Islanders knock down walls to create the house of their dreams
From a corner of their deck, Darryl and Nancy Greenfield watch the sun slowly slipping out of sight as the silvery moon emerges in the opposite end of the sky. Their 3,000-square-foot house, on the edge of Lake Como in the Pirates Cove neighborhood on Galveston’s West End, has almost as much outdoor space than inside.
“We bought the view,” said Darryl Greenfield, who noted the house needed extensive repairs when they purchased it in December 2013. “We looked for five years for this kind of view. We came up here and looked out the window toward the bay. That’s why we bought the house. Just unbelievable views.”
The Greenfields had a house in the area for several years and kept an eye on this one, which didn’t get much use, they said. The raised cypress wood house, built in 1983, had six bedrooms when the previous owners lived there. The Greenfields contacted the Houston owners, offered to buy the house in its existing condition and then turned it into the dream house they always wanted. They changed it to a four-bedroom house by combining two upstairs bedrooms into one master suite and transforming another main floor room into a living/TV room. A lower-floor bedroom and bath remained unchanged.
Nancy Greenfield wanted a more open feeling in the kitchen and sitting area and wanted to take advantage of the wall of windows and unobstructed views of the bay and Galveston Island State Park, she said. By removing walls, they opened the kitchen to the sitting room, created a long bar for casual seating and decorated the rooms in blues and yellows.
“The house was cluttered and closed in,” Nancy Greenfield said. “We liked the open feeling.”
The removal of walls required the installation of new ceiling beams, but they welcomed this addition by matching the beams to existing ones in the adjoining room, they said. Nancy Greenfield, with the help of decorator Kari Gifford, selected a pair of matching blue and white couches to face each other, with two blue, comfortable chairs to make a cozy conversation circle. Gifford advised Nancy about colors for other rooms that proved to be good choices, she said.
The nearby den is painted a deep blue and decorated with nautical art as well as Mexican alebrije, folk art sculptures of brightly colored mystical creatures. The Greenfields also support several popular local artists and have purchased many of their paintings, although Darryl Greenfield recently has begun photographing their sunset view and displaying his own art.
There are two guest rooms on the main floor, and Nancy uses one as her office.
Upstairs, the master suite is spacious and features two large walk-in closets and spa-like bathroom. There’s a wall of windows opening onto a small deck with two chairs and a little table — perfect for an intimate sunset happy hour. This area had been two bedrooms but a large, four-poster bed now dominates the airy room.
The Greenfields upgraded the massive amount of deck space to include a private dining area on one side and a walkway out to a larger deck overlooking the water. Downstairs, an equally substantial sheltered porch area features Turkish travertine tile laid out on the floor in an intricate geometric design.
The house is surrounded by gardens — large spans of knockout roses, native grasses, palms, tropical birds of paradise and plumeria. Nancy Greenfield, who is a Galveston County Master Gardener, also uses her green thumb to grow a wide variety of bonsai, succulents and cacti. There are plants and massive planters everywhere, as well as an 80-gallon rainwater retrieval system to help water all the greenery.
Looking back over the two renovations, Nancy Greenfield is pleased with the final product, she said.
“We didn’t live in the house during the first one, but we were here for the second round, which took 11 months,” she said. Some of the work was more expensive than they had planned, she said.
“But I think, within reason, you have to do what you want and do what you like,” she said. “That’s what we did.”