Property Details

Mid-Century Modern in Galleria / Highland Village (Houston, TX)

Bored with doing the same "Turn-of-the-Century" restoration projects for the previous five years, in 2002 I decided to mix things up bit with a little Mid-Century Modern.

This classic 1950s 8-plex is one of only a few remaining, original, small complexes built in Afton Oaks in the 1950s (before the Galleria was even a twinkle in Gerald Hines' visionary eye. (

Because of its excellent in-town location, unusually large lots, and strictly enforced deed restrictions, the prevailing model in Afton Oaks is to tear down the existing 1950s ranch style houses (@ $600-$700k a pop) and replace them with faux French McMansions and falso Italianate Villas (@ $2 million + a pop). Most of the original, smaller, vintage 4plex, 6plex, and 8plexes like this one have been laid low by that same paradigm shift in recent years.

As tempting as that might be to me financially, I kinda liked Afton Oaks the way it was--quaint and unpretentious--so I decided to recycle this classic building instead of sacrificing it to the gods of consumption.

This project was fun mainly because we got to work and re-work the same basic floor-plan eight times. This allowed me to tweak the scope & look of each unit, improving the functionality and aesthetics of each as we moved through the building. (My own mini Case Study project.) My goal was to end up with eight unique units--and I think I achieved that goal. No two units in the building are exactly alike. Some lean more toward the Vintage and some more toward the Modern--but they are all Vintage Modern.

Aside from the common floor plan of two bedrooms and one bath--and some shared color schemes--every unit has its own personality. Sometimes the differences are subtle. Sometimes they are drastic. But each has its own individual character.

The tenants are generally an eclectic mix of young professionals (25-45). Probably owing to the central courtyard, this property has more of a community feel to it than any other property that I have owned--which I like--and which is why certain types of people prefer a small complex like this over 200, 300, 400 unit complex.

If you work or play inside the loop, this location is hard to beat. "Galleria" is an oft over-used reference point in Houston real estate--especially in apartment listings. This property is literally three blocks due east of the Galleria shopping centers--tucked just inside the 610 loop. You could walk out your front door & be trying on shoes at Neimans in about five minutes. There is also a Central Market, Best Buy, Target, Spec's, and three Starbucks within easy walking distance.

There is also great freeway access to 59, 610, and I-10. And the shopping is the best in the state. (Where else in Houston can you live close enough to walk to Crate & Barrel, Central Market, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Nordstrom, and Anthropologie?)

For what they are (700 to 800 s.f., Mid-Century, two bed / one bath flats) these are about the nicest units in this price range that you are going to find anywhere near this location--possibly anywhere inside the loop. They are what they are. If you are looking for shiny new pennies, you'll have to live in a 400 unit property and park in a parking garage. This is eight units. Killer location. Two bedrooms. (Most of the tenants there use them as 1+ study / guest bed set ups.)

See unit details below for pics & info on each individual unit. Click any thumbnail to enlarge.

(Project Resources)
Thorntree (quartz & slate), DalTile, ICI Paints, K&N (appliance), the Detering Company (trim & moulding), Custom Precision Stainless (custom kitchen sinks & other stainless details), Ferguson (misc. plumbing fixtures), Trinity Hardwoods, Klassic Hardwoods (recycled flooring), Custom Cabinets Houston (, M&M Lighting, Bobbitt Glass, Emmanuel del Angel (sheetrock, paint, tile), Morales HVAC, St Charles Electric.

For more info about renting one of these units (policies, procedures, showing dates & times, etc.) send and email to

Oakshire Drive

 Unit 3
 vacant:  Yes  rent:  $1295
 bedrooms:  2  bathrooms:  1
 sqare feet:  750
Unit 3 & 7 are proof that the more you do something, the better you get. I restored six of the eight total units before these two so I worked the kinks out on those units and created what I think is the perfect urban apartment (under 800 s.f.)

I went for more of a 20s/30s Art Deco-meets-Mid-Century Modern-fusion in this unit... very clean lines, recessed lighting to keep the ceilings clean, very square & geometric trim details and mosaic tile patterns...

#3 & #7 also have full-size, front loading, super-energy-efficient washers and gas dryers, new central a/c, plus many other cool, space saving built-ins.

Like all of the other units in the building, these have the original hardwood floors throughout and nice wall colors. (No beige or tan to be found!) Plus eat-in kitchen with stainless & ocean green quartz counter tops. And as always in my renovations, a killer bathroom with vintage modern detailing.

Kitchen -
* recycled oak hardwood floors with custom maple inlay
* stainless gas range
* stainless Bosch dishwasher
* stainless top fridge / bottom-mount freezer
* disposal
* natural stone countertops (Ocean Green quartz from Thorntree)
* stainless bar top

Bathroom -
* mosaic tile floors
* subway tile walls with black and white mosaic inlay
* pedestal sink
* large tiled in mirror with custom stainless shelf
* floor to ceiling built-ins with mirrored doors.
* vintage style lighting & taps

This apartment works best as a 1+ study but I definitely have couples & roommates who rent this floor plan. The bedrooms & closets are typical for the mid-century vintage and I've improved the spaces by adding built-ins, doubling the hanging space, adding built-in laundry, and keeping the ceiling height clean with recessed lighting and stainless fans with no light kits on them.

Since the unit is my only empty unit (Feb 2011), I decided to go back in and do a few more updates / improvements to the unit... so, currently we are adding a built-in wall niche for a flat screen in the living room (will accommodate up to a 60" TV), modifying the existing built-ins in the living room so that it will accommodate a flat screen also (up to 37" depending on particulars of the model), adding a cabinet above the island to house a new exhaust vent for the stove & more recessed lighting, extending the paneled wainscoting around the entire living room, replacing the entire entry door unit with new, solid core, 1.75" thick, custom 5-lite Mid-Century style door with kick-guard jam and full weatherstripping (in layman's terms--a much more secure, quiet, energy efficient door--that also looks pretty cool)... and a few other odds and ends.

With only eight units on the property--all with young professionals living in them--you can actually get to know your neighbors. (Currently we have a geologist, (2) teachers, an architect, a doctor, an I.T. guy, and a fitness trainer.


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