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9602 Moonlight Drive: Contemporary masterpiece destroyed


Willowisp

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Lisa Gray has a very nice article on this subject is today's Chron: "Abandoned house, abandoned hope in Meyerland"

It mentions the forum.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headli...es/5298831.html

I love the interior pics both with and without the Cohens. Just to get even a small glimpse of what the interior looked like has made it all the more important to document the homes interior. I would love to see a pic of the kitchen. Does anyone have one?

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This interesting tidbit just appeared among the Chron's on-line comments. I assume it refers to what Granit told a neighbor: That he bought the house because his girlfriend lives across the street, and that he planned to live there himself.

"Granit bought the house next to ours and said exactly the same thing to the old man who lived there. He must have a lot of girlfriends..."

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A Chron reader just e-mailed me this story. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen the house that Cohen built.

I worked with a former business partner of Robert Cohen's. He once told me how he and Robert floated a boat (cabin cruiser) in The Shamrock's pool for a party!

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A Chron reader just e-mailed me this story. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen the house that Cohen built.

I worked with a former business partner of Robert Cohen's. He once told me how he and Robert floated a boat (cabin cruiser) in The Shamrock's pool for a party!

Of course the legend was that waterskiing could be done in the Shamrock's pool. I've seen that mentioned frequently but never seen a picture or any convincing proof.

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Hmmmm....

And I suppose it's sweet when spec home builders move into neighborhoods and destroy character by building houses completely out of scale?

I also suppose it's sweet when 5,000 square foot McMansions move into former bungalow neighborhoods pricing out many buyers from what used to be affordable areas and raising taxes on long-time residents?

And is it sweet when these builders come in and tear down viable houses and more often than not waste a tremendous amount of resources?

And maybe you think it is sweet when these fellas move in and clear cut lots and build to the property lines in order to maximize profits?

And is it all groovy when spec home builders use their connections and deep pockets to tend to lock up homes/lots before individuals have a chance to get them?

Or, maybe you like the idea of spec homes sitting empty for months on end in neighborhoods because they are GROSSLY overpriced ($2.9 million in Afton Oaks?)

Forgive me for not shedding a tear for McMansion developers!

Not to take sides, but these points are dead-on. Sure there are some benefits to teardowns, ... but, there are definitely negatives.

Could not agree more with you both. Memorial Bend is just one neighborhood seeing a LOT of the negative sides to recent McMansion activity, and its charm is eroding along with some residents who simply cannot afford to keep up with the Jones' appraisal values.

It is very sad.

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This interesting tidbit just appeared among the Chron's on-line comments. I assume it refers to what Granit told a neighbor: That he bought the house because his girlfriend lives across the street, and that he planned to live there himself.

"Granit bought the house next to ours and said exactly the same thing to the old man who lived there. He must have a lot of girlfriends..."

I saw that comment too...VERY interesting. :rolleyes:<_<:blink:

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Willowisp knew about this, but I wanted to keep it quiet in case nothing came of it. A few weeks ago, I contacted Architectural Record's news editor on a whim, thinking they might be interested in the story. He responded and has one of his two Texas writers looking into it. Atomic Ranch has also expressed interest.

I'm out of town, so I haven't been able to see the story in the paper, but I'm glad it was done. Definitely alot more puplicity than we can muster here.

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This comment from the comment section below the article ought to get y'all fired up:

"dmghouston wrote:

I don't think anything Granit Builders is doing is wrong. Why aren't you attacking the vandals you stole furniture and spray painted the place? The house is covered with mold and likely the house would need to be pretty much rebuilt. Not to mention it looks like someone built a box next to a mini-astrodome.

Granit Builders has a reputation for building beautiful houses in the Bellaire and West University areas. I am sure while the house probably wont be preserved, Granit will build a beautiful home and keep some historical aspect of the property.

No one complained when they tore down thousands of home in Bellaire to turn Bellaire into what it is today. I think Granit Builders is crazy not to take advantage of a beautiful property and like Cohen build his dream home. Where were all you people when the house was sitting vacant with leaks and mold? Why weren't you fighting the city to preserve it then?"

flipper

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This interesting tidbit just appeared among the Chron's on-line comments. I assume it refers to what Granit told a neighbor: That he bought the house because his girlfriend lives across the street, and that he planned to live there himself.

"Granit bought the house next to ours and said exactly the same thing to the old man who lived there. He must have a lot of girlfriends..."

I have family around the corner from the house. Word on the street, long before this article surfaced, was that his girlfriend lives across the street from the house and that he stays at her place quite a bit. Not much has ever been said about the plans for the property though.

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Given the recent coverage of this item it is hopeful that we can bring some muscle to bear on saving this significant architectural home. Thanks to "Ben H" for his additional efforts to bring attention to this via publication. That said, if anyone can assist or know of a means to assist (contacts in high places, historical information regarding the house or Robert Cohen, etc.) please feel free to contact me directly via this forum.

Hopefully I will be in a position to present this home for consideration by the HAHC next month. We'll see. Time may run out on this but any effort is better none.

Thanks!

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Ooh, Flipper, that quote from "dmghouston" *is* interesting.

Do you think Marvin Granit's initials are "dmg"?

The Chron story didn't mention mold because a source who'd been inside the house recently told me that he didn't see any. And I think it's interesting that he defends the company's reputation, and says he's sure that Granit will "keep some historical aspect of the property." I heard that he might reuse some of the stones from that front wall -- but again, that wasn't in the story.

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I had to go check the Chron's web page, and was rewarded with another appearance of dmghouston. Now I'm even more sure that he's Marvin Granit, who's done a lot of development in Bellaire.

The good news, if I'm right, is that he's willing to sell.

He wrote:

I would take one of those large scale tract homes any day! The houses I have been to in Bellaire look more like museums then spec houses. I am sure the city of Bellaire isn't complaining about the taxes they collect every year of the McMansions.

Why don't one of the readers make the owner a big offer for the house? I am sure he would sell it to someone who wanted to preserve it. Fact is that most people are quick to fight for a cause but aren't putting up anything to fight for it.

The cost of purchasing this lot and then cleaning the mold and remodeling it will exceed the cost of rebuilding on the lot. It's a house thats covered in mold! I think people should concentrate on better preserved buildings maybe like River Oaks bookstore etc.

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He wrote:

...Why don't one of the readers make the owner a big offer for the house?

I can assure you that the use of "Why don't"

is CLEARLY a red flag that he PROBABLY IS a local homebuilder! :lol:

Why don't you move into your girlfriends house?

Why don't you use "Why doesn't?"

Edited by EatSleepMOD
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You know he is right. The fastest way to stop this would be for someone to offer to buy the property from him at a competitive price. Sorry I can't afford it. In the big picture, these types of houses could find willing buyers interested in restoring them, it's just a smaller potential group. It would be great if some wealthy benefactor would step in to buy up mods, someone financially able to float with them until an appropriate buyer came along. Too bad Mr. O'Quinn didn't offer it up on the open market to begin with, but sounds like he just wanted to end a bad memory.

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I have to wonder about someone in the building profession who doesn't see any difference between tearing down a cookie-cutter tract house in old Bellaire and tearing down this. Of course the problem is that a highly individualized custom dream house will probably have less appeal to anyone other than the original owner. I think the house should be preserved for cultural reasons as much as architectural, but do I want a round living room or a 15' velour sofa (even if extant?)

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I have to wonder about someone in the building profession who doesn't see any difference between tearing down a cookie-cutter tract house in old Bellaire and tearing down this.

I would assume (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that many, if not most, residential home builders don't have an architectural background and would have little appreciation for something like this. How many times have you seen on this forum or others a comment like "who cares -- it's just another old building"? Most people in general don't appreciate modern architecture. A co-worker of mine was talking about the home after she read the article and said "Who would want a home with Formica?" I mean, to reduce the significance of this house to "yucky Formica" is ridiculous, but prevalent. (Next time I'll tell her that I just installed new Formica in my kitchen!)

I think the house should be preserved for cultural reasons as much as architectural, but do I want a round living room or a 15' velour sofa (even if extant?)

I do! Think of the swank parties you could throw!

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I would assume (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that many, if not most, residential home builders don't have an architectural background and would have little appreciation for something like this. How many times have you seen on this forum or others a comment like "who cares -- it's just another old building"? Most people in general don't appreciate modern architecture. A co-worker of mine was talking about the home after she read the article and said "Who would want a home with Formica?" I mean, to reduce the significance of this house to "yucky Formica" is ridiculous, but prevalent. (Next time I'll tell her that I just installed new Formica in my kitchen!)

I do! Think of the swank parties you could throw!

Word to ya motha! 100% agree.

Swank parties is just the beginning, my dogs/cats would LOVE a 15' couch in a round living room

and so would I!

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Sorry everyone...

Project No:

07100233

Date:

11/15/2007

USE:

DEMO RES/SEWER DISC

Owner / Occupant:

GOUNEY HAZEL M MC

Job Address:

9602 MOONLIGHT DR

Tax ID:

0400943050000009

Subdivision:

MEYERLAND SEC 8 R/P I

Buyer:

FREDRICK D RELFORD

Address:

6011 TUSKEGEE 77091

Phone:

7136915645

https://www.pdinet.pd.houstontx.gov/permits...p;PermitType=12

not sure who Hazel M Gouney is...

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Thanks, guys -- especially those of you who talked to me.

I love this forum.

-- Lisa, from the Chron

just read the article yesterday. each time i purchase a chronicle, it is stories like yours that i'm looking for. thanks for doing your part and doing it so well. :wub:

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demo permit - dated the 16th - Troy Malone Demolishing

Project No:

07100233

Date: 11/16/2007

USE:

DEMO RES/SEWER DISC

Owner / Occupant:

GOUNEY HAZEL M MC

Job Address:

9602 MOONLIGHT DR

Tax ID:

0400943050000009

Subdivision:

MEYERLAND SEC 8 R/P I

Buyer:

TROY MALONE DEMOLISHING

Address:

4814 OATES RD 77013

Phone:

8328834366

https://www.pdinet.pd.houstontx.gov/permits...p;PermitType=SD

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9602 Moonlight Drive

Houston, Texas

http://shutter07.pictures.aol.com/data/pic...c+I3J-L0300.jpg

View from foyer toward living area

http://shutter11.pictures.aol.com/data/pic...+4MNxPd0300.jpg

View from living area toward foyer, bar and kitchen entrance to the right

http://shutter10.pictures.aol.com/data/pic...yNNLICQ0300.jpg

Kitchen

GLbQDRuinGSodZS0ozFwpsiidndUs7nE0300.jpg

Master bathroom

wqzh2YOw1wv1IJ1x1OagORNWANpgpHMi0300.jpg

Butted glass shower seen from the private master bathroom garden

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It's gone.

He obviously expedited the demolition after the chron article was published...probably fearing a ground-swell of support.

He took a page from the Ashland tea room house...or from the old adage...its easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission...or something like that. y'all know what i mean.

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He obviously expedited the demolition after the chron article was published...probably fearing a ground-swell of support.

He took a page from the Ashland tea room house...or from the old adage...its easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission...or something like that. y'all know what i mean.

I agree. The house changed hands sometime around the middle of September. But once the article came out he didn't waste any time getting the house demo'ed.

I drove by today to see with my own eyes and now I wish I hadn't. It's very disturbing to see something so great reduced to pieces for the landfill.

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Shame. Shame on Zev Isgur, for his taking advantage of the helping hand extended and also the damage he did to the classic car world. Shame on John O'Quinn for his antipathy or neglect. No doubt, for him, the property was a symbol of his financial losses, Isgur's betrayal, and his misplaced trust. Shame on Marvin Granit for his lack of vision and respect for a neighborhood icon. This is so sad.

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A bit of advice to everyone in Houston who feels passionately about preservation:

I have a good friend who is very involved in community affairs, and who also happens to work for a department in the City of Houston. She is very in tune with current redevelopment trends, as well as up and coming challenges.

Her words: "If your subdivision doesn't have good, strong deed restrictions (with respect to redevelopment), you're done".

How this translates: if your subdivision doesn't have good Deed Restrictions AND a review process/committee (aka the Architectural Review Board) who will ENFORCE rules about approval for add-ons, rebuilding, etc., your subdivision has a problem. Love it or hate it, the ARB idea is the only thing that is going to give your subdivision a tool that may prevent another Moonlight from happening. The City isn't going to do it for you - they want the Tax revenue, nevermind their public posturing about 'concern'.

What you can do: there is strength in numbers, but it's a challenging road. Attend your Civic meetings, ask questions, GET INVOLVED. The Civic clubs are there for YOU as a concerned homeowner. You have a right to request minutes of meetings, etc. to find out what decisions are being made, what changes are being discussed, or what rules are/are not being enforced. If your Deed Restrictions need updating, be a catalyst for change - push for the addition of an Architectural Review Board or equivalent when changes are made.

There is a fine line between growth and stagnation of property values; most people side for growth. But most people today are uneducated about the value of some preservation.

If you care about preserving some semblance of the past and about managed growth, it's your job to teach them about it.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Yesterday it appeared that some of the outer stone was being salvaged. I also kindly asked to take a look inside, but the guy refused.

112107_moonlight2.jpg

They probably didn't even bother to salvage the wonderful light fixtures or hardware. Idiots!

Edited by 1959catty
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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it's terrific there are still postings regarding this home. The "swamplot" site and the associated links are informative and well done -- be sure to visit them. It's my understanding from sources close to the project that the current owner desired to retain the driveway configuration -- which was denied by the homeowners association as was another site specific feature which I cannot recall. Such may be the norm in that area but I do not feel the least bit of empathy for the owner and/or builder.

Neighborhood evolution is inevitable... and often necessary. But if such is at the expense of historic significance, well... that's another matter altogether.

Hope there's a fall-out shelter below that slab.

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