Michael T Landrum's SAYBROOK Residence in Hedwig Village

This Contemporary in Hedwig Village, lies west of Downtown Houston. It is a masterful study in materials that finds it's balance between the severity of Brutalist, concrete forms with the warm, glow of rich wood paneling and natural lighting through out. 

Neue Listing: 12531 Piping Rock Drive, Energy Corridor, Corner Lot, Natural Light, $399,000

Neue Listing: 12531 Piping Rock Drive, Energy Corridor, Corner Lot, Natural Light, $399,000

Beautifully well maintained 3/3.5 on CORNER LOT with Mother-in-Law suite is a rare find and can double as home office. Original owners. Excellent layout with many windows that bathe the home interior with NATURAL LIGHT. Custom honeycomb Saltillo tile floors down. Sliding glass doors in 1st floor den add a contemporary touch. Master Suite overlooks english garden in the backyard. Walk to area pool, tennis and Terry Hershey Trails. Enjoy easy access to I-10, Hwy 6, Westpark Toll & Beltway 8. 


Tips for Home Buyers with Pets in Houston

Tips for Home Buyers with Pets in Houston

When you begin the process of purchasing a home it is important to consider how to factor in Fido. If you are one of the nearly 78 million American households who have pets you'll know how important it is to keep your pet's needs in mind.  Here are some tips for pet owners when embarking on a home purchase in Houston and beyond: 

  1. Know the neighborhood. Is there a dog park or hike & bike trail to wear out your four legged friend after work each day? Different areas of Houston have local requirements like leash laws and clean up. Noncompliance fines are real. 

  2. Considering homes within a Home Owners Association? Depending on your budget, an apartment, condominium or townhouse may be just right for you and your cat or dog. I will help you review the bylaws to know pet regulations before you commit. I've seen steep fines for dogs loose in the neighborhood. Be careful or you may face fines for violating rules and bylaws.

  3. Assess your pet's needs. Is your pet older? Maybe the best option is a single story home. Looking for a townhouse in central Houston? Let's include elevators in our search. Big dog? A mud room or patio will save a lot of headache during clean up after a good rain. Consider quality alternatives to hard wood floors for any budget. Laminates, tiles, and my personal favorite, the durable grey and tan Daltile that mimics natural woods, fair better under barrage of paws.

It is essential to consider your family needs when purchasing a home, and if an animal is a central part of your life, consider how he/she will adapt to your new home. Let's sit down and discuss what you can comprimise on and what is essential to making your pet feel at home in your new home. 

If you plan to house exotic animal as a pet, such as peacocks or Mike Tyson's Tiger, clarify the zoning regulations and ordinances with the proper officials.

If you plan to house exotic animal as a pet, such as peacocks or Mike Tyson's Tiger, clarify the zoning regulations and ordinances with the proper officials.

Architect Ben Koush's Minella House in East End

I was surprised to see a thoughtful visual essay by architectural historian and Rice Prof, Stephen Fox, whom I reference regularly here, in the most recent issue of Paper City Magazine. Koush's Minella House is a beautiful example of post war concrete construction during a period of supply shortages at a time when standardized materials, like standard wood framing, were unavailable. From the foundation, to the walls, to the roof – it's all concrete. 

"Thanks to Koush’s discreet interventions, his Century Built Home has embarked on its second century of usefulness as a modern house. It was one of the earliest houses built in the Simms Wood subdivision, which had been partitioned from the estate of oilman E. F. Simms on South Wayside Drive, near the intersection of S. Wayside and Lawndale Avenue. It was also one of the neighborhood’s “Italian houses,” so called because Simms Wood and the adjoining Houston Country Club Place subdivisions were an enclave of Houston Italian-American and Italian–immigrant families.

In retrieving his Century Built Home, Koush has not only rescued and rejuvenated a mid-century modern survivor, but he has helped his neighborhood understand its place in history: the history of design as well as the social history of postwar Houston."  -Dr. Fox

Houston is a dynamic, evolving city with a rich cultural history that is hardwired in the many neighborhoods of the people who shaped it. There are many more treasures to be found.

Read the full essay here

DODGE HOUSE, 1916, West Hollywood

"We should build our house simple, plain and substantial as a boulder. Then leave the ornamentation of it to nature – trim it with lichens, chisel it with storms, make it gracious and friendly with vines and flower shadows as she does with stone in the meadow." Irving Gill

Houston History: John Staub Series

It's hard to sum up the impact architect John Staub has had in shaping the face of Houston we know and love today. In this on going series, I will share Staub's legacy one work at a time. 

From, Rice University Professor and architectural historian, Stephen Fox:

In the early 1920s, architect John F. Staub, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, who had studied at MIT and worked in New York, came to the burgeoning city of Houston as an assistant to nationally prominent architect Harrie T. Lindeberg. Staub was charged with administering construction of three houses designed by Lindeberg for members of the city’s rapidly emerging elite. He would go on to establish one of the most influential architectural practices in Houston, where he would remain until his death in 1981.

Over four decades, Staub designed grand houses in such communities as Shadyside, Broadacres, and, perhaps most notably, River Oaks. His clients included the Hoggs, for whom he created Bayou Bend; the Mastersons, his clients for Rienzi; and members of the Wiess, Cullen, Farish, Welder, Fay, and Elkins families. Although Staub also completed commissions for clients elsewhere in Texas and the United States, it was primarily in Houston that his work and influence took root.

This stately Shadyside mansion, built in 1939, was designed for A.J. Wray and wife Margaret, daughter of J.S. Cullinan — founder of the company that became Texaco. Fox describes the style as Regency inspired. Fox goes on to discuss it's important pivot-point entry bay, as seen in the back yard image and exaggerated in the pool's reflection.

Round Chair, 1949 by Hans Wegner

Election season brings me back to Hans Wegner's iconic Round Chair that was made famous in our first televised Presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon.  Where did our progressively, modern sense of style go?

RMMR/Projects: Commercial Client – Wood Bar in Montrose

Have you tried Wood Bar in Montrose yet? Tucked into a strip across from St. Thomas off Montrose and Alabama is a pocket bar of smart design. Morning coffee meetings are best in front of house to capture the morning light and happy hour is best in the back at the bar overlooking vistas.  The design is warm, efficient and considered. 

Check out RMMR/Projects residential projects here

Field Guide Nº1| The Houston Heights

Whether you're relocating to Houston or looking to move closer into the city, the Houston Heights is a beautiful, charming neighborhood with an identity all to it's own and a smart buy.

I want to know what you want in a home. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.

Home financing programs for medical professionals

Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX

Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX

There is a large community of medical professionals in Houston. In the Texas Medical Center alone there are 4 medical schools, 21 hospitals, and over 20,000 doctors in residence, practicing physicians, dentists, and other advanced degreed professionals. Many are ready to buy a home, but are unaware of some unique benefits. For example, there are lenders with unique mortgage products tailored to meet their needs and make it easier to qualify for a home loan. 

  • Lenders understand your student loan debt—and your ability to pay it off quickly, so those hefty student loans are not factored into debt ratios.

  • If you are looking to find a home before your practice begins, all you need to provide is your job offer letter and one of my preferred lenders can finance. We'll help you close on your home before your job even starts. (Job must start up to 60 days after closing)

  • Depending on how long you plan to be in Houston, you can choose from fixed- or adjustable-rate loans.

  • Put as little as 5% down on mortgages up to $1 million.

  • Some preferred lenders offer zero origination fees, saving you money.

  • In your residency? I can help you too.

In the medical profession? Contact me to learn more; I have placed individuals and families working with Memorial Hermann, MD Anderson, Houston Methodist, Baylor College of Medicine, and I am here to help you.

How to save for a downpayment. 5 steps for first time home buyers.

Guess this house...   Okay, I'll tell you, but I'll only say it once: Beetle Juice.

Guess this house...   Okay, I'll tell you, but I'll only say it once: Beetle Juice.

So you are thinking about becoming home owner? In my experience, it isn't the monthly mortgage payment that's the biggest challenge. You're already paying that each month in rent. The big hurdle will be saving up your acorns for a downpayment. Typically downpayments range from 3.5% to 20%. If that seems like a large sum, here are some tips and common strategies to get you in your new house. 

  • Cut your debt load. Pay down the plastic, yesterday.

  • Tap your IRA. Let the IRS help. Tax laws allow you to use up to $10k in IRA funds as a downpayment so long as you've never owned a house. If you're married and both first time home buyers, you can both pull from your IRAs and potentially put down $20k.

  • Get a Gift. Great Aunt Agnes always preferred you. Make the most of that favoritism and ask for help with your downpayment. Tax laws allows gifts up to $14k per year without tax consequence to giver or recipient. BTW, a gift can come from ANYONE.

  • Ask for a raise. How long has it been since your last performance review?

  • Okay, so there's no Great Aunt Agnes, and your boss is a scrooge. There's always a second job. Consider a year of part time work dedicated to owning your first home. This option makes the most sense for those who are young and not fully established in their professional lives, but applies to all.

2015 RDA Lecture Series: Farshid Moussavi

2015 RDA Lecture Series: Farshid Moussavi

The lecture was a whirl wind. Moussavi set a rapid speed and cadence from the beginning and did not waiver through her hour long lecture. The series, Seriously Cute, organized by the Rice Design Alliance, is focused on challenging our collective concepts of beauty, form and scale. What I imagined to be discussed was not. Was Moussavi’s lecture, ultimately an overview of her career, in line with the series? Most certainly. 

Her practice is centered around the emotional presence of affect. Common among philosophers, but rarely discussed or unknowingly applied to daily life. Without dusting off my Deleuze books from grad school, all I can say is “affect” is an emotional response. Moussavi spoke of architecture and forms that breathed and participated. She stressed an architecture that did not direct or manipulate a person, but instead created space for an inhabitant to think differently in their decision making. Take a second to think about how you live in space. How would your daily life be different with adobe walls instead of drywalls?