It’s hard to tell where new begins and old ends inside Gabe and Annesa Scott’s 1920s-era Heights bungalow. The couple’s traditional Southern dining room, outfitted with a stunning chandelier and a maple-lined butler’s pantry, is quite literally split between past and present.
Natural light pours into the room from four giant Queen Anne–style windows. The front two, which date to the ’20s, once provided climate control to the kitchen. The back two, meanwhile, were manufactured to match the others, installed as part of the Scotts’ 2015 restoration and addition to the home, which brought the once-dilapidated property back to life and nearly tripled its size.
While the windows are beautiful, the family didn’t have much choice about preserving the front ones. Regulations from the City of Houston's Planning & Development Department, which works to protect the neighborhood’s century-old buildings, require historic homes to retain usable, original-to-the-home exterior features, including windows, siding, and columns.
When Gabe Scott first laid eyes on the home, “it was in bad shape,” he says. “You would have thought it was definitely a tear-down.” Rotted-out beams made the structure lean to one side; water leaks had destroyed floorboards; previous renters with hoarder-like tendencies had left the home in disarray. Yet its long-neglected transom doorways, high ceilings, and porches hinted at what could be. The Scotts, and the team they worked with at Ridgewater Homes, saw it as an opportunity.
Renovating the 1,200-square-foot house meant taking it apart piece by piece so as not to damage materials they needed to preserve, all while bracing the structure to keep it standing. Then, to make the home work for the family of five, they built a 2,200-square-foot addition—after it was scrutinized and approved by the association’s board, of course.
Brick entryways lead to a charming eat-in kitchen and great room in the new portion, which maintains the home’s traditional feel through accents like glass doorknobs, reclaimed hardwood floors, and intricate ceiling designs. A staircase leads to two bedrooms for the couple’s young daughters and a large master suite.
A year and a half after moving in—and two and a half years after renovations began—the Scotts are loving the home. Their daughters love to sit under the “fancy light” hanging in the dining room; mornings, Gabe enjoys spending time with them in the kitchen before heading to work downtown. Together, they often gather in the converted playroom, whose giant historic windows overlook the quiet street where neighborhood families stroll by. From the curb, they’d have no idea this cottage is actually more like a mansion. From within, it’s hard to tell it was ever anything else.