2021 Modern home tour showcases style that’s gaining traction in Houston

2021 Modern home tour showcases style that’s gaining traction in Houston

It wasn’t that long ago that one side of Liz and Tom Glanville’s River Oaks home had nothing but a trampoline and a hot tub.

They knew it was time for an upgrade, a cabana they could attach to their home for an indoor-outdoor patio experience. At the same time, they knew they needed to do something with their aging garage apartment, which served a need but was still decorated with dated burgundy toile wallpaper and draperies and dark colors from a prior owner.

More recently, the family room and kitchen that now open up to their beautiful cabana got a makeover, too, another phase in the Glanvilles’ renovations and representing another step toward more modern design.

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Video footage of the renovations of the Glanvilles’ home will be one stop on this year’s virtual edition of the Modern Architecture + Design Society’s 2021 Houston Modern Home Tour.

The tour includes the Glanvilles’ River Oaks home, with work by Gary R. Chandler Architecture & Interiors, Paula Fyhr Designs and Exterior Worlds landscaping; a Galleria-area accessory dwelling unit by Intexure and Boxprefab; a large Willowcreek Ranch home by BlackBox Design Studio, HDZ Builders and Eklektik Interiors; a Sugar Land home by refuGe Design Studio and Colibri Custom Homes; and a new spec home in Huffman designed by by Origin Architects.

The Glanvilles love to entertain, and their children are older — one is a senior in college, another is a college freshman, and their oldest is 30-something, lives in New York and works on the Food Network’s culinary team.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 22


Tickets: $40 per device; mads.media/2021houmod


Virtual: You’ll get an access link and unique passcode when you purchase a ticket.


Homes: refuGe Design Studio; Intexure + Boxprefab; Origin Architects; Eklektik Interiors; Gary R. Chandler Architecture

When the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of our normal lives, the Glanvilles’ older daughter, her fiancé, his brother and Liz Glanville’s sister were visiting; having the finished cabana, a swimming pool and the revamped garage apartment proved invaluable.

“We love to travel and stay at beautiful properties throughout the world. This was an incorporation of many things we’ve seen through our travels,” Glanville said.

The team started with hiring Exterior Worlds for landscaping, and it recommended Chandler for the architecture. Chandler, in turn, recommended Fyhr, whose work leans more contemporary and modern.

Their first goal was to make the most of limited space. The garage apartment is less than 600 square feet but includes a bedroom, bathroom, living area and a kitchenette.

The new cabana is less than 500 square feet but has a dining area, a small seating area and a kitchen with a counter and barstools plus two wall ovens, a wood-burning pizza oven, warming drawers and a cooktop in addition to a wine cabinet, dishwasher and two refrigerators.

Glanville, who owned Deville Fine Jewelry, which merged with Tenenbaum Jewelers, said she wanted a great kitchen in the cabana so they could use it when renovations began on the kitchen in the main house. Tom Glanville is managing partner at Eschelon Advisors, consultants for energy and private equity investors.

“I wanted it to be functional. I wanted high school and college kids to go in there in wet bathing suits and not worry about the fabric, which is all performance fabrics,” she said. “We can open two sides of the room for air circulation, so we can use it when it’s 100 degrees outside and when it’s 50 degrees outside.”

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The cabana flooring is 12-inch-by-24-inch porcelain tile that looks like limestone, and it has a slip rating for use outdoors. That tile repeats on large patio pads that run alongside the swimming pool.

Just a couple of weeks ago they hosted a bridal shower for their oldest daughter, who’s getting married in July. As pandemic restrictions recede, the couple hopes to entertain more.

The outdoor area includes tiled patios for the chaise lounge chairs and a sizable swimming pool that wraps around the side of the cabana with a slender, 18-inch-wide channel with bubbler fountains.

“We feel like we’re on vacation every day. We look out there and sit out there and feel like we’re not in Houston. We really enjoy it, just nonstop,” Glanville said. “Hopefully, people can use it for inspiration. Even with a small space, with the right architect and designer you can create a jewel of a space.”

Chandler said that the Glanvilles, like many others, are working to make their traditional home, built in 1990, more modern.

So adding a cabana that would attach to the home and not be overbearing for the backyard called for a flat roof, common in modern architecture.

“I looked toward Mies van der Rohe and made it a pavilion that could completely open to the backyard. The backyard and pavilion are one by the mere fact that you slide back the glass panels, and it flows seamlessly,” Chandler said. “We designed pockets that the glass panels can slide into and be absent. I cladded those pockets with marble slabs much like Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona pavilion.”

Fyhr used white to make the cabana feel bigger. The glass dining table — which expands to seat 12 — is white, as are the powder-coated dining chairs. She designed casual lounge chairs for a seating area much like Barcelona chairs, but, again, with a white powder-coated exterior and recently added some poufs for extra seating.

Reimagining the garage apartment wasn’t hard, Chandler said, because he immediately saw it as a complete gut job. Everything had to go, and windows were added to bring in natural light and offer a great view of the backyard.

Fyhr worked in a Roche Bobois sofa that Glanville had used in her jewelry store, then added a Phillips Collection Pebble Table. Automated window shades tuck under a cornice, so they disappear when they’re not in use. They operate on batteries that need to be charged just once a year.

Both spaces, and now the home’s remodeled kitchen and redecorated family room, are trending toward a cleaner, clutter-free style, Fyhr said.

“More people are gravitating toward the minimalist look, the whole Marie Kondo, purge-and-feel-good-about-it look. People want cleaner lines, living with less,” Fyhr said. “In the (Glanvilles’) before pictures, the family room is stuffed with furniture.”

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