11/22/16 10:45am

Former City of Houston Code Enforcement Building, 3300 Main St., Midtown, Houston, 77002

As the walls crumble and the last days unfold for the city’s old code enforcement office in Midtown, a hidden stained-glass window has been uncovered — as seen here in a shot taken by a reader yesterday evening from across the light-rail tracks. Once the structure is fully deconstructed, the way will be open for that planned mixed-use-skyscraper from PM Realty to rise toward the heavens. In front of the window is the long-since-de-greened greenscreen trellis installed to dress up the main Main entrance of the concrete structure, back in the late aughts: 

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Preparing To Rise in Midtown
08/17/16 5:15pm

3303 Shadowncrest Ln., Spring, TX 77380

3303 Shadowncrest Ln., Spring, TX 77380 Now for sale just across the Spring-Creek-hugging southern edge of Harris County: this 1970s ranch, carefully dressed by the seller in slate panels. The 3-bedroom 2-bathroom property was given a new outer skin (as seen in the top photo) to tie into features of the extensive interior redo, carried out by the seller’s own stone-and-tile-centric remodeling business. New features in the home include stone paneling, a few reshaped windows, and some throwback color schemes (including a black-and-white checkered garage floor), as well as a new pump system for the drought-tolerant backyard landscape (complete with koi pond.)  Asking price is $400,000 — check out more before-and-after shots below:

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Slated for a Redo
07/14/16 11:30am

River Oaks Manor Condos, 2325 Welch St., River Oaks, Houston, 77019

The above corner of Welch and Revere streets, which currently holds the 2-story River Oaks Manor condo complex, looks to be trading up for a much taller occupant: a 9-story condo midrise going by the name The Revere at River Oaks. A 6-story condo midrise project called Revere Park was previously planned at the corner of Mimosa and Revere, one block to the south; that project was denied several variance requests by the city last year, with objecting residents claiming the area couldn’t handle increased density.

River Oaks Manor (which is itself outside the boundaries of River Oaks) sits on a narrow rhomboidal lot to the southeast of the intersection; the building footprint’s slightly acute and obtuse angles are complemented by sets of triangular windows on several corner units. Kirksey Architecture’s design for the proposed midrise structure seems to stick more firmly rectilinear shapes, however:

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Avalon Place
07/12/16 1:30pm

Former City of Houston Code Enforcement Building, 3300 Main St., Midtown, Houston, 77002

The 1967 occupant of 3300 Main St., which previously housed the city code enforcement office, is currently getting its asbestos removed in anticipation of its impending demolition, according to a reader involved in the work. The structure and its parking lot grounds were bought from the city in 2011 by the Midtown Redevelopment Authority, who started trying to sell it in 2014; PM Realty (the developers of the glass-petticoated apartment tower at 2929 Weslayan, who are also currently working on the less-is-more-branded Ivy Lofts tiny condo complex in East Downtown) put the property under contract that year.

What’s going to take the code building’s place, between the new MATCH box theater collection and the Houston Community College buildings to the north on Main St.? The involved reader confirms that the rendering below shows the current design in place along the light rail line; materials from AECOM (a partner in the project) say the highrise should hold 336 apartments and 14,390 sq.ft. of retail space:

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Trading Up in Midtown
05/13/16 5:00pm

403 Westminster Dr., Memorial Villages, Houston, TX 77024

For sale along Buffalo Bayou, just above the junction with still-biohazardous Spring Branch: the Frame-Harper house, designed in the late 1950s by Harwood Taylor. The 3-time houstonMOD Mod of the Month was unwhitewashed by Stern & Bucek in 2007 to the tune of various accolades, but after an initial 2008 listing (at a smidge under $3 million) the home was pulled off and pushed back on the market 2 more times before a late 2011 sale for $1.78 million. The house came back onto the market in August of last year for $3.45 million, holding out until a November withdrawal; the current listing asks for $2.85 million instead.

Above is the family room, with original walnut paneling, and some of the coffered ceilings un-de-coffered by the 2007 redo. Here’s how the rest of the un-remodel is standing the test of time:

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Still Bayou Cool
03/29/16 5:15pm

907 Harvest Moon, Houston, 77077

907 Harvest Moon, Houston, 77077

Don’t let the sharp exterior angles fool you —this Harvest Moon Ln. home now on the market in Ashwood Forest is well-rounded in its interior decor. This 1966 home includes a uniquely appointed master suite, complete with period-appropriate fireplace (visible just to the right of the railing, above) and featuring extensive slate tiling.  Sold in 2011 for a little under $275,000, this 2754-sq.-ft. house boasts 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, and 2 half baths; the price on the home and all of its updates has since risen to around $456,000.

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Bathroom’s on the Right
01/21/16 2:00pm

9402 Braesheather, Meyerland, Houston, 77096

Raised 5 feet on piers, this 1-story, 4-bedroom single family home lifts potential home owners above the din, as well as the Brays Bayou floodplain. The listing proclaims that the 1959 building did not flood during Memorial Day weekend last year; the house went on the market a few days before Christmas for $975K. A lift is available on the side of the front patio (above) for those disinclined towards stairs:

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Above Brays Bayou
03/11/15 1:45pm

Medical Office Building, 7620 Bellfort St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston

Real estate agent Robert Searcy sends in make-’em-look-pretty pics of a few of the small Modern office buildings to be found along Bellfort St. between Telephone Rd. and Broadway in Glenbrook Valley. The buildings were built in the 1960s, many of them to serve doctors connected to the former Southeast Memorial Hospital on the northwest corner of Bellfort St. and Glenloch. (Later operated by Riverside General Hospital as its Edith Irby Jones Campus, the structure was torn down a few years ago after suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Ike.)

Pictured above: The Bellfort Women’s Care Clinic at 7620 Bellfort, formerly the office of Dr. Hans Altinger, who also lived in Glenbrook Valley. Next on the tour:

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Some of the Doctors Are In
02/26/15 4:30pm

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Its spread wings don’t fly, but a horizon-hugging 1960 mod in Memorial — once known as the Lapin House — did rise to prominence in 2009 after a Good Brick Award from the organization now called Preservation Houston was bestowed on its humdinger of a renovation. Actual bricks on the property are mostly to be found on the street side of the home. Window walls in back face the poolscape, yard, and a bend in Buffalo Bayou, bringing the outside in. To reach the waterway, take the stone steps set into the slope backing the almost-an-acre property.

It’s located in the Willowick neighborhood of Hunters Creek Village, west of Voss Rd. and south of Memorial Dr. The original design by Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson (yes, the Astrodome architects) has a later addition attributed to architect Joel Brand. When listed earlier this week, the posh property’s asking price was $2.495 million.

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Adjusting the Horizontal
11/21/14 12:00pm

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In Memorial Bend, a neighborhood known for its operatic street names and steadily dwindling collection of midcentury modern inventory, one of the homes designed by architect William Norman Floyd has landed stylishly on the market, asking $798,900. A “California contemporary” in its day, the 1956 property features banks of clerestory windows and sloping, beamed ceilings throughout open, light-filled spaces.

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It’s Spatial
10/03/14 4:45pm

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The Stone Age mashes with Mid-Century Modern in Friendswood, where an updated 1961 stunner designed by architect M. Bliss Alexander accents its crisp and clean lines with 12 tons of rock from Wimberly. Listed a week ago with a $1.19 million asking price, the home last sold in 2007, for $585K. It sits on 1.3 acres in the Perry Grove neighborhood, located southwest of Friendswood Dr. and W. Spreading Oaks Ave.

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Playing It Safe
09/17/14 5:15pm

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Over in Woodshire, a fifties-vintage neighborhood hugging the South Loop west of Stella Link Rd., a recently renovated 1956 mod returned to the market earlier this month. Its distinctive airplane-wing roof slants nearly to the ground above a brick exterior that’s now been whitewashed. Inside, a few structural changes have opened up the living space, removed a series of exposed ceiling beams, and restored a studio floating above the double-wide driveway. The home last sold in May 2013 — for $240K. After its overhaul and repositioning by P&G Homes — in collaboration with LynnGoode Vintage and Jamie House Design — the flip-ready property now carries a $775,500 asking price. What does the half-million upgrade get you?

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Once Beaming, Now Gleaming
08/25/14 5:00pm

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Apart from the snazzy red cars parked by the home’s courtyard entry, a flat-topped 1963 Hilshire Village property keeps a low profile beneath the canopy of mature trees on its large lot, which is located in the Burkhardt Plaza neighborhood west of Wirt Rd. and just north of the Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church on the eastbound I-10 feeder road. Updated in 2009, the midcentury modern with the not-so-modern decor landed on the market a week ago, asking $1.1 million. By the weekend, though, the price had dropped to $997,500.

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Price Drop
07/21/14 4:30pm

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Like sharpened cuspids, a 4-pack of aligned and angled columns screens the entry of a 1960 modern home in Meyerland. Could a toothy grill off the circular driveway have been the intent of the long-term owner, a dentist? The home’s initial design is attributed to H. Oberdieck in architectural chatter about the property and its records. Listed earlier this month, the home’s asking price is $899,000.

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Say ‘Ahhhhh’?
06/16/14 2:30pm

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Fans of parquet flooring will note a similar squarish pattern covers the ceilings (top) of this 1958 mod in Seabrook’s El Lago Estates. The property’s listing, which debuted in March, suggests building a second home on the big, park-like lot near Taylor Lake. A water view, though, means traipsing down the meandering roadway to peek through neighbors’ fences. Woodsy vistas, however, are available from almost every room in the home . . .

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Open Plan, Inside and Out