Islanders create tranquil resort feel at their Galveston harbor home
Every day at about 6:30 p.m., a large, dark gray dolphin appears 10 feet off the pier at the Galveston home of Eddie Kier and Johnnie Mize.
The bottlenose dolphin follows a daily route of swimming through the harbor to the marina at the Galveston Yacht Basin, then back toward the ferry landing and the shipping channel.
Kier catches this dolphin sighting most days because he’s usually on the veranda or in the saltwater infinity pool or on the fishing pier lined with pots of bright bougainvillea.
“We live outside,” Kier said.
This lifestyle on Harbor View Drive includes a complete outdoor kitchen with a refrigerator and a two-burner stove. Blue and green tiles catch the light like seashells. A spacious dining table often is filled with friends and good food.
The veranda offers numerous other places to visit with friends and watch the sunset. Sometimes, they watch cruise ships leave the harbor. Sometimes, they watch shrimp boats return at the end of the day.
Kier and Mize often entertain guests in this blooming terraced yard, including one friend who has dubbed the harbor home as “The Eddie and Johnnie Resort.”
A daybed with a wicker onion dome fits that vacation-like description.
The veranda surrounding the pool includes vignettes — sitting areas with specific purposes that will have their own stories to tell.
The intention behind one vignette for four is a space to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, Kier and Mize said. A two-chair vignette on the lawn is for an intimate talk with drinks, while another vignette offers four warm and comfortable seats around a fire pit full of sea glass.
A large sectional just below the pool is meant for lively conversation for a large group among green foxgloves and pink dianthus. A solid sheet of water from the infinity pool creates a wall for this outside parlor.
Mize cooks on the veranda most days, even in winter, he said. One day earlier this summer, he grilled chicken in his outdoor kitchen for a chicken salad he would later take to a friend’s house.
Other days, he grills fish caught in the deep water just off the pier. Kier and Mize have caught speckled trout, flounder and occasional redfish there. They’ve often also caught crabs in a nearby trap.
And more food is available on the lush grounds. Fruit trees and vines grow in the garden that meanders around the house, including a lemon tree, a lime tree and a grapefruit tree, as well as an avocado bush and grapevines.
The lawn even includes a five-hole putting course. Kier and Mize added their newest vignette near the golf spot and added a yellow umbrella.
The site has a history. Hurricane Ike in 2008 damaged the previous home on the lot. When Kier and Mize bought the property, they salvaged the bricks and the address number plaque. The bricks now pave pathways on the lower levels of the terracing and along the sides of the home. The plaque still directs mail to the home.
To raise money for the Galveston Island Humane Society, a party at this personal resort went to the highest bidder for $5,000. Kier and Mize provided the food and drink as well as the location. The terraced yard provided the setting for conversations and tastings.
“We had as many as 50 people here,” Mize said.
Mize has offered the home for similar fundraisers with the American Heart Association, he said. Each fundraiser has led to well-attended events at the Harbor View Drive home.
In the morning, Kier and Mize drink coffee on the veranda. Eight houses to the left is the quiet marina where that large dolphin enjoys hanging out. Six houses to the right is the Galveston Ferry Terminal. Although the harbor has constant activity, it also is calm and quiet.
Kier and Mize watch for the same dolphin to appear in the late afternoons. In the evenings, they watch the sunset over Pelican Island.
From the deep shadows of the philodendrons in the front garden, to the perky flowers at every level of the terraced yard, to the personal pier with its own vignettes, Kier and Mize have created their dream home.
Mize can sum up that dream in one word: “Tranquility.”
They once lived in the Virgin Islands and wanted to create a similar feeling in a Galveston home, Mize said.
“You want to wake up and see something pretty,” Kier said. “There’s no house like this on the harbor.”