Audley International Style: FrogPad’s Machine For Living

Perched amid the Upper Kirby office-building ghetto just west of Eastside and south of West Alabama, the building at 3231 Audley dates from 1961, during developer Gerald Hines’s reign over Richmond Ave. Now that it’s had some midlife body work, the property is for sale again.

The Weather Research Center, a research and education nonprofit located next door at 3221 Audley, bought the building in the mid-nineties, but never occupied the space. (The organization moved to the Museum District in 2006 and opened its doors as The Weather Museum.)

Linda Marroquin, CEO of tech company FrogPad, snatched the shell of the office building on stilts in December 2006 and transformed it. She’d lived in another converted building across the street for 9 years, and says she had her eyes on the property the whole time. Besides running FrogPad, a business that sells one-handed keyboards, Marroquin is a serial renovator. She worked with local designer and contractor Michael X. Flynn to convert the building to a residence; it’s her fourth renovation in Houston. Over the next 2 years Marroquin and Flynn gutted the space and built out another 2,500 sq. ft. on top. The result is the high-tech executive’s interpretation of the Villa Savoye — as it might have landed on a 5,000-sq.-ft. Houston lot just a couple blocks from the Jack In The Box on Richmond.


Marroquin moved in in 2008, using the space for client meetings, art openings, parties, and music and dance performances. The kitchen island is made from an enormous slab of rock from Madagascar; the refrigerator was originally bought for the wife of the owner of D’Angelo’s New & Used Restaurant supply store in Galveston.

A 2-foot-tall origami crane sits in the entry, near multiple renditions of master paintings recreated with Crayola crayons:

A lonely bed that can easily be moved (or disguised for parties) rests along a wall of the expansive upstairs master suite.

There’s parking underneath the house, but Marroquin also left space for a dog run for her two Ibizan hounds. A bistro table and chairs sits on bright green grass . . . carpet.

The house has been on the market for a month and a half. The price was recently reduced from $1,850,000 to $1,750,000.

An open house is scheduled for this Sunday, from 2 to 5.

14 Comment

  • It doesn’t appear to be a cozy home, but I like it.

  • I love commercial buildings converted into homes. This one is pretty well done, but the location is unfortunate.

  • The area is Upper Kirby and is fast being converted into very high rent living spaces.

  • Fabulous.

  • I had a group art exhibit upstairs that was very well attended. It is magnificent atmosphere which embraces a contemporary concept of flexible living space. A nice office area for work, a spacious kitchen with a exotic stone island for gathering, beautiful tree top views from a deck, space for events, and even a lower ceiling area downstairs for more intimate experiences.

  • think this is where Han Bennink played that one show with namelesssound a few years back when it was just an empty/gutted building.

    admittedly, i liked it better then than now

  • Awesome residence. I will certainally keep this in mind for any client I may have for such a special property. What are some uses for this property besides a residence? BK

  • I’m with poster #1, not too cozy as is, but I really like it a lot.

    It’s about the staging, but why don’t they just leave it empty so folks can use their own imaginations?

  • I was part of the most recent exhibition and the view is inspiring. Anyone with a visionary direction could take this space and make it their own with little or nor effort by virtue of its bones all ready in place. It can remain sleek or become “cozy” if the right person can use their intuitive inner vision.

  • Oh Pye! Talk to any realtor and they will tell you that most people don’t have imaginations. They cannot envision a space any way but what it is. Those who do have imaginations will not be hindered either way, so it is bet to stage for who you think has the $$$ to buy it. It does need dressing up the bedroom.
    But I would take it in a heartbeat.

  • Anyone else get a grand ship vibe from this place… something about the skylights and stair railings

  • I’ve been to a number of events here, both art and music, and the space always elicits oohs and ahhs. The location is excellent.

  • I always wonder about the street Eastside every time I pass it. What is it east of or what was it east of when it was named that? I know someone here knows the answer to this.

  • Hi, the property is used as a residence, art gallery, and office for business. It has an 8 car garage, and the furniture gets moved around alot for events. The current master bedroom is the whole top floor, yet it is designed for 4 bedrooms, and/or 2 master suites, or 2 completely separate flats, or residence upstairs and office downstairs.