Love of country inspires patriotic color scheme at Victorian island home
Stacy and Hugh Putman are patriotic. They love red, white and blue everything, including their 1895 Victorian-style house in Galveston.
In fact, neighbors call it the “Red, White and Blue House,” and a parade of people drive by every day to snap pictures of the two-story home and the unique fence featuring stars and stripes.
“It is meaningful to us,” said Stacy, who commissioned island muralist Gabriel Prusmack to paint the fence last year as a surprise gift for her husband for Father’s Day. The picket fence was a challenge to Prusmack, who had never painted a flag on a fence.
“He had to figure out how to use the negative space between the pickets, and we wanted a waving flag,” she said. “We didn’t want to overdo it, but we just love it.”
Hugh’s next project will be to create a patriotic-themed roof. But that’s in the future, he said.
The couple’s house, which they bought in 2013, is filled with family antiques and treasures and decorated in what they call a quirky, steampunk style. The upstairs rooms originally had been the downstairs of the house, but in 1910 then owners raised the house and constructed several new rooms on the ground level, as well as a staircase.
In the 1980s, the house became a triplex until the Putmans moved in and it became a duplex. When their tenant moved out, they took over the entire house, keeping the upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms intact, but making serious changes to the rest of the space.
Hugh refers to the upstairs as “grandkids heaven” because it’s a playroom with comfortable seating, little tables and chairs, entertainment center, a door to a huge second-story balcony and a pair of bunkbeds built into a nook. A wall of cabinets store decorations, a wrapping paper hub and a compact kitchenette. During the renovation, they created two tunnels between spaces, two trapdoors for secret storage areas and one hidden room, just to keep things interesting, they said. The storage area below the bunkbeds holds the 42 Christmas trees they use each year — inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs and in every room of the house.
“We are planning another trapdoor and one more hidden room in the attic,” Stacy said, noting the house is a continuing project.
The downstairs kitchen, with its basil green refrigerator contrasting against the light green cabinets, is in the front of the house, which is unusual for older style homes. Originally, the kitchen was unattached and behind the house, but it was moved inside and scaled down. A huge pantry — behind another secret door — holds food, appliances, a wine cooler and other items not used on a daily basis.
The dining and living rooms are filled with furniture that belonged to Stacy’s grandmother, as well as some tables and other items from Hugh’s grandmother. Bedrooms also are furnished with treasures from both families. The patriotic theme continues inside with a painting of a Mona Lisa wrapped in the American flag, which hangs in the living room and was purchased at an ArtWalk years ago. A mini quilt constructed of fabric resembling the flag was given to them as a gift several decades ago.
“It is simple and safe here, and that’s how we like it,” she said.
The Putmans have two grown children and three grandchildren who don’t live nearby, but the playroom awaits them. Theirs is an international family with deep roots around the world, Stacy said. And because of that multi-cultural influence, decorating with patriotic colors gives more meaning than just a color scheme, they said.
“We are proud of our country and our history,” Stacy said. “Both of us traveled a lot with work all over and we really appreciate the good things we have here in the U.S. and we celebrate it.
“No place is perfect, I know,” she added. “Except inside our house.”