A Swank Modern Meyerland Home with a Record

Modern architecture fans in Houston have been whispering about this 1964 Meyerland home ever since it went on the market late last month. Houston Mod featured it as its “Mod of the Month” open house a couple of weeks ago. Commenters on a Swamplot post about another modern-era home have also been discussing the 3,172-sq.-ft. home, which sits just a couple blocks north of Brays Bayou. As one of them noted, it’s the former home of Houston architect John R. Dossey, who bought it with his wife more than a decade ago and renovated it extensively.

If that name sounds familiar, it might be because Dossey pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to possession of child pornography. The charges stemmed from the stakeout by an FBI unit in March of a feeder-road pay-by-the-hour Scottish Inn & Suites hotel in southwest Houston, where Dossey was arrested in the company of a 16-year-old prostitute. Dossey admitted to taking photos of the girl, and a later search of his home on Manhattan Dr. (yes, pictured here) netted his computers, the inevitable forensic hard-drive search, and the child pornography charge.

Dossey, who’s been in custody without bond ever since, transferred ownership of the home — and the 12,755-sq.-ft. lot next door — in May. And yes . . . both are now for sale! Which means you can conduct a little surveillance of the scene on your own:


The 4-bedroom, 3-1/2-bath home is listed for $575,000. The lot measures 13,111 sq. ft., but it doesn’t include the grassy area beyond the patio shown here:

That lot, directly to the south, is being sold separately for $374,900. Dossey faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, plus restrictions under a supervised release program when he gets out. His sentencing is scheduled for October.

32 Comment

  • The Click2Houston article states that Dossey was released on $30K bond, NOT that he’s “been in custody without bond ever since.” Who’s correct, KPRC or Swamplot? Fact-checking is a good thing.

  • @marketingwiz: Good catch. But we’re inclined to go with the U.S. Attorney’s statement, which says “Dossey has been and will remain in federal custody without bond since his arrest in March of 2010.”

  • Swank house with skank vibes as we used to say…

  • Gorgeous house… 200 meters from Bray’s Bayou in the 100 yr flood plain.


  • I’ve always known there was something not right with people who thought this modern style was attractive…

  • Fresh Prince,

    I hate to bring up the infamous mustached one, but Hitler was a big fan of neoclassical architecture. Which, of course, prompts me to say…

    I always thought there was something not right with people who are really into fluted columns and crown moulding.

    BTW, I think it’s time to update the Victorian doll house that you live in.

  • Handsome house. The new owner will just need to have it thoroughly fumigated, exorcised and blessed by a reliable clergyperson before moving in.

  • Maybe they should throw in an exorcist as a “bonus to buyer” incentive…

  • General question Swamplers–
    How far does the “ick factor” go to turn you away?
    If home were very desirable/ good deal, would you:
    Buy a house owned by a guy who made porn with teenaged prostitutes?
    Would you live in a building where a guy lives who once decapitated his neighbor?
    Would you buy his condo?
    Would you buy a house where a woman drowned her children?
    Would you buy anything owned by Ken Lay?
    How about it? What do you all think?

  • How far does the “ick factor” go to turn you away?

    The law says you have to disclose the “ick factor” but of course not all do.

    Some houses have “bad chi” and always did. The successive owners just never knew about the bad luck the previous owners had.

    Most people never think about it. Quite a few don’t care. Until odd things occur. Then they find out the house has a history.

    I’d be more concerned if molestations occured in this house than the owner merely being a pervert.

    There’s a house on Willowick with a history. It’s never sold except as an estate sale. Even though it’s been offered for sale while the owners were alive. All of whom had very bad luck after they bought the house. And no, I will not give you the address.

  • I had genuine interest in this house when I saw it last week on HAR.com. I even told a friend about it who is also looking for a house in the area (we both love the contemporary style). As soon as I read the article on Swamplot…all interest was gone. I could never, would never, live in a place where crimes against children occurred. Bad karma and just plain sickening.

  • I thought that realtors were required to disclose the ‘ick factor’ happenings only if asked by the prospective buyer.

    Kinda like “don’t ask, don’t tell”

  • The law says you have to disclose the “ick factor” but of course not all do.

    I thought that was only when someone died on the property – does it include crime as well?

    Houses definitely have a soul – and when something this heinous occured on site, I would bet the vibe and soul of the house would reflect it.

  • I am the administrator of the estate of a friend who passed away recently in his condo. I just listed the condo with a real estate agent. Although he died in the residence, there was no evidence of foul play. It is my understanding that, legally, we do not have to disclose that someone died in the residence unless foul play or criminal behavior was involved.

  • Seller disclosure is a sticky wicket and what the law says a seller does and does not have to disclose sometimes has to be weighed with what a buyer might or might not sue the seller over.

    c) A seller or seller’s agent shall have no duty to make a disclosure or release information related to
    whether a death by natural causes, suicide, or accident unrelated to the condition of the property occurred
    on the property or whether a previous occupant had, may have had, has, or may have AIDS, HIV related
    illnesses, or HIV infection.

    Apart from murder, or the roof collapsing and killing the previous owner, it would appear you don’t have to disclose a death.

    Criminal activity probably falls under “due diligence” on the part of the buyer. Unless the seller used the kitchen as a meth lab. That’s on the TREC Seller Disclosure Form.

    The listing and selling broker have no obligation to disclose anything other than what the seller has disclosed to them.

    And disclosing something the seller didn’t disclose to them might result in the seller suing them if a contract is terminated on the basis of the disclosure.

    But of course if the broker knew and didn’t disclose despite the seller not disclosing it, they probably can be sued as well.

    Anyone can sue anyone for anything in Texas. And quite a few do.

    I would suspect only an attorney could answer the question of whether being arrested and charged and convicted of enjoying child porn on your laptop in the living room needs to be disclosed.

    As a general rule I would say anything the neighbors might tell a buyer probably is something the seller should disclose.

  • Right after I bought a house (not my current home), an elderly neighbor told me that one of the previous owners had blown his brains out in the master bedroom. Gee, thanks for telling me, lady. Since it was a suicide and not a murder, it didn’t have to be disclosed in the real estate transaction. Thankfully, the house was fine — no bad vibes.

  • @Apt Dweller: You are correct–legally you only have to disclose death by foul play.
    In my own practice as a realtor though, I think you get the best outcome by disclosing everything– it helps to deflate the bad magic of a “secret” if you tell it up front, instead of the buyers thinking they discovered something hidden.
    In my own life as a buyer, the fact of someone breathing their last at a property holds no ick factor for me.
    Once, at a Closing, in that long interval where you are waiting for copies, the little old lady Seller told me about her boyfriend dying at the house I had just bought.
    Didn’t creep me out at all– just a sweet sad tale.
    But I started this query because I am really curious as to what house history would be a deal breaker for you all.
    Deth by natural causes? By violence?
    Creepy perpetrators of off-site crimes?

  • Most buyers probably don’t care about the history. For those who do, well, again, a little “due diligence” usually answers the questions. Most people who buy Picassos want to see the provenance. Same principle applies to buying a house.

  • As a tangent, and not ‘icky’ but ‘iffy’, what about non disclosure of flooding?

    Are realtors required to tell a buyer if a house has flooded in the past?

  • I ASSUME someone died in any house 75+ years old. Old age, stillborn home-birth, accidental electrocution, fall off the roof, etc. Old european manses have some gruesome histories! (which the owners are happy to relate.)
    I know that places have souls, but I really believe the current residents’ energy is more powerful, so to speak.
    So the cure for the un-sellable, cursed property might be, temporarily, to move into it a healthy, multi-generational “family” with healthy plants and pets (in case someone murdered one of these in there…)

  • Yes I believe flooding has to be disclosed.

  • PYE: Yes you do have to disclose flooding. Though I’m sure there are unscrupulous people who will find creative ways to hide it.

    Our last house flooded to the first floor ceiling during Allison. We made sure it was disclosed. Fortunately we knew the buyer, and she loved it anyway. I still miss that house.

    And on deaths: there’s a house near us on Merrill that had a murder committed inside a couple of years back that made the news. A realtor friend told everyone “do not even think about buying that house.” It was for sale a long, long time and had so much potential. Finally, a builder has bought it and taken it down to just four walls.

    So my question is: Does the builder still have to disclose the murder if the house is totally gutted and rebuilt?

    And if the house had been in the historic district, what would the ruling been on the remodel given the circumstances?

  • Harold and Movocelot: We found out that our current house had a bit of a sordid history for a short time and a fire that killed a poor mistreated dog. We’re sure it’s why the house sat sad and empty for a while.

    I like to believe that our little happy family with two well-loved dogs are giving that poor dog’s soul some well-deserved company. Expelling all the bad kharma by giving the house back some love.

    The one deal breaker for me would be the home of a serial killer.

  • This thread is reminding me of the place we called “Toddville Mansion” in high school. It was a huge creepy building, looked like a prison, and the owner (Bill List) was found murdered there. The rumor went that he had built it on a Karakawa burial ground. He kept teenage boys, runaways, locked up in the house, and they eventually killed him. No idea of how true any of this was, but it was quite an urban myth around the Clear Lake/Seabrook area in the 80s. It sat vacant on a nice piece of bay property for a long long time, and I think was finally torn down a few years back…guess thats way too much of an “ick” factor for most…

  • JRo, my mom used to get the heebeegeebees every time she drove by that place when she dropped me off at Casa Mare Gril Scout Camp next door because of what happened in the Mansion Todville Road. I went there in the late 80s, so I suppose the murder was fresh on everyone’s mind.

    This is the Chronicle article on those murders: http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=1985_52503

    And this is a Chronicle article from 1991 on the difficulty selling the house.

    The Big House at Casa Mare, which was torn down sometime in the 90s apparently had its own ghost, though I never saw her. Supposedly she had some sort of mental or physical disorder and was locked in the attic. Occasionally the dumbwaiter would move on its own, or so the older girls would tell the younger girls. I don’t think there was ever the sense that the house was manevolent. In fact, it was much beloved and there was a lot of bitterness from alumni that the Girl Scouts chose to tear it down instead of applying for grants to restore it.

  • Oh yeah, me too!
    That property, proudly facing the waves and weather, reminded me – a bit – of Newport, RI.

  • Homes do not have a soul.

    The onus is on those who claim that they do to prove that these assembled building materials on a lot have a “soul” or that “karma” will come into play at any time.

    Cite reliable sources.

    Homes do not have a soul.

  • P.S. –

    I’d strongly consider the subject home but for non-karmic flooding from backed up storm drains…said flooding seems to ignore the variety of “soulfulness” and karmic “flow”
    among the drowned subdivisions affected.

    Flood > “soul”

  • Homes do not have a soul.

    Ooooookay Udunno, you got me. Do houses really have a “soul” in the spiritual way that one would argue people and animals do? No – when a house goes to the Big Neighborhood in the Sky, I don’t think a portion of said house lives on after the demolition. But, I absolutely think that some places give off bad, bad vibes and some places inspire happy feelings – isn’t that part of the point of architecture, to inspire certain emotions or feelings by architecting a space a particular way?

  • Not only that, LD, but I have seen buyers so swayed by the good vibes of certain homes –call it a “happy home” –that they have fallen in love with a house that is totally different from everything they wanted in a house.
    Yeah these are clean and well presented– but so are expensively “staged” homes.
    And yet there is some other quality of good vibes that makes some houses “catnip” to buyers.

  • All of this superstition surprises me. It’s 2010, right?

    When I bought my house I just brought a tarot card reader along. Problem solved.

  • LT-

    Sure, some homes may creep a person out – they’ve creeped me out-but that has more to do w/an INDIVIDUAL’s bad taste, bad maintenance and/or lousy archtecture, building quality, etc….

    That goes, however, to HUMAN screw-ups, often (or at least sometimes) correctable. After all, it’s just a bunch of building mat’ls and dirt. “Vibes”? Too Amityville for me.

    Actually, when certain “friends” overstay,I can make my light and airy home “creep out” folks very well… ; O

    Anyway, don’t think we really disagree.