Seeing Downtown from a First Ward Contemporary’s Point of View

Note: Photos from the listing have been removed at the request of the seller and the listing agent.

There’s no getting around the power lines, but there’s still a relatively unimpeded look to the south from the viewing deck of this 4-bedroom, 3-story house at 1322 Dart St. in the First Ward. Designer Charles Tibbits — working with architect Robert Hoover — alerts Swamplot to the house a block east of Houston Ave. and two north of Washington, near the Amtrak Station and the old Jefferson Davis Hospital. It’s listed at $1.5 million.


Built in 2005, the house is 4,655 sq. ft., taking up most of the 5,000-sq.-ft. lot. It sits at the corner of Dart and Hickory, west of the snarl of I-45 and I-10. It’s been listed for about a month. Guests, it appears, will have the option to go left or right around a sago palm when they arrive:

The first floor includes the master bedroom and bath. The master bedroom measures 23 ft. by 14 ft.:

And above the bed there’s a convenient blinding morning-sunlight strip to get your day started:

The master bathroom includes a vanity . . .

. . . and dual showerheads that, with a little ingenuity, could become dueling:

On the other side of those glass blocks is a training solarium with a view of some skyscrapers:

Workout towel hooks:

The utility room’s also on the first floor:

A view of the entrance from the second-floor landing:

The second-floor window frames Downtown. Here’s the 28-ft.-by-24-ft. living area by day:

And by night:

The living area opens up to the dining area and the 24-ft.-by-21-ft. kitchen; that island is wired for Internet, TV, and phone connectivity, and it has a warmer drawer, too:

Off to the side is a wetbar:

And off to the side of the wetbar is the elevator entrance:

Which can take you up to the third floor, where there are 3 bedrooms and this media room, which swaps out the real twinkle you get elsewhere in the house with a ceiling poked out with fiber-optic stars:

The three bedrooms have been used for offices:

The third-floor bathroom:

And the viewing deck just below the roof:

Which looks down on the pool:

The view of the house from Hickory St:

Which leads to the attached two-car garage:

Photos: Charles Tibbits, Rosenkeimer Development

47 Comment

  • I liked it up until the “fiber-optic stars” room… which looks like somewhere you’d shoot a porn film.

  • Pretty cool, except that it’s between (and no more than two blocks from) two sets of very busy railroad tracks (including all bloomin’ night long). I’m told some people like train noise and vibration, though.

  • Not bad for the style but I didn’t know whether to LOL or ROFL at the price because of the location.

  • Do people every buy these things in Houston? Anyone looking to buy in the 1.5 mil range could just build their own modern salute to inequity (note the walled compound to keep the rabble at bay). When building these things, do people really think that someone is going to come along and pay big dollars for someone else’s custom modern home? Or do they just assume that they are going to have to unload the house at a big discount should they ever have to relocate? Just wondering how the other half (percent) live.

  • The HCAD records show it was appraised at $537,000 for 2012. Is this asking price a freaking joke?

  • What an ODD location for such a contemporary and custom-designed home. They either already owned the lot or bought it for next to nothing because I know of no other reason to live in that area. The walled compound vibe says it all. I have to agree with Old School on this one.

  • It’s been listed for about a month.

    Not exactly.

    The same broker has had this property on the market non stop since May 1, 2011. All he/she did was let the term expire and start a new listing with a new MLS number. The price have not changed once in that time frame.

    Another broker had it on the market for 28 days in 2007 for $1,600,000. It didn’t sell then either, at least not in an MLS listed transaction.

  • It has to be the common misconception of “If I spent this much on building it, I should be able to sell it for the same or more”. If you want to build your so-called dream home but do not consider the financial/investment aspect of the location and cost of construction, then be prepared to lose at least 50% of your money.

  • Since a previous post this week concerning Montrose townhomes set off a flurry of commentary, I’m curious if this is the kind of design that people that objected to those faux-French townhomes would like to see?
    It certainly does take advantage of the sightlines, though I would be some kinda grumpy every time I woke up early on a weekend morning with the sun coming in that headboard skylight in the master!

  • Love the interiors. Nice detailing. I love to walk through the place to get a better feel, but seems like there’s a good amount of natural light coming in. I think I’d be very comfortable living in this house.

  • DevonK: I’m not giong to comment on this properties value, but HCAD shouldn’t be used to determin if a property is priced “fairly” or not. I have properties worth 3x what they are on HCAD. I have others worth slightly under HCAD. If I wanted to buy this property, the fact that it had a low HCAD would be a positive as it would save me $10-15k/year in property taxes.
    Lots of people protest each year, or have people do it. I had a property on W. Main and the identical property next door was worth more on HCAD than mine, even though his was vacant and falling apart. He never protested. I did (or rather, have someone do it)

  • I’ve had the opportunity to attend a party here before, and it is really a remarkable house, the there is tremendous attention to detail in the finish work. It also has one the best vantage points to view the fireworks on the 4th… The location is great, and when I was there on the deck, the sounds made by the passing trains [two, including a run of the Sunset Limited] were hardly noticeable…

  • I am a 25-year resident of this area and have attended several gatherings in this stunning home. The interior and exterior of this home contain some amazing use of materials and innovative detailing. This home has a choice location with a phenomenal view, close proximity to restaurants, clubs and shopping and easy access to all major freeways. With the recent closing of rail crossings in the area, we have a neighborhood free of train horns. Don’t sell First Ward short, it is a GREAT place to live.

  • I’ve been in this home a few times also. The finishes are outstanding.

    And no worries, there is a shade for that skylight over the bed.

  • I wonder about the IKEA kitchen cabinets.
    The kitchen looks great. I should know, because I have those cabinets in my kitchen. But my house isn’t worth $1.5M
    Maybe they are not so bad at all… :)

  • OK, it’s a bargain. I can see that the shower would be a lot of fun. Other parts, so so. Kudos for the early a.m. wakeup.

    Why no takers?

  • I like this area and there is a lot of upward movement there right now as well.

  • A bold and welcome addition to the often dull examples of townhouse architecture in Houston.

  • The design and craftsmanship are outstanding. Numerous custom details add to the beauty of the structure.

  • The design takes full advantage of the outstanding view of downtown (and fireworks!)while the interior courtyard provides a welcome respite.

  • The design merges the beauty of industrial chic and warmth of natural stones.

  • A sparkling gem in the First Ward.

  • Comments 12,13,14 all straight from the realtor, I’d imagine. Strange how 3 people who have all been in this house and love the ‘finishes’ all posted at the same time.

  • As a one time resident of the First Ward as well as a member of the team that built the structure I can personally attest to the beauty of the design, the immaculate detailing as well as the ingenuity of construction. Automated lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, appliances and multimedia systems provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security.

  • A dandy piece of eye candy to the Houston cityscape! I find the details intriguing and the entire piece a work of art. A glowing “Ataboy” to the designer and builder! A remarkable tribute to the modern mind of design!

  • Dag, I’m #14 and no I’m not the realtor. I do live in the First Ward though.

    Everyone that has been there is commenting on how nice it is because it is nice.

  • So the seller and listing agent can’t take a few comments?

  • seems like the Dome’s astroturf found a new place to live here in the comments.

  • This property is a gem in the neighborhood. While this neighborhood isn’t the best, it reminds me of Montrose 20 years ago. This house is one of the best looking things around and beats the pants off all the cookie cutter townhomes that seem to dominate new Houston architecture.

  • Dear realtor, we get it, you can stop posting comments now.

  • Who wants to live across the street from a motorpool and in the BailBond district?

  • I drive by this home weekly and have to say, it may have some nice details and finishes on the inside, but the exterior is atrocious. All the way down to the aqua/turquois glass, chrome accents, and out of place ‘torches’. Good luck selling this weird thing

  • I’ve had the pleasure of touring this home and all I can say is “WOW!!!” This is an amazing home. So much time and attention towards every little detail. Every where you look is more detail that wows you. I take great pride in the projects I do and paying a lot of attention to deep rich details, and I have to admit, this home surpasses even my standard.
    Now, as for the location, most of the parts around Downtown are transitioning areas. Some faster then others. But they ALL are turning for the good. I like this home having a very unobstructed Downtown view. And being a stones throw from Washington Ave. You’re not going to find a 5K sq ft corner lot like this with a view anywhere as good for less then $195K. Not to mention a truly custom home like this. Close to 5,000 sq ft of gorgeous detail that’ll take your breath away, with safe rooms, remote shades, an elevator, a true gourmet kitchen, a custom pool, landscaping, a nice secure 9′ stone/brick wall surrounding the premises.. Plus since we are all prone to loosing power, this home has a built in power generator that’s already wired into the home and turns on by itself if and when needed. And a nice little feature called the “Smart Home System,” which means that from your cell phone or from a computer anywhere in the world you can control the entire operation of the home. Lights, window shades, AC controls and security. This home truly has it all..

  • Oh come on! This is ridiculous! Quit seeding the Google search results with the fake realtor nonsense. It’s either a prank or a “paid for” service by the realtor.

  • It’s not a motorpool, it’s the police impound lot.

    And it’s not the bailbond district, it’s First Ward.

  • It looks like ‘he/she’ is just one of those people who can’t focus on the issue at hand. In this case the merits or demerits of the aesthetics of the architecture, its location, its worth or if it has any symbolism as a cultural artifact. He/she is more concerned about the motivation of who’s commenting instead of their comments. Thus the conversation denigrates into snark & vinegar.

  • I have it on good authority that this house has some serious water penetration issues which may still have not been remediated. That’s part why it hasn’t sold in a very long time.

  • @cs

    Since the agent and seller asked that most of the photos be removed, I doubt that one or both of them is continuing to post here.

    Really though, what is the point? Anyone can simply go straight to HAR and gaze away.

    But, if your information regarding water issues is correct, then thanks! You answered my question.

  • commonsense, since you are the one that thinks the police impound lot is a motorpool, I seriously doubt your “good authority”.

  • First we get respondents motivations. Then we move on to rumor and conjecture from an unnamed “authority.” Whats next? A tweet from Rupert Murdoch? A book from Ann Coulter? The owner’s birth certificate.?

  • I’m a Real Estate Analyst and I was told to check out this website but most of the photos had been removed. So I drove by, The double
    entry door was open and it was Hollywood!
    Stainless Steel fish scale wrapped entry! Three foot long steel spikes around the deck, two Olympic torchieres and a beautiful pool between the home and Downtown! Does it get better? This is one bad ass house! I’m in love!

  • A police impound lot is MUCH worse than a motorpool, a lot more seedy characters at all hours of day and night right across the street, so you’re not doing yourself any favors.

  • Where are all you people coming from?
    Claudia, glad you got to see it in person, but if you are a real estate professional interested in the photos, why not just see it on HAR?
    Also, the link is even posted below the text

  • The volume of neighbor/potential buyer/realtor feedback in these comments reminds me of the comment stream on the restoration hardware Meyerland bungalow posting:

  • @44 mel,

    Alas, if this follows that trend, we’re only half way through……

    But the telling will be when most of these posters never appear again.

  • @mel, that one was at least hilarious because of the huge disconnect of opinions between shills and frequent commenters…

  • I think this home is much nicer than the trailer park standing on its end town homes that are popping up everywhere in 1st Ward. As a 1st Ward resident for over 14 years I was hoping this area would continue to be a secret gem but Oh well…