There are two pathways to home ownership. For some it means working with a Realtor or agent to find the best fit from available listings, and then deciding which elements are most important (because you can never have it all): school district, location, square footage, commute, upgrades, amenities or architecture.
Then there are those lucky enough to build new, to create that perfect dream home in partnership with an architect so that the new construction fits the family like a glove. This weekend's AIA Houston 2019 Home Tour lets us look inside seven of these custom homes, where each family's individual needs — aging in place, multiple generations, boutique hotel luxury, outdoor recreation — were blended seamlessly into the architecture.
Organizer American Institute of Architects Houston also has an additional stop on this year's tour, a look inside a 110-year-old estate home on Courtlandt Place that not only is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is a Designated Landmark, also now boasts all the conveniences of high tech wizardry.
Shown at the beginning of this story, and nestled along the esplanade of live oak trees in the Boulevard Oaks Historic District, Reagan | Andre Architecture created a 6,400 square foot home that's warm and inviting. There's a two-story bridge that connects the main house with a detached garage/guest suite, offering cool breezes and views of the pool. At the entrance, guests walk through a wooden pedestrian gate and are greeted by a zen-like gravel courtyard with a water feature. The interiors are calm and soothing, with a palette of cool grays and earth tones, while pocketing glass doors between the kitchen and patio can be opened up when the temperatures are forgiving.
With the kids grown and out of the house, the couple wanted something that was half the size of their former home. Collaborative Designworks delivered on that wish with this 4,198 square foot property on Indiana that is wrapped in stucco, brick, and white ash treated wood. The interiors feature bold accents of orange and teal, while outdoors there's plenty of room for recreation with a swimming pool, hot tub and tanning ledge. Accessibility also is built into the design. Their mobility-impaired father shares the home and everything has been made easier with an open kitchen, pneumatic elevator, and ground floor bedroom and bath. Visitors who make it to the third floor will discover a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the downtown skyline.
Alone again for the first time in years, these empty nesters were ready for a return to luxury. They tasked studioMET Architects with designing a home that would feel more like a boutique hotel. Scale was dictated in part by its location, on a corner lot across from Cherryhurst Park in the Montrose area and surrounded by 1950s bungalows. The homeowners also wanted to plan ahead for the future, so that they could age in place, a goal that was achieved through low-maintenance materials and first floor living. There's also a guest house with private entry so that the children and grandchildren have no excuses for staying away.
There's space for everybody in this 5,375 square foot home designed by studioMET Architects. Located on a corner lot on Westview with plenty of traffic nearby, the architects created privacy and buffered some of the noise with the second floor patio. The home was designed for multi-generational living and so the first floor features a mother-in-law suite with an open concept floor plan and accessibility built-in, while the second floor houses the rest of the bedrooms with custom-built reading nooks for each child. Finished out with a palette of soothing earth tones, this home balances modern and sophisticated with warm and cozy.
From the street this modern home fits right in among its Heights area neighbors. But the secret to this 5,298 square foot house is that there's actually a second level in the rear. Collaborative Design Group Architecture & Interiors designed a center courtyard with a swimming pool, summer kitchen, fireplace and fire pit, all of which can be viewed from floor-to-ceiling windows. A children's play area has been placed behind the black privacy fence, while the interior has a few surprises. From a scullery kitchen for coffee on the go, to a teak shower floor, shiplap walls and a camouflaged door, this spacious, sustainable home suits the family's lifestyle to a T.
The open concept kitchen is flanked by an expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows, offering unobstructed views of the back yard pool of the 4,129 square foot home on Albans. As conceived by CONTENT Architecture, this modern structure features unique built-ins: the stairway's landing juts out to create a table in the kitchen, a large marble island doubles as space for bar seating, and there's a glass-enclosed wine wall for the owners' collection in the dining room. Children have access to a shared playroom by way of large sliding doors, and the four-legged family member has its own dog run and dog room.
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This lot on Longmont in the very desirable Tanglewood neighborhood once belonged to the owner's grandparents. She and her husband were able to purchase the property for their own home and, while they considered just updating, they instead decided to build new. Paul N. Brow Architect, LLC preserved some of the past by keeping the trio of mature live oaks, repurposing the old bricks into exterior pavers, and even positioning some of the rooms in the same place as the original home. The H-shape of the home ensures that most rooms have two outside walls with views of the garden, and there's a workshop for hobbies in the oversized garage.
Gone are the striped awnings from when the very first home on Courtlandt Place was built by Sanguinet and Staats for banker C.L. “Baron” Neuhaus, co-founder of the Houston Golf Club. Since then, the slender oaks have grown to become stately and the 1909-1910 Colonial Revival has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It's grand to live in such a magnificent home, but Mirador Group found a way to incorporate state-of-the-art features for its contemporary residents who have modern-day needs. Trends include an on/off programmable kitchen, plus integrated technologies for music, video, lighting, security and HVAC. Beautifully preserved interiors include an abundance of imported Italian marble, custom millwork, and herringbone flooring.
The AIA Houston 2019 Home Tour is scheduled for October 19-20 from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at eight private homes; the tour is self-guided and self-driving. For information, visit aiahouston.org. $10-$35.