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1930s Texas Teardown Gets a High-Tech Makeover
Despite being considered a lost cause, Vernon Tyger saw potential for his dream home.
Vernon and Lynn Tyger at their West University Place home.
August 07, 2013 by Rachel Cericola

Everyone has a dream home. Some people want a pool, some need a great location, and others love endless closet space. It just so happens that Vernon Tyger’s dream home had a leaky roof and a collapsed sunroom.

Before he purchased the home back in 2010, it was 1,836 square feet of eyesore to the people of West University Place, a small town in Texas that’s surrounded by Bellaire, Houston, and Southside Place. In fact, the city wanted it torn down. The neighbors wanted it torn down.

“This is a pretty high-end neighborhood,” says Vernon of what’s now known as the Wroxton Project (due to the street name). “The house right across the street from it is worth over $1 million—and they were looking at a house with boarded-up windows.”

Where lawmakers and neighbors saw a dilapidated danger zone, Vernon saw the potential for his dream home. He was used to flipping houses, but this one was special. The architecture, the space and the location made him think this could be a permanent residence for he and wife Lynn. She certainly deserved it after his house flipping led to five moves over a six-year period!

So in 2010, Vernon and Lynn purchased the place and began renovations on their new three-bedroom (four, if you count the bed in the sunroom), 2.5-bathroom home.

“I don’t think it could’ve been in much worse shape. It hadn’t been lived in for 15 to 20 years,” Vernon says. “You could look up through the garage apartment and see the sky through the roof.”

First, he wanted to restore the garage apartment to the way it was in 1939. It had apparently been tweaked into a separate living space at one point. Local residents were worried that the couple was planning to rent out the space.

Next, he wanted to make the home energy efficient, which included taking out the Sheetrock, redoing all of the windows, and installing a two-stage air conditioner. He also added foam insulation, sealed off the attic, and insulated under the roof rafters. “I’ve always wanted to go all out on the house,” he says. “The goal was to make it an energy-efficient home and get it LEED certified. Now, we’re a candidate to be certified LEED Platinum.”

Of course, he also wanted to give this home a modern makeover, by adding technology. Vernon had renovated homes in the past, using Niles Audio as a whole-house audio solution. For this one, he wanted to go all out. With the help of independent installer and friend Jonathan Hughes (who Vernon calls “the mastermind of the electronics”), the home received security cameras, lighting and other home automation aspects. He also wanted that same Niles system. That all changed, though, after he went to a CasaTunes demo.

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.

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