11/24/10 4:44pm

What’s it like inside the only house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright ever built in Houston? The latest edition of the Houston Architectural Guide describes the 1954 Usonian — designed by the master architect for local insurance executive William Thaxton — as “so perverse that it has engendered several sets of alteration intended to make it more livable.” The concrete-block structure featured parallelogram-shaped bedrooms with “claustrophobic proportions.” Among the later additions meant to correct the faults of the “willful and contrary” work of America’s master Modern architect: ionic columns and pineapple-shaped finials on the corners of the roof.

Oh, but all those little problems with the home at the end of a cul-de-sac in Bunker Hill Village have long since been fixed. Author Stephen Fox notes the Guide description was written well before the home’s most recent transformation, designed by Bob Inaba of the local architecture firm now known as Kirksey. In the early nineties the home’s new owners contracted them to wipe away earlier add-ons, then create a long, tall U-shaped annex that hugs the 1,200-sq.-ft. original structure, forming a courtyard with the swimming pool at the center:


12/15/09 2:11pm

A reader writes in to report finding “arguably Houston’s best version of McKim Mead & White’s famous Low House, with maybe a little Brady Bunch pizazz thrown in:”

Complete with the classic Memorial-area window wall facing the back yard. Bet MM&W never thought of that!

It’s this 5-bedroom 1964 home on a little more than half an acre in Bunker Hill Woods, which snuck on the market for $780,000 at the beginning of this month. Plus, raps the listing agent, pecky pickled cypress paneling in the Family and Living Rooms:

Estate property built by architect for himself. Owned by one family exclusively. . . . Floor in gmrm recycled from Rice U science lab as well as lower cabinets in garage.

Never mind the Game Room floor. Where’d they get that bathroom tile?


03/30/09 9:04pm

Here — minus mysteriously absent lots 5, 7, 9, 11, 17, 19, 21, and 23 — are the outlines of the 19 homesites carved from the 10-acre wooded property that Holy Name Retreat Center sold off last year in Bunker Hill Village. Black Diamond Companies, the purveyors of two elsewhere-themed, other-worldly developments — the Cáceres Andelusion in Rice Military and vaguely Francophile Bammel Lane Park Homes on . . . uh, Bammel Lane — so far appears to be soft-pedaling the existence of any foreign entanglement in this latest development.


02/11/08 1:07pm

Holy Name Retreat Center at 430 Bunker Hill Rd. in Bunker Hill VillageThat 10-acre Holy Name Retreat Center parcel in Bunker Hill Village is being snapped up by Black Diamond Development and Abercrombie Builders, who tell the Memorial Examiner they’ll build 19 new homes on the property that “exhibit the degree of quality consistent with the affluent neighborhood.”

They’ll also apparently exhibit the degree of enormity consistent with extracting the highest possible price from the dollars-per-square-foot equation: the houses will range from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet.

11/13/07 9:51am

Holy Name Retreat Center at 430 Bunker Hill Rd. in Bunker Hill VillageThe lovely and heavily wooded Holy Name Retreat Center in Bunker Hill Village is selling off 10 acres of its 20-acre property at 430 Bunker Hill Rd. The Congregation of the Passion of Christ, which operates the retreat and is based in Chicago, needs the cash “in order to meet certain financial needs, including caring for elderly members of the religious order,” reports Norm Rowland in the Memorial Examiner.

Commercial buildings and apartments aren’t allowed in Bunker Hill Village, and homesites must be at least 20,000 square feet.