After long search, couple finds island house and kitchen of their dreams
Penny Pierce and fiancé, Mike Gaynor, had been house hunting in Galveston for a while, but couldn’t find what they wanted, so they gave up the search.
But Pierce, who owns homes in Houston and Denver, decided one weekend to try again and found the home of her dreams, she said.
“It had everything we were looking for, so Mike and I made an offer and we’ve been gradually moving in,” she said. “We’re making a few structural changes and conversing with the former owner, Tammy Brindley, who has been so helpful.”
Pierce and Brindley have become good friends since the sale and spend time together discussing the history of the house, improvements that were made under Brindley’s ownership and improvements that are ongoing.
The historical home, originally built in 1858, destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1886, already been through several renovations, especially the kitchen area.
“The kitchen really sold me on the house, and I liked the openness and how everything flowed,” Pierce said.
Brindley already had made major changes and brought in Scott Hanson of Antique Warehouse in Galveston to marry the past with the present, Pierce said.
Brindley was a source of information and provided many important details.
“The kitchen and dining area, once the parlor and laundry room, got a complete overhaul,” Brindley said. “Floors, walls and ceiling were covered in beadboard, so we tore it all off, planed it down and reinstalled it half way up the walls in the dining area. Upper shiplap walls were painted Jay Blue from Sherwin-Williams. Hanson provided the materials for the ceiling, which is actually flooring he had in his warehouse. The kitchen and dining room floors are all long-leaf pine.”
Custom kitchen cabinets, Bianco Antico granite countertops, Dove Gray Arabesque ceramic backsplash and a copper range hood are new additions. The exposed brick in the corner reveals part of the original chimney. Two panels of antique stained glass above the farm sink let in a warm glow of sunlight. Pierce plans to put GE appliances with stone-inspired finishes to the test when she gets settled, she said. A nifty deck-mount pot filler faucet above the stove makes for easy filling of large pots when making gumbos or soups.
Some of the lighting fixtures are new, but the slip-shade light fixture above the sink is another Hanson addition.
Pottery pieces from Indonesia, where Pierce once lived, are displayed throughout the kitchen and dining area.
The island, made by Hanson from old floor joists, is the focal point.
“The four exposed holes are where electrical wires used to run through the floors,” Brindley said. “Scott made the legs from antique decorative columns.”
A small area near the kitchen has been turned into a butler’s pantry, where a cabinet from an old Galveston drugstore displays Pierce’s family heirlooms. A wet bar with wine refrigerator has been added.
“The Blue Willow china and silver belonged to my paternal grandmother,” Pierce said. “I like to set the table with her dishes, along with my Milano green glassware.”
Pocket doors between the living room and kitchen were stripped of paint, sanded and varnished, and are open to allow for spaciousness.
Pierce and Gaynor are getting married in March at a small park near their Galveston home. It will be a small wedding with just immediate family, Pierce said.
“Mike is from San Antonio, and just didn’t resonate with Houston, but when I brought him to Galveston, he was sold,” she said. “We are excited to make it our permanent home and I look forward to getting back into cooking.”
Gadgets she can’t live without: Potato peeler and pepper mill
Favorite spices: Italian seasoning, celery salt, smoked chipotle powder, wood-smoked salt
Crowd pleaser: Hot Crawfish Dip
Favorite cookbook: “Colorado Cache”
HOT CRAWFISH DIP
¼ pound butter
1 cup onion, minced
½ bell pepper, minced
¼ cup celery, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons pepper sauce
2 tablespoons sweet basil
2 tablespoons dried parsley
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 (12-ounce) packages frozen crawfish tails
Melt butter on high heat in 2-quart saucepan. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add Cajun seasoning (can substitute with Tony Chachere), salt, pepper, pepper sauce, basil and parsley. Mix and simmer for another 3 minutes.
Add flour, stir till blended. Add cream and whisk till mixture thickens. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
Cut cream cheese into 8 pieces and add to mixture, stirring till blended. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce.
Add crawfish, including all fat and juices, stir well. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes till 160 F.
Put in heated chafing dish and serve with crackers or bagel chips.