10/03/14 4:45pm



The Stone Age mashes with Mid-Century Modern in Friendswood, where an updated 1961 stunner designed by architect M. Bliss Alexander accents its crisp and clean lines with 12 tons of rock from Wimberly. Listed a week ago with a $1.19 million asking price, the home last sold in 2007, for $585K. It sits on 1.3 acres in the Perry Grove neighborhood, located southwest of Friendswood Dr. and W. Spreading Oaks Ave.


Playing It Safe
06/17/14 4:00pm



Is it really worth it to empty out and polish your bomb shelter before you put your home on the market? Here’s some compelling evidence that it is. The property on Jackwood St. in Meyerland with the bomb-shelter-turned-subterranean man cave featured last August on Swamplot sold late the following month for $330,000. But the buyers wasted no time in working a profitable flip. Clearing out the La-Z-Boy, beer bottles, Wendy’s soda cups, bunny figurines, and other memorabilia from the underground domed space resulted in a cleaner listing and a much higher sale price last month: $503,700, marked down from a $515K asking price and locked up only a week or so after the April listing. That’s an explosive increase of $173,700, or more than 50 percent, over the purchase price, in less than your typical real estate half-life.

Of course, a few things affecting home prices may have been going in the outside world while the buyers were busily scrubbing the walls of their underground lair. Though they did make a few other changes to the house as well:


Lessons in Subterranean Staging
04/14/14 2:45pm

DEEP INSIDE THE BOOMING MARKET FOR HOUSTON HUNKER BUNKERS AND PANIC ROOMS Safes R Us Fort Knox Vault RoomThe Houston area is Atlas Survival Shelters’ best market in the U.S., the California company’s owner tells Houstonia‘s Peter Holley. But who buys the sort of underground bunkers outfitted with a mud room, bunk beds, a kitchen, and a separate escape hatch Atlas markets? That’s a secret, because bunker buyers don’t like to talk about what they’re prepping, and often mask their identities from the security-hawking companies themselves. Holley figures out the contours of the survivalist boom, though: “For several years Houston has been in the throes of a frenzy of domicile defense, with many homeowners throughout the region spending five figures or more to turn their suburban abodes into veritable fortresses, employing elaborate and perhaps dangerous methods in the process. Meanwhile, for companies that sell panic rooms, freeze-dried food, weapons, secret passageways, safes, spy equipment, and booby traps, business is booming, especially in and around the Bayou City.” A bit cheaper than a dedicated 10-ft.-by-40-ft. underground shelter-in-a-pipe is the $20,000 Fort Knox vault room (a version of which is pictured above on a new-construction site), “a Porta-Potty–size walk-in vault that has been in high demand for several years, especially in Houston, according to Safes R Us owner Eric Bristol, whose store is located off the East Freeway,” Holley writes. “He noted that a single room weighs 20,000 pounds and is encased in harder concrete than the type used to construct highways. Walk inside, swing the 1,300-pound door shut, and you might find that feelings of impenetrability are hard to separate from feelings of panic. ‘My daughter can’t be in here more than a few seconds before feeling claustrophobic,’ Bristol said, pulling a lever and sealing the tiny room during a visit to the Safes R Us showroom. ‘But I’ve sold hundreds of these things over the last few years because people are worried about rising crime, and they know that you’d need a tank to break open one of these babies.'” [Houstonia] Photo: Safes R Us

08/08/12 3:31pm

As mods go, this one in Tanglewood is just one of that neighborhood’s thinning pack of mid-century homes. What sets this property apart? Maybe the bomb shelter out back — and the property’s brush with Hollywood as a film set in Breast Men, the 1997 HBO David Schwimmer flick that finally gave Houston its due as the birthplace of the boob job industry. The mid-July listing of this property for $1.1 million calls the 60-year-old property on Sugar Hill Dr. a “wonderful building site” and leaves it at that. But preservation advocates at Houston Mod met with the home’s current, long-term owner and gleaned some tidbits to share about the home’s origins and features:


08/01/11 8:11am

Only a few days after it sold, the 1961 Tanglewood home and bomb shelter on Brown Saddle St. featured on Swamplot back in January has been put back on the market. Only this time, the listing doesn’t mention the shelter or the abandoned pipeline slicing through a portion of the property — or really anything about the building itself. No more interior pics, either. The low-slung modern structure is now tagged as “not liveable” and won’t be shown — though the agent does fess up to having a key. The asking price? Only $550K more than what the property sold for earlier in the week, when the home and its interior were touted as sales features. At 38,263 sq. ft. (that’s actually been marked down a few thousand sq. ft. from the earlier sale), the lot is advertised as the biggest in Tanglewood.


01/07/11 11:01am

What’s the safety of your family worth, anyway? Is $2,052,218 really too high a price to pay for the security of knowing that when the revolution/apocalypse/nuclear winter/plague of locusts/hurricane/historic designation comes, your loved ones could be comfortably ensconced in their very own bomb shelter? And look! A trained school of security fish stand guard by the shelter’s entrance — in their very own BB-proof booth. Plus, right next door, there’s a $5 million home!