillreally love it. With wife Valerie as hispartner in the business, the companyhas grown to eight locations. Nolonger on the sales floor, Sam closelymanages the company hands-on tomake sure service and installation ofhis flooring are first rate. Former president of the National FlooringAlliance, a group of the top 36 floor-ing retailers in the U.S., hes a nation-al expert in his field. Hes maintaineda wicked sense of humor through itall and plays a mean 60s rock guitar.

    Pam Kuhl-LinscombKuhl-Linscomb 2424 W. AlabamaSince 1984 Pam has worked as aninterior designer in Houston, win-ning countless awards and accolades.In 2001, she started a retail shop,then merged her Dec Center designshowroom with the shop in 2003.The resulting store on W. Alabama,with 70,000 square feet of retail spacecozily nestled amid four 1930sduplexes is a tour de force of Americanretailing. She carries both modernand traditional furnishings for thehome, and while every piece is care-fully curated, nothing feels precious.Pams warm Texas personality per-vades the store. Snobbery is not con-doned, and you can always find coolstuff there for under $10. This iswhere design-savvy Houstoniansbring out-of-town guests to show

    them the latest, most dazzling offer-ings from American and Europeandesigners.

    Anne Breux, architecte dinterieurEvery time we see a gorgeous modernhouse in Houston that someonedoesnt quite know how to furnish,we think, Wheres Anne Breux whenyou need her? Her cool, cerebralinteriors enhance modern architec-ture, rather than compromise it orapologize for it. This Paris nativeturned Houstonian is the ultimatemodernist, crossing the Atlantic at thedrop of a beret to visit the latest Parisateliers and Milan salons and bringfresh ideas back from astonishingdesigners like Zaha Hadid, theBouroullec brothers or Piero Lissoni.Her clients range from rap stars toindustry titans to ordinary Joes andJanes who love her cool, clean aesthet-ic. With her infectious joie de vivre,Anne leads them like a pied pipertoward her optimistic vision for thefuture. Yesterdays gone, Anne is now,and shes always thinking abouttomorrow.

    Geoffrey Westergaard,Carl Moore Antiques 1610 BissonnetWith a background in art history andyears of travel to Europe and Asia insearch of rare finds, GeoffreyWestergaard of Carl Moore Antiquesis one of the most knowledgeablesources in America about antiques.

    Dont let that intimidate you. Hisshop is warm and welcoming, hismanners are impeccable, and if yourelucky enough to find him in the shopand ask him about a particular pieceof furniture, youre in for a treat. Hispassion for the romance, history andmystery of antiques will keep youspellbound. And suddenly youllunderstand why those Cabriole legson that mid-18th-century Frenchchair are more lyrical and preferableto those of the early 18th century.When you buy from Carl MooreAntiques, you are buying a fine pieceof furniture more thoroughlyresearched than you can possiblyimagine, thanks to Geoffreys intellec-tual rigor and love for antiques andtheir history.

    Carrie GlassmanShoemake, architectA native of Houston, Carrie capturessense of place in the homes shedesigns for Houstonians. She getsHoustonits humidity, its lushgreenness, the subtle change of sea-sons and the quality of light here. Thehouses she designs with architect-partner Ernest Maldonado are noth-ing if not local, and they are beautifuland touching in their acknowledg-ment of our terroir. Windowsembrace exterior views and bring innatural light. Views of landscape areessential, and oak trees are celebrated.She even thinks about winter andsummer solstice in Houston and howsunlight strikes houses during the

    In honor of Houston House & Homes 15th anniversary this month,we salute 15 Houstonians who make our homes a better place tolive. Since 1994, weve covered architects, designers, historic preser-vationists, contractors, painters, carpenters, stonemasons, upholster-erspeople who work with their minds and hands, know exactly whattheyre doing and excel in their profession or craft. Not only are theygood at what they do, theyre into it. They love their work, and itshows in the level of service they provide and in the final product.

    Theyre exactly the kind of people you want to work on the most important investment you haveyour home. Often theirbusinesses are small, family-owned concerns. Many are unsung heroes.

    Some have won national and international awards. Famous or not,theyre there for us, helping us make our homes and neighborhoodsplaces we love to be. They realize that the concept of home isnt justfour walls, but our neighborhoods and public spaces in Houston wherewe live.

    At House & Home, they make our jobs easier because theyinspire us with their new ideas, energy and expertise. While weve cho-sen to honor these 15 Houstonians on our 15th anniversary, we knowthe list is much too short. We could easily have listed hundreds of folks,so stay with us for the next 15 years. For now, lets applaud these 15were fortunate to have living and working in Houston.


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    solstice. She orients dwellings to acceptthe suns light so those who live thereget a sense not only of the day, butalso the year. You get the sense youare part of a solar system, of somethingbigger than you are, she says. Shes aLEED-accredited professional and agreen-building advocate, too.

    Ivan Martinez, ICM Marble & GranitePerfectionist is the first word peopleusually utter when asked to describeIvan. A master of stone countertopsand table tops, he is a stickler formeasuring counters accurately so thegranite and marble he fabricates fitsperfectly. Architects and buildersadmire the way he works the stonesnatural color and patterns, gets thegrain flowing in the right directionand minimizes and use of seams. Formore than 26 years, Ivan and his wife,Dollie, have operated ICM Marble &Granite. Thanks to the Houston ShipChannel, our city has become one ofour countrys largest importers of gran-ite and marble, and Ivan and Dolliestay aware of the stone slabs cominginto port, whats available and whereto direct their customers to find thebest stones for their countertops.

    The Stratton FamilyC & D Hardware314 E. 11th St.C&D Hardware was founded in1951 in the Houston Heights. Jimand Kathy Stratton bought it in1999, and their friendly customerservice and gift department are whatlure people from The Woodlands,Galveston, Cypress and Sugar Landto their charming store in theHeights. Tired of wandering aroundan impersonal giant box store forhours trying to find the right sizedlag bolt? Walk into C&DHardware, show them what youneed, and you can be out in a jiffy.A convenience store for hardware iswhat we really are, says Jim. That,and a shop with great gifts andChristmas lights of every shape andcolor imaginable. Lights in theHeights couldnt happen withoutC&Ds enormous inventory of holi-day lights and decorations and elec-trical cords and connections tomake it all work together.

    Wayne ClarkClarks Hardwood Lumber700 E. 5 1/2 St.Since 1946, Clarks has supplied lum-ber to homebuilders, remodelers anddiy-ers in Houston. Waynes fatherbought the business in 1968, and heruns it now. Their specialty is custommilling, interior molding and exteriorsiding. They can match your existingmolding or siding, or create it new.They make knives to cut the molding,and save the knives, so you may beable to get your wood milled withouthaving a knife made to cut it. Clarksalso carries more than 100 varieties ofhardwoods and exotic woods and isknown for its inventory of stair partsand ballisters as well.

    Nancy OConnor Adkins Architectural Antiques3515 FanninHoused in a vintage Midtown mansion, Adkins ArchitecturalAntiques is not only a distinctive store,its a fun getaway. Wander the groundsand rooms for hours to see all theunusual artifacts and curiosities NancyOConnor and her business partnerHerve de Salve have amassed. Need acupola, corbel or pediment? This isyour place, and the prices are great.Relax in the knowledge youre recy-cling salvaged architectural treasuresand helping the environment, as well.We never fail to find something wecant live without here. This Old Housemagazine selected Adkins as one of thetop architectural salvage dealers in thecountry.

    Steve Ista, Ista ConstructionKnown as the This Old House man ofHouston, Ista is an expert at remodel-ing old houses in Houston, especiallyin the Houston Heights. He wont lethomeowners make changes to theirho