Welcome to the portfolio of work samples by Thompson-Frater Architects.  These are meant to show examples of renovation work that has been completed by the firm.  Please take a look at the Galveston Telephone Building and the 1221 Harvard Residence, Houston, TX..

The Galveston Telephone Building (GTB) 

Built in 1896, this building was originally the office of the Galveston Telegraph and Telephone Company.  With solid masonry construction exterior walls, this building survived the massive hurricane of 1900, and many hurricanes that have ravaged the Gulf Coast since that time.  Renovated in the late 1990's, there are now 10 condominium units.  The two first floor units are live/work units.  One is a spa and the other is a home interior, gift and antique shop.  The upper floors house 8 residential units.  Completed under the guidelines of the Department of the Interior, this project received historic tax credits for it's renovation.  Unit sizes range from around 600 square feet to over 1500 square feet.  With 15 foot ceilings, the spaces are very luxurious!

Church Street and parking area view
Main entrance on 22nd Street
First floor live/work unit windows
Adjacent parking area view

(From left) 22nd Street view, Church Street and parking area view, Main entrance on 22nd Street, First floor live/work unit windows, Adjacent parking area view, Donec commodo dui eu justo.

The exterior was covered with a stucco coating during a 1930's renovation, and at which time an elevator was added.  The 1990's renovation did not include the removal of the stucco because the underlaying brick would have been damaged.   The entire exterior was patched, repaired, and painted.  Along the parking lot wall, where a former building was demolished, additional windows to allow light and escape from the living units and a new side door for parking access were added.  In some windows, original glass was able to be maintained.  The 1930's elevator was examined for re-use, but was deemed unsafe.  Therefore a new elevator was installed in the existing elevator shaft.  Street trees, lighting and flowering shrubs were added to finish the exterior.  This building was one of the first completed renovations in this area of Galveston and became a catalyst for many other construction projects.  One block over, Market Street's flourishing art community has since installed similar street trees, and improved many of it's buildings to make this one of the more popular destinations of Galveston tourists and residents alike.

Interior view of an upper unit
View of the kitchen, laundry and bath of a  live/work unit
View of typical kitchen
Unit 6 view of living and kitchen space
View of typical bathroom

From left: Interior space of a live/work unit,Interior view of an upper unit, View of the kitchen, laundry and bath of a  live/work unit, View of typical kitchen, Unit 6 view of living and kitchen space, View of typical bathroom

The building was gutted during a 1980's hurricane, so there were few clues as to the original interior material or even wall locations.  Interior spaces have been renovated to show the remaining building materials of the historic construction.  New materials have been chosen to complement the historic materials.  Exposed brick, wood floors, granite counter tops, and fifteen foot ceilings are some of the typical finishes found throughout. 

The two top floors make up two-story residential units.  Floor joists were judiciously removed to allow light to stream through from the upper floor level to the lower floor of these units. The floor joists were exposed as well, to add warmth and interest to the ceiling of the lower level.  In some cases, small remnants of the telephone industry have remained in the joists to remind us of the original purpose of the building.  Each of these units required the addition of a stairway.  All of the units are different, so each stair was uniquely designed for these units. 

The successful completion and transition of this project into owner occupied units demonstrates that the historic buildings of our cities continue to be valuable resources for our cities.  Thompson-Frater Architects have demonstrated that even a shell of a building can be made into a wonderful addition to the community.

1221 Harvard Residence, Houston, TX. 

As a craftsmen bungalow, this residence was renovated into family and office space that served the owners for over 20 years.  Situated in a historic neighborhood, close to downtown, the neighborhood had seen better years.  This house was a boarding house when the owner purchased it in 1978.  After numerous "home" remodelings, a full renovation produced a home that had a multitude of spaces for the growing family, and were adaptable enough to serve future owners.  The original floor plan was utilized with a central hall.  Rooms opened into it, as well as into each other, thereby creating a flow of space.  Original wood floors were repaired, sanded and refinished.  Window and door trim was maintained.  An addition to the back of the house expanded the kitchen while providing a master bath on the second floor.  Now the neighborhood has become one of the most popular and active in the city.  The historic aspect adds ambiance not found elsewhere and mature trees add an irreproduceable high quality of life.  Due to the historic design of the renovation, this home will continue to maintain a high property value.

Features included while maintaining a historic design:

  • Laundry closet with a build-in laundry sink
  • Multiple stained glass windows both in exterior and interior applications
  • Period tiled bathrooms
  • Historic stair remains in place, sanded and refinished
  • Carefully scaled new, double fireplace - one in the livingroom and one above in the master bedroom

recent sales brochure
floor plan of the house

From left: Front view of the house, view of the owner's office, recent sales brochure, floor plan of the house