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BenH

A Brief Guide to the Work Of Wylie W. Vale.

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5026 N. Braeswood - Morris Stern House - 1959.

This is a flat-roofed, modern house with barrel vaults in the roof. I met the owners today on the Jenkins tour, and they have the original drawings with Vale's name on them. It is similar to the Bridge House in New Canaan,CT by John Johansen or 330 Elektra by William Norman Floyd. No pictures just yet, but a great and unexpected find.

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This is a particularly special house. The current owners were on the Jenkins tour this weekend and sent Houston Mod copies of some of the drawings this morning.

House was originally built in 1958 for Morris Stern.

Rendering:

5026nbraeswood.jpg?t=1240847369

Plan:

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Vale's Logo:

MorrisSternCommission.jpg?t=1240847466

It is similar to the Bridge House in New Canaan,CT by John Johansen or 330 Elektra by William Norman Floyd. No pictures just yet, but a great and unexpected find.

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I don't know if Wylie Vale designed furniture as well. There is not info on the internet. Does anybody know if he designed furniture and if possible some examples of his work?

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I don't know if Wylie Vale designed furniture as well. There is not info on the internet. Does anybody know if he designed furniture and if possible some examples of his work?

I seem to remember hearing that the house at 118 Hickory Ridge had some custom furniture, but I don't know if Vale designed any of it. His wife was an interior designer, so it's possible.

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Short House - Original owner unknown - Brookshire,TX

_MG_0494.jpg?t=1254000590

This house bears a closer resemblance to Vale's own house than any other I've seen to date. It's from the early 1950's and was recently for sale. There is another like this in Bellville,TX.

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This is great stuff, you are documenting the most important architectural history of Houston. Do you have a sense of when he began building modern styles? The earliest date I saw was from the late 40s. Was he building modern houses at the same time or before the DeMenil house?

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In interviewing him, he mentioned being affected by the new architecture of San Francisco where he was stationed in the military. It was around WW2 as I recall that he saw this and was influenced to start designing in the contemporary country style. What we are finding is that he became one of Houston's most prolific residential architects of medium to large contemporary ranch houses. I wouldn't think he was connected much to Philip Johnson in his style. He was more Frank Lloyd Wright influenced. He was extremely humble considering how much he produced. It was a great honor to meet him and talk to him.

So, it's the 3 year anniversary for this topic!

This is great stuff, you are documenting the most important architectural history of Houston. Do you have a sense of when he began building modern styles? The earliest date I saw was from the late 40s. Was he building modern houses at the same time or before the DeMenil house?

Edited by Willowisp

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Short House - Original owner unknown - Brookshire,TX

_MG_0494.jpg?t=1254000590

This house bears a closer resemblance to Vale's own house than any other I've seen to date. It's from the early 1950's and was recently for sale. There is another like this in Bellville,TX.

This house was built for another member of the Woods family and was recently purchased by an owner that is interested in preserving it.

The house in Bellville that looks very similar is now for sale. It was built for E.W. "Boots" Cristen, one of Vale's clients:

http://search.har.co..._HAR2967184.htm

Edited by BenH

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I ran across this thread while doing a search on Wylie Vale a week or so ago, and have some information I would like to contribute. Wylie's wife Alliene and my mother are cousins, so I have been familiar with his architecture and her interior design work my entire life. He designed, and she decorated, my parents' home which they built in Groves, Texas in 1962. I came along shortly thereafter and grew up in the home. My folks lived there until they sold it in 1993 when they retired and moved to Tyler, Texas. Since they had loved the first version of the home, they had Wylie make some changes to the plans, and re-built very nearly the same home in 1993. Both versions of the home, while differing slightly from Wylie's "Contemporary Country Ranch" style, have many of his trademark features, including the formal living room with large stone fireplace (white limestone, in both cases), hardwood floors, vaulted beamed ceilings, and pecky cypress paneling with the wiped/stained/sealed finish.

Before my parents built their first home, Wylie designed a home for my mother's sister and her husband, which they built in Port Arthur, Texas in 1956. In 1968, they were transferred to Illinois, and returned to Beaumont, Texas in 1977, where they re-built the same home, with slight changes from Wylie’s talented drafting board. They retired in 1991, moved to Tyler, Texas, and built the home for a third time in 1992, with almost no changes from the 1977 Beaumont version. Their home more resembled the Ranch style home, and also incorporated pecky cypress paneling (painted) in the living room and sunroom, a brick and stone fireplace that took an entire end wall, with terracotta Mexican tile floors.

As you can tell, our families were very comfortable in Wylie’s homes. Alliene and Wylie’s home at 12431 Taylorcrest was the last home in which they lived in Houston and was an absolutely gorgeous home nestled into the end of the cul-de-sac. The view from the living room was through an entire wall of windows (floor to vaulted ceiling) that overlooked a beautifully landscaped patio and back yard. I am sad to report that the home has recently been demolished and the lot cleared for new construction. I actually discovered this fact while browsing around on a Google Maps satellite view of Houston and I think I actually gasped when I saw the vacant lot. At least for the time being, the street view still shows the home. Their home on Memorial is still intact, and as was mentioned earlier in this thread, has been restored to its original glory. I understand that Alliene and Wylie’s son and daughter-in-law, who live near them in Austin, have visited with the current owners of the home, and report: “We have met these folks and they warmly invited us to see the house, take pictures etc. They really love the house and appreciate every detail of the architecture and materials. They have put a great deal of money into restoring it. We spent many hours with them in the house several years ago and they could not have been nicer.”

Alliene and Wylie are currently 92 and 94, respectively, and live in Austin under nursing care and the loving care of their son and daughter-in-law. They are indeed not only some of the most talented, but also the kindest and most genuinely caring people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

So what do some of these homes look like? I figured you were dying to know! Unfortunately, I do not have digital pictures of my parents’ first home in Groves other than some screen shots that I have captured from Google Maps Street Views. I don’t know if posting them would cause copyright violations, so I will hold off on that for now. However, I visited my parents last weekend and took some pictures of their home in Tyler that I am including below.

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Interior photos of the living and dining rooms, which Alliene decorated in 1994 when the house was completed.

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Once again, unfortunately, I also do not have any digital pictures of my aunt and uncle’s first two versions of their Wylie Vale homes in Port Arthur and Beaumont aside from the same type of screen captures mentioned above. My aunt and uncle sold their Tyler home two years ago and now live in a retirement center near their son and daughter-in-law in Tulsa, Oklahoma; however, the Tyler home is right around the corner from my parents, and the current owners graciously allowed me to take pictures of the home. I include them below.

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I, along with the rest of the family, deeply appreciate the interest that has been shown in Wylie’s life work through this thread. It is indeed good to know that there are still folks who appreciate fine architecture from this era!

-Robert K

Edited by robertk

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RobertK informed me this morning that Alliene Vale, Wylie's wife of 71 years, passed away yesterday.

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Vale's First Baptist Church sanctuary in Lake Jackson turned 50 last year and is intact. Easy to visit.

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Vale's First Baptist Church sanctuary in Lake Jackson turned 50 last year and is intact. Easy to visit.

Really? That's Wylie Vale? It's kind of overshadowed by the newer 70's addition. I'll go look again. (I've been way too busy to get down there the past couple of months.) I've been there several times when I was younger for weddings and gigs but not since I started paying attention to architecture. Edited by marmer

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New Finds. No photo documentation yet:

Kiefner & Werlin with Wylie W. Vale:

Spring Branch Business Center (Demolished or altered beyond identification) - Corner of Brogden & Old Katy Rd.

Wylie Vale:

First Baptist Church of La Marque, education building and sanctuary - Late 50's soft Scandinavian contemporary church.

First Baptist Church of Freeport - early/mid 60's. Traditional sanctuary.

Eagle Lake High School (which I believe may be gone. It was probably a bland concrete thing.)

Schreiner Institute Student Center - Kerrville,TX - early 1960's.

Robert Janes house in El Paso,TX - 1501 Idlwoode, El Paso,TX

Brookshire Bank - Corner of 5th and Cooper Streets. Still there, and was published in the Houston Chronicle or Post back in the day. Dates from the 1950's.

Mexia High School - Mexia Daily News, Nov. 22, 1965. This edition of the paper also noted that Santa Claus was due to arrive the following Saturday.

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Wylie passed away this morning at the age of 96. Will post his obituary, along with a number of new finds and corrections, soon. 

 

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Recent finds:

Dr. Carlos Slaughter house - 3 Cleveland Court, Sugarland,TX. Have drawings for this one. 

CarlosSlaughterHouse_zps901f23dc.jpg

 

 

S.C. Adams House - 11400 Memorial Drive. Built 1952. Guessing the roof and paint aren't original. 

AdamsHouse11400Memorial_zps4ca4b25b.jpg

 

 

312 W Friar Tuck - Houston,TX. Not sure of the original client. Very well maintained and elegant house. 

IMG_1660_zps1b4f844b.jpg

 

There are probably going to be a lot more discoveries in the coming weeks. I'm also digitizing Wylie's address list to make it easier to search. Nine pages left...

 

 

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Time for some editing. The following are probably NOT Wylie's designs. I didn't have much to go on when identifying them. 

DSC_0102.jpg

 

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This was the closest thing I could find to a Vale design in Sandalwood at the time, but the actual house is at the southeast corner of Knipp Rd and Sandalwood. It's a nice, but heavily remodeled ranch house. 

DSC_0037copy.jpg

 

I don't think this house is one of Wylie's, but it is kind of cool. 

DSC_0042copy.jpg

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Eagle Lake High School would now be part of the Rice Consolidated School District and they have no high school in Eagle Lake. I would probably guess that the building has been repurposed to another school type if it still exists. Their present high school is in Altair.

Not a very dynamic area anymore as they are just waiting to be absorbed into the Houston Metro Blob that's eating it's way across the west. Rice production is way down since many of the established farming families aged to indifference after 40 years of the youth's exodus to the big city. Besides in Alvin, Katy, and Sugar Land they long ago decided it was easier to plant suburban sprawl over the most fertile farm lands in the state than actually farm. Other than some oil & gas production the major industry has been in the many gravel pits. For three generations my family was part of the Parker Brothers group that developed that resource. The overwhelming majority of aggregate that went into the concrete that built Houston/Galveston and southeast Texas since the 1930s came from that area. And there are still massive deposits there to continue with.

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Nice find. I recognize the name Busby from the address list. Cool house. 

 

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This home by Wylie Vale, located at 5650 Meadow Lake Ln. in Houston, is scheduled to be demolished very soon.  The home was built in 1953 and was  2,347 Sq Ft, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.

 

5650-meadow-lake.jpg

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Regrettably, Mr. Vales work at 11400 Memorial was razed this past Monday (9/22/2014).  Late last year, I attempted to buy this home with the intent to restore and sympathetically update it for use as my family home.  At the last minute, we lost out to a builder.  I don’t begrudge the sellers, owners of 47 years, as they saw the home as unsalvageable and were just trying to maximize their return.  This is a case of one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

post-4031-0-42320800-1411676545_thumb.jp

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To be honest, I'm not sure that was one of Wylie's houses. The listing agent said that it was done by Otto Woestmeyer, but it REALLY looked like one of Wylie's underneath the metal roof and blackish siding. Maybe Otto designed additions or something to that effect. 

Let us know how your search goes. 

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Methodist Church Parsonage - Rusk, TX. 1947-48. Very early project by Wylie:

WylieValeParsonageRusk_zps58ace58a.jpg

Has since been demolished, but the grammar school building still stands. Edwin Guinn was RobertK's grandfather, I believe. 

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Ben - I saw a photo of my house on your list of homes designed by Wylie W. Vale. How do you know that Wylie Vale was the architect?  My home is in River Oaks on Inverness and was built in 1948-49 by J. Leon Osborn. I have the architectural drawings. But there is no logo or signature on them. Just curious because I have an application pending to list the home in the National Register.

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Hello

I found HAIF and this thread from a Google search earlier in the week. By accident when cleaning a closet in our home we found a blueprint of our home and noted that the architect was Wylie W. Vale. We purchased from the estate of the original owner and have thoroughly enjoyed living in this mid century modern.  Some of the folks listed here may not be around any longer and I wasn't able to load any of the pictures. I'm interested in any mention of magazine articles since the family who sold it mentioned the house had been in an article in one of the magazines of the time. Home was built in 1958. Thanks!

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Since Photobucket decided to literally break the internet, and consequently, all of the links to all of my photos on HAIF, I guess we're going to have to start over. But it's a good time for a clean slate too, so I can remove some of the houses that are not Wylie's and add a few new discoveries. 

Albert Plummer House - 3630 Willowick - Demolished. Was at one time the most expensive house in River Oaks. Later sold to a family named the Whittingtons. 

WW3780Front.thumb.JPG.1dee05fc213ea0c0ffcdcb7b5ef3d52b.JPGWW3780Text.thumb.JPG.4feabc6dfb7c30f5e2d6524fdf960674.JPG

 

Herbert Townsend House - 3723 Knollwood. (Altered). Featured in Fortune Magazine at some point. I have the article but am not sure where it is. 

Knoll3723Front.thumb.JPG.d6473b732e0115ed1c375eef9a340c85.JPG

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Vale House - 11302 Memorial Drive - Restored. Wylie and Aileen's own house. If you hear the term "Contemporary Country" this is what that means. Photos by Kim or Greg Kolanowski. 

IMG_8832-2-Edit.JPG.d407f9d9233f6a5fa91412338d01800a.JPGIMG_8833.thumb.JPG.2f33679ed7a827800a2f536106a03a8e.JPGIMG_8858.thumb.JPG.d7a215d9b202e29098028c2c46093a6e.JPG

 

B. Ray Woods House - 610 Woods Lane, Katy,TX. This house is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

610WoodsLane1.JPG.abbefc1a88d0f97239c8a7dd95e471bd.JPG610WoodsLane2.JPG.5855cb9a037c8a8a3286ab042768b620.JPGDSC_0087copy-1.JPG.5bd6d67368c03c50434ef55d3153853a.JPG

 

J.D. Woods House - 612 Woods Lane. Brother of B. Ray Woods; these photos were taken before the house was sold and show the original interiors. Currently (November 1st 2017) for sale for lot value. 

WoodsLane4.JPG.7aa1ba6d446146a5ebc0cd3754fdc5c5.JPGWoodsLane5.JPG.033c3789d8c011cb8df5a2e5ffd9f2b2.JPGWoodsLane1.JPG.19419fa50a29302b1e8bfc6e3b9ce0a4.JPGWoodsLane3.JPG.366d460be0ab31dc7fe6ad4a5d004c4d.JPGWoodsLane2.JPG.637c979c79c619cae5a729dfe479ce0c.JPG

 

Arthur Miller House - 1002 East Ave., Katy,TX

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Paris Schindler House - 17 West Lane Place - Demolished. 

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River Oaks Houses - Wylie's address list only included the actual addresses for these, with no client names. 

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Willard K. Wood House - 3730 Willowick. 

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Jesse Finch House - 38 Crestwood. (Demolished). Drawings exist and were donated to Rice University. 

_DSC0015.JPG

 

Max Lents House - 315 W. Friar Tuck. Demolished shortly after Hurricane Ike. Wylie also appears to have built a house for Lents on Galveston Island, but I have no leads on where that one is/was. 

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Chas Block House - 603 Timber Terrace. Still extant and owned by the family. 

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Merrill V. Gregory House - 5327 Bordley. 

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Russell McFarland House - 5657 Bordley. Demolished. 

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Chester Jordan House - 2119 Woods Rd. One of Wylie's earliest houses. Drawings exist and were donated to Rice University. 

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Short House - 6th St. & Gresham, Brookshire,TX. Probably had a different original owner name. 

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W.H. Harrison House - Corner of County Rd. 135 and the I-10 Frontage Rd., Alleyton,TX. Wylie built one house in Alleyton, and this is the only one that looks anything remotely like something he would do, so if I'm wrong, I apologize. 

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Lester J. Schobel House - 1328 Montezuma, Columbus,TX. Wylie built at least five houses in Columbus. One of the notable ones is the H.P. Meyer house at 301 Bonham St. 

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I forget the address on this one, but it has been demolished. 

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Keith R. Beeman House - 822 Kuhlman Rd. Demolished. The Beemans owned multiple lots on Kuhlman Rd. Wylie built at least four houses on that street. 

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F.E. Carleton House - 7 Turkey Trail. Demolished. This house was originally built in the 1950's in what would have been the boonies, out past Dairy Ashford on what would become Memorial Drive. The last owner, Ben Crocker, hired Wylie to renovate this home in 2003 and bring it up to date while retaining his style. Crocker was transferred and had to sell the house quickly. This small, hidden neighborhood was the bought and demolished to make way for a development. 

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R.T. Hurta House - 950 S. Holland St., Bellville,TX. 

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? House - 711 W. Norris., El Campo,TX. Original Client unknown. Wylie did at least three houses in El Campo. 

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James W. Green House - 46 E. Rivercrest, Houston. (Jimmy Green Chevrolet). 

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Leonard Kayem House - 12502 Taylorcrest. 

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Frankel House - 11406 Memorial Drive. Large, flat roofed house. 

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Edited by BenH

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On 11/1/2017 at 0:38 PM, BenH said:

B. Ray Woods House - 610 Woods Lane, Katy,TX. This house is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

610WoodsLane1.JPG.abbefc1a88d0f97239c8a7dd95e471bd.JPG610WoodsLane2.JPG.5855cb9a037c8a8a3286ab042768b620.JPGDSC_0087copy-1.JPG.5bd6d67368c03c50434ef55d3153853a.JPG

 

 

I just ran across this Chronicle piece from December - unfortunately, 610 Woods Lane was badly damaged by flooding during Harvey and will be leveled. Given that it was on the National Register of Historic Places and the owners were active in historic preservation, the damage must have been quite severe for them to opt for a teardown and rebuild. 

 

Hurricane Harvey flooding claims historic Katy home

Edited by mkultra25

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Thanks for the heads up. We're going to be seeing a LOT of this post-Harvey. 

 

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Three for sale. 

674 Shady Hollow. Almost certainly going to be demolished. 

https://www.har.com/674-shady-hollow-street/sale_51086421

 

603 Timber Terrace - Chas Block House

https://www.har.com/603-timber-terrace-road/sale_41145528

 

1328 Montezuma St. - Schobel House - Columbus,TX. Has unfortunately been flipped. 

https://www.har.com/1328-montezuma-street/sale_50874392

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