Tiki Island house by the bay is a dream come true
The house has a name, El Sueño, which means the dream. And that’s just what it is: the dream home of Charlie and Shari Daughtry.
El Sueño, at the end of Hawaii Drive in the heart of Tiki Island, rises 55 feet from a broad and breezy stretch of Galveston Bay. It has clean lines and a standing seam metal roof with a cupola crown.
The pale blue-green house is brand new, only 15 months finished, but its thoughtful architecture blends easily with the surroundings, as if it has been there all along.
“I can feel my blood pressure drop when I come across the Tiki bridge,” said Charlie Daughtry, an attorney, who imagined and built the house with his wife, Shari.
The Houston architecture firm Brickmoon Design and builder D.J. Palmore brought ideas, plans and technical savvy to the project. But the Daughtrys knew what they wanted and were deeply engaged in every step of the planning and construction.
The dream began about five years ago when the couple bought a weekend vacation home in Tiki Island. Their two children were grown and they wanted a place by the water to relax.
“I didn’t know how much I missed the water until we were here,” Charlie Daughtry said. “We came down for weekends and we kept staying longer and longer.”
Eventually, they sold their traditional Friendswood home and settled into the small bay house. They talked about renovating, but ultimately decided to build on a new lot.
“We like to go walking in the mornings,” Shari Daughtry said. “We saw this one house that we really liked, and when we met the owner, she said: ‘You should have my son build one for you.’ That was our builder’s mom.”
When a pristine lot became available, pie-shaped with 90 feet of canal frontage, the couple made an offer the same day they saw it.
It took about four months of intense planning with architects and slightly more than a year to build.
The finished homestead includes indoor and outdoor living space with a terrace and balcony on upper floors and a ground level outdoor kitchen with a shaded pool and tanning deck by Jerry Davlin of Cascade Pools. The pier is 33 feet long and it houses their 22-foot Pathfinder boat.
“I’m not much of a fisherman, but we do like to cruise around the canals,” Charlie Daughtry said.
Like most new waterfront construction, the house is built to withstand hurricane-force winds. It’s also well insulated to keep the temperature down and the electric bill from shooting up, which is essential in a 3,200-square-foot tri-level house.
Stepping inside the main entry, which is neatly clad in antique brick flooring, you look up three full stories to a sparkling chandelier of recycled glass.
At the top of the first 25 stairs is the great room: 920 square feet of open space, light and a wall of windows offering panoramic views of serene water and wide blue sky.
“We chose a palette of cream, white and gray, all neutrals, which frame and focus the splendid views,” Shari Daughtry said.
A limestone fireplace anchors one side of the room with a seating area surrounding it. On the opposite side, past the dining area, is a well-appointed kitchen with 11-foot ceilings and French Oak floors stained in a soft gray.
The long, southern wall is covered in shiplap and a feature wall in the kitchen is made of handmade ceramic tile from Spain. The massive island is topped with 200-year-old chestnut procured from an old barn.
The kitchen features a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a built-in Miele espresso machine and a handy wine refrigerator. The range hood is styled and finished by Segreto Finishes in Houston, and the seagrass shades are custom made by Wanda Dinklage of House of Interiors in La Marque.
“When we entertained at our Friendswood home, everyone seemed to congregate in the kitchen, so when we designed this house, we wanted one big room,” Shari Daughtry said.
“It gives people the opportunity to hang out in the kitchen while others sit at the dining table or by the fireplace, and we are still somewhat together. It works.”
The house has more than enough room to relax; room to be together and room to pursue their individual interests.
There’s a music room for Charlie, who collects vintage Fender and Gibson guitars and plays lead guitar in The Relics, a local rock and roll band. The couple shares an office, where Shari manages her children’s clothing line, BullRed, which includes a fishing shirt onesie for infants and toddlers. (www.bullredclothing.com)
The office is decorated with large photographic portraits of Tiki sunsets, all taken by Charlie Daughtry.
The Daughtrys share a mutual passion for contemporary art, which is displayed throughout the house.
There’s a painting of Eric Clapton’s 1977 “Slowhand” album cover, commissioned from Houston artist Mel Dewees. There are brightly colored paintings by Jim Rabby of Santa Fe, N.M.; Galveston’s René Wiley; and an impressionistic landscape by Mariusz Stokowiec of the Greek island Santorini, where the Daughtrys vacation.
The entire house is furnished with a mix of old and new: contemporary furnishings, beautiful old woods and French antiques all hand selected by the couple.
“One of our favorite Houston shops is called Back Row Home off Interstate 10,” Shari Daughtry said.
“This is where we found a number of favorite pieces: an antique wheat thresher and a musket holder.”
One of the couple’s favorite pieces — a window frame that looks like it came from a 19th-century church — hangs in the entry to the guest bedroom. They found it in Round Top, another place they love to hunt for antiques.
On the top floor is the master suite with its long view of the bay. The adjoining bath has a walk-in shower and a deep stand-alone tub with travertine marble floors laid in a herringbone pattern.
There are also two guest bedrooms, a Hollywood bath, and a large laundry room with built-ins.
Decks at all three levels face the canal with the third-floor balcony offering a spectacular perch.
“We can see the intracoastal canal, with barges going by day and night,” Shari Daughtry said. “We get to experience all the sounds and smells and the amazing sunsets.”
From the other porches there are views of Galveston Bay and the many different bird species that travel back and forth to Bird Island Cove.
Now that they’ve lived in El Sueño for more then a year, have they finished tweaking their home?
“It’s a journey, not a destination,” Charlie Daughtry said.
“We will be tweaking forever,” he said. “We both love the hunt and finding a perfect piece or a painting for a unique space.”