By: Brian Kendall
It’s not unusual for Noel and Sara Viramontes to look out their window and catch a passerby snapping a photo of their house. The couple is used to it by now, especially after spending the past year hosting artists and musicians in their home, better known as the FW Black House.
“We wanted to be out-of-the-box,” Noel said. “We wanted people to say, ‘Dude, what is that?’ I think you are who you attract.”
The all-black house at 1105 East Peach St., standing at two stories and 1,930 square feet, serves as an event venue by night, hosting everything from local music acts like The Hendersons, to art shows like Latino Hustle. But by day, the couches and coffee table move off the porch and back into the living room, and the FW Black House goes back to being home for Noel, Sara, their three children (ages 18, 11 and 9), and two dogs.
“It’s the same family sounds that you would hear in any other house,” Sara said. “Except if we have an event, [the kids] help us clean up; they help us with the dogs.”
The kids also know to be quiet during certain events like the Sofar Sessions, an intimate live music event that doesn’t reveal its location until the day before, and the musical acts until the day of (Leon Bridges was once a surprise act). When the FW Black House hosted a Sofar Session last summer, the kids stayed upstairs, instructed to not make too much noise through the thin floors and walls.
It’s probably the one thing that makes living in the FW Black House less fun, Sara said. Other than that, the kids enjoy it.
Noel grew up just a few blocks away from the house and would walk past it every day as a child. In 2011, he and Sara bought the house and spent five years restoring it, finally moving in last year.
Much of their furniture and decor is refurbished; Sara has a thing for picking up unwanted furniture from the side of the road and turning it into something new. The coffee table in the living room, for example, was left on a curb until Sara picked it up, laid pages of an old hymnbook on top (she plays the piano) and finished it with lacquer. Their pantry is a set of old school lockers. Their curtains are painter’s drop cloths.
Renovations aren’t done, though. With the house growing in popularity as an event venue, Noel and Sara eventually want to do things like expand the balcony and create more parking. They’re hoping for bigger art shows, too, currently working to book other artists and musicians. They also plan to take part in Spring Gallery Night and the MAIN ST. Arts Festival.
But no matter who or what comes inside, for the Viramontes family, the FW Black House will always just be home.
“We still have kids that we have to raise,” Sara said. “That’s part of being a family.”
By: Brian Kendall