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August 2 Mod of the Month- 2 Open Houses 2-4 PM


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Mod of the Month

Robindell and Sharpstown

Houston Mod invites you to join us this Sunday, August 2nd (2:00-4:00 PM), for Mod of the Month.

Two interesting mid-century modern houses currently for sale will be open for touring. Both are located in southwest Houston in the Robindell and Sharpstown neighborhoods. These areas are being rediscovered by those wanting well built, reasonably priced houses with a convenient location. There is a wide array of 1950's and 1960's era contemporary houses in this area.

6102 North Braeswood Boulevard

Houston, Texas 77074 Robindell, Section 3

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This 1960's contemporary style house located in Robindell, just west of Meyerland, has a flexible and free flowing plan. Floor to ceiling windows throughout the living areas provide expansive views of the yard and tree shaded Brays Bayou setting. The design is wonderful for entertaining. The kitchen, which is open to the den, features wood and glass front cabinets, a tile back splash, a walk in pantry, and a utility area. The master suite has a large walk-in closet and a door to the backyard. The house is located on a corner lot allowing driveway access from Braewick street. A gated entrance opens to a spacious covered patio.

HAR Link

8830 Rowan Lane

Houston, Texas 77036 Sharpstown Country Club Terrace 3

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Tens of thousands of visitors toured this custom built contemporary style house when it was featured in the 1962 Parade of Homes. A semi-private brick walled courtyard ushers you to the double-door entrance. The expansive glass walled living room takes your breath away. A freestanding wood burning fireplace and a brick interior wall accent the contemporary design. Almost every room in the house has a view of the lush and restful backyard shaded by pecan and fig trees. There is an additional room off the utility room for sewing or hobbies.

HAR Link

Meet members of Houston Mod. Sign-up or renew your membership.

Houston Mod publications will be available including the newly released High Style in the Suburbs, The Early Modern Houses of William Jenkins, 1951-1958.

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The Houston Mod exhibit Endangered Modern- The Real Story, displayed through August 28 at the AIA gallery at 315 Capitol Street, features displays about Houston's endangered modern legacy and how you can help preserve it.

See you there!

Houston Mod

Houston Mod was recently recognized with a third "Good Brick Award" from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance for the Mod-of-the-Month open house program.

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Here is more information about the houses on this MOTM:

A former resident of the 6102 North Braeswood house let us know the house was designed by Raymond Sullivan Knox for his family residence about 1961. He said the house was built with a flat roof. The former resident said he greatly enjoyed living in the house. Ray Knox was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering. He owned Rayko Construction Company and specialized in the construction of banks, churches, office buildings and shopping centers. Today the company is called Brookstone which specializes in building churches and educational facilities. Ray Knox died April 4, 2009. His death notice states Frank Lloyd Wright was his favorite architect. Ray Knox liked creativity and innovation in building. The roof of his most recent residence is an example- it is a hyperbolic parabola.

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The house at 8830 Rowan Lane in Sharpstown was one of the houses Frank Sharp offered to give to the original 7 NASA astronauts. This is discussed in The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. The offer garnered much attention for Sharp and Sharpstown even though the gift was eventually declined. The astronauts instead made Timber Cove their neighborhood since it was much closer to NASA.

Francis C. Giese was the architect of the house located at 8830 Rowan Lane. In 1969 his firm was called Francis C. Giese & Associates and located at 2712 S.W. Freeway in Houston. The marketing material for this house proclaimed it's theme Oriental Modern. The builder was Rocky Davis Homes, Inc. of 5427 Jason Street.

Following is the official description of the house:

Planned for a family with children, the floor plan of this brick home provides them with a big play room between kitchen and bedrooms... close to the bath... with outdoor access in two directions. Grown-ups will enjoy the beautiful living-dining area centered by a fireplace... glass walls opening on the garden court in front, the patio in back, gives this home delightful spaciousness. Architect Francis Giese designed this Parade Home with four bedrooms, or three bedrooms and a study... two baths... hallway lined with closets. Decor and furnishings are by Jeanette French, of Joske's. Built-in all electric kitchen, air conditioning, and nylon carpeting.

Another article about this house says it has a private screened patio. The kitchen and both bathrooms have illuminated ceilings.

There are several interesting houses in this Parade. Next door to the MOTM house, notice the exciting A-Frame Polynesian described as the "Sophistocraft" of Parade Contemporaries. This house is by Wright Construction Company. The architect is Eugene Rouse, AIA. Color stylist is Pat Senter.

J. Carroll Associates, AIA, designed Maggie Plumb's contemporary entry at 8915 Rowan.

Architect Royston Patterson designed the house at 8907 Rowan.

L. B. Wooters is the architect of 8811 Rowan.

Flynn and Flynn, AIA, designed the house at 8919 Rowan. This house is similar to one of their own houses in Memorial.

Homer Ford designed 8835 Rowan.

Betty Jo Jones, AIA, designed "Romantic Orientale" at 9006 Rowan.

A unique house by Knostman & Webster with several private courtyards was built at 9010 Rowan.

Stan Parker designed the house at 9002 Rowan called the Modern Pace Setter Imperial.

Life Magazines "Home For Better Living" was the star of the 1962 Houston Parade of Homes. It is located at 9015 Rowan Lane. Washington, D.C. architect Don Lethbridge designed the house which was to be reproduced in several other markets. It was built by Parade chairman Dick Wright. Proceeds from its sale were donated to the Texas Endowment Foundation, Inc. for leukemia research at the Texas Medical Center.

The plan provided 4 bedrooms, a unique balcony studio in the two storied living room, a huge trellis roofed patio extending from house to garage including a pool, and an uniquely angled hand split cedar shingle roof.

A partial copy of the 1962 Houston Post Parade of Homes publication will be displayed at the event.

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My wife and I really liked the house on Rowan. The owners were very nice and the house appears to be in quite good condition. We also liked the fact that they hadn't remodeled the house. Too bad its in Sharpstownsad.gif. Could somebody please give me a brief history of what happened to cause Sharpstown's decline. I really know very little about the area except that it was nice when new and now it isn't.

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My wife and I really liked the house on Rowan. The owners were very nice and the house appears to be in quite good condition. We also liked the fact that they hadn't remodeled the house. Too bad its in Sharpstownsad.gif. Could somebody please give me a brief history of what happened to cause Sharpstown's decline. I really know very little about the area except that it was nice when new and now it isn't.

Both of the houses were very nice. The Braeswood house had two really lovely bedroom suites, each with their own baths. The stacked block walls comprising the front walls inside and outside the house are a nice Palm Springs type detail. If it had a flat roof as the 1960's resident remembers, it seems the center portion was at a higher elevation than the two sides. I wonder if the kitchen was always located directly inside the double front doors as it is presently?

The Rowan house is loaded with special features and they are all in excellent original condition. The owners know they have something special and want someone who loves the place as it is to get it. The plan is unique and functional. The kitchen is very well designed. It has cabinets with electric plugs inside where the back splash would normally be- perfect to keep small appliances convenient but out of sight. The original Whirlpool built-in oven was still in use with the evening dinner underway. The illuminated ceiling seemed like new. The illuminated ceiling in the guest bath had leaves molded into the panels. Note the photo of that bath. It looks like it was the model for a Better Homes and Gardens Magazine story from 1966. The indoor/outdoor flow was excellent with the glass sliding doors in the living room accessing the front courtyard. The dining room, family room and master bedroom all also have sliding doors accessing the back patios.

I invited Francis Giese, architect of 8830 Rowan, to the open house today but he was unable to attend. He now lives near Lake Jackson. He is a 1959 graduate of the University of Houston College of Architecture. The main focus of his firm was multi-story office buildings and nursing homes which were located in 85 cities and Washington DC. Since moving to the Lake Jackson area, he has designed several large homes. He said his first job out of college was with Lucian Hood.

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While some of the apartment complexes and shopping centers in Sharpstown have declined, the neighborhoods are generally as well maintained as most middle class neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods are full of nice folks just like the ones you met today. They seem to do a very good job enforcing the deed restrictions. The shopping in that area was never anything special and that has not changed. The best shopping in the city is just a couple of minutes away via the SW freeway to the Galleria or Sugarland area. The SW Freeway is one of the areas best assets as it has been from the start. The area has a prime location. As prices in the more accessible parts of Westbury become just a bit higher, Sharpstown will be the next neighborhood buyers will seek.

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There is a thread or two on Sharpstown in the Houston History section of this site.

I really enjoyed that house myself. It was very authentic, like some of the classic houses we've seen in Glenbrook Valley.

Once you get into the neighborhood it seems nice, but you get out on the main streets and it feels sketchy with all those duplexes and apartments on Gessner. You hear about crime in that area a lot on tv. And my neighborhood has issues as well, with houses almost double in price of Sharpstown. I guess we all do in the city.

For us it's junky retail like pawn shops and check cashing places. It gives the whole neighborhood a vibe that I do not like at all. But it's their right to have a business. I just have to leave the area to shop.

Then you go out to Sugar Land, Pearland, or Katy (the competition for new homeowners, right?) and it's not like that. People like my cousin want that "clean" feel of the country (her words not mine). So homebuyers have to choose between an old house closer to town with sketchy main streets or a new house in a "masterplanned community" with new grocery stores nearby but far far away from the city life. I thought with the price of gas at nearly $4 last year that we were going to see a major shift in people's interest in living closer to town, but prices went back down so we'll have to wait and see. I still feel like the older houses will appreciate faster, being closer to the really desired neighborhoods like Bellaire or whatever.

The bottom line is that house is a great bargain at $140K if you can tolerate the area bordering the neighborhood. I think it will appreciate faster than just about anywhere else you could find a home for that price. Maybe you could get a townhome a little closer in, but nothing with a fig tree that produces enough to make preserves.

We need to see someone with an interest in Asian Modern move in there. It just needs a little tlc.

Jason

My wife and I really liked the house on Rowan. The owners were very nice and the house appears to be in quite good condition. We also liked the fact that they hadn't remodeled the house. Too bad its in Sharpstownsad.gif. Could somebody please give me a brief history of what happened to cause Sharpstown's decline. I really know very little about the area except that it was nice when new and now it isn't.

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My wife and I really liked the house on Rowan. The owners were very nice and the house appears to be in quite good condition. We also liked the fact that they hadn't remodeled the house. Too bad its in Sharpstownsad.gif. Could somebody please give me a brief history of what happened to cause Sharpstown's decline. I really know very little about the area except that it was nice when new and now it isn't.

The Rowan house is really nice. I think the immediate neighborhood is not too bad. The shopping is a bit down-market, but that's true in many of the better mid-century areas.

The house itself is in immaculate condition, needing only minor updates to be a showplace. The original details that made it a model home are still mostly there. Its a step or two above the traditional mid-century tract house.

The current owners have too much furniture for the space and too many window coverings blocking the expanses of glass. Look beyond those things at the opportunity! A buyer with vision and a little touch-up paint would get a bargain at $140K.

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I drove by the Braeswood house last night, looks great from the outside. Per TSARP, this is in the 100 year floodplain, anyone know if these houses have actually flooded and how often? Also drove by the flat-roofed mod on Reamer that was sold last year. It was in really poor condition when I toured it but it looks like the buyer is well along the way in restoring it to its former glory, the outside is pristine again from the street. I meandered over towards Willowisp's neighborhood, think I may have seen your house even. I'd never been through that neighborhood before and it looks like a treasure trove of mods too.

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I drove by the Braeswood house last night, looks great from the outside. Per TSARP, this is in the 100 year floodplain, anyone know if these houses have actually flooded and how often?

I believe the Realtor said that 2-3" of water had gotten into some areas of the house (but not every room) during Allison.

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I drove by the Braeswood house last night, looks great from the outside. Per TSARP, this is in the 100 year floodplain, anyone know if these houses have actually flooded and how often? Also drove by the flat-roofed mod on Reamer that was sold last year. It was in really poor condition when I toured it but it looks like the buyer is well along the way in restoring it to its former glory, the outside is pristine again from the street. I meandered over towards Willowisp's neighborhood, think I may have seen your house even. I'd never been through that neighborhood before and it looks like a treasure trove of mods too.

Anyone have pics of the outside? Love the beams in the HAR pics.

Edited by probability
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  • 4 weeks later...

I spoke with the owners of the house on Rowan, Mr. and Mrs. Stefan. They are selling some of their items and Mrs. Stefan said she thought someone named Jeff from Houston Mod was interested in some of her Asian themed items. She lost his phone number and asked if I could help. I know that information is kind of vague, but I told her I would try to help out. So if you're reading this and you're Jeff, give her a call 713-777-2805.

Also, Mr. Stefan said he might be willing to seller finance the house for the right buyer. So if your interested in the house, but can't get financing, you might be able to work something out with him. They are very nice people and they really want to see the house go to someone who cares about it.

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