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This one recently came up, one house off of Santa Elena in Glenbrook Valley. Once upon a time it must have been one of the more architecturally interesting mod houses. It has all the good stuff, poured terrazzo flooring, vaulted tongue-in-groove ceilings, walls of glass, clerestory windows, redwood and flagstone accents, cove lighting, et al.

Somewhere along the line it met a number of insensitive alterations and general, no, worse than general abuse. Ugly ceramic tile was laid over the terrazzo. The original kitchen was removed and an addition down the south side was added. Hideous leaded glass doors, an additional shed roof and bars encased the original entrance and the L shaped rear facade with wall to wall glass and long overhangs were smothered in the weakest of T-111 sided lean-to additions. Additions that would thankfully be easy to demolish.

Much of that actually could be undone, but then there are the other issues of systems that are shot, leaky roof, termite damage, etc.

It could be saved if you threw enough money at it, and at $90,000 you might be able to make the numbers work if you could get the work done for less than the normal going rates I suppose.

Or maybe it is just too far gone, I dunno.

http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cf...mp;backButton=Y

I have a few pictures of my own:

Gotta love the punching bag hanging in the entry hall, wtf? But anyway, it has a cool entry with vaulted ceiling, mistlight panels and a redwood accent walls. A half wall partition was built blocking the entry to the living and needs to be removed. There is a brick accent wall at the end going to the den.

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underneath the hideous marble tile is a pale green terrazzo that looks restorable

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I believe this end of the den is where the original galley style kitchen was placed, with cabinets tucked underneath the row of clerestory windows.

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It does have a good ceiling that was not painted surprisingly. At the far end is where the first addition was place, blocking the clerestory windows. The "new" kitchen was added there.

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The back wall, well, this is where it gets really.....(insert adjective here). They added the lean to additions across the back, but did not really disturb the original rear exterior, just tacked it on. The sliding doors should lead outside to the terrace, but instead lead to this room that needs to be ripped off.

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Here is an exterior shot of the rear, you can see that mess. At the top you can see the original overhang and underneath all of that, obscured by the....mess, is all the glass for the den and the two bedrooms.

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Back inside they even left the original porch posts

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There is a second living area sitting beside the main den. Both bedrooms have the same issue of a wall of glass overlooking the funky add on.

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The green terrazzo in the entry seems to extend into the den, but not the formal living next to it. There is terrazzo in the two baths, one bath had black counters and pink fixtures and pink and black terrazzo, the other had orange counters and gray tile and coordinating terrazzo. It both cases it exists under peel and stick vinyl tile.

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The front has great lines.

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Ohhhh...the things people do. They should have put that money into repairing the wood trim. Would be nice to see this house come back to life. Somebody, give it an IV, quick. I never have cared for painted brick, better left natural.

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The bulldozer is likely...

However, if someone was dedicated to preservation and had both the where with all and know how to bring this nice example of post war modern back from the edge they would likely be looking at a minimum of 150K on top of the purchase price. Central to the topic here is undoing what was done as well as remediation efforts.

Tall order.

This one looks to be close to Sims Bayou as well... is it in the 100 year flood plain? If yes, then you should move on accordingly. If no -- but it's still within a flood plain -- think long and hard about it. Could be a diamond in the rough... but boy, you'll have your work cut out for you.

Edited by domus48
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The bulldozer is likely...

However, if someone was dedicated to preservation and had both the where with all and know how to bring this nice example of post war moder back from the edge they would likely be looking at a minimum of 150K on top of the purchase price. Central to the topic here is undoing what was done as well as remediation efforts.

Tall order.

this one looks to be close to Sims Bayou as well... is it in the 100 year flood plain? If yes, then you should move on accordingly. If no -- but it's still within a flood plain -- think long and hard about it. This one could be a diamond in the rough... but boy, you'll have your work cut out for you.

Not in flood plain. The house is a mess, but that isn't a problem.

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Two bedrooms is an issue for most, if this one is picked up by someone desiring to restore consider the following:

You'll automatically qualify for an historic designation based on the 50+ year age of the house -- you will still have to submit the required forms to the City of Houston for their subsequent review.

Consider a construction loan you can roll into your mortgage plan -- you will likely not be able to do this if you plan to do the work yourself (why would anyone?)

If you secure a historic designation you can apply for "freeze" on your property tax (increases only) -- good for 15 years

This is in all probability a good market to secure G.C. bids for a sizable project such as this

Do your "due diligence" -- this is not a project for the faint of heart. There is a minimum of six to eight months of work to bring this home up to contemporary standards

Try to add a third bedroom -- such may have existed but was deleted in a remodel

Edited by domus48
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The house does not face Santa Elena, it is one house off of it, located at 8106 Glen Valley.

Here is the listing:

8106 Glen Valley

A historic designation would not be automatic, you would have to apply for one and go through the process. It was originally a two bedroom, with three bedrooms being the norm in the neighborhood. If the condition weren't such an issue I doubt the 2 bedroom situation would be that limiting for the house. Most of the people who buy in that area now are singles or couples. For many the houses are just too big, so this one would make a nice alternative in that respect.

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"UNIQUE FLOOR PLAN - REDESIGNED BY PREVIOUS OWNER/ARCHITECT -"

Is he referring to the additions?!

I think he is lifting that phrase off an old listing from like 1999 or so.

I don't know for certain, but I think at that time the addition down the south side was done, but not the horrible ones across the back. The only place I can figure the original kitchen was located is under the long row of thin square clerestory windows on the front street side. the opposite end of that room is the den with the wall of glass. I think it had a galley style kitchen on the one (east) side, with the dining area at the far end where the doorway to the current kitchen is. Apparently someone decided it would be a good idea to remove the original kitchen and make that open space all den, and relocate the kitchen to the southern addition. I believe that is what was referred to in the old '99 listing on the house as the "redesign."

While the list of issues with this house is long, there is a lot of positives they could put in the description IMO instead of that redesign phrase.

It is in a good section of Glenbrook, it has the vaulted ceilings, (some tongue & groove & unpainted), poured in place terrazzo (under the tile) that is potentially restorable, lots of clerestory windows, redwood, brick and flagstone interior accents, skylight, cove lighting, & a good lot size.

Edited by rps324
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"A historic designation would not be automatic, you would have to apply for one and go through the process."

I stand corrected, I intended to state: You will automatically qualify for historic designation based on a 50+ year age of the house. Yes, you do still have to submit to the City of Houston for an official historic designation.

Edited by domus48
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"A historic designation would not be automatic, you would have to apply for one and go through the process."

I stand corrected, I intended to state: You will automatically qualify for historic designation based on a 50+ year age of the house. Yes, you do still have to submit to the City of Houston for an official historic designation.

The application isn't difficult - I wish more folks would take the time to do it for eligible properties

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I took a close look at this house with a mind to make an offer after inspection and restore it as our home. If there was something an ignorant idiot could do to a house as a misguided, asinine, abusive, or just dumb neglect for the past 20 years - this would be the poster child. But God the bones were so good. The original design and execution were great. It was just around the corner from my grandparents model home on Glenview and that area has such good feelings with me. It actually hurt me to walk through it.

I can and have tackled a great deal, but after severe termite damage, foundation issues, the electrical is an instant fire hazard much less never shown a picture of code, and you'd need to fill at least 3 construction dumpsters for all the immediate demo. This house could only possibly make any financial sense if the holder would take $50K because it's at a minimum $100K project - and I'm in contracting and could sub most of the tasks myself. I would have to start with the foundation after regrading the overbuilt up land around it. There's no drainange because idiots just piled up around it with the resulting chronic flooding and behind brick frame rot. Then level the slab and repoint the brick. Then I would attack the roof - starting by actually putting the right kind on it for change - not whatever cheap shingles were on sale at the time. This would also require replacing a lot of rotted wood - but doable. After dry in and exterior restoration would come electrical, plumbing, and at least 6 weeks or more on interior. The terrazo could be refaced easily of not too broken up to patch. The main central a/c is only 2 years old, but was run untill the return air filters sucked into the ductwork - expect to do heavy condenser repair. And it would be a good idea to actually put the correct disconnects and breakers in after properly seating the compressor on a slab. It smacks to me like every addition and repair was done by convict labor in a hurry to escape. I could go on for pages.

I really wanted this to work. But the cost would have been +$40K over market value, a neat house and the very strong potential of living there all by myself as a result. Too high a price for me alone. But if someone does tackle this - I'd really like to help in some way.

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  • 2 weeks later...
"Someone please let me know how to apply for historic designation."

Will send info to you under separate cover. Would a historic application primer be helpful for all who visit this site?

Yes! I would like to know. In many cases, this is the first step in getting a structure recognized. (Protected, of course, is another matter, I assume.)

Like many people, I aspire to own and preserve a historical building or house. If anyone could apply (and not just the owner, Homeowner's associations, or a preservation group), think of the number of houses and businesses that could be saved in Houston for future generations to admire and enjoy.

Compared to many, older cities, we have relatively few architectural footprints left in Houston, recording who we were and what we've become through our history. Our movie houses are gone, along with much of our old business district. Because our big growth spurt came after WWII, mid-century modern is as identifiable with Houston as arts & crafts is with the Midwest and Victorian with San Francisco. We have a better chance than ever to save significant homes/neighborhoods; the Federal government seems more willing than ever to work with us.

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