03/18/14 1:00pm



A futuristic pneumatic vacuum elevator (top) links levels within a 2006 steel-and-stucco townhome developed by Carol Isaak Barden and designed by former filmmaker Francois de Menil, architect of the Menil Collection’s Byzantine Fresco Chapel. Originally, this property was the Two in a duo Barden named the One-Two Townhomes. The bermed-skirted property rises over street-level garages on a site located a block south of Allen Pkwy. and Buffalo Bayou in Temple Terrace. The larger of the units had its resale premiere last week at an asking price of $1.395 million. Back in 2008, it sold for a disappointing $749,000. In the scenes arranged inside, a strategically placed palm tree on the site appears to have been cast in a supporting role.


4 Stories Plus
03/11/10 4:18pm

Determining the winner of this week’s game was tough! But the judges have awarded first prize to Sara — and a very close second place to KimmerTX. Congratulations to you both!

We also acknowledge the solid head-fake thrown by kimberlee ann, who knew exactly where this home was, wrote in to say so, then sent gullible readers a-wondering if it might be somewhere along . . . Navigation?


So where might it be?


06/27/08 1:54pm

Wabi Sabi House, 2316 Bartlett St., Houston

The Wabi Sabi House in Boulevard Oaks has sold, reports developer Carol Barden. And she says the buyer found his new home . . . by reading Swamplot.

The buyer apparently came across the Wabi Sabi while reading stories on this site about another Barden property: yes, that lonely Modern townhome on Stanford St. in Montrose designed by Francois de Menil that Barden was still trying to unload. Swamplot’s last report noticed that once-a-million dollar townhouse being offered for $749,000. Barden tells us that the Menil townhouse is now under contract. She won’t reveal any pricing details, but says that she “didn’t discount the price again.”

Photo of Wabi Sabi House: Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen

03/10/08 4:44pm

Patio at 608 Stanford St., HoustonCarol Isaak Barden, developer of the towering white now-a-lot-less-than- a-million-dollar townhouses near Allen Parkway, explains to Swamplot why she thinks the second unit hasn’t sold yet:

We always expected that it might take longer to sell the homes. They are bachelor pads. They are not for people with children, they are not for residents with bad knees, they are vertical structures for people who don’t mind using the stairs. Since both Francois [de Menil, the architect] and I have lived in Manhattan in buildings without elevators, we didn’t think it would be such a big deal. We were wrong.

Hey, nothing a little retrofitting can’t solve! Barden says a 4-story lift could be put in “easily” — but she hasn’t, because some potential buyers preferred it as the architect designed it, and “didn’t want to give up the extra storage.”

Francois lives in a 4-story townhouse in NYC, my first apt. in NYC was in the Apthorp, an old pre-war building on the upper east side without an elevator. I schlepped luggage and groceries up the stairs, and stayed thin and fit. Francois and I were dead wrong about the elevator issue. Houstonians valet park at restaurants, stores, hospitals, and even some churches. (New Yorkers don’t). And therein lies the problem.

608 Stanford Unit B sold three months after completion, last May. Unit A? Not so lucky:

The second unit has had contracts, unfortunately, none of them have closed. . . . we’re hoping to close on a contract with a buyer who happens to be an architect. It seems that the people who most appreciate these homes can’t afford them. (Architects, engineers, designers)

After the jump: what a bargain! Plus, a bit of news . . .


02/19/08 12:15pm

Menil Townhomes at 608 Stanford St. A, Temple Terrace, Houston

Deck of Menil Townhomes at 608 Stanford St. A, Temple Terrace, HoustonRemember those sleek modern million-dollar white-stucco townhouses designed by New York architect Francois de Menil for a small lot over in Temple Terrace, just behind Allen Parkway?

It was unusual to include the One-Two Townhomes being on the AIA Houston 2006 Home Tour in that they were, and are, unfinished. “My concern was that they would soon be sold,” says [developer Carol Isaak] Barden, “and then nobody would get to see them.”

She shouldn’t have worried. One of the units apparently sold a little less than a year later, and the other is still on the market — though it’s not a million-dollar townhome anymore. After construction finally ended last July, there were five successive price reductions. Since the end of last month this 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 2,845-sq-ft. townhome has been available for a humbling $779,000. If you count the garage level below and the rooftop deck as a single story, that’s almost as good as getting one whole floor . . . free!

After the jump, a brief gawk inside.