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sohomod

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Hi, we're relocating from NYC and after all these years of living in a SoHo loft, excited about owning one of your gorgeous Houston mods. Love the look of Glenbrook Valley but wondering how safe it is, whether it is well served by stores, playgrounds and other amenities that have become so much more important now that we have a toddler, the state of the schools, and any noise or other impacts from Hobby Airport. Also, would love any other recommendations for neighborhoods to explore (Sharpstown, Meyerland, Bellaire West, etc.?). Our budget is $200K.

I've never lived in the burbs before so I may be in for a rude shock as far as proximity to stores, libraries, YMCAs, etc. So I'm thinking the closer in the better. We are also considering Houston Heights but $200K won't go very far there and I do have this dream of an adorable Mod. We will be visiting Houston for a week at the end of February, just a week to narrow our search a bit as we have never visited before, so any pointers to use our time best while we're there would be great. Thanks!

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Hi, we're relocating from NYC and after all these years of living in a SoHo loft, excited about owning one of your gorgeous Houston mods. Love the look of Glenbrook Valley but wondering how safe it is, whether it is well served by stores, playgrounds and other amenities that have become so much more important now that we have a toddler, the state of the schools, and any noise or other impacts from Hobby Airport. Also, would love any other recommendations for neighborhoods to explore (Sharpstown, Meyerland, Bellaire West, etc.?). Our budget is $200K.

I've never lived in the burbs before so I may be in for a rude shock as far as proximity to stores, libraries, YMCAs, etc. So I'm thinking the closer in the better. We are also considering Houston Heights but $200K won't go very far there and I do have this dream of an adorable Mod. We will be visiting Houston for a week at the end of February, just a week to narrow our search a bit as we have never visited before, so any pointers to use our time best while we're there would be great. Thanks!

The areas around Glenbrook are pretty ghetto....of course that's what keeps it affordable.

I suggest you stay away from Sharpstown...there's been quite a lot of crime out in that area recently, I would rate it even worse than Glenbrook as crime goes.

I think Meyerland and Bellaire will be out of your price range.

You might find something in Timbergrove.

Don't forget to factor in our property taxes (3% or so per year) when you're figuring out how much you can spend....people from out of state sometimes overlook that.

There's a little mod near me that's FSBO. PM me and I'll give you the info on it. I'm not going to post the deets on here...I suspect the realtors who are regular readers might start harassing the owners to list it if I did.

Edited by jm1fd
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The areas around Glenbrook are pretty ghetto....of course that's what keeps it affordable.

I suggest you stay away from Sharpstown...there's been quite a lot of crime out in that area recently, I would rate it even worse than Glenbrook as crime goes.

Sharpstown is having problems with Katrina evacuees & murders - so much so, that the Guardian Angels have just re-opened a chapter there.

Glenbrook proper isn't ghetto however, just everything around it. The silver lining is that HISD has open enrollment (to any school). The downside is that you can't change the surrounding neighborhoods that your grocery stores, gas stations, and dry cleaners would be in.

For a mod under 200k, I just don't know where you'd find one closer except maybe Tanglewilde - which neighbors Sharpstown to the north (see above). I wish I could recommend to you Memorial Bend, but that's 300k and up up up. So I'm thinking Glenbrook or something similar on the southeast side. I'm sure Stolitx or rps324 could better tell you, both about Glenbrook & mods in general.

Oh yeah.. The biggest culture shock is going to be the fact that nothing is within "walking distance" here - no matter how close it is!

Edited by Jeebus
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"Oh yeah.. The biggest culture shock is going to be the fact that nothing is within "walking distance" here - no matter how close it is!"

Oh no... what I'm most worried about. I haven't driven in 20 years, since I moved to NYC. It's actually the main reason why we're looking at the Heights. Have the impression that one can go about one's daily life (shopping, lunch, errands, etc.) w/o a car? Or is that a delusion?

We may have to forget MCM under $200 if that's not possible. Where else would one find a reasonably attractive home in a reasonably safe and convenient neighborhood? All the cheap "traditional" French/Tudor/unidentifiable other" construction is really getting us down on HAR. Very few contemporaries that we can see, although I've found a coupole in an area called Ponderosa Forest.... or is that also ghetto? Very confusing for us to see photos of a house with big yard and trees and hear that it's a bad neighborhood. Seems so counterintuitive to us, coming from NYC.

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Like they said above Memorial Bend has the best schools in Houston. Rummel Creek Elem is hard to top. There have been a few sales in the $250 range for the 3 bedrooms closer to the Beltway lately.

There are mods scattered thoughout many of the neighborhoods in Houston. You may be able to find something nice in the area just north of Westheimer, outside Beltway 8 or west of gessner just north of I-10 (I forget the names of both these neighborhoods).

Portions of the Heights are as you say. But not all of it.

I actually really like Glenbrook. Came really close to buying there. But private schools would be a must.

Good Luck.

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Here's a schools question, as long as we're on the topic. I love the look of some of the magnet/gifted schools like Roberts and Twain. How hard are they to get into? In NYC no matter where you live if you test in you can go to any of the best publics. I read on the HISD site that in theory it is the same in Houston but how well does this system work IRL?

If you don't mind my asking, what did you like about Glenbrook and are the schools the major reason why in the end you didn't buy there? Also, is there no problem with the airport being so close? Thanks so much! We are overwhelmed by all the research. There are so many areas of Houston to explore and the whole suburban/subdivision thing is all new to us. That said, we are LOVING looking at all the photos of room after room. Closets, yards, trees... it will be wonderful, especially for our daughter. A playroom to put her toys and not see them as we entertain adult friends... seems a fantasy!

Just have to do a lot of research now so we can see what we need to see in our week in Houston... So far for neighborhoods to explore I have the Heights, Glenbrook, Tanglewilde/Westbury, Oak Forest/Candlelight Estates? What about Katy or Pasadena? Any other ideas? If money were no object we would really be looking at Memorial, as you mention, Braeswood and the like, but we're an artist and writer, with a child, so money IS an object. :)

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"Oh yeah.. The biggest culture shock is going to be the fact that nothing is within "walking distance" here - no matter how close it is!"

Oh no... what I'm most worried about. I haven't driven in 20 years, since I moved to NYC. It's actually the main reason why we're looking at the Heights. Have the impression that one can go about one's daily life (shopping, lunch, errands, etc.) w/o a car? Or is that a delusion?

We may have to forget MCM under $200 if that's not possible. Where else would one find a reasonably attractive home in a reasonably safe and convenient neighborhood? All the cheap "traditional" French/Tudor/unidentifiable other" construction is really getting us down on HAR. Very few contemporaries that we can see, although I've found a coupole in an area called Ponderosa Forest.... or is that also ghetto? Very confusing for us to see photos of a house with big yard and trees and hear that it's a bad neighborhood. Seems so counterintuitive to us, coming from NYC.

Depending on where you live in the Heights, as well your willingness to take alternative forms of transportation (bicycle, bus, cab), the Heights can easily be traversed without a car. I have lived here for one and a half years, and I average less than 475 miles a month in my car. A Houstonian can tell you how impressive that is. If I would put my New Year's resolution of taking the bus to work downtown DAILY, instead of occasionally, my mileage would drop to less than 300 per month.

The busses in the Heights are clean and generally on time. If you are near the bus stops, you can easily get to Kroger on 11th@Shepherd, the main supermarket, and the new Target on Taylor@I-10. The traffic off of the main streets is light and bicycle friendly. The weather can get pretty muggy in the summer, but a New Yorker knows how to handle that. ;)

Here is a link to the Metro website. Click on Schedules and Maps to see the bus routes. Feel free to PM or post any questions. Good luck!

http://www.ridemetro.org/

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"Oh yeah.. The biggest culture shock is going to be the fact that nothing is within "walking distance" here - no matter how close it is!"

Oh no... what I'm most worried about. I haven't driven in 20 years, since I moved to NYC. It's actually the main reason why we're looking at the Heights. Have the impression that one can go about one's daily life (shopping, lunch, errands, etc.) w/o a car? Or is that a delusion?

If by: "without a car", you mean walking, then a townhome in midtown might be your only option. Houston is 99% low density. There is nothing here remotely like the density and volume of commercial business as is with Manhattan. At best, our midtown could compare to Harlem on an early Sunday morning - and even then, I'm being kind to our midtown.

If by: "without a car", you meant public transportation, then as Redscare was saying, it can be done in the Heights and other such inner-loop neighborhoods. The problem is finding something respectable, with ammenities, for under 200k.

Either way prepare to drive here, because at some point some errand will pull you across town. And due to distance, taxi's are not a legitimate answer here.

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Here's a schools question, as long as we're on the topic. I love the look of some of the magnet/gifted schools like Roberts and Twain. How hard are they to get into? In NYC no matter where you live if you test in you can go to any of the best publics. I read on the HISD site that in theory it is the same in Houston but how well does this system work IRL?

I had been in the Magnet program from third grade until my senior year. If things haven't change much in the last 12yrs all that I had to do is take an entrance/aptitude test and/or sometimes have an interview to get into a new school. I'm not sure if any other things are taken into account during the school

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Oh no... what I'm most worried about. I haven't driven in 20 years, since I moved to NYC. It's actually the main reason why we're looking at the Heights. Have the impression that one can go about one's daily life (shopping, lunch, errands, etc.) w/o a car? Or is that a delusion?

That's a delusion, unless you buy a house that's between a grocery store, and Subway....but then it probably won't be a Mod.

This is Houston...car is required.

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Not so sure about the availability of the exemplary schools. I know its possible to test in, just not sure about the competition. I know my wife would like to get our daughter into River Oaks Elem through just that route but whether we can contend against the actual population of River Oaks is another matter.

Glenbrook fell through for us for stubborn reasons of price negotiation with the seller and nothing else. I lover the old spanish moss and Simms Bayou and the huge lots. The mod was one of my favorites that I have seen in Houston to date. The airport is not a problem, if you look at google maps you can see the landing skidmarks of the planes and see that the flight pattern isnt over Glenbrook. More from the SW if I recall correctly.

We are pretty set on finding something in Memorial Bend. If I had your budget I would really look into what I think is called "Royal Oaks" off of Gessner. The area around the street called Nocturne in the 77043 area code. Still in Spring branch independant school district (nice), just in the lighter income side. (ie a few apartments around)

The Heights are nice, MCMs are a little rare. More 1930 bungalows and huge victorians. Most of my friends, especially the child-free, live there.

If remaining urban is important to you I'd check out Midtown. Its on the turn around and prices are good. You'd have to ask someone else about the schools. My guess is so-so.

Cheers.

Here's a schools question, as long as we're on the topic. I love the look of some of the magnet/gifted schools like Roberts and Twain. How hard are they to get into? In NYC no matter where you live if you test in you can go to any of the best publics. I read on the HISD site that in theory it is the same in Houston but how well does this system work IRL?

If you don't mind my asking, what did you like about Glenbrook and are the schools the major reason why in the end you didn't buy there? Also, is there no problem with the airport being so close? Thanks so much! We are overwhelmed by all the research. There are so many areas of Houston to explore and the whole suburban/subdivision thing is all new to us. That said, we are LOVING looking at all the photos of room after room. Closets, yards, trees... it will be wonderful, especially for our daughter. A playroom to put her toys and not see them as we entertain adult friends... seems a fantasy!

Just have to do a lot of research now so we can see what we need to see in our week in Houston... So far for neighborhoods to explore I have the Heights, Glenbrook, Tanglewilde/Westbury, Oak Forest/Candlelight Estates? What about Katy or Pasadena? Any other ideas? If money were no object we would really be looking at Memorial, as you mention, Braeswood and the like, but we're an artist and writer, with a child, so money IS an object. :)

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Heights, Glenbrook, Tanglewilde/Westbury, Oak Forest/Candlelight Estates

Add Timbergrove to that list...it is just west of the Heights, and the prices are a bit better...plus it was built in the 50s, so there are some mods in there. Also, if you bought in the section that's closest to Shepherd/11th, you could probably hoof it to Kroger.

Edited by jm1fd
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We will have a car but would love it if I could have days without driving. Right now we live in Soho and I regularly walk a mile to the playground, half a mile to the grocery, etc. but I'm getting the impression that distances are not all of the picture. Is this because in many areas there aren't sidewalks or safe crosswalks?

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We will have a car but would love it if I could have days without driving. Right now we live in Soho and I regularly walk a mile to the playground, half a mile to the grocery, etc. but I'm getting the impression that distances are not all of the picture. Is this because in many areas there aren't sidewalks or safe crosswalks?

In the suburban developments, distance IS the picture. Inside the loop, some areas have inadequate sidewalks, others, fairly decent. To put some of these posts in perspective, if your intent is to live as a family without a car at all, it would be difficult. If the intent is to own only one car, and to use it sparingly, that is not at all difficult in many of the inner loop neighborhoods, but exceedingly difficult in the suburban areas.

Ponderosa Forest is a suburban area. It is not as nice as in the 70s and 80s, when it was new, but some of the areas surrounding it have declined in the last 15 years or so. Bus service in that area is weak at best.

Heights and Timbergrove sidewalks are largely respectable. Midtown, as well.

Edited by RedScare
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Hello sohomod and welcome to Houston. Yes in order to live the lifestyle you want I would also recommend the Inner Loop, the only thing is finding the quality you want for the price. Here is a listing I found fairly quickly of a nice home in the Inner Loop that is in a very walkable area. May not be your style but just an example.

http://har.com/search/engine/indexdetail.c...=0&backButton=Y

The only thing is, and I am sure that is why no one has mentioned it, because we do not know your style but it is in a very liberal area if you know what I mean. Nothing wong with that in my opinion, but it is about your taste. The thing is, the area has access to great schools and is probably one of the easiest place to walk around even more so than the Heights in my opinion. Very easy to get from home to commercial businesses.

One thing you will find out about Houston, the inner city schools on the west side of downtown atleast, are at a better quality than even the more suburban areas.

Edited by WesternGulf
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That was built in '72. I suggest you stay away from anything built in the 70s or 80s....the quality tends to be rather bad, and those structures are aging to the point where they're needing major maintenance. Recently built structures don't have good quality either, but you won't have to worry about major repairs for 10-15 years.

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Get ready for some shock, areas can completly change by going on the other side of the freeway it was a shock for me. But I still like it here great nightlife and resturants,shopping,etc I suggest getting a new townhome you can get a nice 3story one for around 200k(innerloop) or move out into the suburbs an get a nice size home master planned. Urbanliving.com,farbhomes,absoluterealtygroup.com

Edited by HtownKid
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Well you know I couldn't leave this one alone....

As for living without a car, ain't gonna happen. This is a car-dependent city. You must get your mind around that one if you are going to move here. I am sure there are some that manage w/o a car, but it would take a unique situation and/or a lot of creativity for someone to make that work here.

You also have to keep in mind that Houston has no zoning, so you are going to get ghetto next to nice areas in the wonderful block-by-block adventure that is Houston's urban landscape. Even out in Ponderosa Forest, which I lived in for 5 years, you have some ghetto complexes adjacent to the subdivision.

Urban location and good schools narrows down your search quite a bit. Urban + good schools + under $200k + the house has to be interesting architecturally....well......

You may have to investigate some of the options of transferring schools, private schools, etc.

Of course I sponsor the Glenbrook web-site, and I still keep up with all the available mods around town even though I have not been able to keep them posted on the houstonmod.org site b/c of some technical difficulties with the site. So if you need some help finding a mod or something with some architecture, & you don't have an agent, PM me and I will send you some more info on what's out there.

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I echo the Timbergrove Manor suggestion...though you will need a car sometimes.

Otherwise, the area is nicely insulated from ghettos and in your price range. It isn't a Mod neighborhood, though there are a couple here and there. It is from the 50s and 60s, though, which should give you some nice architectural details to work with.

Welcome to Houston and good luck!...but get yourself a reliable car or two.

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My recommendation is to go suburban. Especially with children and a budget of $200k. You can get a nice new big home with yard, etc and nice public schools for that. Katy is a nice option with access to the Mills Mall, etc.

Car is a must. Driving in Houston can be horrible with the ever-going expansion of our freeway system, but it can be really enjoyable because there are so many "villages" to go to, where you can park and walk without problem. Houston is very hodge podge, but most of the people that move here from other places never move away. You have to live here to understand that.

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Do you know where you'll be working?

This is key. When I lived in the Heights mass transit wasn't an option for me becaue I didn't work downtown. I work in the Greenway Plaza area, off Highway 59 between downtown and the Galleria. Metro could get me there, but it would have taken 90 minutes and several transfers. It was a 20 minute drive on a bad day.

I live in Glenbrook now and love it. I do miss lots about the Heights. But I don't miss the rising prices for little land/house.

The airport noise is not an issue in Glenbrook unless you are at the end of the neighborhood that actually borders the airport. And even then, not much noise. The planes don't fly over the neighborhood. Once in awhile the smaller private planes fly over, but they don't put off much noise.

The retail is getting better. Gulfgate is a newly remodeled shopping area. You can't walk to it, but it's got nice options. The only places I really walk to is Walgreens and CVS. You'll soon learn that no matter where you are in Houston, you can walk to a freakin' Walgreens or CVS.

I can't speak to the schools as I don't have kids. The teenagers who lived here before me both went to The High School for Health Professionals. It's in the med center area and a magnet (I believe). Neither were planning pursue health professions, but their parents felt it was the best school. They moved to the suburbs and still kept the girls in that school. I know the schools here aren't the best, I don't think they are the worst either. My friends in the Heights sent their kids to private schools so I don't know about those either.

I love that I'm close to 45 and to the loop. I can meet friends downtown in 15 minutes.

There are plans to add additional rail lines in Houston. One would link up both airports to downtown. But that is years and years away. There is a "park and ride" lot near Glenbrook to take people downtown.

I feel safe here. And the civic club works closely with the area police officers, citizens on patrol and the city.

No matter where you decide on, welcome to Houston!

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Wow, came home to all these very informative replies. Such a wealth of leads. Thank you! I lie when I say I've never been to Houston before; we spent about 12 hours in the city years ago, to visit the Menil Collection and Twombley House, and that's when we discovered that Houston was not in fact a vast featureless smog-encrusted wasteland. Furthermore, every single person we encoutered during that brief trip was unbelievably pleasant and helpful. Shoot to 5 years + baby later. We've got to get out of NYC and put together our criteria for where to live: cultural/racial diversity + cosmopolitan atmosphere + less stressful lifestyle + affordable housing + Asian population & food (I'm Asian and our daughter thus 1/2 Asian) + warmer climate + good schools + culture/art/music/theater -- and were shocked when the equation popped out Houston! So here we are.

For the most part we won't have the usual commuting issues as we are both freelancers -- a writer and a painter. I will be working from home and my husband will be looking for a place to rent as a painting studio in an industrial/artists' area (is there such an area?). My husband drives, and in fact we have a car (such as it is -- a 1987 Volvo) right here in Manhattan, which is rather rare. He will drive us around for the most part and I can drive too, just would prefer to have at least some amenities, especially for our child, like playground, YMCA, community center, small food store, etc. within walking distance. I am imagining that if our daughter goes to a magnet and we end up in a different neighborhood she'll have to be driven everyday, at which point traffic/commute may become an issue.

Whew! Relocation is involving a HUGE amount of research, but the fun part is that there are actually a good number of places we can afford in Houston, as opposed to NYC, where $200K will buy a studio apartment in a very sketchy neighborhood, and I have found this fabulous resource online with all this neighborhood/architecture discussion! Will expand search to Timbergrove and Westbury. The stuff up by the Woodlands and Katy look great but I'm hesitant to go so far from the city. We'll see how things look when we get there. My dream is an MCM but so many of them have been "updated" with horrible Home Depot kitchens and baths and in our price range they can quickly go from inspiring spaces to dowdy ranches. I am terrified of feeling stranded in the burbs but Glenbrook Valley is awfully attractive, as you get so much for your $$ and the lots are huge. Coming from NYC a huge yard with patio, mature trees and even perhaps a jacuzzi seems the height of luxury... Oh, and coming from NYC, I am afraid we are quite recklessly liberal ourselves, so a liberal neighborhood is probably fine with us! :)

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I will be working from home and my husband will be looking for a place to rent as a painting studio in an industrial/artists' area (is there such an area?). My husband drives, and in fact we have a car (such as it is -- a 1987 Volvo)

There's an industrial artist's district on the east/southeast side of downtown. However, many artists just build a studio in the backyard since its easy to find a house on a generously sized lot.

A Volvo? Oy Vey. We had one when I was growing up...my dad called it the Swedish Meatball since it was always breaking down, difficult to work on, and the parts were horrendously expensive.

BTW, you mentioned Asians....the concentration of Asians centered is around the beltway, between I-10 and US 59

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For the most part we won't have the usual commuting issues as we are both freelancers -- a writer and a painter. I will be working from home and my husband will be looking for a place to rent as a painting studio in an industrial/artists' area (is there such an area?).

There were lots of artist studios near the East End, just other side of highway 59 from downtown. I haven't been around there in awhile. The Lawndale Art Center is in that area. With the stadiums going up around there I don't know what survived as some rebuilding goes on around there. danax is a resident east end expert.

You should visit the Lawndale Art Center and The Orange Show while you are here, take a break from house hunting.

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Welcome to HAIF and future welcome to Houston. There are lots of us here from other lands and we all found out too that there was actually an interesting mega-city in the making here, instead of the tumbleweeds and guys in suits with bola ties and ten-gallon hats that I imagined.:lol:

I'd have to agree that interesting Mods under 200K would lead you to Glenbrook. Too bad you couldn't buy a lot and have one of the Mods that are being demolished moved there.

As for an industrial/artist area, the Warehouse District, as mentioned above, would be the closest thing to that. It's just east of Downtown and is getting hit heavy with townhouse/loft development. There's an established artist community off of Commerce St. but as prices keep rising over there they may get pushed out eventually, although they could continue to move eastward, which is still cheap and close in. In fact, you should check out the East End if you haven't already, even though the homes were built from 1900-1950, no Mods. It's an area that is 80-90% Hispanic but it is changing and gentrifying piece by piece. There are a lot of nice, brick homes from the '20s-'40s over there, a style that was very popular then in Houston, like this one for $143,900 on Lindsay St. mh3nlv.jpgmh3o69.jpg

mh3ols.jpg

The homes on the East End are about 200-300K less than the westside. Really the only thing 200K or less will get you on the Westside Inner-loop that's not in the ghetto is a generic townhouse. Highly recommended to just live here and explore for awhile.

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For the most part we won't have the usual commuting issues as we are both freelancers -- a writer and a painter. I will be working from home and my husband will be looking for a place to rent as a painting studio in an industrial/artists' area (is there such an area?).

I used to live in Dakota Lofts, which is home to a fair number of artists who also use their lofts as studios (1,400 square feet for $1390/month, nothing included but a fabulous skyline view). There is a gallery on the ground floor which is used to host 15-20 events a year, some of them corporate parties with oil and banking types who end up buying the stuff on the wall. Residents are allowed to use the gallery free of charge (with $500 refundable deposit).

Next door was Mother Dog Studios which rents studio space to emerging artists. Across the street from Dakota was another building with lots of live/work space inhabited by artists.

It's been two years since I left Dakota, and I know there was more development in that area, so there should be more options now. It might be worth a trip through to see what's available.

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Asian population & food (I'm Asian and our daughter thus 1/2 Asian)

Depending on your exact Asian background you have these areas for homestyle cooking & wares (in order of amount of business from most to least):

Vietnamese - Bellaiire west of Beltway 8

Chinese - Bellaire Blvd between US59 & Beltway 8

Korean - Longpoint between Blalock & Gessner

Japanese - Westhiemer @ Wilcrest (anyone know of anywhere else, BESIDES Bennihana?)

Thai - one restaurant in EVERY neighborhood (I don't know why, but it seems every neighborhood has at least one Thai restaurant!)

Edited by Jeebus
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Well if you do end up in Glenbrook, I swear we could turn it into an artist's colony. I sold one mod to the Director of Lawndale, and another to a full time artist who's wife does the wardrobes for shows like commander in cheif and used to do 6 feet under.

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i'll echo the sentiments about glenbrook valley or the east end (77023 zip area). glenbrook would probably be the farthest away from "things" you would want to go (but it is close to I-45...north to downtown/montrose, south to galveston! :D ). i would definitely stay away from the burbs if spending time in the car is not your thing.

about the airport...i live by glenbrook valley, and don't notice it at all...as you get closer to hobby, residents tend to say you get used to it...

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Glenbrook does sound pretty good for you, now that I hear you're at least open to the idea of driving a bit.

Your statements about cultural and urban amenities, diversity and opportunities leading you to Houston made me recall why I came here 17 years ago. It's a sentiment most people from outside this area don't understand until they actually spend some time here. Even people from nearby places like Austin and Dallas often don't get it...or pretend not to.

I hope our city lives up to your expectations. If you find it faltering, rest assured it will come around eventually. Our strength is our people and our absolute desire to will this city to greatness against what seems to be a national conspiracy to keep us down.

It's encouraging that, every so often, someone "they" haven't gotten to yet gets through.

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"Oh yeah.. The biggest culture shock is going to be the fact that nothing is within "walking distance" here - no matter how close it is!"

Oh no... what I'm most worried about. I haven't driven in 20 years, since I moved to NYC. It's actually the main reason why we're looking at the Heights. Have the impression that one can go about one's daily life (shopping, lunch, errands, etc.) w/o a car? Or is that a delusion?

We may have to forget MCM under $200 if that's not possible. Where else would one find a reasonably attractive home in a reasonably safe and convenient neighborhood? All the cheap "traditional" French/Tudor/unidentifiable other" construction is really getting us down on HAR. Very few contemporaries that we can see, although I've found a coupole in an area called Ponderosa Forest.... or is that also ghetto? Very confusing for us to see photos of a house with big yard and trees and hear that it's a bad neighborhood. Seems so counterintuitive to us, coming from NYC.

So, you haven't driven in 20 years? No problem at all, you WILL fit right in ! Just remember to wave if someone happens to let you into traffic on the freeways, it might be me. ^_^

Edited by TJones
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I can provide insight from living in Memorial Bend. First off, the schools are some of the best in Houston - Spring Branch Independent School District and zoned to Rummel Creek, Memorial Middle and Memorial High School. From a walking standpoint, you can walk to Town & Country Village - Randall's, Walgreen's, plenty of stores (Restoration Hardware, The Gap, Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond) and a few restaurants. You can walk/bike from the neighborhood to Terry Hershey Park (about 10+ miles of trails along Buffalo Bayou) and playgrounds at Rummel Creek Elementary and Bendwood Park are close, as well.

Now... the issue is price but if you watch carefully, something might come up at a moment's notice. I suspect you won't be the only one looking for a mod in the Bend, though. We live in more of a ranch style house even though we wanted MCM.

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so I may be in for a rude shock as far as proximity to stores, libraries, YMCAs, etc. So I'm thinking the closer in the better.

It's almost quite the opposite in Houston. espeically in your price range. The burbs quite often have more than the central city.

And as far as the Heights goes, lets just say they get toatlly excited when a second-rate Thai restaurant opens. They are shopping and eating challenged if you ask me.

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My recommendation is to go suburban. Especially with children and a budget of $200k. You can get a nice new big home with yard, etc and nice public schools for that. Katy is a nice option with access to the Mills Mall, etc.

Car is a must. Driving in Houston can be horrible with the ever-going expansion of our freeway system, but it can be really enjoyable because there are so many "villages" to go to, where you can park and walk without problem. Houston is very hodge podge, but most of the people that move here from other places never move away. You have to live here to understand that.

If you move from SoHo to Katy, you'll be miserable. Freaking miserable.

We live in the Heights. There are plenty of peripheral neighborhoods around here that are up and coming. We would have loved a nice mid-century ranch as well, but have a bunglow. Traditional on the outside; mod on the inside. That's what we had to do.

Glenbrook does sound pretty good for you, now that I hear you're at least open to the idea of driving a bit.

Your statements about cultural and urban amenities, diversity and opportunities leading you to Houston made me recall why I came here 17 years ago. It's a sentiment most people from outside this area don't understand until they actually spend some time here. Even people from nearby places like Austin and Dallas often don't get it...or pretend not to.

I hope our city lives up to your expectations. If you find it faltering, rest assured it will come around eventually. Our strength is our people and our absolute desire to will this city to greatness against what seems to be a national conspiracy to keep us down.

It's encouraging that, every so often, someone "they" haven't gotten to yet gets through.

What I always recommend to anyone and everyone moving to Houston: Get an apt, sign a 6 month lease and get to know the city. There is no way to really, truly get the kind of info you need to make an informed decision about where to live from message boards. The concept of "suburbs" in H-town is very different than it is in the northeast. I just don't think you can make a decision and an investment without really being here and seeing/learning the character of the different neighborhoods first hand.

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From heat or boredom? If the latter, might the same be true of Glenbrook? Northampton? Memorial NW? They also look far out there...

The whole reason we were looking at the Heights in the first place is b/c my husband is afraid that we'll die of loneliness and isolation. NYC is composed of many little villages, and ours, albeit in the heart of SoHo, is a very friendly and cozy one. We walk everywhere and the man at the fruit stand says Hi, and the people at the grocery store all greet us and offer the baby treats, we know families in the playground by name, and it's a very lovely situation. That said, it is loud, dirty, crowded, and insanely expensive. The competition for schools is unreal (parents standing in line at 3AM for APPLICATIONS) and I can't believe that the kids are unaffected by the craziness. I won't even tell you what we pay to rent a one room apartment here. It is ill. We're looking for a saner, quieter, greener way of life. But not so quiet that we go crazy... :)

The description of Memorial Bend sounds amazing, with all the parks and stores within walking distance. Will look there on HAR. Only a week in Houston... I have a feeling we're going to be running ragged...

By the way, the MCM idea is quickly falling by the wayside. After looking at all the mods in our budget on HAR and then even the ones double our price, my husband has gone from mod renovation enthusiast to mod renovation unenthusiast. With an active toddler and cross-country relocation to deal with, gutting one of those hideous Home Depot-"updated" kitchens and ripping up carpets may be way more than we can handle.

If you're moving here from SoHo, absolutely positively don't move out to Katy, Kingwood, Sugarland, etc. You'll wilt... don't do it.
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What I always recommend to anyone and everyone moving to Houston: Get an apt, sign a 6 month lease and get to know the city. There is no way to really, truly get the kind of info you need to make an informed decision about where to live from message boards. The concept of "suburbs" in H-town is very different than it is in the northeast. I just don't think you can make a decision and an investment without really being here and seeing/learning the character of the different neighborhoods first hand.

This is probably the best advice. Take Houston for a test drive and figure out what you want.

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We are definitely renting first. As a matter of fact, for our week in Houston we're subletting a little cottage in the Heights to get a feel for the nabe. And we'll do the same when we get to Houston, before we buy. Don't quite understand it all but am definitely starting to understand that the burbs in Houston is entirely different from what I'm used to. Traditional outside/mod interior is what we do here in Soho also. Our loft is in what's called a pre-war here, built around 1910. Pressed tin ceilings nearly 12 feet high, very elaborate crown molding, with an Eames pedestal table and chairs, arc lamp and Scandinavian platform bed. I think the current issue of Dwell Mag has a story on this theme. Do you find that the bungalow is large enough to live in? I'm concerned about the lack of storage, walking in the door directly into the living room. Where do coats and shoes go, for instance? Our loft is small, but high ceilinged and completely open plan, and some of those bungalows look rather claustrophobic by comparison.

If you move from SoHo to Katy, you'll be miserable. Freaking miserable.

We live in the Heights. There are plenty of peripheral neighborhoods around here that are up and coming. We would have loved a nice mid-century ranch as well, but have a bunglow. Traditional on the outside; mod on the inside. That's what we had to do.

What I always recommend to anyone and everyone moving to Houston: Get an apt, sign a 6 month lease and get to know the city. There is no way to really, truly get the kind of info you need to make an informed decision about where to live from message boards. The concept of "suburbs" in H-town is very different than it is in the northeast. I just don't think you can make a decision and an investment without really being here and seeing/learning the character of the different neighborhoods first hand.

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glenbrook valley is several miles from downtown/museum district, and so forth, but nowhere near the distance as the suburbs (eight to ten miles versus thirty or so).

to be honest, montrose or heights sounds like a better hit...you would just have to either find somewhere temporary to live while waiting for something in the budget to come up, or settle for something a little different.

i do agree with heights_yankee, though...you might want to consider getting a feel for the city/areas before you buy...

Edited by sevfiv
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OK, sorry I am not familiar with the mods, so my last post probably didn't help you, but I would definitely say you may want to settle somewhere in the InnerLoop. I hope you already have the mindset that Houston does not have the community feel of the villages in NYC but there are neighborhoods where the quality of life is there. Particularly the Heights, Montrose, Upper Kirby, and some areas around the Musuem District, some of the non generic areas of the city. Montrose has a great collection of brick bungalows and as a whole they make up for some beautiful areas.

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montrose or heights
Montrose is not exactly baby central.

Baby freak central, yes. Normal baby central, no by a long shot.

And FYI - not all burbs are 30 miles from downtown.

Particularly the Heights, Montrose, Upper Kirby, and some areas around the Musuem District, some of the non generic areas of the city. Montrose has a great collection of brick bungalows and as a whole they make up for some beautiful areas.

Wasn't their budget $200K?

Show me something in Upper Kirby for $200K. I'd LOVE to see that dump.

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i think as long as they don't live right on pacific, there is hope! ^_^

and alot of burbs are that far out or more (like the example i used...). others are only a mere fifteen to twenty (i lived near 290 and fairbanks and it was the worst fifteen miles to drive at ANY time of day).

the point is, it seems that traveling by car is not their cup of tea, and their cup of tea <i>may</i> be found near town/in town

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i think as long as they don't live right on pacific, there is hope! ^_^

LOL. Basically my thoughts, but as a whole Montrose is not that bad and I would easily raise a family there. Some of the few children I know that grew up in the area that went to schools such as Sidney Lanier and Lamar who relied on public transportation and all grew up to be very open minded creative individuals.

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exactly - i moved from montrose about a year and a half ago, and if it weren't for financial issues (school), i'd go back immediately. and the zoned schools aren't bad (i went to lanier and liked it, and i know alot that graduated from lamar and were happy and functional ^_^ )

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But those are cool parts of town, Gulf. Can you even get into the Heights for $200K anymore? Coming from NYC I guess living in guests quarters would be like a mansion.

As far as kids in the Montrose, it's the rare bird that raises a kid in Montrose. Heck, it's the rare bird that even raises a kid in Midtown. You just don't see very many, if any.

Maybe a couple near Cherry Hurts park. But even that is a stretch.

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