Updating Glenbrook Valley’s Texan Americana

When showcased in the 1956 Parade of Homes, this Glenbrook Valley mod with desert-theme plantings (still in place) earned accolades for its forward-thinking children’s wing and U-shaped kitchen layout (intended as step-saving convenience for the chore-laden lady of the house). Those design details are among the features called out in the vintage promotional flyers included in the listing materials for the home, which popped up on the market earlier this month. The asking price today is $139,000, a few steps up from the $20,000 of its midcentury origins and the $52,250 it went for when it last sold, in 2008.

Since then, the compact-but-comfy home has had its internals updated; there’s new wiring, (underslab) plumbing, roofing, and appliances. Meanwhile, the carport (above right) has been wrapped in a snazzy new wooden-screen skin.


So breezes still blow through the 2-bay parking area to the patio on the home’s south side (above), which gets a little shade from the roof’s 4-ft. overhang. The listing characterizes the 1,521-sq.-ft. home as needing its cosmetics tweaked now that the redo’s “heavy lifting” is done.

The “front” door is on the north side wall (and not directly pictured in the listing). A walkway to it from the driveway cuts across the home’s windowless wall facing the street.  From inside the home, the foyer appears to land inside a booth located between the kitchen and living room (pictured at right in the photo above). For a little room definition as needed in an otherwise opened-up floor plan, there’s an aqua accordion room divider all racked up and ready to pull closed.

The living room displays some of the home’s exposed ceiling beams, which support a tilted roof and clerestory. Window placement was to maximize flexibility in arranging and re-arranging the furniture, or so read the original description of the home, dubbed the “Texan Americana” by its designer, Mel O’Brien. He was a senior student at the Rice Institute (now Rice University) when he designed the structure; he later built a notable modern architectural practice in Memphis.

The updated kitchen is recent but retro, with wall shelving and high-end appliances:

Its wall of thrice-divided (now screened) window panels looks across the patio and side yard somewhat hidden behind the carport:

From the outside, it used to look like this:

The listing keeps the 3 bedrooms (in a wing at the back of the home) out of the camera’s eye. Here’s a peek into the master bathroom, however. Like the master bedroom, it has been overhauled:

The other full bathroom is still in the pink (above). It’s shared by the secondary bedrooms in the “children’s wing,” which initially included an open playroom off the kitchen:

The home occupies a west-facing lot at the “U” end of a street off Dover St. and across from the track and playing fields of Ortiz Middle School.

Some old flyers included in the listing:

11 Comment

  • That close to Hobby with International flights coming, no thanks!

  • WOW.Nice – I’ll wager it is under contract already. Kind of weird front door placement.

  • I’d be in it in a minute if it weren’t on the opposite side of town from where I need to be. I swung by a month ago and noticed the carport going up, glad to see that it didn’t result in a re-muddle.

  • It’s reassuring that, in Houston, good design can be within reach for those without a great deal of money. I hope this house gets a buyer who loves it as much its previous owners obviously have.

  • The only problem with Glenbrook Valley is the location. Such a shame what has happened to the environs.

  • If the Kinder Foundation and others can chip in $50 million to upgrade Buffalo Bayou Park, why can’t we all chip in and buy up all the shitty apartments and junky retail on Broadway and make the whole Broadway strip into a park.

    That’s the only way any single family product in this neighborhood is ever going to improve.

  • @Bernard I like the way you think.

  • Ugh, never been a fan of mod. Seems very uncomfortable.

  • Whew – this house finally looks complete again with the new carport! I’m sure it’ll be off the market in no time

  • Love the way @Bernard thinks! Also love that Glenbrook isn’t in the flight paths so the airport is a huge convenience with no side effects.

  • Geez, enough about the location. The intersection of Broadway and Bellfort looks remarkably similar to Bellaire and Bissonnet.