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s3mh

1309 Ashland: goodbye air duct shop, hello ?

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Have you seen the list of homes on this year's Houston Heights Home Holiday Tour? They include a "traditional Louisiana cottage" and a "contemporary design with stained concrete floors [and] exposed ductwork." How would those fair in front of the HAHC? Personally I think these are great examples of the variety of the housing stock in the Heights. It's kind of like the people, we are all a little different. But please don't imply that the Home Holiday Tour is a demonstration of the wonders of the Historic Districts.

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Please note that any posts devoted to flaming other posters will be deleted. Keep it civil, or go find another board to vent.

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Let me rephrase. I don't think "aesthetics" was in any way involved in the decision to allow camelbacks, but not allow an ill-placed window or door to be moved. In fact, the HAHC specifically calls for new additions not to seamlessly match the original, due to some delusional belief that someday homeowners will destroy the $250 per square foot additions in order to return to the original footprint. No, HAHC and "aesthetics" should never be allowed to be used in the same sentence...except in a derogatory or sarcastic way, of course. Anyone who thinks HAHC is in any way interested in aesthetics is simply ignorant of reality, or perhaps an HAHC board member.

As for the Home Tour, new construction is routinely highlighted.

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You do know that there is something called "aesthetics". Just because your aesthetics, or lack thereof, does not match with other people's does not mean that the other people's aesthetics are invalid and just a pretext for ego. People really do like old homes because of how they look and feel. Just look at all the people who line up twice a year for the Heights home tours (and Woodland Heights, when they do theirs). Just because you look at a Rothko and think "I could do that" or hear Steven Reich and think "it is just the same stuff over and over" doesn't mean that the people who appreciate that stuff are just doing so because it will give them social cache'.

The vast majority of what you consider aesthetically pleasing "bungalows" are nothing more than a 19XX Sears catalog build on your lot track home....They are the Pulte/David Weekly/Meritage/Trend Maker,etc homes of the 19XX's....

I do like the look of many of them, but I abhor the look of a camel back. It is possibly the most visibly displeasing style of "architecture" and I do use the word architecture lightly here, as it is just a box built onto the back of an old track home.

Some of the new construction lacks creativity, but there are quite a few builders like Sullivan, who go out of their way to build a beautiful house that fits the neighborhood, that also actually fits a modern day life style with nice kitchens, baths, family rooms, etc....

The VAST majority of the people moving into the heights driving up the property values want bigger houses... because they also want/have families. That may necessarily displace those like you who want to live in a shack....Is there a market for shacks? Yes - there are a good number of folks looking to feel good about themselves as well who want to downsize their life, get an electric car, and be environmentally conscientious....those buyers, though they exist, generally wont be able to afford the area for long..unless they keep the HAHC from driving up their property values...I predict that many of these new residents will start to move b/c after a few years the novelty of being green will meet the realization that the small houses have no storage, and their bike looks stupid in their kitchen.

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If I wanted to live in an auithentic old house and restore it, I sure wouldn't buy one in the historic district. I would just buy one outside the district and restore it.

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The vast majority of what you consider aesthetically pleasing "bungalows" are nothing more than a 19XX Sears catalog build on your lot track home....They are the Pulte/David Weekly/Meritage/Trend Maker,etc homes of the 19XX's....

I do like the look of many of them, but I abhor the look of a camel back. It is possibly the most visibly displeasing style of "architecture" and I do use the word architecture lightly here, as it is just a box built onto the back of an old track home.

Some of the new construction lacks creativity, but there are quite a few builders like Sullivan, who go out of their way to build a beautiful house that fits the neighborhood, that also actually fits a modern day life style with nice kitchens, baths, family rooms, etc....

The VAST majority of the people moving into the heights driving up the property values want bigger houses... because they also want/have families. That may necessarily displace those like you who want to live in a shack....Is there a market for shacks? Yes - there are a good number of folks looking to feel good about themselves as well who want to downsize their life, get an electric car, and be environmentally conscientious....those buyers, though they exist, generally wont be able to afford the area for long..unless they keep the HAHC from driving up their property values...I predict that many of these new residents will start to move b/c after a few years the novelty of being green will meet the realization that the small houses have no storage, and their bike looks stupid in their kitchen.

My understanding from another thread is that most of the Heights area bungalows are not Sears catalog homes. Not that I care either way. There are some tear-down candidates sprinkled throughout the Heights, for sure, but I wouldn't presume to tell someone their home is a "shack". Perhaps if I were a disconnected elitist living in a River Oaks mansion I might feel otherwise.

Regarding HAHC driving up property values, I thought you argued that they would have the opposite effect in another thread?

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That is correct. Few Heights homes are actual Sears homes. The overwhelming majority were built as tract homes.

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The vast majority of what you consider aesthetically pleasing "bungalows" are nothing more than a 19XX Sears catalog build on your lot track home....They are the Pulte/David Weekly/Meritage/Trend Maker,etc homes of the 19XX's....

I do like the look of many of them, but I abhor the look of a camel back. It is possibly the most visibly displeasing style of "architecture" and I do use the word architecture lightly here, as it is just a box built onto the back of an old track home.

Some of the new construction lacks creativity, but there are quite a few builders like Sullivan, who go out of their way to build a beautiful house that fits the neighborhood, that also actually fits a modern day life style with nice kitchens, baths, family rooms, etc....

The VAST majority of the people moving into the heights driving up the property values want bigger houses... because they also want/have families. That may necessarily displace those like you who want to live in a shack....Is there a market for shacks? Yes - there are a good number of folks looking to feel good about themselves as well who want to downsize their life, get an electric car, and be environmentally conscientious....those buyers, though they exist, generally wont be able to afford the area for long..unless they keep the HAHC from driving up their property values...I predict that many of these new residents will start to move b/c after a few years the novelty of being green will meet the realization that the small houses have no storage, and their bike looks stupid in their kitchen.

Most single family residences in the early 1900s were catalog ordered homes. That was just the way it was done back then. You bought a lot, picked out a home you liked from a catalog and then hired local tradesmen to build it or did it yourself. The catalogs were not an indication of a lack of quality in construction or design. The catalog designs came from very well known archtiects and were very innovative in their use of elements of the arts and crafts design movement. People in the Heights did not just come along and arbitrarily deem that these designs have merit. The arts and crafts bungalows have a huge following across the country and are admired and respected by architects. Just because you do not get it doesn't mean that there is nothing of merit there.

The rest of your post about the inferiority of bungalows just ignores reality. Bugnalows are upgraded and expanded to have all the bells and whistles of new construction. I do not like camel backs, but an expansion with a second story addition placed far enough back so that the original bungalow elevation is not disturbed at street level actually works quite well. But this is just a good argument for a more restrictive historic district, which you cannot make as you are against the districts completely.

I have met people who have moved out of a bungalow for more square footage. But that is not a bungalow problem as much as it is a lending issue. Most people I have met hate having to move out of the Heights and would stay if they could add on to their house. But, after the market crash, it is very difficult to get construction financing to do an addition without either having a ton of equity or a pretty good pile of cash to bring to the table. The result is that people move out only to have a builder buy the property and expand it to have enough square footage for a family. I did a 15 year mtg so that when I am ready to do an addition, I will be more than 50% equity to work with. unfortunately, most people go with a 30 year and are still paying piles of interest when the second child comes along and have no options.

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That is correct. Few Heights homes are actual Sears homes. The overwhelming majority were built as tract homes.

In the original Heights, there are a fair number of Sears homes. I have seen the numbers on the wood in some friends' attics. Other homes were not built as tract homes. People wrongly get this idea because most of the HCAD listings for people's homes in the Heights shows their property as being built in 1920. But, that is just an arbitrary designation made after annexation because the City did not want to have through all the records from the Heights to determine whether a house was built in 1918 or 1917 or 1916 and so on. But, the original Heights homes were definitely not tract homes. From block to block you can see very different designs both inside and out. It was typically the case that the developer would sell a lot to the homeowner who would then order the home from a catalog and hire locals to build it. There were no real "builders" back then who would build a few dozen homes and then try to find buyers. And the true "tract homes" (i.e. nearly identical homes built by the same tradesman for efficiency) did not come into existence until the post-war Levittwon type developments.

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In the original Heights, there are a fair number of Sears homes. I have seen the numbers on the wood in some friends' attics. Other homes were not built as tract homes. People wrongly get this idea because most of the HCAD listings for people's homes in the Heights shows their property as being built in 1920. But, that is just an arbitrary designation made after annexation because the City did not want to have through all the records from the Heights to determine whether a house was built in 1918 or 1917 or 1916 and so on. But, the original Heights homes were definitely not tract homes. From block to block you can see very different designs both inside and out. It was typically the case that the developer would sell a lot to the homeowner who would then order the home from a catalog and hire locals to build it. There were no real "builders" back then who would build a few dozen homes and then try to find buyers. And the true "tract homes" (i.e. nearly identical homes built by the same tradesman for efficiency) did not come into existence until the post-war Levittwon type developments.

Wow, you have an answer for everything. It's amazing how much knowledge one person can have. I'm glad to know that not only have you lived in the Heights longer than anyone else on this board, but you were actually here when the Heights was founded.

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Wow, you have an answer for everything. It's amazing how much knowledge one person can have. I'm glad to know that not only have you lived in the Heights longer than anyone else on this board, but you were actually here when the Heights was founded.

Well, I am very interested in the history of the Heights. I have read about everything generally available in print and on the web about the Heights and have also seen a lot of stuff (on message boards, social media, in person, etc.) from the various Heights residents who know a lot about the Heights. But, your post provided so much more good information about the history of the Heights and wasn't the typical name calling and sniping that people do on here when they have nothing to contribute. I will readily admit that I cannot begin to assail your point by point factual refutation of my post. Very refreshing considering all the childish insults and name calling by the folks on here who cannot stand to share a message board with someone who is not in lock step with their anti-preservation/pro-development views.

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For all of your professed knowledge, you are incorrect. There are very few Sears homes in the Heights. I will take the word of an author of a book on Sears homes over a person who has lived here less than 2 years. And that author said that, despite the similar look to Sears homes, almost none of the Heights homes were from Sears. I realize that you love to speak as if you know what you are talking about, but, unfortunately, most of what you say is simply made up. There are many of us in the Heights who have done a lot more research than you. We also have different opinions of Heights issues. Perhaps our opinions are different because we have lived here much longer than you have. Who knows? But, the point remains, there are few Sears homes in the Heights.

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Other homes were not built as tract homes. People wrongly get this idea because most of the HCAD listings for people's homes in the Heights shows their property as being built in 1920. But, that is just an arbitrary designation made after annexation because the City did not want to have through all the records from the Heights to determine whether a house was built in 1918 or 1917 or 1916 and so on.

See, this is a perfect example of you completely pulling something out of your ass and passing it off as your copious knowledge, garnered from diligent research. If you REALLY knew your Heights history, you would know that the "1920" designations came because of a fire that destroyed many of the deed records. Properties built prior to 1920 in which the records were destroyed were simply given a building date of 1920. Annexation would have nothing to do with deed records, as they are filed with the County Clerk. My house is one of these. HCAD shows 1920, even though the sidewalk in front of my house bears the contractor's name and date of 1904.

Carry on.

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S3mh,

The Historic Districts have helped increase my houses value to the point where I have so much equity that I can get a construction loan, and not having to work through the approval committee makes it that much sweeter.

Just because you googled something and talked about it with your friends who also googled something doesn't make you knowledgeable. My next door neighbhor who grew up in the heights, has told me some interesting stuff about the neighborhood he heard from his parents who were some original residents of The Heights. What does that have to do with an overbearing Historic District.... absolutely nothing. For the gajillionth time, it isn't "preservation" that bothers most of us, it is the way the ordinance works. I miss the old days... when you weren't here.

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For all of your professed knowledge, you are incorrect. There are very few Sears homes in the Heights. I will take the word of an author of a book on Sears homes over a person who has lived here less than 2 years. And that author said that, despite the similar look to Sears homes, almost none of the Heights homes were from Sears. I realize that you love to speak as if you know what you are talking about, but, unfortunately, most of what you say is simply made up. There are many of us in the Heights who have done a lot more research than you. We also have different opinions of Heights issues. Perhaps our opinions are different because we have lived here much longer than you have. Who knows? But, the point remains, there are few Sears homes in the Heights.

Sure, whatever you say. I have heard a number of homeowners tell me that they had Sears catalog homes and show me the numbering on the wood. There were a number of home catalogs back then. Could some have mistaken Sears homes for another catalog? Maybe. But, I am still waiting to hear about how the workers who built tract homes in the 40s and 50s were transported back in time to build tract homes in the Heights before the concept even existed in home construction. And the point remains, there are no tract homes in the original Heights neighborhoods.

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S3mh,

The Historic Districts have helped increase my houses value to the point where I have so much equity that I can get a construction loan, and not having to work through the approval committee makes it that much sweeter.

Just because you googled something and talked about it with your friends who also googled something doesn't make you knowledgeable. My next door neighbhor who grew up in the heights, has told me some interesting stuff about the neighborhood he heard from his parents who were some original residents of The Heights. What does that have to do with an overbearing Historic District.... absolutely nothing. For the gajillionth time, it isn't "preservation" that bothers most of us, it is the way the ordinance works. I miss the old days... when you weren't here.

That's great. So, you now support the historic districts. Welcome aboard!

I am not sure why you are complaining about an "overbearing" Historic district. It has been in place for almost two years and over 90% of what comes before the commission gets approved. The dire predictions about real estate in the districts were all just ignorant scare tactics by self interested realtors and builders. There has been no mass exodus of homeowners to escape the districts. In fact, inventory in the HDs has dropped off significantly since the new ordinance took effect.

I know a lot of Heights old timers too. They do not miss the old days. In the old days, people flush with oil boom cash would go around the Heights buying up and demoing houses and replacing them with cruddy apartment complexes. Then, when people started moving back into the city, builders started cutting down perfectly good original homes to replace them with town homelike boxes and started putting in rows of condos. The original showplace homes were mowed down one by one until only two were left standing (none were replaced by anything that could touch the original). They are glad that residents have finally been able to get together to protect and preserve the neighborhood.

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Hey, that's cool. Let me try it!

I know a bunch of Heights oldtimers. They liked it much better before uppity, self-important "preservationists" came in and tell them what to do with their homes.

Hey, that was easy! I think I'll just make up stuff and attribute it to nameless bunches of people. Then everyone (actually, no one, but I don't know any better) will think I'm cool and knowledgeable about the Heights, even though I just moved here!

EDIT: Anyone notice that even though the poster claims there are bunches of Sears homes in the Heights, he hasn't listed a single one? I suppose we should trust him?

Edited by RedScare

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Apparently the earlier warning in the thread about personal attacks wasn't clear enough.

Topic closed.

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