PaperCity Magazine

June 2017 - Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 63 of 83

62 ART + DECORATION A Link to OLD MONTROSE Rendering of Link-Lee's restored dining room Gensler rendering of the renovated master suite at the Link-Lee mansion U niversity of St. Thomas president Dr. Robert Ivany and his wife, Marianne, are fighting to restore and preserve a home in which they will never live — a Neoclassical-style mansion on the corner of Montrose Boulevard and West Alabama, built in 1912 by J.W. Link (who founded the Montrose neighborhood the year prior), designed by architectural firm Sanguinet, Staats, and Barnes. It is a large house, nearly 10,000 square feet, built for entertaining in the days before country clubs ruled, and constructed of limestone from Carthage, Missouri; cream brick; and enameled terra cotta, with gray glazed tiles and a green-glazed tile roof. The living room on the first floor is 40 by 20 feet, with English high wood wainscoting, wood beam ceilings, and fireplaces crafted of English Caen stone. The third floor contained a ballroom for the Link sisters' dances. Link sold the home to oilman T.P. Lee in 1916 for $90,000 — the highest price ever paid for a home in Houston at that time. It remained a family home until 1947, when it was sold to University of St. Thomas and served as the nucleus of the school, the family home of the university, says Marianne Ivany. Although her husband is retiring, Ivany has made it her mission in the past few years to save the property, whose exterior is in jeopardy due to water damage and other expensive issues faced by 104-year-old homes. Gensler and preservationist lead architect Barry Moore are restoring the home to its original grandeur and converting the upper floor into the new president's home. A capital campaign to raise $10 million is underway. Anne Lee Phillips Remembering Betsie Weatherford … A THOUGHTFUL, GENEROUS FORCE WHO HELPED SHAPE THE TEXAS DESIGN WORLD B etsie Weatherford owned Ellouise Abbott showroom for 22 years and stood out as a gentle, generous soul in an often cutthroat design- showroom industry dominated by men. Weatherford, 61, died in Dallas on March 28 after a brief illness. Armed with an interior design degree and a head for business, Weatherford ran the EC Dicken and McGuire showrooms in Dallas and Houston in the '70s and '80s, then worked at Ellouise Abbott in Houston before purchasing it in 1994. As Texas' and the nation's oldest continuously operating decorative showroom, founded in 1951, Ellouise Abbott carried venerable lines such as Fortuny fabric and lighting, a relationship that Weatherford continued to nurture. Weatherford opened Ellouise Abbott in Dallas in 2005 and brought in coveted new lines to both cities, including Robert Kuo, Conrad Shades, Minton- Spidell, Randolph & Hein, Fermoie, and McGuire. In an industry where lines jump from showroom to showroom with frequency, Weatherford made enduring connections. In mid-April, over a hundred interior designers and textile and furniture manufacturers filled the Ellouise Abbott showroom in Houston to honor her, including Robert Kuo's daughter, Karen Kuo, who flew in from L.A. Buck Irwin, president of Conrad Imports, arrived from San Diego. In a heartfelt tribute, he recounted how Weatherford was instrumental in helping him land a national sales position at Conrad when he was out of work. "Fast forward 13 years, and now I'm president of the company," he says. "Betsie was an unexpected angel." Rebecca Sherman Karen Kuo, Betsie Weatherford, Robert Kuo Betsie Weatherford, 1990s.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - June 2017 - Houston