Stately homes on Galveston tour represent the island’s architectural and design styles

Watermarks on an antique mirror in the ladies parlor tell a little bit about the historic pink home’s age and history.

It was installed in the Italianate-style manor at 523 10th St. in Galveston when the house was built in 1874 — and it has stayed in the same place for nearly 150 years.

Some of the silver backing has worn off in spots, but its broad streaks represent the level of floodwaters in the home from the Great Storm of 1900, which destroyed most of the island’s homes and buildings, as well as Hurricane Ike, which hit in 2008.

Mary Louise Stonecypher and Jordan Vaughn, a mother-daughter team who own Alayna Louise Interiors, have been working on this home for six years. It will be unveiled to the public in May for the 2022 Galveston Historic Homes Tour.

Much of the work inside the home is complete, but there will be more to come, including adding draperies and furnishings, before its formal opening in October as a luxury boutique hotel, the 1874 Guest House.

This big pink house with green shutters will be one of seven historic homes on the tour May 7-8 and 14-15. Additionally, two homes that are rehabs in progress will be open on the first weekend, while another two houses, both new construction, will be open on the second weekend.

2022 Galveston Historic Homes Tour

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 7-8 and May 14-15

Tour homes: 1874 Robert and Ellen Hughes House (523 10th St.); 1897 August J. Henck Cottage (1412 Sealy); 1894 Adolph and August Helmann Cottage (1314 24th St.); 1896 Oscar and Mary Walker House (1318 24th St.); 1906 Romanet-Glenn House (2605 Broadway); 1922 Stubbs-Garrigan Bungalow (3727 Avenue P); 1931 Dr. Albert and Willie Dean Singleton House (1602 Broadway). Two more houses will be open May 7-8 only, an 1866 home at 1414 Avenue L, a rehab in progress, and the new construction 2020 Magruder Cottage at 1410 26th St. On May 14-15, the 1927 home at 31 Cedar Lawn Circle and the 2022 new construction at 2925 Ursuline will be open.

Special events: History on Tap Dinner at the 1838 Menard House, May 6; Strand walking tours, May 7; New construction highlights happy hour, May 7; Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch at Garten Verein, May 8; History on Tap Dinner at the 1874 Robert and Ellen Hughes House; Strand walking tours, May 14; Spanish Colonial Revival Happy Hour May 14

Tickets: $30 for GHF members; $35 for nonmembers

Note: The GHF asks tourgoers to wear soft-soled shoes to minimize harm to floors. Pets are not permitted.

Homes on this year’s tour are scattered throughout the historic districts and include Victorian and Queen Anne cottages, a Southern townhouse, a two-story Colonial Revival house and even a Monterey Revival-style home designed by Houston architect Cameron Fairchild and once owned by renowned surgeon Dr. Albert Singleton.

Stonecypher grew up in the Houston area but has lived in Tennessee for more than 30 years. Her two children live in Houston so she visits often, and on one visit, she saw the dilapidated home on 10th Street in Galveston, hidden behind palm trees and other foliage, and fell in love.

She knew it would be a big project, but she didn’t expect it to take six years to finish. The first year was spent in planning, design and permitting, including elevating the house another 7 feet above the ground. (It was already 3 feet off the ground.)

Tucked behind its antique iron fence is a lawn of artificial turf ready for events on one side and a stone patio and gardens on the other side.

The main building will have men’s and ladies sitting rooms and a luxurious kitchen and dining room on the main floor. Four guest suites will occupy the second floor. A new-construction building behind the boutique hotel has a single suite on the second floor.

The Galveston Historical Foundation has held its annual tour for years, showing off residents’ historic preservation efforts in homes from various decades.

Back in 1874, Robert and Ellen Hughes built the house that Stonecypher and Vaughn are now turning into an inn. At one time, Hughes owned the largest fire and marine insurance company in Texas.

The Hughes lived in the home with their two children for a time, and it’s been in the hands of others, too, including the Jesse Tree nonprofit. Before Stonecypher bought it, the house had been split into apartments, so some of the early work was devoted to demolishing unnecessary walls. They rewired and replumbed the house and added an elevator to make it more accessible.

While much of the work is finished, including paint, wallpaper and lighting, it isn’t fully furnished yet. The floors haven’t been refinished, Stonecypher said, and they won’t bring in furniture until that is done.

They kept only two of the original fireplace mantels, mostly because they weren’t great looking— the designers want the building to have upscale marble and stone.

The ladies parlor is decorated in a light, bright palette, with aqua grasscloth wallpaper, a brilliant chandelier and antiques. Behind it is the men’s parlor painted Farrow & Ball’s deep Hague Blue, with a coffered ceiling lined by Italian antique medallions.

Gorgeous Italian plutone marble with dramatic veining covers the kitchen island and a back wall, and a vintage clock from a train station serves as a showpiece above it all.

Upstairs, each bedroom suite has its own bathroom, wallpapered or painted and finished with beautiful tile, marble sinks and great lighting.

One bedroom is covered in Schumacher’s “Madame de Pompadour” wallpaper designed by Miles Redd. Norwegian Rose marble in the bathroom complements the floral theme perfectly.

A second suite is more dramatic, with Phillip Jeffries “Serenity” in shades of deep blue on a linen background. The room has likely the oldest piece of antique furniture in the home, a French dresser that dates to the 1600s. A beautiful chandelier was sourced in Italy, and the windows open to a small balcony.

The third suite is filled with neutrals, shades of taupe and cream throughout, including Quadrille’s “Climbing Hydrangea” wallpaper. Because the wood floor was damaged by previous linoleum that was used, they filled in the nail holes and hired artists from Pruitt Littleton to faux paint the floors. This suite has a two-sided fireplace with its original mantles, one side of it opening to the bathroom.

The final main building suite is loaded with color, from shiplap painted yellow in the bedroom, to Cole & Sons “Wisteria” wallpaper on an emerald green background in the side sitting room. The bathroom has a daintier blue and white pattern, and all of the colors are drawn from a sparkling chandelier that includes blue, yellow and green crystal drops.

A new carriage house in the back serves as the inn’s fifth suite, with an Asian theme that includes Coordonne’s “Sunrise Flight” wallpaper with storks wading among aquatic plants bearing lotus flowers. Fretwork that starts at the top of the wall runs across the ceiling, and a kitchenette resides in built-in cabinetry made to resemble a pagoda and painted peacock blue.

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