The Revamped Double-Barreled Shotgun Artist Bert Long Left Behind on a Fifth Ward Dog-Leg Goes on Sale Today for $200K

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Surreal artwork and rustic structural components left exposed seem to meld into a single composition within the Fifth Ward home and studio of artist Bert Long Jr., who died in February 2013. Fifteen years ago, the attached double-shotgun row houses had been painstakingly renovated (and combined) as the year-long thesis project of Brett Zamore, then a Rice University graduate architecture student. Long, who grew up nearby and was returning to Houston at the time, bought the property near the end of its transformation but before an art studio was added — for $30,000 $70,000 — and lived there with his wife, artist Joan Batson. The mixed-use property is located in the Pinecrest Court neighborhood near Wheatley High School, east of Waco St. and south of I-10. It was listed for sale this morning, with an asking price of $200,000.

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Accounts of the 1998-1999 project, which was featured in Dwell magazine, a few local publications, and a book on living in small spaces, describe Zamore’s unsentimental transformation of the previously derelict building into a 960-sq.-ft. home, with funding from grants and donations. Before Zamore got to it, the property had been vacant for 15 years; the Fifth Ward Community Development Corp. was the owner. The extensive redo included replacing the beams beneath the sagging floors and removing many of the interior walls, combining the twin single-home footprints into a modified space with a more flexible floor plan. Layers of varnish preserved sections of interior shiplap walls that were left intact, such as in the living room (shown in the photo at the top of this story). Zamore also left the joists exposed beneath the corrugated tin roof he installed.

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The kitchen (and yes, that is IKEA cabinetry) sits at the center of one side of the home. There’s a passage from it into the home’s lone bathroom:

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A series of sliding doors, also preserved but repurposed originals, section off various functions, including access to the bedroom side of the home:

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The master bedroom is at the back:

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In the front bedroom, a work station with a fixed L-shaped partial wall now fronts the entry door on that side of the home:

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There’s also a separate studio space with its own bathroom on the 5,831-sq.-ft. lot:

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Its clerestory windows cap the 1-car garage, accessed from the last bit of the street before it dead-ends into the back of the campus of Henderson Elementary School.

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The home-studio has a dog-leg lot, which hides it from the street; the porch end of the home’s front yard abuts the school playground.

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Home and Studio

14 Comment

  • I like the exterior, not so much the interior. 200000 price point seems high; I would not pay that for this house in this location. I predict in 5 years a lot of people upside down on their mortgages.

  • The price reflects the cultural, architectural, historic, and artistic significance of the property and Mr. Long. RIP Bert.

  • Darby Mom: I’ve never seen those terms listed on a mortgage application or appraisal. Someone is going to have to pay all cash or put a LOT down.

  • Well maybe its Provenance will close the deal. It’s certainly steep, price wise, for the area.

  • According to HCAD the studio space is as big as the house and has central A/C. It seems completely unique to the area. For anyone with a 200K budget, there isn’t much that could possibly compare.

  • Don’t you think there are a lot of creative types who would like to live that close to downtown,
    plus have studio space, for $200 measly thousand dollars?
    Where else are they going to find that?

  • When I heard 5th Ward my mind went “nope nope nope”. That location isn’t exactly 5th ward in my mind though. Its not really 2nd ward either. They will need a very special purchaser for this home, but its a special house so I think there is a good chance they will find it.

  • I think it is wonderful, only issue is abutting next to the school playground. Lived across the street from a school always knew I had over slept when the crosswalk guards starting blowing their whistles. Plus is suck ed being home sick and listen to the bells ring during the day.

  • Wow who’d ever thought a house in the Nickel would be 200 G’s

  • For those of you doubting the reviving of the nickle, look west of that location. 250k to 350k homes for sale there.

  • We bought a 30 unit building on a ton of land for only twice that. So really, $200k is hard for that area. I too think it’s a steal given how close to downtown but you have to look at it next to other homes in the area. You can get single family homes next to nothing around there.

  • As I have unique, intimate knowledge of this house and the neighborhood — as wife of the actual original purchaser — I would like to offer some corrections and clarifications. In the 1990′s my husband, Stephan Fairfield, acquired property in 5th Ward at the request of his board at Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corp when he was executive director. This shotgun was on the otherwise vacant land he purchased on which the CRC built our home of 15+ years to the East and another similar home neighboring the shotgun to the West. Brett worked with us to rehab the shotgun. During the process we sold it first to the CRC from which Bert (who my husband invited back to the neighborhood) subsequently purchased it. Primary correction: The completed project NEVER sold for $30,000! It never even sold for as little as the$100,000 that Karrie Jacobs erroneously reported in her book.

  • Thanks for info, Allison. Yeah, $30K didn’t sound right at all. After all that work? 3/4 of Houston would want to sign up for THAT program.

    And this house is a great example of what’s possible with a very common style and era of house, of which are still plentiful on the East End and 5th Ward. And they’re still cheap! You don’t need to be an architect or artist either, just be willing to be creative, think outside the box, live simply and do things for yourself. Unfortunately, those simple requisites are more and more rare each day.

  • When I hear Fifth Ward, I think about the Ghetto Boys and their larger than life leader Bushwick Bill.