Small, Modern, and New in East Downtown

The smaller of a wee pair of snaggle-topped properties built since April 2012 on a Scott St. corner of the new East End Southeast rail line popped on the market last week. Initial asking price: $175,000. No listing yet for its equally efficient slightly bigger sister right next door, which employs the same corner windows, criss-cross rooftop, and slew of eco-friendly components.


A stripped-to-essentials project by Paul Walker of Lucy Modern Dwelling and Sam Nash of Studio 8M Architecture, the streamlined mini-modern doesn’t specify the size of its footprint in the listing. Cited room dimensions are heavy on multiples of 12 and 13, though. A report on the design from 002 magazine last year counted square footage just shy of 1,000 sq. ft. for the cozy 2-bedroom, 2-bath pad, however. (Big sis adds another bed and bath, weighing in at 1,161 sq. ft.) A jazzy-hued front door off the crushed stone driveway/walkway with wall-hugging stoop (above) opens into the space-saving combo living-dining-kitchen. The first floor also has a secondary bedroom with full bath as well as a utility room:

The front of the home faces north; the Latino Learning Center’s side entrance is across the street. The pair of new homes is among several non-residential properties on nearby Scott St.’s rail-prepped and upgraded right-of-way. The block includes other homes built 70 to 80 years ago.

Upstairs lies the 13-ft. by 12-ft. master bedroom, as well as its double-vanity bathroom — shown in great detail, right down to the downtown view from the tiled-to-the-ceiling tub-and-shower’s head-height corner windows:

Closer inspection reveals the catty-corner neighbor across the main drag is Ever Good Imports:

The eco-aware home’s “energy conscious” elements include LED lights, a reflective roof, spray-foam insulation, low energy windows, rainscreen cladding (below), a radiant attic barrier and tankless water heater; a glow-in-the-dark Nest thermostat helps keep it all comfy.

HCAD records don’t yet reflect the lot-sharing new builds, still citing a single, city owned parcel for the 3600 block, located in the Miller subdivision of SSBB (plat speak for “South Side of Buffalo Bayou”). The listing, however, calls its East Downtown locale “Lucy Alice Estates.”

34 Comment

  • Very nice, but in all honesty, looks like it’s overpriced by 100 grand.

  • Is it right next to the train tracks? Is it a safe neighborhood?

  • Nice. Well worth it.

  • needs burglar bars

  • @darogr

    You think it should be $75,000 for a new build, energy-efficient detached house with a three-minute commute to downtown and 2 blocks from a light rail station?

    Snarky snobbiness FAIL.

  • By the way, that’s next to the Southeast Line, not the East End Line, which follows Harrisburg.

  • Agreed that it’s a little overpriced. The pictures showed they used the IKEA Stolmen system in the closet.

  • Nice finishes on the inside, but not enclosing the crawl space under the pier and beam foundation would have me taking bets as to how many cats, opossums, stray dogs, rats, field mice, and other animals will be having their litters under there.

  • Whole thing looks like an IKEA system.

  • @eiioi
    I was not trying to be snarky or snobby. It looks like a cheap house.
    Okay, maybe worth 100K and location in this instance is not working in favor of the high price.

  • This looks like a fantastic ranch house. Add some solar and rainwater and drop it in the hill country. Maybe some natural colors and different surfaces, but I like.

  • Finally an affordable city house with an actual architectural form! This I mention with respect to the recent flood of townhouses which basically are all 3D extensions of a flat giant rectangle.

  • I drove by there today after lunch at Mandola’s Deli. The larger home appears occupied; one group was going through the smaller place while a second group waited in their car. The homes look great but the lot is small for two units, still an improvement over countless townhomes. The location is urban pioneering but I would live there w/ my big dog. I think leaving the crawl space open is better and you can easily see what’s underneath the place.

  • Some people need to get out of their protective shell. It’s encouraging to see houses like this pop up in the East End, even if some of the people here are too scared to venture into the area (I would have agreed 15 years ago), it’s certainly changing. Not always for the better. I do look forward to seeing the dollar stores and laundromats replaced with Trader Joes and dry cleaners, but I do not look forward to all the traffic. I particularly enjoy having Telephone road to myself and my bicycle in the evenings.

  • I had a chance to go to an open house for both of the units. Neither of them is occupied. The larger unit is the exact same floor plan as the smaller unit with an extra bedroom on the first floor and some inside storage up stairs. I feel both units need a gate or sorts. I also feel the price is a bit high when you can get a renovated bungalow in the area with more land for 135-165k.

  • I would love to live there.

  • I love it. I don’t love all the finishes – some of them do look pretty inexpensive – but I love its overall… what? silhouette, I want to say – I don’t think that’s an architectural term.
    It’s totally modern while still referring to a typical Houston bungalow. Love.
    Little bit worried about critters underneath, but I can see why enclosing it would ruin the aesthetic.

  • Relax people. Who pays a builder list price? This kind of thing is great for 20somethings who want to live in town while they get their foot in the door at an energy company downtown. They won’t have to worry about having $5-10k in the bank to pay for a new AC unit or some other big repair that is always a day a way in an older house. If they keep it in good condition, they should get their money back and maybe a little more when they move up to something nicer in a few years. Sure, the neighborhood is noisy and a bit rough, but that isn’t that big a deal when you can afford your own place in the City when you are young. I used to have spot lights from police helicopters shine on me every other night in the neighborhood I lived in when I first got out of college. I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole now, but it was great when I was 24. Given the astronomical rise in rents, Houston needs a lot more development like this in the next few years.

  • What a bunch of wusses! Yes, the area is gritty, all of East End is gritty! But after living in this area for over five years, I’ve learned it’s not “dangerous” as most Houstonians make it out to be. Most people just assume if an area is a little rough looking, it’s automatically infested with crime. In fact, I find it safer here than the opposite side of town where many of the daily robberies and burglaries are occurring. The same people too scared to live here will be the same ones clamouring to live here in about 10 or 15 years.

  • @Old School

    You’re right that there’s a market for this kind of thing. For someone who started their working career some time after 1995, they’d have to at least look at a place close in like this: basic construction, maybe stylish/quirky in a weird sort of way, and CLOSE TO WORK, which for tens of thousands of professionals is downtown. And school districts not being an issue. Just a practical place for 5 years or less.

  • The folk in the hood aren’t too impressed with the gentrification all the trendy hipsters moving into their area. White man taking over, just like at Freedmen’s Town. Big topic of late on KCOH 1430am local talk shows.

  • EADO is the next Midtown. Cheaper land means the developers are coming out here in hordes. Urban Living, Intown, Lovett, Laborde, you name it. They are all out here. I got in during the recession and have seen 10% appreciation year over year which beats any other area in Houston. Dangerous area? Hardly, check out crime maps and you’ll see its safer than most other areas of H-town. The area has really grown over the past few years and I look forward to seeing it grow further. Then I’ll get out with my property nearly double what I paid for it. As for this house, trendy and unique in my opinion.

  • Wow, what a breathe of fresh aire! Affordable architecture for one and two person professional households eager to own human-scaled, close-in new construction with a bit of green space.

  • Wow. Some of you guys really fall for the sizzle. I prefer the steak. This place is little more than a modern shotgun shack with some eco concepts and a slanty roof. The location is bad. Traffic noise. Choo choo noise. Bad neighbors. No nearby amenities. Etc.

    I’d rather have an apartment in Downtown, Midtown, Montrose, or many, many other places.

  • Some of the people who fail to see any draw with something like this are undoubtedly the architecturally illiterate types that think Perry townhomes or Tuscan inspired complexes are all that. EaDo is popping, just like midtown or the Washington corridor before it. Everything the geobigots of places like midtown and Montrose and Heights say about an area like this echoes the exact same things many people in Spring, Katy and Sugarland used to (& sometimes still do) say about the eclectic transitional urban areas like Heights & Montrose. Well, before those areas became so mainstream and bland that they any Kingwood soccer mom would feel right at home there.

  • EADO is too industrial. That huge coffee factory is a straight up eye sore.

  • @ Winer

    You should get out more, lots of soccers moms attend Dynamo games in the east end.

  • If you look at pioneering neighborhoods in isolation, a weak case to live there CAN be made, but once you start comparing to numerous other already proven neighborhoods, that argument falls apart. By all real estate metrics there are much better neighborhoods than EaDo… Cleaner, safer, better amenities, quieter, and safer from an investment point of view. If one buys in a hood with hopes it’ll get better in 10 years basically loses 10 years of better quality of life.

  • The exterior of these houses are neat–they have a very Brett Zamore-thing going on.

  • Practically a $180/sqft house cost (as land value is minimal). I think the architect is overpriced for the customers of the area are willing to spend but who knows. I think the sales price ends up being between 130k-140k.

  • What a lot of people are failing to realize is this is right on the edge of a fairly high rent area (lots of townhomes going for the 250-400 range just west of here), and it’s also very close to eastwood (less than a mile to the east of this) which has some very nice houses as well. bungalows that aren’t much bigger than this go for between 150-200. Yes, there’s a bit of sketch between cullen and scott (where this is), but I think that is going to very quickly be cleaned up.

  • @Bernard

    It doesn’t matter what your personal preferences are or mine either. It just matters that there are enough people willing to pay for the amenities (new house near downtown and rail line). That is what sets the price.

    For example, I’m likely to strongly consider proximity to a light rail station when buying a home, but I’m not necessarily likely to actually ride the thing, since it probably won’t go where I want to go.

    I bet this won’t sell for $175,000, but I’d be surprised if it’s lower than 140k.

  • And another thing…How long are they going to have that view of downtown? If the area does gentrify as predicted, they are going to be looking at a 4 story “Montrosity” before long.

    It’s a cute little house and will be ideal for someone. Okay, maybe for 140K or below.

    I’m all for urban pioneering and lived in the Heights and Montrose back when those were considered that (I feel old now), but this is a little to urban pioneer. Would you really want to walk your cute little dog at 6am or come home from the clubs at 3am?

  • Anyone know the builder? Or if they plan on making more of these?