- 311 Rainier Dr. [HAR]
Here’s the pungent wastewater that’s been flowing through a Swamplot reader’s backyard on Stoney Creek Dr. for just over a month, according to the homeowner. The waterway pictured above — dubbed Ditch #W-151 by Harris County Flood Control — parallels Gessner on its way south from Memorial City Mall, passing through portions of Bunker Hill Village and Whispering Oaks before emptying into Buffalo Bayou. For about 3 quarters of a mile along that stretch, the ditch cuts through the backyards of homes on Stoney Creek, where owners have complained about this and similar movements in the past.
Residents suspect the issue might have to do with the sewer repair work now underway at multiple sites upstream from their neighborhood. The photo below shows a temporary pump conducting liquids across Plantation Rd., just south of Memorial City Mall’s frontage along Barryknoll:
The house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for insurance company exec William Thaxton is back on the market again as of Friday, now listed at just $2.795 million. Wright designed the triangle-and-diamond-themed home with no air-conditioning system in 1954, though Thaxton and the builder eventually snuck some ducts into the red concrete floor; the mid-century space later got a classically-inspired makeover and circled the market drain toward lot-value sale and presumed teardown. But an early 1990’s buyer saved the property from demolition and removed the pineapple-shaped finials — while adding a high-ceilinged, right-angled extension which enclosed the almost-a-parallelogram pool in more of a central courtyard. (That extension contains a living room, lofted entertainment space, bedrooms, and a kitchen, meaning the occupant doesn’t have to spend time in the angular Wright portion of the building if they don’t want to. )
The new listing (the latest in an on-again-off-again series of market stints that started in 2010 at $3.5 million) includes a few new angles on the property, which (as seen from above) sits alongside a channelized ditch draining directly south from Memorial City Mall to Buffalo Bayou. The lights around the front door and entryway are equilateral triangles:
The only assembly on this Lexington Green property appears to be of seating. It musters throughout the grounds of the updated 1972 contemporary, which soldiers on in Memorial’s Bunker Hill Village. The spit-and-polished property’s relisting on Monday trimmed the asking price by $50K to $1.575 million. A previous listing spent a month on the market at $1.625 million. A pool, landscaping, and outdoor venues help populate the lot, which occupies nearly half an acre near the cul-de-sac end of a street off Memorial Drive where it makes a sharp turn north, a bit east of Gessner Rd.
What’s next for the modestly proportioned home in Bunker Hill Village that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in 1954 for insurance executive William Thaxton (top and middle photos) and the more recent, more commodious addition (above) of 1995 by Bob Inaba of Kirksey Architecture? The pedigreed and restored property, on a cul-de-sac off Strey Ln., which peels off Memorial Dr. east of Gessner, landed on the market Monday with a $3.195 million asking price. That’s a bit less than the $3.5 million sought in 2010 when owner Allen Gaw previously tried to move on — but a little more than the $2.9 million that earlier listing shrunk to after a year of no takers.
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Note: Update below.
The hip roof on this 1958 modern home in Knippwood is only 7 years old, but whether it had a different shape originally isn’t clear from the outside photos — they stand back from the building on its 17,120-sq.-ft. lot. There’s no seller disclosure available, and the place is being sold “as is.” What will you find inside?
For sale by owner: One flat-roofed Memorial Mod, decaying in leafy solitude — it’s been uninhabited for the last several years. The home was commissioned in 1954 by Bernhardt O. Lemmel, who came to Houston to head the art department at the University of Houston, and his wife, who served as the general contractor. Designed by M. Bliss Alexander, the 2-bedroom home features all those midcentury greatest hits: clerestory windows, a multi-sided fireplace, terrazzo, and sliding doors facing its wooded lot.
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:
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?
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL VILLAGE “Sounds like the high ground is still important to British occupation.” [Neil, commenting on Outlines of a Bunker Hill Village Theme Retreat]
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.
That 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.