Just Listed: That Milford House with the Nautilus Staircase

The last time a Glassman Shoemake Maldonado house in the Museum District with a notable staircase went up for sale, things didn’t end so well. Now the 1997 home the local architecture firm designed for Carl and Pam Johnson in Ranch Estates is on the block, for $1,395,000.

The 3- or 4-bedroom, and — yes — 5-bathroom — house is probably best known for its inset nautilus-spiral-stair nose, dramatically framed at night (and in magic-hour photos) by porch and interior lights. Inside, at the end of the staircase spiral on the first floor there’s a round bar, which faces into the double-height dining room. One of the exciting things about the sale of a minimalist house like this: There’s no telling how much furniture and stuff a new buyer will be able to pack in there. Just look at all the available space:


That “or 4th” bedroom is a study above the garage, which was designed as a yoga studio and has a separate entrance from a side staircase. The house measures just over 4,000 sq. ft.

23 Comment

  • Thanks for posting this. Ranch Estates is a strange little neighborhood, with postwar shingle-sided ranches being crowded out by giant non-McMansion ultra-mods, of which this is a prime example. Banks and Milford Streets, between Mandell and Yoakum, well worth a look if you’re in the area. Dr. Walter’s baroque masterpiece is just down the street at 1526 Banks. http://swamplot.com/southampton-house-of-48762-cubic-zirconias/2008-12-18/

  • I absolutely love this house!

  • This place is absolutely gorgeous. I’d love to live in a space like that.

  • Oh I LOVE IT. Need to win the lotto…

  • Exquisite. A little piece of paradise.

  • Everyone has already said it, absolutely gorgeous! I love the clean, bright simplicity of the design…wow.

  • @Gus, the HAR link is to the wrong listing. Just a heads up.

  • Does anybody know the story behind the house at 1 Waverly Court that was mentioned in the article? The earlier swamplot reports on it don’t mention why it was demolished. I’m guessing it wasn’t so the new owner could build something new there because that lot is still vacant.

  • Benjy: here is the last mention of 1 Waverly Court in the Chron:


    I suspect that the planned new construction fell victim to the economic downturn.

  • Spec-tac-u-lar. Although there’s nothing spec about it.

  • 1.4 million, no swimming pool, and two blocks from the freeway? It’s beautiful, but no thanks.

  • Patrick, if you see Ranch Estates as “2 blocks from the freeway”, you obviously just don’t get it.
    At a time when so often contemporary means boxy and blocky this house has a warm and curving flow that is pretty amazing– a (very) livable art work.

  • As the crow flies it’s pretty darn close to the freeway; having lived in the area for a while I can attest there will always be freeway noise when you’re outside. On the other hand, the area doesn’t seem to suffer very much from its proximity to the sunken portion of 59.

  • I’ve been in this house – I remember really enjoying the airy feel and the strategic glimpses of art in the yard. Very cool.

  • Gorgeous. A dream.

  • > if you see Ranch Estates as “2 blocks
    > from the freeway”, you obviously just
    > don’t get it.

    Put me in the location-follows-function camp. A house is not a work of art, it’s meant to be used. A site two blocks from 59 means you can’t enjoy the setting.

    This is doubly true when there are plenty of other 1.4M options nearby… like these two: http://swamplot.com/up-and-down-in-hyde-park/2010-04-19/


    P.S. Nice carpet in the LR though… and I’m not just saying that because I have the same one… 8-)

  • Patrick, from that location you can’t even hear the freeway.

  • Patrick,

    I walk/jog/bike on Banks/Milford/Vassar from time to time and, believe me, the freeway is a negligible element in the neighborhood. I’m only aware of the freeway noise on parts of Vassar that are directly backed up to 59 and when crossing the bridges on Graustark and Mandell. In the evenings, you’ll find any number of people out walking/jogging/biking and generally “enjoying the setting”. I’d invite you experience it yourself before making a blanket statement based on its location on a map.

    Besides that, it’s probably my favorite neighborhood in the whole city because the great mix of traditional and modern homes. Sure, there are a few McMansion-type clunkers, but most of the new homes have been in the vein of the one featured here.

  • Sweet pad. I’d never need or want that much space so I’d love the 3 bedroom 3 bath model please….with a pool.

  • > I’d invite you experience it yourself…

    Been there and done that years ago, of course. Looked at many nice houses in that area, but passed them over because of the unceasing din and vibrations emanating from the concrete surface of 59. If the city only believed in asphalt, that would help a little.

    Instead, we bought a very nice bungalow about 30 blocks due North of this place.

    I’ll don my fireproof longjohns and then mention that I’ve encountered quite a few Texans & Houstonians who have a surprisingly (to me) blase attitude about pollution, noise or otherwise.

    There was that one guy who told me how much he loved to fish on Caddo Lake… yikes.

    In a similar vein, if you walk along Milford on a quiet Sunday morning, as I have, and still insist you can’t feel the freeway, then it’s time for a hearing test.

  • Was the freeway still elevated when you where there?

  • (Full Disclosure) I have a constant ringing in my ears from the 100+ rock concerts I have attended in my life, so my hearing may not be as acute as Patrick’s.