Pieces of Old Fort Bend County, at Rest in Montrose: A Peek Inside the Architect’s House

Antiques fan Spencer Howard takes readers on a tour of a Hyde Park house full of them: the home of his former boss, architect John Zemanek.

The home’s design “falls somewhere between a Texas farm house and Japanese Tea House,” writes Howard:

However, the landscape, structure and furniture are accented with mysterious objects. Some are recognizable and easily comprehended, but most are not — engaging the viewer to imagine the story behind the piece.

What mysterious objects? A few choice rusting relics of Zemanek’s Fort Bend County childhood: a hunk of the engine from the family’s 1923 Buick; parts of old farming implements; the family typewriter, on a pedestal by the front door.

Wanna quick tour of the place?


Yes, that’s a cast-iron vise attached to the column on the back porch. More comments and pics, including farm-part closeups, at Howard’s new blog, Architectural Antique Review.

Photos: Spencer Howard

9 Comment

  • Im very interested in the history of Ft. Bend and Brazoria Counties. Have had kin rattling around the Gulf Coast since the 1820s. Here’s a picture of a dining table owned by Richmond Post Master Elmore Ransom at the turn of the last century http://www.twitpic.com/nf8p

  • I love this house. It’s a block away from my house, and it’s one of the nicer new construction homes in the neighborhood. The architect actually paid attention to the neighborhood he was building in and constructed a modern home that actually goes with the other bungalows. Go up one block or down two, and you’ll see blocks that are littered with mega-townhomes next to bungalows. It’s great that Bomar, Willard and Drew managed to maintain some semblance of cohesiveness.

  • Say….wasn’t this house featured on the HGTV show “What’s With That House?” a few years back?

  • john’s first house-also an interesting piece-is on colquet, just west of dunlevy. it too looks like an asian construct, but it doesn’t use much concrete block. for those who don’t know, john’s a long-time teacher at U of H College of Architecture, and yes I am also a former student(from the 1980’s!)…and a professional architect now!

  • Glad to see inside this home.
    It’s sweet. The Object (really) is Art.

  • Ahh.. fond memories of “Urban Determinants” class.
    I’ve passed by his place dozens of times, its neat to finally see in. I wish RDA would put it on the home tour one of these years.
    I didn’t know he had another on coloquitt.. i’ll have to go check it out. Thanks for the tip.

  • This was on a tour maybe 6 or 7 years ago…think it was the AIA tour. I was very impressed by both the house and the owners ability to own so little stuff.

  • My neighbor’s got a yard full of junk like this – oh I mean architectural antiques! I’ll just tell him to put the stuff on pedestals, that’ll fix it. Seriously, though, this is a beautiful home with interesting historical nuance. It’s just funny how easy it is for something to go from junk to art.

  • Too funny. I used to live on Colquitt, now I’m on Peden. I didn’t know it was the same guy. They were rumored to be owned by the “Dean of Architecture” at UofH. Nice to get the facts straight and also see the inside. I heard the Peden house was on the AIA tour a few years back. The Colquitt house was recently on the market (past year) but I’m not sure if it sold.