Editor's Note: Houston is loaded with must-have houses for sale in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. Throughout the month of June, CultureMap Editor-at-Large Shelby Hodge snoops through some of our faves and gives you the lowdown on what's hot on the market.
When Arquitectonica designed this collection of softly contemporary townhomes in the mid-1980s, the design was the talk of the town, modernism unheard of in the very traditional museum district neighborhood. But the clean lines, playful colorations and open, flowing spaces have stood the test of time. A visit here reads as elegantly contemporary as anything built in the last six months (and with better closet space). The Miami-based firm described the design as "romantic modernism" and we agree there is a certain romance to this property.
Walk through: The entry on Milford at the corner of Graustark leads to a three-story atrium tower and stairwell lined intermittently with glass bricks, the frames of which are colored in bold reds, yellows, blues and green. Though the eye and the imagination are drawn upward, we need to explore the ground floor where there are two bedrooms with two full baths and large windows that open onto a secluded garden.
The bright yellow pipe bannister on the open stairs draws us up to the second level where the living quarters include a vast (by townhouse standards) kitchen, nice-sized dining room and living room with fireplace and ceiling that soars to the third floor. Light is the key factor on each floor. Expanses of glass let the light shine in, giving the second level the feeling of a fabulous tree house.
On the third floor, we find the master bedroom and bath, again with natural light playing not only from the skylights of the central atrium tower but also from the abundance of windows, again wrapped in the foliage of surrounding trees.
The lines are clean and sleek throughout yet the house enjoys a certain warmth, imparted not only by the abundance of natural light but also by the shimmering glass tiles and bright yellow bannister, both of which deliver a delightful whimsical touch.
Bonus: The owner did a major remodeling in 2004, so the house feels new and fresh, the oak floors gleaming throughout. And we love the concept of the massive pear tree on the corner that seems to peer into the living room windows. We are told that in the spring, the tree is awash in white blossoms, an appealing seasonal decorative touch thanks to Mother Nature.
Love: The open airiness of the space with high ceilings, windows and skylights that make the modern dwelling feel much larger than it is.
In need of: An elevator. Not that every couple or individual requires that added amenity but most three- and four-story townhouse built today have the capability of adding an elevator.
Square footage: 2,361
Asking price: $495,000
Listing agents: Elizabeth Blackmur and Bill Jones of Heritage Texas Properties