Why the Heights’ Second-to-Last Founder-Built Home Isn’t Much Like Its Original Neighborhood

The Midwestern investment syndicate that developed the Heights originally planned it as a modest outpost for middle-class families. So it’s a little puzzling when Amy Lynch Kolflat — the realtor for Houston architect Bart Truxillo’s Heights pad — tells Nancy Sarnoff a day after posting the listing that “it’s one of two remaining homes built by the founder of the Houston Heights, Omaha and South Texas Land Co.” Take a look at the video tour Kolflat conducts around the property at 1802 Harvard St. Kind of opulent for what historian Stephen Fox called an “industrial working-class suburb,” right?

That’s because Truxillo’s house is modeled directly on the other longstanding Heights structure Kolflat mentions — 1102 Heights Blvd. — situated 7 blocks away. Along that spinal street — planned as Houston’s first divided boulevard — many of the homes went above and beyond those found in the rest of the neighborhood. 1102 was one of those exceptions:


It’s original owner: the Heights Mayor himself John A. Milroy. (Houston didn’t annex  the neighborhood until 1918.) In designing it, builder Henry F. MacGregor took a page out of noted Knoxville architect George F. Barber’s book Cottage Souvenir No. 2., modeling the spec structure off “Design No. 30.”

That makes Truxillo’s 4-story house at 1802 Harvard (with a guest house and carriage house behind it at 1806) an adaptation of an adaptation of a Kentukcy architect’s Victorian design. In other words, it’s a Nebraskan-built, Kentucky-inspired Heights original.

Here’s some of what it includes for $2.28 million: 

Truxillo passed away last April. His other big fixer-upper was the Magnolia Brewing building at 715 Franklin St.

Seven months after his death, a Hyde Park townhouse he designed went up for sale along with its adjacent bungalow. Both turned over to an investor shortly after the new year, and the townhouse is now up for rent.

Pull to operate:

The custom shower is more immersive than your average:

Back behind the kitchen, the garden looks like it could use some TLC:

Though all the outdoor plants are still in good shape:

Video: Amy Lynch Kolflat. Photo of 1102 Heights Blvd.: Houston Preservation

1802 Harvard

8 Comment

  • Beautiful, except for the stupid “updates.” This place should be restored to its original splendor. NOT updated.

  • It’s a great house but there will be limited buyers since few people want to raise a family in a vintage home. Seems to me it should be turned into a B&B.

  • Indeed, living in a pre-owned home will infect the occupants with incurable cooties.

  • Much of this home is beautiful!
    But, yeah, things that hit me in the face are the “upgrades.”
    You spent a lot on the cabinetry but the kitchen looks like a stage set and Lucia de Lammermoor or Mufasa is about to enter, stage-left.

  • Oooh. I love it! Give me ample budget and I could make this AD100 worthy.

  • Seldom, if ever, does anyone say “I love the kitchen, and wouldn’t change a thing about it.”
    I’m going to break that rule. I love the kitchen. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It’s modern enough to be practical, with enough retro elements so it doesn’t clash with the rest of the house.
    I really hope the new owner doesn’t put in one of those nasty ubiquitous white HGTV kitchens.

  • Oh, wow. I looked at a bungalow in June on Jerome St that he owned. Didn’t buy the bungalow. We weren’t up for the restoration challenge it presented. It appeared he had not started on it prior to his death.

  • It’s a good thing the HAHC didn’t exist back then, or this “monstrosity” would never have been built in the first place.