Model Isabel Li wears Stella McCartney, photographed at The Gordy in Montrose (March 2020, photo by Jhane Hoang)
AFTER AN EXTRAORDINARY half-decade for H-Town — multiple once-in-a-lifetime weather events, a World Series win, an epic pandemic and much more — independently published, proudly all-local Houston CityBook marks five years in print this fall. With the gracious support of Deutsch Fine Jewelry, which has appeared as an advertiser on the back cover of every single issue, we look back at our take on the glamour, grit, style and substance of the most fascinating city in America. Get the picture? Presented by Deutsch Fine Jewelry
The cover of the home-subscriber version of the Food Issue, featuring chocolate cake with chocolate coffee mousse at the Annie Café and Bar (Winter 2020, photo by Jenn Duncan)
Astro Alex Bregman and his then fiancé and now wife Reagan Bregman (Summer 2020, photo by Steven Visneau)
A Black Lives Matter demonstration Downtown (Summer 2020, photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Surgeon Lashondria Simpson-Camp and twin Shalondria Simpson, photographed at their Midtown med spa for a 'Duos' feature (October 2019, photo by Jhane Hoang)
A model at the annual Sexy Party and fashion show, at Clé (October 2019, photo by Jhane Hoang)
Model Gabriella Pawelek wears Brunello Cucinelli, photographed Downtown at C. Baldwin Hotel (September 2019, photo by Samantha Jane Beatty)
Giorgio and Cathy Borlenghi photographed in their Stablewood home (October 2019, photo by Jack Thompson)
Musician Luke Whitney, photographed in Montrose (Summer 2020, photo by Steven Visneau)
Standing left to right: Meghan Johnson, Jill Knowles, Julianna Lind, Beth Stephan, Marla Reade, Galina Saburov, Lil Newman
Seated left to right: Susan Boylan, Julie Sheets, Kim Perdomo, Kim Zander, Tracy Ackley
HOW DID YOUR team form? After ten years as a realtor for a top firm in Houston, Kim Perdomo established a boutique brokerage in 2011. The team grew organically and joined forces with Compass in 2019.
What is the relationship within the team? We have a very special relationship as a team. A lot of us have been friends for many years prior to working together in real estate. With that brings a camaraderie and loyalty to one another that is truly remarkable. We all work together to help everyone succeed, and that is a huge benefit to our clients.
What makes you unique? Our Brand Promise:
Maintaining Lifelong Relationships With Our Clients
Helping Our Clients Make the Right Move
How do you bring this promise to life? We specialize in presenting our listings to the market to achieve the best results. Our personalized, hands-on service includes coordinating staging services, repairs, inspections and through distinctive marketing we attract the largest group of buyers. A few metrics we use to define best results include sales price, contract terms offered, days on market and list price to sales price ratios. Since we are with our clients throughout the entire process, our business relationships typically evolve into true friendships. We have done this successfully in a seller’s market and buyer’s market. As a team, we have 140 years of experience. We have seen it all.
What’s the secret to your success? Integrity. Doing what we say we are going to do and putting our clients’ needs above ours.
What’s next for the end of the year and 2023? We just returned from our top producer awards trip in Alys Beach, Fla., and we are beginning to set goals and prioritize on how we can continue to raise the bar as individuals and as a team. We are currently working with clients to help them evaluate their real estate needs and monitoring the luxury market while communicating exclusive listing opportunities to our buyer clients and fellow agents. Our team expertise and the Compass advantage provides the ultimate results for our clients.
GIVEN THEIR LINEAGE, the Childress brothers’ success may come as little surprise. Masterminds behind 3-D product-imaging company Kermit Labs, Wells, 31, and Knox, 26, got their sharp eye for design from their interior-decorator mom Kara — and their entrepreneurial spirit from Houston-Oiler-turned-auto-dealer father Ray.
They grew up interning for their mom during summer breaks. “When she would present ideas to clients, she’d show a mood board with a small, pixelated image of a sofa next to a tiny fabric swatch next to a tiny wood sample,” says Wells. “And she’d say, ‘Imagine this sofa covered in this fabric with this type of wood leg.’ This client is about to spend $15,000 on the sofa, but they still can’t completely visualize it.”
The brothers saw an opportunity and pursued the business idea that became Kermit Labs. Kermit allows clients to see products in a photorealistic way, “in the exact fabric and finish and in the exact room they want,” says Wells.
Utilizing special software, the Childresses create a 3-D model, “basically a digital twin of the product,” Wells explains. “Then we’ll also create a texture, like a fabric or wood finish.” But the real fun happens next: “We create amazing, slick, virtual room scenes that include the client’s products.” Even though the exact furniture item or floor covering hasn’t yet been built IRL, the customer still gets a scalable and interactive experience. And since Kermit Labs can swap textiles, finishes or accent pieces digitally, it saves the client from producing tangible products in multiple variations — which cuts travel and photography costs by nearly 90 percent while creating stunning product imagery. The business model has earned the endorsement of major industry players like Ashley Stark Home, Lee Industries, and Visual Comfort & Co.
“We’re working on view-in-room capabilities,” says Knox, “where you can look through your phone and picture the proportions of a sofa or chair in your own home.”
ON DEC. 8, JAVIER Martínez and librettist Leonard Foglia’s Christmas-themed, mariachi opera El Milagro del Recuerdo (“The Miracle of Remembering”) returns to the Houston Grand Opera.
Since its premiere in 2019, the opera has become a holiday tradition in Houston, and this year’s performances includes several members of the original cast — including mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte and the San Antonio-based ensembleTrio Chapultepec, who are onstage for most of the opera, dressed in traje de charro (“cowboy suits”) and sombreros. They anchor Martínez’s score with the traditional mariachi instrumentation of guitar, guitarrón — a large, deep-bodied, six-string bass, and vihuela — a smaller sized, higher tuned five-string guitar.
Trio Chapultepec members Vincent A. Pequeño, Israel Alcala and William Carlton Galvez, along with percussionist Jesús Pacheco, appear on Duarte’s new albumReencuentros, a collection of classic boleros she heard as a child growing up in Chihuahua City. For his part, Pequeño was introduced to mariachi in the eighth grade, by renown musician and educator Gumecindo "Gino" Rivera, with whom he still plays to this day. But at first, Pequeño had no idea what he was getting into.
San Antonio native Vincent Pequeño joins William Carlton Galvez from Kyle and Israel Alcala from Laredo in Trio Chapultepec. The three gents were selected by...
Trio Chapultepec (photo by Michael Bishop)
“I hadn’t really practiced my Spanish, because my parents didn’t teach me,” says Pequeño, who was born in San Antonio, grew up relatively poor, and initially explored his musical aptitude on a toy piano and “a beat up guitar that only had, like, three strings.” When Rivera asked Pequeño if he’d like to play guitarrón, he immediately said yes. “In my head, I thought he meant the guitar!” says Pequeño, who nevertheless fell in love with the unwieldy instrument and decided to commit himself to a career playing mariachi.
The roots of mariachi date back to the earliest years of the colonial period of Mexico, when a new amalgamation of musical styles emerged across several distinct geographical regions, performed on stringed instruments introduced by the invading Spaniards, and incorporating the rhythms of music by African slaves and indigenous tribes. Over the 19th and 20th centuries, violins and trumpets had been integrated as well. Today, there are mariachi’s throughout Central and South America, as well Japan, Canada, and Dubai.
“It’s not necessarily just music. It’s a culture,” says Pequeño of the genre. “I love folkloric music from Mexico, and mariachi is a kind of culmination of it all into one.” There’s also a sound and feel to mariachi one can only develop by ear and with experience, which for Pequeño meant listening to and getting advice from older mariachi musicians playing along San Antonio’s downtown Riverwalk. “It’s like when someone gives you a recipe,” explains Pequeño. “And you ask, ‘Can I find this online?’ and they tell you, ‘No. It was my grandma’s recipe, and her grandma’s, and her grandma’s … .’”
Pequeño’s mother didn’t tell him how musical his family was until after he’d gotten into music. He then found out she played in band, and that other family members were strongly rooted in San Antonio’s Tejano music scene, but nobody in the family had played mariachi. “My parents love American rock and roll. They never really expected me to choose mariachi,” says Pequeño. “But I just was magnetized toward it, and now I’ve made a whole career out of playing it.”