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I was told this house was designed by Lars Bang. It certainly looks like his type of design. It is for sale and being marketed as a potential tear down. It is priced in the upper $200's and is located at the west end of Durness in Ayrshire.

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I was told this house was designed by Lars Bang.  It certainly looks like his type of design.  It is for sale and being marketed as a potential tear down.  It is priced in the upper $200's and is located at the west end of Durness in Ayrshire.

IMG_0151.jpgIMG_0144.jpg

I like the lots glass in front. Very Euro. Oh well, what can we do. It's a shame. Upper 200s for a teardown eh? Man. These mods, unfortunately, are coming of age in terms of historic appreciation at the same time as the McManisons and, are in neighborhoods in Houston that are becoming desireable again at the same time.

A potentially tragic combination of events.

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I think the problem is not that they are being torn down, but rather that there aren't enough enthusiasts left around for the mods. I appreciate them myself, but never in my life would I purchase one. They will never fit my needs. I think that's what most people think when they see these: "That's nice, but not what I need.."

Glen

I have enough enthusiasts buyers, (well, I never have ENOUGH buyers, I'll always take more) the problem is finding these type houses that either:

A). Have not been Home-Cheapo'ed to death. With new colonial cabinetry in the kitchen, new cheap tile over the terrazzo, and the ever-popular colonial door with the oval leaded glass insert trimmed in bright shiny brass. Too often they have been stripped of the very characteristics that make them attractive to mod enthusiasts, yet they still are not traditional enough to fit the needs of people who want a more conventional floorplan & style. Of course the sellers price them to recoup the costs of their bad remuddle jobs, even though they have made the house less appealing to the best target audience to sell them to.

B). Haven't been properly maintained, but are in popular neighborhoods & are on large lots so they are priced high with an invitation for redevelopment. That's the problem I have had with this one. Not only will it take a mod enthusiast, but one willing to take on the renovation expenses, which will be substantial. The same problem exists for a great William Floyd that is currently available in Memorial Bend. I know clients that would love to have it, but since it is on a large lot, it is priced pretty high ($350k) even though it needs some repairs.

Just out of curiosity, what is it in general about these style homes that you think would not make them work for you? Most have pretty livable floorplans.

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I love that! Of course I have my own mod already. But I wish I had the cash for that one.

I love my mid century specifically because of the layout and design. It's so open and built for entertaining. Oh sure the kitchen counters and appliances need to be updated, but it's a small price to pay to not live in a copy of my neighbor's home.

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I forgot to mention, that in Lake Charles, LA - you can find mods, like these in Houston, in pristine condition with 30 & 40 year home owners in their 70's & 80's looking to sell for under 150k. 

Lake Jackson, 55 miles south of Houston, is like that too. It was developed just after WWII by the architect Alden Dow to house workers for the Dow Chemical Company. Almost all of the older, large buildings and houses are mod. Of course, a lot of the newer stuff is not. Why?

I believe that a lot of people my age (mid-40's) grew up in neighborhoods that had a lot of mod or mod-inspired design, and to us, it just looks "old-fashioned." My elementary school had a spectacular mod building, though I didn't know it at the time. It just seemed "old." Our nostalgia for the 50s and 60s doesn't extend to living that way, with glass walls, low ceilings, and carports instead of garages. Also, the kitchen and bath explosion of the 80s makes us less interested in living with small kitchens and baths.

Lake Jackson is featured in a recent issue of Cite.

Marty

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Lake Jackson, 55 miles south of Houston, is like that too.  It was developed just after WWII by the architect Alden Dow to house workers for the Dow Chemical Company.  Almost all of the older, large buildings and houses are mod.  Of course, a lot of the newer stuff is not.  Why?

I believe that a lot of people my age (mid-40's) grew up in neighborhoods that had a lot of mod or mod-inspired design, and to us, it just looks "old-fashioned."  My elementary school had a spectacular mod building, though I didn't know it at the time.  It just seemed "old." Our nostalgia for the 50s and 60s doesn't extend to living that way, with glass walls, low ceilings, and carports instead of garages.  Also, the kitchen and bath explosion of the 80s makes us less interested in living with small kitchens and baths.

Lake Jackson is featured in a recent issue of Cite.

Marty

I think most people don't like what they grew up in. I had an old house in the sixth ward, the oldest private home in Houston supposedly. High ceilings, clawfoot tub, the whole bit. All my relatives of my parent's generation were less than impressed. It was what they had growing up and it just seemed old fashioned to them, but not in a good way.

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Yes, I have studied the original plans for this house and it was designed by architect Lars Bang in 1955. The location is 4135 Durness Way in Houston, Teaxs, 77025. This is an excellent area between West University Place and Bellaire. It's at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Ayrshire addition.

Features are four bedrooms, two full baths and a two car carport. The almost completely unaltered interior includes tall beamed ceilings in the living, dining, kitchen and breakfast areas. Also found are terrazzo floors, many built-ins including a large dressing area in the master bedroom, abundant closets, skylights, cove lighting, walls of glass and access to the outdoors from most rooms.

+/- 2132 SF house on +/- 13,678 SF lot

This is an excellent house. It is unassuming from the street and spectacular from the living areas. That's just the opposite of the way McMansions are built. They want to show how big and important they are. The axiom "God is in the details," sometimes credited to architect Mies van der Rohe, holds true in regards to the quality of this house. Bangs thoughtful attention to the details of this house make it a great feeling place. You very seldome find this in the giant empty big box McMansions. This house is so very appropriate for the time it was constructed since it reflects the thoughtfulness of the period. McMansions are unappropriate for any period as they are nothing but big boxes with Disney-like stylings added.

At 50 years old, this house is still appropriate for todays living.

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I was told this house was designed by Lars Bang.  It certainly looks like his type of design.  It is for sale and being marketed as a potential tear down.  It is priced in the upper $200's and is located at the west end of Durness in Ayrshire.

IMG_0151.jpgIMG_0144.jpg

don't care much for the facade (i'm hit and miss with 50's modernism) but i do love the living area. i think it's a crime that history is being torn down for soulless mcmansions.

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3. I've found that these homes are almost like the Delorean cars. They were cool, are still cool, and will continue to be cool - IF[b/] you are prepared to spend money to first buy, and then renovate them. As you said in your post, this is quite expensive. On a fireman's budget, I'm going to be happy to just retire in Briargrove Park. That's high "faloot" for me :)

Glen

I disagree. I recenly bought a wonderful 1950s modern house that didn't cost very much ($112K) and I was able to renovate it on an architect's bduget which I assure you is very much less than that of a fireman.

Ben

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  • 3 weeks later...
Better see it while you can....

To see other mods in different price ranges go on Houston mod and click on buildings, then available mod properties.

Hehe thanks. I've been keeping an eye on your listings for awhile.

Question: Is the Heights and Timbergrove prettymuch devoid of Mod homes? Seems like alot of those homes were going up about the right time but I just havent run across any references yet. Not that I recall anyway.

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Hehe thanks. I've been keeping an eye on your listings for awhile.

Question: Is the Heights and Timbergrove prettymuch devoid of Mod homes? Seems like alot of those homes were going up about the right time but I just havent run across any references yet. Not that I recall anyway.

There was an incredible one in Timbergrove on Queenswood that came on the market this week, then the terminated the listing the next day. It was in Houston House & Home last summer I believe.

There are a few in Lazybrook & Timbergrove, and then north of Garden Oaks/Oak Forest in Candlelight Estates there are a couple as well. By that I mean they exist there, finding them for sale, unfortunately, is another matter!

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  • 2 months later...
:( A sign went up in the front yard this weekend for a builder. I called to see if there was any price they would consider selling it, but they already have a buyer that is custom building on the lot.
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:( A sign went up in the front yard this weekend for a builder.  I called to see if there was any price they would consider selling it, but they already have a buyer that is custom building on the lot.

:( Is there anything we can do to stop this. It is disappointing when history is destroyed like this. I feel so helpless and I am really, really upset that this builder is choosing to destory this piece of history rather than perserve it.

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  • 1 year later...

We drove by this house today and it is still there - one year later. Does anyone know what happened with it?

Jason

I don't see how. I know they paid about $253k or so and I could get them $285 or more easily, I would even back out and forego the commission if it would make the deal work for the seller. But I have gotten nowhere.

There is now another mod for sale facing Braeswood in Ayrshire. It just came up for only $250k and the remarks say all original. At that price it is risking the same fate and is being marketed for the lot. (after all, who wants one of those old odd looking moderns?!) :angry:

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I don't see how. I know they paid about $253k or so and I could get them $285 or more easily, I would even back out and forego the commission if it would make the deal work for the seller. But I have gotten nowhere.

There is now another mod for sale facing Braeswood in Ayrshire. It just came up for only $250k and the remarks say all original. At that price it is risking the same fate and is being marketed for the lot. (after all, who wants one of those old odd looking moderns?!) :angry:

what is the address on braeswood and is the durness still for sale

Better see it while you can....

To see other mods in different price ranges go on Houston mod and click on buildings, then available mod properties.

non of the album in 'houstonmod' is working

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All that is old news now. The Braeswood one sold months ago, but is being redone. The Lars Bang one is still up, but they aren't selling it. The listings on Houston Mod have been down for months & months, that is why they are posted on here.

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There's a sign in the yard for no reason, I guess!

As for the one on Braeswood, I pass that one quite a bit, and it looks to be getting a garage where the carport was. I guess you can't blame them for making that adjustment. But no telling on what else they are going to do to it.

The reason I'm curious about Ayrshire, is that if we ever "move up a neighborhood" to something a little more expensive, I would love to move there. Also, I would love to live on Jackwood near S. Rice in one of the Parade Homes, like the Burdette Keeland... And there's one cool house on Willowgrove in Willow Meadows that I absolutely love, but I've never seen inside.

The only way we will move though is if we realize we are never going to get a better soundwall from the city. I'm going to hold out hope for a few years though! Of course Ayrshire is RIGHT NEXT to the railroad tracks, so there's noise there too!

It's like you told me Robert, once you live in a mod house you can't go back to anything else.

Jason

All that is old news now. The Braeswood one sold months ago, but is being redone. The Lars Bang one is still up, but they aren't selling it. The listings on Houston Mod have been down for months & months, that is why they are posted on here.
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  • 7 months later...
They did put this one back up for sale again.

From the HAR page: "House sold in as-is condition. Oversized 13,000+ lot on cul-de-sac. priced at lot value. House is not considered livable and is requested not to be shown. The lot may be walked only if accompanied by an agent."

The price is up about $100K from when this thread started; the McMansions on the street are now selling for nearly $900K. Pretty disgusting. I wonder how people will treat those ostentatious behemoths in another 30 years...

HCAD lists the property as "economic misimprovement" which I gather means that it no longer fits with the neighborhood... the implication to me is that the neighbors think it devalues their properties. The improvement value in the 2005 appraisal was in the upper 70s and for 2006 it was down to 1000 (the total property value rose to match it). Details here.

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From the HAR page: "House sold in as-is condition. Oversized 13,000+ lot on cul-de-sac. priced at lot value. House is not considered livable and is requested not to be shown. The lot may be walked only if accompanied by an agent."

Previous listings state that sewer line has corrosion and leaking may have caused mold and mildew. I think that's why they consider that house is "not livable".

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And the killer is that RPS may have had a buyer at one point a couple of years ago, but it just fell through.

How will people look at the McMansions in 30 years? Who knows. Maybe they won't even last that long and will be demolished and replaced once again with whatever the next style trend is.

home-icide is a great term. you need to trademark that.

Jason

this is something that i am going to label "house/real estate terrorism," or maybe "home-icide" (yeah, yeah)

what a shame, though

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My wife dropped by the house today. We thought about buying it and renovating it. It looks like there is a contract on the house. My wife was lucky enough to run into the lady with the contract on the house. The lady said that they planned to try to save the house and that her husband is an architect. While I'm disappointed that I won't own the house, it looks like there's a possibility it might be saved! Let's keep our fingers crossed.

My wife says the house is in bad shape, but it looks like it could be saved. If the option falls through I might put in an offer.

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My wife dropped by the house today. We thought about buying it and renovating it. It looks like there is a contract on the house. My wife was lucky enough to run into the lady with the contract on the house. The lady said that they planned to try to save the house and that her husband is an architect. While I'm disappointed that I won't own the house, it looks like there's a possibility it might be saved! Let's keep our fingers crossed.

My wife says the house is in bad shape, but it looks like it could be saved. If the option falls through I might put in an offer.

This is excellent news. I think our collective positive thoughts about saving this house have succeeded. Initially, the place does look shabby but it has been sitting abandoned for two years. The inferior siding is a major distraction. That will all have to be replaced. Much of the trim details are still present so they can be saved or replicated with confidence they are correct. I can get the buyer a copy of the plans if needed. They will see that a window and some nifty details have been removed from the front. The plans also show which areas to paint darker and which to paint lighter. The roof may be good; I have not seen any leaks.

There were two estimates on display there for replacing the sewer line under the slab. It seems like the estimates were $7-10,000. This is a necessary repair on any house over 50 years old. If they use a company like Du-West Foundations for the sewer line replacement, they can adjust the foundation on the southeast corner while there. The terrazzo floor is discolored only in one small area, possibly from excess slab moisture. The terrazzo can be repaired and polished to look beautiful again. The kitchen seems good, only needs the cabinets repainted, better floor covering, and possibly a new dishwasher. The kitchen cabinets seem original and the lighting is excellent. The boxed in area for the recessed florescent lighting under the upper cabinets is a nice detail as it produces a handy stair step for cabinet contents organization and display. The breakfast area has been reconfigured from the original laundry care center but seems to be more useful in its present form. The wall of cabinets may have been added and may need improvement. A larger patio off the breakfast room may be nice. The brick axis wall divides the more service oriented area from the dramatic living/dining patio.

I believe the front door with deep set knob and escutcheon is original and should be fine after the French style moldings are removed. There was a mirror covering the entry wall until recently. It was not original but it made the space look expansive. The bathrooms are mostly original. The hall bath possibly has had the counter and basin replaced. The large aqua colored tiles in the master bath are not original. The planter boxes in both bathrooms, as well as the dining area, are features often found in houses designed by Lars Bang.

The carport structure has an unusual detail. The wood ceiling rafters have about 20 feet or more to span and, as the style of the day dictated, the structure had to look as light and graceful as possible while still doing the job. A stiffener system composed of steel rods and brackets was devised to aid the slender members.

Once these repairs are made, this will once again be an outstanding house. Lars Bang still speaks proudly of the letter he received from the Schulman

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I just checked HAR to see if the listing for this house has sale pending yet. I can not believe the photos and comments the owner and agent have added to the listing. They will not give up their wish to destroy this house.

The following (RPS- they used your photos) has been added to the listing on HAR:

1833697-10.jpg

This was once a fabulous home but has been

seriously neglected and the highest and best

use is considered to be a tear down for a

new home site. sorry!

1833697-5.jpg

Uh-OH!! Lars Bang would flip out if he saw this coming.

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I just checked HAR to see if the listing for this house has sale pending yet. I can not believe the photos and comments the owner and agent have added to the listing. They will not give up their wish to destroy this house.

The following (RPS- they used your photos) has been added to the listing on HAR:

1833697-10.jpg

This was once a fabulous home but has been

seriously neglected and the highest and best

use is considered to be a tear down for a

new home site. sorry!

1833697-5.jpg

Uh-OH!! Lars Bang would flip out if he saw this coming.

Amazing. Obviously this agent has had people expressing concern and has a very unusual reaction. This is sort of disturbing, as if one could diagnose the listing as having bipolar disorder if it were possible. The listing "almost" reads as:

Great Lars Bang house for sale. This house is a dump. It could be great. But probably not. The neighborhood is fantastic. Look at how great this house is. But...wait...wouldn't it be great if it were bulldozed. As a matter of fact, I'm not even going to let you inside to view. Oh, but here are some photos of what you cannot see...I mean, I must tease all of you!

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I'm glad he used the photos that show the house better, if it helped find someone that might save it, all the better.

Whatever else one might say about the "sales pitch," I for one am not going to complain. It is, at least, a response to the home's architectural significance. It certainly beats the one Martha Turner did when they had it and didn't even consider it worthy of pictures at all.

Space Age - don't you have some photos of a similiar Lars Bang house where the windows are not covered up with the siding, etc?

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I'm glad he used the photos that show the house better, if it helped find someone that might save it, all the better.

Whatever else one might say about the "sales pitch," I for one am not going to complain. It is, at least, a response to the home's architectural significance. It certainly beats the one Martha Turner did when they had it and didn't even consider it worthy of pictures at all.

This is a good point. It is an odd approach but does at least recognize something.

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Hello, My husband and I are buying the Lars Bang modern at 4135 Durness in Ayrshire. We found the house 9 months ago while driving around in the neighborhood. We called the number on the sign & found out it was not for sale. We followed up with a letter to the owner expressing interest in purchasing the property. They weren't interested in selling. We tried again at the beginning of this year--no luck. They ended up listing on MLS & we FINALLY took it Pending last week!

My husband is an architect & I have a little real estate "flipping" business on the side (no mods though!) We plan to renovate & live in the house with our family. It will be a lot of fun to remodel this house to our taste (rather than to a client's or to what will sell to the masses). The house needs a fair amount of work--underground plumbing & foundation to start. I think the curb appeal can be improved with some interesting landscaping, replacing the rotten siding, & a decent paint job. The trees in the front are in bad shape (spanish moss & ball moss), and the approach to the front door is dark & uninviting. The master bath has a layout that doesn't work very well in this day & age. The front bedrooms get almost no natural light. I saw a post that said a window had been removed & I would be interested on the location (we think we know where it was). The living areas & back patio are this house's crowning glory! Overall, the house has a fantastic floorplan--requiring no modifications, except the master bath.

My husband said that original plans are sometimes available at City Hall. Is that where the poster got them? We would love to get ahold of those!

We were shocked to find this thread about "our" house last night. How exciting! We bought the property with the knowledge that we would have to live in it for a long time, because no one else would ever want to buy it. How great to find that other people appreciate modern architecture in Houston.

We'd love to hear from anyone!

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This is great news. I'm so pleased to see that your tenacity paid off, something that typically doesn't happen when trying to save these neglected mods. I'll be eagerly awaiting any news and pictures as your renovation takes off.

This story must be a real shocker to the non-believing realtors! ;)

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We would love to share pictures. Our scheduled close is Feb. 16th (who knows if paperwork can be in place for that). Then 2 weeks of underslab plumbing & foundation. I suspect we'll do the inside first & then move to the exterior. I want to get our family moved in pretty quickly so we don't have to carry 2 houses. I'm going to have get moving on pulling together the schedule :-) I would love to share pictures when we have some! We're also eager for input. Our goal is not so much to return it to is exact original state. We won't make major modifications, but I hope that it will appear to be modern for today & true to its roots. Such a difficult balance....

Now we just have to sell our current house! Wish us luck!

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