Taking A Few More Shots at Houston’s LBJ House

LBJ wuz here: Built in 1904, this 3,161-sq.-ft. home on the corner of Hawthorne and Garrott in the Westmoreland Historic District gave the future president a place to crash in 1931 when he was teaching public speaking and coaching the debate team at Sam Houston High School.

In March 2011, the house was put on the market for the first time in 90 years; the price climbed to almost $619,000 that June. It sat for a year, going for just under $285,000. Renovations began that summer. And the house returned 9 days ago with a new MLS number, new photos, and a new historically low — for this place, anyway — price: $569,900.


Come on in, the porch says. This is Texas. Have a seat. Then have a look around:

The carpet has been yanked up, and the Hawthorne St. entrance opens to a hardwood first floor with an 18′ x 12′ dining room and a 14′ x 15′ kitchen:

The stairway in the back of the kitchen leads to the 3 bedrooms:

The paired bathroom windows would appear to invite a circulatory crosswind:

Was this where young Lyndon slept?

Photos: HAR

19 Comment

  • The updates are nice, if it were just another bungalow, but if they are trying to entice a buyer based on the historical significance of the home it should have been renovated slightly closer to the period it was built.

  • That oven looks ridiculous with the veneer on the side.

    And who installs an electric oven in 2012 when you’re doing a total redo? Operating cost of the house would be much less if they put a gas line in to there. Maybe I could see it if there’s a slab foundation.

    Veneered oven side is still unforgivable.

  • I completely agree with Northsider. It has lost its historical charm by being contemporized. It’s just another old house flip at this point. Part of the appeal for people who buy historic buildings associated with specific named individuals is to appreciate the space as the historical individual experienced the space.

  • The layout of the island where they installed the range looks terrible. It also looks like the veneer is already peeling on the left side of the range.

  • Odd kitchen.

  • Please accept this post as my nomination of that God Awful front door for design cliche of the year.

  • Northsider, I hope that this house is priced such that the right buyer can eventually gut the kitchen and bathrooms and restore the house.

  • Let’s see the attic.

  • To be fair, I went into this property before it was sold a few times. I really really wanted to buy it but there was no financing to be had and the sellers wouldn’t entertain even a short term finance (I offered well over what it ended up going for too, grr).
    Anyway… As much as I historic homes (mine is down the street) and like things brought back to their original state, this place had a terrible layout, no AC, and a lot of work that was needed. I think the new owner did a good job with what they had to work with. Before it was sold, I explained to my wife what I’d do (she said “it’s too much work, you’re nuts), but in any scenario you had to really have an open mind because of how it was laid out.
    It sat on the market for a long time, and was finally just about given away. It was just rotting there till someone did something with it. It may not have been what you or I would have done but then again, we all had our chance (it was even advertised here before it sold) and passed. So maybe we can go a bit easy on the person that risked their money to do something with it. (no, I’m not related to them or have anything to do with the property. I did meet them at the property at an open house and they seem like nice people).
    In regards to a veneer on the stove, that’s such an incredibly simple thing to change that I can’t imagine a buyer passing on the property because of that.

  • I’ve already commented on this house on the previous threads linked above, and I haven’t been in it again since then (just the thought of it makes me cry), so I won’t rehash the same stuff.

    The new layout is strange, and she ripped out the gas lines that were there, and she used builder-grade (or less than) materials that don’t match the period, but in the end, Cody’s point still stands: it was her property to do with what she wanted.

    The original — and it was practically original, on only its second or third owner in 100 years with little or no upgrades in that time — house eventually sold for a number that is less than lot value for that neighborhood.

    We had our chances, and none of us had the balls — or a sufficient level of insanity — to jump on it.

  • I looked at this home and the new photos are nice, but it does not show that the current owner who is also the realtor has done such and injusttice to this historic home. Including leaving a hearth for the fireplace that no loger is there and moving the manel to the second floor, tearing out all the solid wood doors and replacing them with builder grade hollow doors with the cheapest hardware available. Then there is the kitchen, It is arranged nicely with cheap apartment grade cabnitry and an island stove, that is quite unfinished.
    This is a terrible redo, and looking up public records to find what the house was sold for, it is obvious the greedy Real Estate Agent bought cheap, and put next to nothing into the redo so that she could maximise profit. This is why suburban house flippers should stay way from anything with history.

  • The house is still standing, and the new seller has updated the house such that it won’t likely be torn down by the next buyer. It’s good.

  • Not everyone looks at these properties as *investments* that the owner *risks money* when remodeling or restoring. Aarrrrgh! Some of us don’t see Houston as a big profit center, some of us are actually trying to make a nice life for ourselves and our families and want to live in a nice neighborhood with character and personality. Anyway, I did not intend to knock the current owners, it was clearly their house to do with as they pleased and I am sure they are wonderful people. Like I said, hopefully the right buyer will pick up this sweet little house, and restore it by gutting the bathrooms and kitchen and replace the leaded glass in the front door. Hopefully!

  • Mel: I was only pointing out that before this owner bought it, no one was doing anything. The place was slowly degrading to the point where it would have had to be demo’d.
    The previous seller tried for a while to sell it to someone that would have bought it to move into (and restored it close to original), but no one did it. It just sat on the market. Rotting. That’s what’s sad. It seems lots of people love these historic homes (me included), but then no one buys them (though I tried, I just didn’t want to be all cash on purchase + rehab).
    The question is where are the buyers opening their wallets if so many people want these properties? It took someone (a greedy investor!) to buy it and save it from the wrecking ball. Then they’re criticized for ‘apartment grade cabinets’ (not sure how that was determined) and hollow doors (not sure that they would have tossed solid wood doors just to buy new cheap ones but I didn’t do the remodel).
    Also, as I’ve done this myself, don’t just look at the sales price they paid vs. the asking price and factor the delta as profit. There was a lot of time (which has a value) spent. Plus there was a lot of labor/marital cost (even if cheap hollow doors were used). And don’t forget holding costs — the hard money used to buy and fund these projects is cheap. Then, if there is profit left over, I think it’s fair given the risk taken (and likely sleepless nights) on the project and the fact that absent an investor, the house might still be rotting, gathering red tags from the city, then knocked down.
    It was priced rather high when they were finished, but it’ll get sold and the property will live on. It won’t live on as originally built but it was clear from the lack of sale that no one wanted it that way.

  • House flippers have a function in the preservation ecosystem too.

  • I don’t recognize it…

  • Oh this makes me sad. I wish I would have had the money to get the house before they did this to it.

  • Through the magic of Photoshop, the normal-sized door, in the first picture becomes the garage door-sized in the second picture. Or maybe it’s like the Tardis: bigger on the inside than on the outside. And what’s up with all the trick photography in the listings, lately? It’s not like they’re fooling anyone.

  • #16- I am dying!