History of 108 West French Place
Bishop’s Mansion to Beauty Shop to Serene Historic Residence
Atlee B. Ayres designed 108 W. French Place for builder/developer W. D. Syers in 1911. The stately mansion was first occupied by Bishop and Mrs. W. T. Capers in 1914. The home remained in the ownership of the Bishop and the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas until 1962, when it was sold to Benancio and Hugette Juarez and her sister, Mrs. Claude Rideau. For many years, the sisters ran the Paris Beauty Salon in the enclosed wrap-around porch on the first floor. The families also lived in the home and may have rented the third floor as a separate apartment until 2000. A subsequent owner attempted, but failed in using the site for a commercial venture.
In 2005 Michael and Linda Daniels purchase the property; they restored the home to its original grandeur for use as their private residence. Prior to this grand-scale preservation effort, the Daniels had lived in and restored several Monte Vista houses. However, 108 W French was their ultimate dream. They have lovingly restored and upgraded the home to its original single-family use, with careful attention to its architectural details. On its 100th birthday, the home was featured in the 2011 Monte Vista Tour of Homes. The Daniels’ fond moniker for their treasured residence is the “Paris Salon,” harking back to its past use and its French Place address.
The design of the home melds more traditional architectural styles with the newly emerging-arts-and-crafts movement, as evidenced by the decorative horizontal bands around the blond brick exterior and the style of the trim inside the house. Architect Ayres gave the 8-foot tall windows around the structure his distinctive snowflake motif transoms. The curvilinear is juxtaposed with the horizontal on a tall, vertical structure. The house has three floors of living space with 11-, 10- and 9-foot ceilings respectively. It is built on a full basement, which housed the original heating system and has a 10-foot ceiling. The home is sited on the escarpment above San Pedro Springs, giving the third floor a magnificent view of downtown through large dormer French windows.
The Daniels enclosed the sleeping porches to create additional interior living space. The house is now surrounded by colorful flower gardens. A portion of the bricked “New Orleans style” rear yard is the original carriage run around to the back of the house. The outdoor patios and decking are as inviting as the interiors. The home at 108 West French Place is a fine example of architectural preservation making Monte Vista a great place to live.
Linda Daniels Tuesday, 07 July 2015 Articles