People love to look at photos of pretty houses. Just take a look at the ka-zillions of home, decor, interior design, makeover, etc. magazines and e-magazines solely dedicated to these topics.
CultureMap, during our five years of publication —with more to come — has offered readers peeks into hundreds of Houston-area and beyond homes through our ongoing On the Market editorial series. We've covered the gamut, from bungalows to million-dollar mansions to every budget range and style in between.
For our fifth birthday, we've rounded up some of our favorites, 10 as a matter of fact, to double your viewing pleasure.
As the headline read, "Talk about bang for your buck." The Mid-Century mod featured in the 1955 Parade of Homes — and designed by the same architecture firm that planned the Astrodome — came up for sale in April featuring its own bomb shelter. Located at 5102 Jackwood St. in the Meyerland community, the structure includes the secret space, called the "Para-Cap" shelter, with a parabolic roof and room to accommodate up to 10 people. The emergency exit in the backyard is now hidden by landscaping, even though the circular eyepiece or telescope for observation is visible.
When CNN Money crowned the Heights area as one of America’s 10 Best Big-City Neighborhoods in August 2013, this completely restored 1920s gem at 405 Woodland St. in Woodland Heights was listed at $974,900. Not only is the four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath charmer in pristine condition; it also sits on a rare double-corner lot. The shady, fully fenced property provides a cozy covered porch, multiple courtyards and green spaces. And there’s more: A large private side yard opens to a guest apartment or a future pool house.
Sports hero's house
When former all-time Houston Astros great Jeff Bagwell and his decided to part ways, it became necessary for them to part with their stunning home at 405 Timberwilde Lane in Memorial - for $15 million. The 16,414-square-foot manse sits on 2.5 acres and includes a resort-sized swimming pool and a guest house that measures in at 1,750 square feet. The John Daugherty realtor showing the house at the time commented, "I think this is one of the most beautiful houses I've ever had the pleasure of listing."
Frank Lloyd Wright jewel
Frank Lloyd Wright architecture historians came to the 2,000-square-foot residence at 12020 Tall Oaks St. in Bunker Hill in July to officially inspect and then declare the structure an original. Once destined to be a tear-down, the home showcases signature design elements, including red-pigmented concrete floors, concrete block walls, walls of windows, built-in sofas and bookcases and lots of angles. Wright enthusiasts did air their disapproval that a substantial annex — about 6,000 square feet of contemporary architecture — wraps around the back of the Wright house.
While CultureMap reported about the historic significance of 1885 The Waldo Mansion at 201 Westmoreland, readers talked more of the great bashes they had attended at the 6,598-square-foot residence nestled on a 25,000-square-foot corner lot among mature trees. That's easy to understand, as the home boasts a wrap-around veranda, 14- and 15-foot ceilings, 10 gas fireplaces and a private courtyard with a fountain guarded by towering palm trees. In other words, party central in Montrose.
Best beach house
A castle in the sand caught waves of attention as a dream sunny family retreat for generations to come. This house in the Beachtown community in Galveston offers 5,200 square feet on four levels, with seven bedrooms to comfortably accommodate friends and relatives. The custom home at 1609 Seaside Drive sits on three beachfront lots. Community space extends the life outdoors with more than 1,700 square feet of deck space on wrap-around porches. And it's still on the market, if you're interested, and still at the original asking price of $3.795 million
A double-shotgun row house owned by Bert Long Jr. recently came on the market for $200,000. Long worked at the 4739 Buck St. home in the Fifth Ward for more than a decade before he passed away on Feb. 1, 2013. Once featured in design and architecture magazine Dwell, the structure was carefully renovated 15 years ago as part of a year-long thesis project by then-Rice University graduate architecture student Brett Zamore. The 5,831-square-foot property includes the 960-square-foot two-bedroom, one-bathroom home as well as Long's separate studio space.
Historic bed and breakfast
We had high hopes of this becoming CultureMap's official retreat; however, the $1,225,000 price tag left it on the market until a buyer with deeper pockets snatched it up: The country-chic, top-rated bed and breakfast, Round Top Inn. Built in 1885, the two-story Main House is the largest residence on the property. The Farm House is complete with a sprawling front porch and plenty of rocking chairs. An adorable two-story, salt-box-style abode, the Gate House offers two bedrooms. A spacious Retreat Center is perfect for reunions, birthdays, luncheons or private parties. Quite the package for five residences and a retreat center on about one acre in this antique paradise.
Most expensive home (when article published)
The ticket on Bayou Breeze was first listed in 2013 at $19,995,000; today the mansion is still on the market with a reduced price of $15,995,000. The Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty listing is an incredible English-style country estate sitting on 3.7 secluded acres in the middle of River Oaks. With 16,022 square feet, the manse at 3688 Willowick is a custom wonder designed by Curtis & Windham, built by Randy Ratcliff and decorated by famed New York-based designer Bunny Williams.
Just last week, the Bayou Breeze house seemed like a deal after a palatial Memorial chateau went on sale with an asking price of $43 million, which is believed to be Houston's most expensive home ever offered on the market.
Also still for sale is the exclusive penthouse in the Four Seasons Hotel Houston designed by renowned architect William F. Stern. With a reduced price now of $3,850,000 (original asking price was $4.6 million), No. 3007 is one of the few private condos at the top of the hotel. Stern arranged the open floor plan into three zones: Living areas with raised ceilings just steps from the dining room, gourmet kitchen and wine cellar; master suite library and media room; and master suite and two guest suites with den. The zones are linked by a hallway along the outside wall, flooding the residence with light and maximizing views of the city's skyline.
CultureMap is celebrating its fifth birthday with a big party on Oct. 10 from 7 - 10 p.m. at the new JW Marriott Houston Downtown, with a portion of proceeds going to Casa de Esperanza. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online.