Riverside Terrace Stucco Redo, With or Without Garage

A bit like icing, the stucco smoothed over the exterior of this renovated-to-the-studs 1930 brick home in Riverside Terrace was a finishing touch. Interior work reconfigured some of the space and added “engineered wood” flooring, fresh paint, and carpet, plus new wiring, plumbing, and HVAC. In mid-April 2012, the property changed hands at $67,000 after 3 months on the market — it was initially priced at $110,500, with $10K-or-so reductions coming every few weeks. The completed project appeared a week and a half ago as a new listing — for $249,900, though for an extra $20K prior to closing, the seller will add a 2-car garage to go with that new driveway:


Sunshine has returned to the sun porch; the old arch-filling wooden-trimmed screens of the previous listing have made way for glass:

The reworked living room, still 30 ft. x 15 ft., swapped out the fireplace surround and peeled back a wall of the now-more-contemporary looking stairwell. Plus the side windows are exposed now:

Here’s the same view before the work began (and before the wider-angle lens arrived):

The former dining room (through what used to be an archway) is now part of the expanded kitchen, which runs the full width of the home in its new all-in-one configuration:

A beam across the ceiling shows where a former arched section of wall was removed between rooms. Also, a jog of staircase leads to the central stairwell from the kitchen and utility area:

The 2,400-sq.-ft. home has 3 bedrooms upstairs and 2 1/2 bathrooms.

This extra room is over the sun porch:

The master bathroom has a double vanity, walk-in shower, and tub:

Two street-facing rooms upstairs look over a bright cluster of blue-and-gray steel-clad townhomes. So does the shared bathroom.

Here’s how that shared bathroom (above) looked in its previous incarnation (at right). The 6,760-sq.-ft. lot is next door to a fenced, vacant property. Original homes still line much of the rest of the street.

32 Comment

  • Not too bad the Bathroom (or is it beigeroom) is pretty bad though.

  • Quite nice…just check those flood maps before you buy…because you will flood in the future in most of this neighborhood.

  • The exterior looked much better before the renovation.

  • Yuck. It looked better before. At least the asking price is reasonable. Also, that neighborhood only floods along the bayou. I’ve done projects on Oakdale and Wichita (which had a basement) in the same 2600 block and those houses/streets never flooded during TS Alison in 2001 or even before the enormous water detention basin of Hwy 288 was built in the 80s.

  • It’s not the worst flip I have seen, but definitely not the most sympathetic to the era or the neighborhood. I loved the original brick. Even if it was in bad shape, it could have been repointed and then painted (is the stucco hiding deteriorating brickwork?).

    I am generally OK with opening up interior spaces in older homes to help their occupants live in a more modern space, but what I don’t understand is making them thoroughly generic in the process. The money saved on not stuccoing the exterior could have gone into more woodwork on the inside (and better windows, those cheap windows are terrible). So many possibilities lost!

    On the positive side, I really like the side sunroom windows. That space is probably the best in the house.

  • I can’t see past the windows and the stucco. The interior seems mostly ok, if boring. But the outside is a travesty.

  • That old brick was awesome. Why would anyone do that? To each their own, and someone must have thought it was more awesome without brick.

  • I like the house, but those blue and aluminum townhouses across the street are a dealbreaker.

  • Goodbye architectural history, hello hamburger.

  • Looks like lipstick on a pig that was too diseased to be taken to a slaughter house.

  • From kjb434:
    Quite nice…just check those flood maps before you buy…because you will flood in the future in most of this neighborhood.

    Not true at all. I have lived here for over 6 years and have seen only a few properties take in any water. Those were very low lying. Please get your facts straight before disparaging an entire neighborhood.

  • I am not reflexively anti-stucco, like so many others here, but I have to agree that, at least from those two pictures, the brick looked better. Is there anyway to access the before pictures. Or does anyone know a comparable up on HAR that approximates what it probably looked like?

  • mr Macgregor and Spencer,

    Saying “it didn’t flood in Allison” and
    I’ve lived here for over 6 years” hardly qualifies as evidence.

    1.)Allison didn’t flood most of Houston and many parts of Houston didn’t receive lots of rain. Flooding targeted certain areas more than others. I lot of areas that routinely flood didn’t flood during Allison.

    2.) I had to do historical research on flooding in the neighborhood. This neighborhood had flood problems for many years. Flooding was one of the reasons for the neighborhood’s decline. Yes, recent improvements by HCFCD have helped. I was just putting the caution out there to check the flood maps (which everyone in Houston should do when buying).

    This neighborhood is at the downstream end of one of the most urbanized watersheds in Harris County (White Oak Bayou comes close to this also). Don’t believe that improvements by HCFCD will solve potential flooding problems. All the work on Brays Bayou at most will provide about a 25-years storm even protection (if that) and reduced the 50, 100, and 500 years zones somewhat.

  • If you go to google maps streetview you can see the brick was a mess. Lots of shifting over the years. Repointing will work to hold the bricks together but can be really hard to make nice looking when it is extensive like here. This would have been a moderately difficult project and for all of the comments about tearing worn out stuff down on this site, I am surprised at the negativity towards a pretty good save. Hopefully families can enjoy the place for another eighty years now.

  • There is some elevation in this neighborhood; it floods just south on Calumet, and in the park there. But this block of Prospect doesn’t typically flood even in lots of rain, like Ike. I lived in the blue townhouses so I know. And the townhouses are Urban Lofts, it’s a matter of opinion but I think they’re cool. Lots of nice people live there, too. It should be seen as a positive rather than a negative.

  • kjb434:

    95 of the 104 buildings at UH (less than a mile downstream on Brays Bayou flooded during Alison. Also, nearly every hospital in the TMC less than a mile upstream took on water. I think that qualifies as evidence that the neighborhood does not flood unless directly fronting the bayou and most of those houses have already been bought out by FEMA and demolished.

    The HCFCD improvements have increased the capacity and improved the drainage since Alison and this year’s heavy rains showed the results of that work. I’ll always put my money on empirical evidence over hypothetical 50, 100, 500 year events for a broad region.

  • I hope the house comes with a 55 gallon drum of Windex.

    The sunroom is wonderful but I can imagine it will be a constant source of irritation over the cleaning.

  • @kjb – This part of the hood does NOT flood. I live on the same street one block to the west. Our street drops off more than five feet in elevation towards the floodplain (and most houses are 4 or 5 feet above the street), and is bounded by the 288 pit on the west and is situated on a natural highland. Our elevation is clear of even the five hundred year floodplain, and according to old timer neighbors has never flooded, not even during Allison.

    Flooding differs from street to street. This street is clear – I would never have bought here otherwise (I even checked topographic maps).

  • I am a broker associate with Keller Williams, and was the listing agent. Slideshow to original pics is below. I agree on the brick v. stucco discussion on the appearances. This was, however, a massive project to undertake and it looks like this property is getting a very new start:

  • Would Antique White paint and a little subway tile KILL anyone?

    Just asking.

    (GOD I hate travertine.)

  • Any idea what developer did the rebuild?

  • Superdave,

    Never say never….Allison flooded many areas outside of the 500-year.

    Allison also didn’t hit this neighborhood hard.

    The phrase “I didn’t flood during Allison…” doesn’t mean anything. Most of Houston didn’t flood in Allison either because they didn’t get the large volumes of rain that portion of the city received.

    Many areas of Houston flood during minor summer storms, but didn’t flood during Allison. It always just depends where and when the rain falls and also if the runoff compounds downstream.

  • Omar: Might just be some regular guy that did it. I know one of my very first flips was around there. Not much to do really. Patched up a bad roof and replaced a few broken windows. The profit came from the fact it had to be cash. I had it under contract with a new buyer before I even closed. That’s when I realized that financing being such a pain, which turns out to be a negative so often, can be a positive if you can work around it (and why only maybe 10% of our properties are actually ‘traditionally’ financed)
    Anyway… I don’t like the stucco. I mean, it looks fine and would be fine for a new build, but I wouldn’t have put it over the existing brick. Since that brick had to be addressed anyway, I’d have fixed any grout or settling then painted the brick. I’m normally not a big fan of painting brick (if it hasn’t been painted) but it’s gobs cheaper than stucco and would at least save some of the ‘integrity’ of the original design.

  • Yikes, just looked it up… my place was on Calumet, about 1/4 mile away. Nuts.
    Yeah, there is a lot of value in that area. Tons of large nice homes but vacant/distressed. If anyone wants to try their hand, and has access to cash, that’s not a bad place to try to turn around a property.

  • I’d like to see some attic pics. That exterior is fugly, and won’t last as long as the brick.

  • Nitpicking re the glassed-in, formerly-screened sun porch: I could live there for years and still walk straight into that glass. A menace for the absent-minded. I think some mullions (muntins? DK the correct term) would have been a good idea.
    But then I would have preferred the fresh air of the screened porch.

  • David Truran,

    thanks for the pics.

  • I looked at a house on Oakdale near here which had a tree in its kitchen. A lot to be done in this neighborhood.

  • Turns out somebody has handled that; the property is featured on the 9/28/2010 and 10/7/2010 Daily Demolition Reports – amazingly they kept the part of the house that wasn’t treed-in.

    Wonder how they evicted the squatter though. “Bring a rifle and a bulldozer to closing”

  • Any info on the neighborhood?

  • Riverside Terrace, this area is always being painted as the anti River Oaks since the mean white people wouldn’t allow Jews or Minority residents. Can I just say, this lie and rumor really pisses me off as a Houston resident with a long history in this town and Texas. If you look at the homes you will notice Riverside and River Oaks share styles which is due to the fact Birdsall Briscoe and John Staub designed homes for both neighborhoods. The two developments were once connected by the mansions of Avondale and Midtown, so the true story is less tabloid and more about vacant land being built out on the outskirts of developed parts of a young Houston. Lynn Sakowitz Wyatt lived in Riverside and moved to River Oaks once she married, so the idea of Jews not being welcome in River Oaks or anywhere in Houston is crazy. I am sick of hearing that the city I love was anything but friendly, Houston was a city of immigrants due to Galveston and the majority never cared who, what, when or where….. We care about keeping our homes up kept to the standards set forth in the HOA or deed guidelines, we shopped at Weingarten’s, Sakowitz and even save buildings like Joseph Finger’s Beth Israel building long after the congregation moved to something newer, why? because those of us who are Houston care and respect, unlike the Weingarten Commercial arm….dense cheap retail and lack of urban investment leave us all wishing the Weingarten family we once knew would slap sense in to the new crop. My point, well Houston has issue, most are in it’s planning and lack of respect for the neighborhoods….racial divides, well we know most is fiction and the little that is out there is really a joke, one we all need to speak up to and against…… As for the reason Riverside Terrace lost it’s appeal, well some say it was white flight, really it was one generation wanting something new which left older areas with few buyers, then deed restrictions were broken which added to the decline….running a funeral home or hair salon out of your Riverside Terrace home and allowing apartments t replace large estates, well that’s not “rich” or smart, but it does explain why values hit the skids……..just saying……