Efforts to restore Milkovisch's Beer Can House, which has suffered years of gradual decline, have moved into high gear with a $125,000 Houston Endowment grant to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, which acquired the house in November 2001. "The Beer Can House represents the sort of idiosyncratic individualism that Houstonians and Texans' pride themselves on," Emily Todd, the endowment's grant officer, said Wednesday.
Orange Show Executive Director Susanne Theis said repair and restoration of the house at 222 Malone west of downtown should be complete by late next year. The house then will be open for tours.
Much of the restoration will be performed by volunteers, although final installation of components likely will be handled by professional carpenters. In some cases, Theis said, brewers might be asked to reproduce the discontinued cans Milkovisch used in his project. Already, can collectors have donated vintage cans to the effort.
One more thing:
Changes in the neighborhood also have contributed to the site's degradation, Theis said.
Once a working-class enclave of single-family homes, the neighborhood in recent years has experienced rampant redevelopment. The Beer Can House now is flanked by multistory townhomes, one of which was erected about three feet from the property line.
With new development blocking sunlight, a once-sparkling fence studded with colored glass marbles has gone dull. Theis said plans call for installation of lighting to again illuminate the fence. Plans also call for a vine-covered trellis at the building's rear to suggest the greenery of trees that have been removed as adjoining property was developed.