Perched amid the Upper Kirby office-building ghetto just west of Eastside and south of West Alabama, the building at 3231 Audley dates from 1961, during developer Gerald Hines’s reign over Richmond Ave. Now that it’s had some midlife body work, the property is for sale again.
The Weather Research Center, a research and education nonprofit located next door at 3221 Audley, bought the building in the mid-nineties, but never occupied the space. (The organization moved to the Museum District in 2006 and opened its doors as The Weather Museum.)
Linda Marroquin, CEO of tech company FrogPad, snatched the shell of the office building on stilts in December 2006 and transformed it. She’d lived in another converted building across the street for 9 years, and says she had her eyes on the property the whole time. Besides running FrogPad, a business that sells one-handed keyboards, Marroquin is a serial renovator. She worked with local designer and contractor Michael X. Flynn to convert the building to a residence; it’s her fourth renovation in Houston. Over the next 2 years Marroquin and Flynn gutted the space and built out another 2,500 sq. ft. on top. The result is the high-tech executive’s interpretation of the Villa Savoye — as it might have landed on a 5,000-sq.-ft. Houston lot just a couple blocks from the Jack In The Box on Richmond.
Marroquin moved in in 2008, using the space for client meetings, art openings, parties, and music and dance performances. The kitchen island is made from an enormous slab of rock from Madagascar; the refrigerator was originally bought for the wife of the owner of D’Angelo’s New & Used Restaurant supply store in Galveston.
A 2-foot-tall origami crane sits in the entry, near multiple renditions of master paintings recreated with Crayola crayons:
A lonely bed that can easily be moved (or disguised for parties) rests along a wall of the expansive upstairs master suite.
There’s parking underneath the house, but Marroquin also left space for a dog run for her two Ibizan hounds. A bistro table and chairs sits on bright green grass . . . carpet.
The house has been on the market for a month and a half. The price was recently reduced from $1,850,000 to $1,750,000.
An open house is scheduled for this Sunday, from 2 to 5.