House designer Jack Preston Wood has apparently had second thoughts about his plan to build two 4-story townhomes where this bungalow now sits in the Freeland Historic District. The city historic commission turned down both his new-construction and demolition plans last month, and neighbors have been writing him letters and protesting every weekend since.
Freeland Historic District is a collection of 35 bungalows, marked down from the original 37, on two blocks south of White Oak Blvd. at the damp end of the Heights. There’s been no new construction in the district — which was designated just last fall — and residents have been working hard to keep it that way.
Wood tells Chronicle reporter Robin Foster that neither the Realtor nor the owner of the house told him that the house at 536 Granberry was in an historic district before he signed a contract to buy it:
He found out about it when he tried to subdivide the lot.
Jean Taylor, who lives two doors down, recalls seeing the property listing. The house had been vacant more than a year. It was never marketed as a historic home but as a tear-down or business property and eventually as just land, she said.
Her neighbor, Gilbert Perez, who runs a restoration business, tried to buy it, but his offer was rejected as too low, Taylor said.
Wood tells Foster that one of the garage-front townhouses was meant to be a “dream home” for him and his wife. Now though, maybe not:
Even though city laws wonâ€™t stop the redevelopment, Wood said thereâ€™s no way heâ€™ll go through with those plans after speaking with some of the neighbors. But if they arenâ€™t amenable to something different, something he would consider compatible with the existing homes, then he may pull out of the deal altogether.
â€œIf we canâ€™t find a way to get our dream to fit in there, then we wonâ€™t close,â€ Wood said.
But Wood has plenty of experience fitting dreams onto lots.
In addition to the design work performed by his company, Preston Wood & Associates, Wood sells a wide range of house plans off his company website — and apparently works hard to promote the designs with videos and a blog that’s written in Spammish and full of SEO-friendly link text.
Presenting the house plan shown in this video, #c4169, the blog comments:
This 6226 square foot home plan is one our more popular luxury house plans. This 5 bedroom 5 1/2 bath house plan offers many features of a mansion home design such as an exercise room, library, and game room.
The custom-designed townhome featured below, #D5096, comes with 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, a media room, and a royalty-free soft-porn soundtrack:
But perhaps the most succinct overview of Wood’s dreamwork is provided by this short video from the Preston Wood website, which matches a slideshow of Wood’s house designs to the compelling rhythm of The Who’s “I Can’t Explain”:
- Freeland residents fight to keep historic homes intact [Houston Chronicle]
- Fighting For The Freeland Bungalows [Hair Balls]
- Freeland Historic District (PDF) [Planning & Development]
- Preston Wood & Associates, LLC
- Home Plan Videos [Preston Wood & Associates]
Photos: Swamplot inbox