The appetite for contemporary architecture in the upscale markets we serve here in Houston has been growing. Ever more buyers are looking for homes that boast sustainable elements (e.g. bamboo floors, stone countertops), are designed with entertaining in mind and are full of natural daylight. They want a flow between indoor and outdoor, sometimes with a spot for a striking piece of sculpture or water feature or a rooftop garden.

Commonly heard expressions from inside-the-Loop buyers hungrily looking for contemporary houses include “clean lines,” “open floor plans” and “lots of light.”

Alas, sometimes these magazine- and Instagram-fed requirements become obsessions bordering on fetishism, making buyers throw common sense about location and suitability out the window. These architectural qualities, when executed immaturely, soon become very tedious to live with and, worse, are bad for resale.

So, choose carefully. Or seek good advice from a seasoned realtor who understands the contemporary house market. You don’t want to be saddled with a house that is dated before the ink is dry on your deed.

On the other hand, the classically and thoughtfully designed contemporary house will never go out of style and will find future buyers and provide financial appreciation for the seller.

With that in mind, we have compiled a photo album of some of the contemporary homes that Teresa and I have helped clients to sell or buy in the past few years. Note the strong design and pleasing proportions.


Here, also, is a review of the contemporary market inside Loop 610 so far in 2017. These include both the good and the bad.

Some sales of contemporary homes in 2017

1509 Banks sold for $1.9m in January. It was custom built in 2013, with a very “bachelor” floor plan and details.
2225 Devonshire sold for $2.9m in February. Designed by Frank Welch and built in 1982, it has changed hands three times in the past 10 years and sells fast each time. This is an iconic house in a good location.
2731 Drexel sold for $2.5m in April. Initially built in 2008 and finished in 2016, this is a problematic house beset with construction and legal woes.
4028 Essex sold for $2.25m in April. It is a poorly designed and executed house in a problematic location close to the railway tracks, a one-off custom-turned-spec house, built in 2016 by Integrity Builders.
2007 Albans sold for $2.04m in June. It was custom built in 2014.
3319 Virginia sold for $1.7m in June, after being for sale for more than one year. It was custom built in 2007 by Dovetail. The concept and floor plan are unusual.
4036 Colquitt sold for $2.155m in July. A Prairie-style take on a contemporary house and built in 2014, it is already looking a little dated. Located in a problematic location close to the railway tracks.
2011 Albans sold for $2.1m in July. The builder customarily works in The Heights specializing in the Craftsman style. It was built in 2016/17, and the architect is George Allen Cole.
306 E. Cowan sold for $2.08m in August. It was designed and built by Bolio Custom Homes in 2014. This builder has built in the Tanglewood area previously.
419 Terrace sold for $2.3m in September. Designed and built in 2015 by Unicus, a builder we have worked with exclusively in the Upper Kirby area on many developments.