Marked Down: The House That Shook the Old Sixth Ward

A few neighbors actually picketed this home on the corner of Decatur and Silver streets for months after it was built. In 2001 Cite magazine labeled it “probably the most scrutinized — and criticized — private home in recent Houston history.” What was all the fuss about? It was a brand-new home built on a long-vacant lot around the turn of this century in a recently designated historic district: the Old Sixth Ward.

The protest signs have been down for years, but a for-sale sign went up in the yard last fall. After a failed closing, the house came back on the market this summer. Then a second buyer couldn’t come up with financing. The sellers cut the asking price $20K, to $539,999, just last week.

The 3 bedroom, 2 full- and 2 half-bath house was designed and constructed by Houston’s MC² Architects. A picketer-free photo tour is below:


The 5,000-sq.-ft. lot also includes a small retail space that faces Silver St. Designed to house an optometry office, it was later converted into a photo studio:

Bottom photo: Candace Garcia

33 Comment

  • What a view from the back!

  • Be the new most hated neighbor in the Old Historic 6th Ward!

  • Though it’s a bit out of scale with its neighbors, this house does a good job of picking up subtle and not-so-subtle qualities of the existing historic buildings. I am ALL for keeping existing structures, however, we are in the 21st century, and when there’s a vacant lot that requires a house let’s design and build a structure that utilizes technologies and materials of today, not building methods of the early 1900s. This building is far better than the stucco covered, ill-conceived and quickly constructed crap all over midtown and rising quickly around Wash. Ave.

    I also think it’s extremely immature to say “Be the new most hated neighbor in the Old Historic 6th Ward.” Remember “Love Thy Neighbor?” You don’t have to like the house, but maybe you should give whoever buys the house a chance.

  • What a beautiful house. Just needs someone fearless to love it. While I support the preservation of neighborhoods, I also appreciate people’s desire to express themselves and stand out a little.

  • looks like a well designed place and i hope they have some giant goldfish in that awesome pond.

  • there are things such as good change and bad change, but you can’t ignore the dangerous implications of no change at all.

  • I’ve been in this house, and it’s gorgeous. Very comfortable scale, and a wonderful view of downtown.

  • I’m surprised the Old Sixth Ward “preservationists” didn’t demand it be condemned for violation of something and then burned as a sacrifice to the gods as soon as the “for sale” sign went up.

    Their motto seems to be “love your neighbors, hate their house if it doesn’t look like yours…”

  • I think the lower picture partially explains somes reactions. All of a sudden you have this very modern house towering over it’s lot line neighbor. Now the neighbors upper and lower porch have a great view of, well, sheet metal. Not exactly neighborly.

  • Being a farm girl, I can’t quite get past the notion that corrugated sheet metal is for barns.

    Otherwise, I really like the inside.

    I would not like to have to look at it from my front porch though. I can do that at the in-laws.

  • It’s not bad at all, just out of place. I’d gladly be that guy, wouldn’t bother me at all..

  • Why are we wasting our time with this house when there’s that new listing on Locke Lane to make fun of?

  • What is the difference between a “motorcourt” and a driveway?

  • Whoever built that house totally dismissed the feelings of their neighbors. How rude.

  • This is only house in old 6th ward actually worth preserving.

  • miss_msry… I hope you’re joking. If all the builders in the city felt the need to consult the neighbors and their feelings before design/construction, nothing new or different would ever go up. That’s not the kind of city I want to live in. Do you think the neighbors of THIS house would prefer the empty lot that it replaced? Would they prefer another faux-victorian swankienda with an electronically controlled wrought iron fence to keep the Washington Avenue riff-raff out?

  • This structure was built with arrogant disregard for the historic district and for the owners of the neighboring truly lovely historic home. Crowding the lot line not only blocks air circulation, but also makes the porches like dark jail cells instead of airy galleries. May it rust away before it sells.

  • Screw preservation. I’m for progress. That neighborhood would be about 100 times better if every old house was demolished and more stuff like this was built. Then in 50 years all the new and improved stuff can be historic. Rinse. Repeat.

  • If the neighbors had wanted to preserve the view from their porch they could have bought the vacant lot it faced. It’s unreasonable to expect a buyer not to want to maximize their space.

  • Darbymon is out of touch with the real world. Glad to see most posts on here acknowledge the reality: Old Sixthe Ward and other districts often go too far to reject that which would improve their neighborhood in long run. It has set itself backwards over 20 years fighting against progress. What a shame. This house is a steal.

  • Is it really necessary to insult those of us who like living in a historic district? You can build all kinds of new, interesting, challenging, creative, innovative designs all over this city. I don’t know of any preservationist who is against new construction. At the same time, we like preserving our collection of historic housing stock (less than one percent of the City of Houston), and are not out there teling you what to build outside a historic area. Show some respect. And to set the record straight, there was only one day of “protest” at this house, adn it was more of an education about the neighborhood. One neighbor posted signs in their yard displaying their unhappiness, but there was only one day of any organized protest.

  • I drove past that intersection on my way to work for years. The protest signs were up for weeks if not for months.

    If you were offended, I am sorry, but I am just reporting what I remember.

    Regarding your request for respect, respect is something you earn only when you give it. I respect your rights to love and maintain old-houses, however, you do not respect our right to build new structures, just as you did not respect the rights of this nice couple to build the house of their dreams.

  • History is relative and so are prespectives. The house across the street is one example of historic preservation.

  • We all know how hot it gets in H-town. If anything, the neighbor should thank the heavens for that well-conceived wall o’ shade. I’ve seen some horrible monstrosities go up in the name of progress and technology. This, my friend, is a beautiful work of architecture and art. Who cannot appreciate that tranquil space of a pond? Hope the new tenants are as likable and sweet.

  • I love the interiors, and the views to the outside spaces. I think the same architects did a home on 26th, and now one of the lots adjacent has the recent addition of 6 townhomes crammed on it that tower over even that home’s angular rooflines.

  • Looks nice on the inside, but I agree with some of the other posters regarding the un-neighborly disregard for maintaining reasonable distance from the lot line.

    We bought a house last year, and crossed many of the list during our search because they were “suffocated” on one or more sides by a towering neighbor. No light, no ventilation, no view. Just wall.

    Months later, many of these otherwise adorable houses were still on the market, most with radically reduced prices. One was torn down. Sad, really. I can appreciate people not wanting that trend in their neighborhood.

  • Sounds like karma on 26th St.

    And this one might be a work of art but it would have been better suited to a double lot.

  • I looked at this place last year. I liked it but it needed some updates and I had my heart set on a pool.

  • Everyone knocking this house is fucking retarded. I grew up in this house and if I recall correctly, it’s the most conservative house on the outside. How is that bothering people?

    I guess you guys have never remodeled a house before. Yeah, it’s loud. But you know what? Deal with it; it’s temporary.

    And all you fools are afraid of color. I bet your living rooms are ‘off-white’, as well as the rest of the house.

    Don’t like it? Don’t fucking look at it!

    Love ya Mom, good luck selling it. And don’t listen to these jealous wankers.

  • Oh yeah, and River Oaks being ‘Historic”? You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. Look at all the McMansions on the same street. This house hasn’t changed on the outside since we moved there in ’84, except for the front half drive. Get a brain, sheep.

  • Wow, don’t know how that happened, I was commenting on another listing. sorry

  • Beautiful!