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The hurdles are raised for first-time homebuyers in Texas yet again, as rising interest rates demand an overall higher income for mortgage approval.

The Texas Real Estate Research Center released findings in its new Texas Housing Affordability Outlook that Texans buying their first homes need $10,000 more in income than at the beginning of last year to be approved for a $229,000 house.

Purchasing power, the center explains, and mortgage interest rates are indirectly related. Higher interest means higher monthly payments; it takes a higher income to keep up. “... As long as the rise in home prices continues to outpace the increase in income, purchase affordability, or the ability of a household to buy a home, will continue to diminish,” explains the report.

The $229,000 figure represents the first-quartile home price in Texas in Q1 2022, described as "the highest home price among those lowest-priced 25 percent of homes sold" in the state. The state's median home price for the first quarter of 2022 was $319,000. Year-over-year growth was slightly higher for the median figure (18.4 percent) than first-quartile figure (17.5 percent), but both are at their highest rates since the beginning of the chart in 2012.

The Austin-Round Rock area is, of course, driving a large part of this growth, with a 29.2 percent change in first-quartile prices since Q1 2021. That figure in Austin now sits at $420,000, almost double the state's first-quartile home price. Dallas’ numbers are slightly above the state average, San Antonio’s nearly exactly match.

Houston’s are slightly below, at 17.2 percent. Here, per the report, the median home sales price was $320,000, while the first quartile sales price measured $249,000.

Unfortunately for many Texans currently renting, only 37.4 percent of them are making the qualifying income ($61,652) to buy one of those first-quartile homes with a 3.4 percent interest rate (that was the national interest rate at the beginning of the year; by mid-May the interest rate had risen to 5.25 percent).

In some good news, the report finds that from 2021 to 2022, median family income in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA increased 13.8 percent. But, the report adds that if the trend in home prices outpacing the increase in income, Houstonian's ability to buy a home, will continue to diminish.

Photo courtesy of The Parklane

These 3 home trends are soaring, and a Hermann Park high-rise has them all

On Trend

The pandemic has changed a lot of things, but chief among them is what people are looking for in their next home. A few "would be nice" items suddenly became "must-haves," and suddenly high-value features are getting harder and harder to come by.

Unless you're looking at a newly renovated condo, that is. The Parklane, a tony high-rise right on Hermann Park, encompasses the three biggest home trends right now. And even better, these condos come in all price points, starting in the $300s and offering a range of one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts.

"The events of the past year have caused homebuyers to shift their priorities while shopping for new homes," says Casey Ebel, a Realtor with Elevated Group, Compass. "The importance of work from home spaces, amenities, and walkability have shifted to the top of the list. At The Parklane, we offer all of the above."

Here's what you can look forward to if you move here:

Work spaces
With many office buildings closed indefinitely (or even permanently), home offices have once again become coveted real estate. Working from home has forced buyers to reconsider the function and design of their space, putting an emphasis on designated home offices.

The Parklane's expansive open floorplans offer flexibility for WFH comfort, whether you set up in an extra bedroom or turn a corner of the spacious living area into your own office.

The building's coffee bar provides necessary caffeine breaks, while the resident business lounge can handle printing, faxing, and small meetings. 24-hour concierge can also sign for all incoming packages, meaning you'll never miss an important document delivery.

Upgraded kitchens
Home cooking is on the rise nationwide, putting even more emphasis on the importance of a beautiful and functional place in which to do it. Luxury condos currently on the market offer the latest trends in kitchen design, addressing all the features consumers may need or want, such as smart appliances, built-in coffee machines, induction cooking, minimal kitchen hardware, and matching the backsplash to the countertops.

Kitchens at The Parklane are outfitted with Eggersmann USA cabinets, which feature soft-close cabinets and doors that improve safety and reduce wear and tear. Bosch appliances include counter-depth refrigerators, induction cooking that can boil water in less than 60 seconds, convection ovens, and dishwashers.

Today's open concept floorplans are also perfect for entertaining (when we begin doing that again), and provide homeowners with functionality, comfort, and aesthetically pleasing spaces.

Outdoor access and walkability
Suddenly a green space in which to relax and recharge seems like paradise. Each unit in The Parklane has its own private balcony, and there are outdoor grills, a sparkling pool with cabanas, a tennis court, and an outdoor fitness experience just waiting to welcome you when cabin fever hits.

Being located in the Museum District also means easy access to key amenities such as grocery stores, retail shopping, restaurants, work, cultural hot spots, and more. Residents have direct access to Hermann Park for running, golfing nearby, the Houston Zoo, top-tier restaurants like MF Sushi and Lucille's, and so much more.

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The remodeling of The Parklane began in January 2020, with a portion of residences currently ready for move-in. Completion is slated for December 2021.

To schedule an exclusive sales presentation and tour a furnished model, please visit www.theparklane.com.

We're all in the kitchen a lot more now.

Photo courtesy of The Parklane
We're all in the kitchen a lot more now.
Photo courtesy of The Parklane

Luxe upgrades and a killer location await at these Hermann Park condos

The Good Life

A glamorous high-rise called The Parklane is currently undergoing a stunning renovation, with designer finishes and light-filled rooms now setting off its location on Hermann Park.

Also noteworthy is that these condos come in all price points, starting in the $300s and offering a range of one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts.

Here are five other ways living at The Parklane is an upgrade:

1. Room to entertain
Spanning 825 square feet to approximately 3,000, The Parklane's residences can suit any family size. Hardwood flooring throughout the open-concept living areas and master bedroom are as beautiful as they are easy to keep clean, while the nine-foot ceilings with recessed LED lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows make the spaces feel even airier.

Each home has a private balcony — some even have two or three — and is pre-wired for smart home automation. Eggersmann cabinetry and Bosch appliances in the kitchen make cooking for a crowd a breeze.

2. All dogs are welcome
Condominiums are typically dog-friendly, but they often have limitations regarding both breed and size, precluding families with large dogs to be able to call a condominium home. The Parklane, however, understands that dogs are members of the family too. It's welcoming of nearly all dog breeds and sizes, offering owners and potential buyers flexibility.

A fenced dog park on the grounds plus easy access to all the trails that wind through the 445-acre Hermann Park give pups plenty of exercise opportunities.

3. Live healthy and happy
It's not only the four-legged among us who get to enjoy the great outdoors. As the only fully renovated condominium building on the park, you get to enjoy the trails as well as McGovern Centennial Gardens and a nearby golf course, making it easy and fun to maintain a healthy lifestyle and become one with nature.

4. Amazing amenities
It starts with the modern lobby and continues through to the coffee bar, business lounge, and state-of-the-art gym. A sparkling pool with cabanas, a tennis court, and outdoor grills await on the amenity level, while reserved parking with electric vehicle charging stations (plus there's also valet) make going about daily life much smoother.

The impeccable service from The Parklane staff includes 24-hour concierge, who are ready to help with anything big or small.

5. In the heart of it all
Enjoy unrivaled proximity to fine dining, the arts, and premier destinations including downtown, Rice Village, the Museum District, the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, and NRG, Minute Maid, Toyota Center, and BBVA stadiums.

Monarch Restaurant, MF Sushi, Adara Med Spa, Barnaby's, Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill, Dak & Bop, and Lucille's are all nearby, while a luxury shuttle bus offers free transportation to the Texas Medical Center and Light Rail.

The remodeling of The Parklane began in January 2020, with a portion of residences currently ready for move-in. Completion is slated for December 2021.

To schedule an exclusive sales presentation and tour a furnished model, please visit www.theparklane.com.

The penthouse offers 360-degree views of Hermann Park.

Photo courtesy of The Parklane
The penthouse offers 360-degree views of Hermann Park.
Rendering courtesy of The Parklane

Houston's historic high-rise on Hermann Park transforms into cool condos

Better Than Ever

One of the Museum District's first high-rises is getting a facelift. The Parklane, a 35-story residential high-rise that overlooks Hermann Park and was at one time the tallest high-rise residential tower in the city, is being completely reimagined with modernized residences and first-class amenities.

And here's the kicker: The condominiums are listed at price points that are currently unrepresented in Houston's market.

"We built The Parklane in 1983 and were one of the first to introduce high-rise residential living to Houston's thriving Museum District," says Nadim Zabaneh, vice president of Houston-based Tema Development, Inc.

"We came to realize there was a niche in the market with a price range conducive to all buyer types, including first-time homebuyers, real estate investors, second homeowners, and empty nesters," he says. "This drove our decision to convert rental residences into condominiums. Already some of our residents have jumped at the chance to purchase their units."

Upon completion, The Parklane will debut 195 modern residences — available in one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts ranging from 825 square feet to 2,470 — with prices starting from the $300s. There are currently approximately 15 residences available for immediate move-in, with another group of units under construction that will be ready to deliver by year-end.

They are spacious, light-filled, and outfitted with designer finishes, including Eggersmann cabinetry, Dekton porcelain countertops, Bosch appliances, LED lighting, hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and private balconies that maximize The Parklane's panoramic views.

Houston-based Mirador Group was tapped as the architect, interior designer, and landscape architect for the project.

"Our design approach is to stay true to the roots of this contemporary building and incorporate timeless elements," says Jerry Hooker, principal of Mirador Group. "The material palette is warm, very classic, and all stone."

The lobby is getting an impressive renovation as well. Hooker points out that the space is especially unique for Houston, given the scale of it and the height of the ceiling.

Community amenities are the icing on the cake. Residents enjoy such conveniences as 24-hour concierge and valet service, a resort-style pool and cabanas, outdoor grills and entertaining area, a state-of-the-art gym, and a tennis court.

Reserved parking, electric vehicle charging stations, a professional business lounge, and luxury shuttle bus transportation to the Texas Medical Center and Light Rail further the effortless lifestyle.

Neighboring Hermann Park offers 535 acres of wooded tranquility for running, golfing, and cultural entertainment. Other destinations in the immediate area include Rice University, downtown Houston, Texas Medical Center, Rice Village, and the burgeoning Ion Technology & South Main Innovation District.

The remodeling of residences began in January 2020, with a portion of residences currently ready for move-in. Completion is slated for December 2021.

Construction on the fitness center, amenity deck, and lobby is planned to commence in early 2021, with an anticipated completion of mid-2021. Elevated Group at Compass is handling the sales of the condominiums.

To schedule an exclusive sales presentation and tour a furnished model, please visit www.theparklane.com.

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The Parklane is located at 1701 Hermann Dr.

The lobby will be a jaw-dropping intro to the building.

Rendering courtesy of The Parklane
The lobby will be a jaw-dropping intro to the building.
Photo by Divya Pande

Peek inside Houston's newest world-class luxury midrise in Upper Kirby

peek into the Giorgetti

For those wondering what happens when the combination of art, architecture, and artisan craftsmanship meet, the answer is Giorgetti Houston. The luxury midrise with 32 condominium residences has made its debut in swanky Upper Kirby, bringing with it superlatives such as elegant living, world-class features, and timeless sophistication.

The brainchild of Italian furnishings designer Giorgetti, in partnership with real estate developer Stolz Partners, architecture and interior design firm Mirador Group, and residential real estate brokerage firm Douglas Elliman, the venture represents a continuation of Giorgetti's 122-year-old history of creating sophisticated environments.

Pricing for the residences located at 2701 Steel St. starts at $1.9 million.

Created for a clientele that craves creature comforts along with exclusive access, Giorgetti Houston is a tour de force of sophisticated living. Five floor plans offer two- and three-bedroom condos, ranging in size from size from 2,700 square feet up to 6,800 square feet for one of the four penthouses, designed to maximize the urban chic of Giorgetti's location. Each of the 32 residences is a bespoke experience, with all components were handcrafted in Italy by Giorgetti's experts.

Listone Giordano hardwood floors, Gaggenau appliances, Giorgetti cabinetry and lighting, and floor-to-ceiling windows highlight the residences. Four elevators, private garages, and a direct-access entry foyer add to the exclusive feel. The homes also feature an outdoor loggia with outdoor kitchens, perfect for patio weather entertaining.

Luxurious living continues in Giorgetti Houston's shared spaces as well. A 24-hour fitness center, cold plunge pool, jacuzzi, porter service, and a dedicated dog park provide every amenity for modern living.

"The design ethos of Giorgetti is based on exclusivity and atypical uniqueness," said Giovanni del Vecchio, CEO of Giorgetti, in a press release announcing the opening. "Each piece contributes towards defining space, becoming part of a complex, harmonious and extraordinary whole. With our partners, we share the same passion, vision and love for the brand and for the interior environment that we are able to create and express. The result is very special—a remarkable living space, imbued with the spirit of modern elegance."

With a headquarters in Meda, Italy, Giorgetti has created custom furnishings for celebrity residences, showrooms, cruise ships, and luxury hotels all over the world. Houstonians who purchase homes at the new midrise will now be part of that same tradition.

Every Giorgetti piece in the residences, from the kitchen and outdoor cabinetry to paneling, lighting, carpets, closets, woodwork, furnishings, and a sculptural wood art piece at the exterior entrance of each home, was handcrafted by the company's artists and craftsmen in Italy.

Meanwhile, Mirador Group led the design and planning of the building itself, a stunning steel-and-glass structure that easily fits within Upper Kirby's modern vibe while also being unique to the scene. Mirador's designs reflect Giorgetti’s aesthetic sensibility and hallmark sense of comfort and functionality. Walnut combined with metal, marble, leather, and fabric inform the building’s contemporary design. The exterior spells out “Giorgetti” in binary code, another example of the impeccable attention to detail central to the project.

"Our goal throughout the design process was to ensure the Giorgetti culture is alive in each home as well as in the common spaces,” said Jerry Hooker, principal of Mirador Group, in the same release. “The building is representative of the Giorgetti Italian lifestyle — a harmonious fusion of innovative design, architecture, form and function."

There's little doubt that Giorgetti Houston will quickly become one of the city's most sought-after luxury addresses. The combination of Upper Kirby's restaurants, galleries, and boutiques, along with Giorgetti Houston's glamorous feel will be irresistible to those who aspire to life's finest living.

Note the design details in the Giorgetti's floors, walls, and ceilings.

Photo by Divya Pande
Note the design details in the Giorgetti's floors, walls, and ceilings.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Landmark Rice Village art gallery hosts first-ever sale event ahead of transformation into multipurpose space

thanks for the memories

For some 40 years, much-heralded Houston art maven Ron Gremillion has been a fixture of the local scene as a buyer, gallerist, and collector. Indeed, his Gremillion and Co. Fine Art complex has become a Rice University landmark.

Seemingly, the Gremillion and Co. Fine Art compound at 2501 Sunset Blvd. would endure in its current iteration for another decade. But like much of Houston these days, an enduring local space is being reimagined.

A group of Houston investors have purchased Gremillion’s property, which was designed by acclaimed architect Jim Lass and are refreshing the gallery and annex — both totaling more than 21,000 square feet. The group has also purchased an adjacent home at 2508 Nottingham St. that dates back to around 1940, which has been gutted to make way for a catering kitchen and new guest apartments upstairs for visiting artists, chefs, and other creatives tied to support inhouse programming and private events.

The result is a new multipurpose space replete with a shaded garden and tree-shaded terrace, which will be renamed Horizon on Sunset. Plans call for debuts by February 2023.

Fans can catch a sneak peek of the new Horizon Sunset during a special Gremillion and Co. Fine Art even and sale — a first in the company’s four-decade history — beginning Saturday, December 3. The specialty sale will last one month, with some 500 of Gremillion’s mostly modern assembled works on sale from $200 t0 $200,000.

Gremillion will personally oversee the sale and consult with potential buyers, along with guest curator Elise Arnoult Miller of Houston-based Arnoult Fine Art Consulting. “Gremillion is a gallery that has supported artists and put them first, and to some degree, that’s how this vast collection was amassed – pieces never stopped coming,” Gremillion noted in a statement. “This last hurrah is an opportunity to pair beautiful works of art with buyers that will be moved by them, compensate their talented creators and make way for the next chapter in a space that has made so many memories.”

Consider this a chance to score some valuable art at bargain prices, and pay tribute to a Houston institution.

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Gremillion and Co. Fine Art (2501 Sunset Blvd.) will host its first and only sale beginning Saturday, December 3. For hours and more information, visit www.gremillion.com.

Briargrove piano bar changes tune to new steak-driven supper club concept

No cap

A Houston psychiatrist will revive a beloved piano bar that closed during the middle of the pandemic. Caps Supper Club & Bar will open early next year in the former Caps Piano Bar space in Briargrove (2610 Briar Ridge Dr.).

Dr. Venkata Diddi tells CultureMap that he became interested in the restaurant business at the encouragement of his wife, who had worked in the industry before the couple had children and wanted to resume working now that they’re older. He found Caps at the suggestion of a friend who had been a regular at the intimate space, which had a following for its live music, strong drinks, and complimentary popcorn until it closed in 2021. Instead of simply reopening the bar, Diddi decided to add a restaurant aspect and turn the concept into a supper club.

Caps supper club Venkata Diddi Dr. Venkata Diddi will open Caps Supper Club next year.Photo by Fulton Davenport

Diddi literally plans to get the band back together. The same performers who graced the Caps stage for 17 years will return when the restaurant reopens. During happy hour and the early evening, a piano player will provide a more subdued form of entertainment.

Previously, Caps regulars would order food from nearby steakhouses, but Diddi has brought the food program in house. The proprietor turned to consulting chef Omar Pereney to create a menu of steakhouse fare and other comforting dishes.

A meal at Caps could start with raw dishes like oysters or steak tartare before moving on to shareables such as deviled eggs, fried calamari, or a charcuterie board. Entree choices include seafood, two pastas, a burger, and three steaks — all of which can be paired with sides such as creamed spinach mac and cheese, parmesan truffle fries, or crispy Brussels sprouts.

End the meal with one of three desserts. Beverage options include a range of cocktails as well as wines by-the-glass or bottle.

“People shouldn’t have to think hard when ordering from the menu. The dishes we will serve will only hold three or four components, but they make each other stronger,” Pereney said in a statement. “Our menu will be constantly evolving, and though there isn’t one flavor or ingredient that inspires it, seafood will be a main theme carried throughout.”

Scheduled to open in January, Caps will be open Monday - Saturday beginning at 4 pm with live music nightly. The space will seat just under 100 people and will include a private dining room.

Check off everyone on your holiday list at Houston's Rice Village

Wrap It Up

Make this holiday season a little more merry and bright when you shop for everyone on your list at Rice Village. The walkable shopping destination has everything from sparkly jewelry to yummy desserts to indulgent beauty treatments — take a look at some gift inspo below.

Sweet treats
Give the gift sure to please everyone: Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. Or if a frozen gift isn’t your thing, pick up a gift card for ice cream and get a scoop (or two or three) for yourself while you're there. Made from simple and choice ingredients, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream has 20-plus classic and vegan ice cream flavors to choose from.

Treat yourself and others with Sprinkles cupcakes this holiday season, with flavors like Christmas cookie, gingerbread, chocolate peppermint, and much more.

Show your host or colleague how much you care with a holiday treat from Badolina Bakery & Cafe. Their picturesque cakes — which are available in sizes of six, eight, or nine inches — are offered in a variety of shapes and flavors including raspberry rose, chocolate mousse, and cheesecake. While some are available daily on a first-come, first-served basis, it's recommended you place an order at least 24 hours in advance.

Break bread with friends by gifting one of Badolina's signature loaves. For something all wrapped up, a cylinder of triple-chocolate chip cookies or a box of florentines is the perfect present.

Festive fashion
Your search for the perfect present stops here. With crowd-favorite styles in signature soft fabrics, Tasc Performance has something for everyone on your list — all you need is the wrapping paper.

Make your holiday haul walk taller this year with a gift from Tecovas. Their handmade Western boots, bags, and apparel have a quality, fit, and feel you’ll notice from the first time you hold them and try them on.

Hospitality is a big part of the Tecovas experience, and walking into a Tecovas store is a sensory one. The smell of fine leather and the feel of quality Western goods will make you want to explore their selection of boots in calfskin and exotic styles, and maybe even grab a complimentary beverage and kick your feet up.

Vuori draws inspiration from the active California lifestyle: an integration of fitness, yoga, surf, and life. Looking for the perfect holiday gift? Lean into comfort with Vuori’s best-selling DreamKnit fabric — find it for him in the Ponto Collection or for her in the Halo Collection.

However you celebrate, Warby Parker has merriment-inspiring frames, gift cards, and accessories to make your season a success. All winter long, every pair of glasses or sunglasses comes in eye-popping, ready-to-unwrap packaging designed by artist Amrita Moreno. Purchase any two or more prescription pairs, and receive 15 percent off — like magic. (Restrictions apply.)

Good to give but better to get, Krewe is an independent eyewear company that draws creative inspiration from the vibrant culture and spirit of New Orleans and infuses it into every pair of its exceptional, hand-crafted frames.

Nanos, the Spanish fashion house dedicated to children since 1963, offers baby boy, baby girl, little boy, and little girl clothing made in Spain, where every thread is treated with love. This holiday, give the littles in your life the gift of high-quality clothing.

Merry makeup and skincare
The Haus Holiday Haul from Face Haus includes a Haus Facial ($110 value), The Rescue Worker Super Nutrient Face Oil ($39 value), The Schmoozer Hydrating Lip Care ($10 value), and a video tutorial from on of their superstar Esthies, who will help you choose a facial and share tips and tricks on how to use the products at home. Get all this for only $145.

Find fragrance gifts for $75 and under at Sephora's, and scoop up sets for everyone on your list (including you!).

Give the gift of a holiday glow-up with a SkinSpirit gift certificate that's valid on any treatment from SkinSpirit's extensive menu of medical-grade facials and aesthetic medical services.

Bluemercury is making gifting this holiday season easier than ever. Visit the link to explore their gift guide and plan your trip to your neighborhood location in Rice Village. Visit the Beauty Experts in-store for advice on all the latest limited edition gift sets. Plus, they'll even wrap your gifts for you, too.

Glittering baubles
Featuring beloved precious and semi-precious stones, like their signature turquoise sourced from Arizona and set in 14K gold, local jewelry brand Christina Greene is a go-to for gifting.

Some seasonal favorites include the Simplicity or Southwestern collections for her, cufflinks sets for him, gold beaded bracelets for the trendsetter in your life, or the Letter Necklace collection for those celebrating major milestones in their lives (like "mama," "Mrs.," and "love").

Looking for gifts that are uniquely Texas? Christina Greene also features a wide range of hat bands and badge holders that are perfect for rodeo season. True to its local roots, you can also find a unique turquoise belt buckle, statement-making squash blossom necklaces, and the popular Texas Strong necklace.

Home for the holidays
Shop for the master chef, self-care guru, WFH wiz, budding sommelier, and beyond at CB2. For the entertainer(s) in your life, think modern cheese knives and serving trays, soft throws, candles, beverage dispensers, ice buckets, and gold or marble cake stands.

For the game lover in your life, board games like chess and Scrabble never go out of fashion. Try versions made with marble or wood breathe new life into the classics.

Stop by and get some supremely soft statement gifts with an undeniable wow factor at Parachute Home. Truly thoughtful essentials to elevate the every day, these crowd-pleasers are perfect for cozy season. Choose from soft sheets, cozy quilts, joyful jammies, and more essentials to promote great sleep.

Forget the elf, we'd rather have those adorable holiday wine glasses from Cru Home on the shelf. These stemless wine glasses feature a festive and fun Christmas drinking phrase, and make the perfect gifts and stocking stuffers. Stop in to the convenient Rice Village location to stock up on these and other great last-minute gems for your friends and loved ones

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Visit these retailers and more at Rice Village, located at Kirby and University.

Photo courtesy of Sprinkles