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Who needs an alarm system when griffins stand guard? See what's inside during EMCA's 12th Biennial Home Tour and Art Walk.
Who needs an alarm system when griffins stand guard? See what's inside during EMCA's 12th Biennial Home Tour and Art Walk.
Photo by Bill Maxey

Houston By the Neighborhood: East Montrose Architecture and Art Studios

Click your bedazzled ruby slippers together three times and say "Location, location, location." With a whoosh of the magic wand — or a quick trip on METRO's 56 Route — you'll be transported to geographically desirable East Montrose, where historically accurate paint colors are optional, funky art is de rigueur, and Houston's history lives on.

But what's behind those purple facades, peekaboo windows and whimsical stained glass? We'll find out later this month because the East Montrose Civic Association is rolling out the rainbow carpet for its 12th Biennial Home Tour and Art Walk, giving us VIP access to Easter-egg dipped residences, artist studios, and architecture that ranges from the early 1900s to present day.

The property at 502 Willard was built in the American Foursquare design with balloon framing.
The property at 502 Willard was built in the American Foursquare design with balloon framing.
Photo by Bill Maxey

Built in 1925, the three bedroom/three bath property at 502 Willard (shown here and at the top of this page), still sports fish scale shingles and dentil molding, though we're not exactly sure when the griffins flew down to roost. Inside you'll find soaring ceilings, arched doorways, hardwoods and period antiques, while the exterior has a meandering footpath and rooftop veranda.

Other stops on the tour include the 1930 Art Deco bungalow with glass pocket doors at 1012 Peden in Rosemont Heights, a 1914 single-story at 808 Bomar in the Cave subdivision, and a pair of properties that are currently listed for sale — just in case you fall in love on the tour and absolutely, positively, must make it your own.

The paint is just about dry on the newly renovated Victorian at 701 Welch. Although originally built in 1904, this three story stunner features all the modern amenities and pizzazz anybody could hope for: Viking appliances, top of the line designer finishes, five skylights, and a massive third floor master suite. It's listed by Engel & Völkers Houston for $1,049,000.

Another tour home that's listed for sale is the vintage two story on a corner lot at 402 Welch. Built in 1929, it features a magical garden with lush landscaping along the front and side of the home, an exterior glass elevator that travels between the family room and master bedroom, and welcoming red steps leading to its front door. It's listed by Roger Martin Properties for $915,000.

But wait; there's more. The biennial event also features a strolling Art Walk with visits to Fantasy Gallery on West Gray, Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant on Grant, and colorful stops along the way that include the working studios of local artists such as origami guru Joan Son, sculptor Gerida Brown, and intaglio artist Penny Cerling.

The 12th Biennial Home Tour and Art Walk is scheduled for April 27 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 1012 Peden, 808 Bomar, 502 Willard, 701 Welch and 402 Welch. For information, call 713-545-2909 or visit eastmontrose.org/events/home-tour. $15 to $20 (the Art Walk is free).

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