Home of Anne & Jeff Hunt
Tracing one’s ancestral roots is a project many undertake. Few would attempt the same type of project with a dilapidated 140-year-old house like Anne and Jeff Hunt did when they purchased a vernacular Greek-Revival house in 2009. Its Registered Texas Historic Landmark designation meant restoration must be meticulously researched, sourced and approved by the RTHL Commission. Anne refers to the process as the Texas Two-Step, a dance where you take four steps but only two steps go forward. The house is best known for being owned by four generations of Fultons and Bruhls. Built around 1868, James and Fannie Fulton bought it in 1872, then sold it in 1907 to daughter Hattie and husband Albert Bruhl, a pharmacist and three-term Mayor of Rockport. The house stayed in the family until Charles Albert Gibson’s death in 2003. By then, it needed new everything, starting with the foundation. As Anne said, “It was a two-year commitment to go back to living in 1868.” Deconstruction proceeded, brick by brick, window glass pane by pane, and paint layer by layer. A greater challenge was reassembling and replacing missing or broken parts, yet maintaining the original external design to meet landmark requirements. Add the goal of including modern comforts in a turn-of-the-century design while meeting current building codes and providing a welcoming home for a contemporary family. The old pharmacy office became a light, bright master bathroom. A vintage Magic Chef stove caps the end of the kitchen. The low-ceiling attic is the children’s bedroom. Plein-air paintings of the house by local artists Francis Iles and June Ainsworth are hung throughout. Outside a low-profile pool with stepping stones leads to a new interpretation of an old “Smoke House”, providing additional room for entertaining. The old and new blend beautifully as a historically representative residence in the Rockport Heritage District.
Photos by Stephen Fisher.