Words by Connie Lewis Leonard | Photography by Shad Ramsey Photography
Red on the Square, the vibrant, red brick building sitting at the corner of Pearl and South Houston Street facing the historic Granbury Square, abounds with rich history. With its unique Victorian Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style, the Texas Historic Commission has deemed this building the third most important historic building after the Court House and the Granbury Opera House.
Built by John E. Brown in 1904, Red served as the Hood County State Bank until 1914. At one point in time, Doctor T. H. Dabney had a second floor office with a sign reading “Dr. Dabney’s Sanatorium.” Sub-sequent owners of Red have been Attorneys Jimmy Dixon and Don Neville, Jo Ruth Sandal/Porter Title Company, and current owners Scott and Viki Young.
In 2010, the Youngs breathed new life into the building with a complete restoration. With architect Bryan Gaffin, they wanted the restoration to be as historically accurate as possible. The two-year project included the installation of all new plumbing and electrical. The staircase was removed and replaced with a small elevator. Plaster from the south wall revealed the beautiful stacked stone that is one-and-one-half feet thick. Beneath the five, yes five, layers of carpet, the original wood floors could not be salvaged. The Young’s son found flooring from an historic home in Dallas that was being torn down. Glossy as glass, the refurbished, variegated wood floor graces the downstairs shop, reflecting the light from the crystal chandelier. When the damaged ceiling was removed, the exposed beams of the joist and flooring of the upstairs added character to the boutique. The original floors upstairs were refinished, and the space roughed in prior to the shop’s opening in 2012.
Viki owns the Red Haute Boutique. She and her staff are as welcoming as the light flooding through the arched windows and the glass transom above and around the front entry. The elegant boutique offers high-end fashions at affordable prices. You will find the Brighton line of handbags, jewelry and accessories, Ali Miles, Truluxe, Umgee, and Clara Son Woo clothing designs along with Mary Frances handmade designer bags. Home accessories and handmade custom hair bows are also available at Red. All items are artfully displayed and easily accessible in the cozy atmosphere. The downstairs restroom is elegant with blue and white plates adorning the cool, blue walls and enclosed in a glass-topped display case. Scented soap, lotions, and a blue and white vase filled with flowers rest on the white period-looking vanity.
Riding in the elevator when the metal cage slides closed is like traveling back in time. In 2019, the second story was selected by the TV program, Cash Pad, CNBC, with Jojo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers, from the Bachelor/Bachelorette television program, for a complete restoration and finish-out to turn non-revenue producing square footage into an AIRB&B. Red made the first cut out of 1,000 properties across the United States. When it made the cut of eight hundred possibilities, the producers wanted to know why someone would want to come to a sleepy little town. Scott, former President of the Historic Granbury Merchants Association, articulated the many benefits of the Granbury Square. He presented them with research on the Ghost Tour, the Candlelight Tour, the Wine Walk, Ladies’ Night Out, the Opera House, Granbury Live, Harvest Moon Festival of the Arts, and the plethora of restaurants and shops.
The design team came in and did prep work one month prior to the remodel, which was actually accomplished in eleven days. The team brought in the table and chairs, beds and mattresses, unique light fixtures, and a few other modern pieces of furniture. Both Scott and Viki’s mothers collected antiques which furnish the remainder of the upstairs. A three-tiered round table, and marble topped table belonged to Scott’s mother. The fireplace mantle belonged to Viki’s mother. A dressing table came from Warren White’s mother, who was from the Nutt family (of Warren’s backyard). The two bathrooms boast of large, glass-encased walk-in showers. Modern sinks sit in old wooden chests of drawers. The white and black tiled flooring adds to the vintage ambiance.
The wide arches and key hole windows offer stunning views of the Hood County Courthouse and Square. The transoms provide ample light throughout the rooms. Although the bedrooms do not contain closets, one bedroom has an English gentleman’s chest, complete with wooden hangers and a tie press. The dark blue and green walls and velvet drapes envelop guests in the warmth of southern hospitality. Stairs on the outside of the building provide the entrance with a security key pad. The B&B has two bedrooms and a large seating area with a hide-a-bed, so it can comfortably accommodate six guests.
Extra added decorative touches include a Texas brick and horseshoe on the mantle, with cowhide rugs on the floor. A framed uncut sheet of two-dollar bills, a painting of Red on the Square when the outside of the building contained only accents of red, and a reproduction of an old bank teller’s window adorn the walls. Arrows made from old chair spindles, by local artist Elise Techentine, are displayed on one of the bedside tables. Original Granbury Opera House Theater seats exhibit Viki’s family’s brass name plate. Hands on an antique Grandfather’s clock show five minutes after five, so it’s always cocktail hour. A retro-turquoise microwave, a wine fridge, and a drink fridge are available for guests.
Completed in eleven days, the remodel project was aired on CNBC National TV August 20, 2019. Scott said he knew they would be featured on TV someday, either as hoarders or in a remodeling program! Red has been inspected by a paranormal group that reported there is paranormal activity in the building. However, the Youngs have not encountered this activity.
Viki and Scott have a rich heritage in Hood County. Viki’s great-grandfather Reverend Caswell Purselley came to the area following the Civil War as a Baptist circuit preacher. He settled in the Mambrino area in 1892. Descendants of Purselley have continued to live on the land for four generations. Even when they lived and worked in Dallas, the ranch served as home to the Youngs and their children because they “came home” for holidays and summer vacations.
Viki and Scott purchased and remodeled Books on the Square in 2000. They purchased and restored the Harris Building next to the Opera House in 2001. When they purchased Red in 2008, they sold the Harris Building. Granbury is their home. Their role in preserving the living history and integrity of the Granbury Square will continue into the future with their children and grandchildren.
If you would like to stay in the charming B&B, you can make reservations for The Granbury on West Pearl on Airbnb.