Delaney Heights, Galveston's most inviting and trendiest enclave, is tailor-made for those seeking a delightful residence while embracing a scaled-down, island-centric way of life that pays homage to its historical roots.
There are five shotgun-style homes, each measuring 650 square feet and featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms; and there's the two-story plan, which spans approximately 1,256 square feet and offers three bedrooms and two and a half baths. Priced at $320,000-$530,000, the petite homes are located in Galveston's historic midtown area between Avenue L and Avenue M at 32nd Street.
Developer and Houston-native Jennifer Delaney - one half of a dynamic developing husband-wife team - said they intended for the houses to mirror the architectural style of the surrounding area.
“We wanted the homes to reflect the architecture of the neighborhood,” Delaney said. “I love the diversity of the people as well as the communities and neighborhoods. The allure of the old homes and the diverse architecture you will find in the different areas has always attracted me to Galveston.”
At the project's outset, Delaney, a realtor at Nan and Company Properties in Houston, said the neighbors were uncertain about it.
“The previous structure was a dilapidated duplex that had become a source of drug activity and all the other undesirable elements that come along with this type of environment,” she said.
“Once we completed the first house, I conducted an open house, and the neighbor from across the street came over to thank me for caring about the community."
Since that time, a strong sense of ownership pride has been evident, with residents consistently maintaining their properties, addressing necessary repairs, and fostering a strong sense of community vigilance.
The land upon which Delaney Heights exists once belonged to T.D. Armstrong, a respected figure in Galveston's black community. Over 24 years, Armstrong built a prosperous business empire, ranking among the top 100 wealthiest African Americans in the United States. Armstrong died on December 28, 1972, at age 65.
“Although we are new construction, our whole intent was to make these homes look historic and blend into the neighborhood,” she said.
“That was always our main focus when designing the footprint of the community and the homes themselves.”
Each home - there will be only a dozen total, of which eight are completed - boasts custom cabinets, marble countertops in the kitchens, and appliances with a vintage aesthetic. Each home is sold completely furnished.
“Honestly, we pick what we like, and what speaks to us. We have used everything from Calcutta Viola marble surfaces, to hand-picked, reclaimed long leaf pine to Saltillo tiles.”
Saltillo tiles, occasionally referred to as Terracotta tiles, are a variety of clay flooring tiles celebrated for their distinctively rustic look and the warm, earthy hues they offer.
“The design choices are a direct reflection of the community. The downstairs living space is a fun and eclectic gathering place for people to enjoy the coastal breeze. Galveston is all about fun, friends, and family,” she said.
“It was important for us to design this space to reflect the midtown of Galveston. They are artsy, and the vibe is fun and funky.”
Designed and crafted by Plum Construction, the community effortlessly blends local architectural elements with vintage and vintage-inspired decor, creating an atmosphere of timeless elegance.
“I believe in building homes that fit into the neighborhood in scale and design,” said Christine Plum, the designer and builder behind the small-scale neighborhood that’s making a big impression as well as the owner of Plum Construction.
“I designed the plans so that they would have historic nods, such as open rafter tails - a signature design of mine - antique doors, and floor plans that maximize the small square footage.”
Plum sprinkles her antique discoveries throughout the space, imbuing it with a unique charm that can be challenging to find in modern construction. Additionally, every room is adorned with unique artistic elements.
“If I put art into a home, it's either vintage, or by a local Houston/Galveston artist. This is very important to me as I know that any dollar spent on a local artist, means so much more to them than a dollar spent at a big box store - and you get a special piece with a story and soul behind it,” Plum said.
“Since I started building full time five years ago it’s been very important to me to use vintage items such as architectural salvage, antique pine, antique doors, etc. I believe it gives the homes ‘soul.’ It's been my design philosophy since I started this journey into home building.”
The décor combines both traditional and contemporary elements, many found on the island or through her good friend Samuel Melton, proprietor of Lonesome Pine Mercantile, a former feed store in East Texas that has been transformed into a charming antique and furniture shop.
“I love to source a lot of my vintage and antique furnishings and decor from his store. It feels great to support a small business owner and to have pieces in these homes that have a story and soul.”
Plum, who single-handily designed all the homes, said her homes have been dubbed “livable art,” and she loves that moniker.
“I want everyone to see that beautiful art is approachable and reflects the unique and diverse community these homes are built in. I don't want to just build four walls. I want to build a legacy for the island,” Plum said.
“I want to show that with a little creativity and thought, you can build something that is so special that it becomes memorable and inspiring to all who experience it.”
Known as “Plum Homes,” the result is a niche neighborhood that is as beguiling as the Oleander City itself.
Galveston Island is a destination that beautifully blends contrasts and harmony, seamlessly integrating its rich historical heritage with modern elements. Here, the pristine natural landscapes of the Gulf Coast coexist harmoniously with a vibrant and captivating local culture.
Its rich past is evident in its well-preserved historic district, famously referred to as "The Strand." This enchanting area showcases a delightful array of 19th-century buildings, many of which have been repurposed into boutiques, dining establishments, and art galleries.
Strolling through this district, one can feel the echoes of a bygone era, immersing themselves in the bustling maritime history of Galveston as it once was. That’s the feeling Plum wants Delaney Heights homeowners to feel about their neighborhood.
“I absolutely love this part of the island, and I've been involved in restoration and new construction in this part of the island for the last five years,” Plum said.
“I cannot imagine working anywhere else on the island. It's been so rewarding to do my part in constructing homes that I'm proud to call mine,” she said.
“The special parts of this area are the diversity and the gorgeous old trees you find lining the streets of these old neighborhoods. You can't find this sense of community or beauty in the west end.”
Plum’s favorite floor plan is one of the smallest at 600 square feet, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms - and it’s the one she chose for herself to call home.
“It comes complete with a spacious entryway and front room full of large windows,” Plum said. “I especially love the wall of windows in the kitchen. The light in this house is incredible.”
Although these homes may be compact, they have much more to offer than meets the eye. They are designed on 11-foot pilings and built to exceed windstorm requirements.
The height provides room for a two-car garage, leading to an outdoor entertainment area, and each residence boasts three outdoor spaces, including a grand staircase leading to a rear patio.
The target date for finishing the remaining four homes and any forthcoming neighborhood development plans is set for the conclusion of 2024, Delaney said.
“We will be ready to list the newest home, which is a three bedroom with two and a half baths, in January,” she said. “Currently, we are exploring other areas, as well as Galveston to build another community.”
For more information, contact Jennifer Delaney at 823.677.0025 or email email@example.com.