Property Details

Mid-Century Lofts & Flats (Upper Kirby - Houston - TX)

I rescued this little gem from the chopping block in August of 2006. The tenants had all been evicted... the gas meters had pulled out of the ground & the main lines terminated... and the water to the property had been shut off at the main by the city: the wrecking ball was on its way !

But I felt like she had a lot of life left in her. So I got out the pencil & pad and started sketching. Then I got out the sledgehammer and starting demo-ing. And then I got out my checkbook and started writing checks... very big checks! :)

14 months later the first new tenants started moving in... and I've barely had a single day of vacancy since.

Before I bought the property the building had been owned by the same family since it was built in the late 1940s. The entire street used to have many similar properties on it; all but this one had been torn down over the years. (Well, actually Twin Peaks down the street is actually two fourplexes like this one--combined into one big building--then wrapped in a commercial facade. So, technically, it is an original structure.)

The 70 yr old woman who sold me the property had lived there with her family when she was a child; it had remained in her family ever since. Fortunately for me she had no interest in restoring the building. Getting on in years, she had been living off the rents & letting the property run down for the past few decades... (the classic "slumlord" scenario).

This property is just off Kirby, between 59 & Richmond--making it one of the shortest commutes you will find to just about anywhere in the city. 10-15 minutes from every university and college in town; 5 minutes from the Medical Center; walking distance to River Oaks, Greenway Plaza, movie theaters, shopping, and many great restaurants. (Japon & Miyako are both across the street... mmm... sushi!) (Haven, a new, mulit-million $$$, "green" / "farm to table" restaurant went in next door a couple of years ago.

The property has six units total: four larger one bedrooms in the main building (two lofts and two flats) and two one bedroom apartments over the garage.

The look inside is 50/50 "vintage/modern"--but definitely not "traditional", "contemporary", or any other easy / predictable style. I guarantee that you will not find ANY units at ANY property, in ANY price range that have the kinds of fixtures and finishes that I have in these units. I did not have a budget when I restored these units. I just did what needed to be done--and used materials and processes that would last a lifetime. Steel. Wood. Glass. Brick. Stone. Cement. The basic elements.

The two lower units in the main building (#1 & #2) have stained concrete floors & very large private patios in the front. The two upper units are all hardwood floors with nice private decks off the kitchen. The baths & kitchens are all completely custom & high-end with stainless steel appliances from Bosch (dishwashers), Siemens (dual fuel ranges), GE (microwaves fridges & washers & dryers) + natural stone counters, and built-in / under-counter laundry. Overall the look is very modern but with a shout out to the building's 1940s pedigree.


(Project Resources)
- M&M Lighting - fixtures & fans
- Thorntree - natural stone (Quartz countertop material)
- Detering Company - trim, moulding, doors, & windows
- Custom Precision Stainless - custom stainless sinks, sink bases, shelving, etc
- Montalbano Lumber - misc building materials
- DalTile
- West End Roofing
- Ferguson Plumbing Supply
- Custom Cabinets Houston (
- EnergyGuard - expanding foam insulation

For more details about these units send an email to:

Algerian Way
Houston, TX 77098

 Unit TWO
 vacant:  Yes  rent:  $1295
 bedrooms:  1  bathrooms:  1
 sqare feet:  700
Mid-century modern flat with very contemporary updates.

- Clean, sleek, modern interior.
- Stained concrete floors.
- Exposed brick wall in living room.
- Great light - lots of windows.
- Awesome location near Kirby & 59.
- State of the art kitchen with high-end, all-stainless appliances.
- Full-size washer & dryer in the unit.
- New central air & heat, double glazed windows + expanding foam insulation for super energy efficiency and sound-proofing.

* In addition to the approximately 700 square feet of air-conditioned interior space this unit comes with a 200 s.f., fully fenced, private brick patio (12x18) with a high privacy wall covered in star jasmine and shaded by bushy bamboo, nectarine and bottle brush trees, and a tall queen palm.

This unit has everything built in--from the microwave to the washer & dryer. All designed into the floor plan from the beginning. In the kitchen you've got all stainless, high-end appliances like...

- Siemens / Bosch dual fuel range - with gas cooktop + electric convection oven. (I guarantee you will not find this range in any other apartment in town. Very rare, special order--and very expensive.)
- Bosch stainless "integrated" dishwasher. All stainless inside & out. Controls on top of the door for a clean look. Bosch makes the quietest (and most expensive) dishwashers on the market. (So quiet that sometimes I have to open mine to see if the damn thing is finished or not!) Has high-temp water heater built in to sterilize dishes.
- GE front-loading, under-counter washer & dryer. Super quiet & super efficient--European style--built right into the kitchen cabinets.
- GE Spacemaker under-counter microwave. Hangs from the cabinets so you don't waste any counter space. Very clean, low profile, stainless design.
- GE top fridge / bottom freezer stainless unit. (They cost over $1500/each--and believe me, I DID NOT want to drop $6000 on the refrigerators alone for this project--but after I spec-ed out the other appliances, I just could skimp on the fridge... could I?
- Concrete floors. Super easy to maintain. They have a great patina from the original linoleum that was glued down in the 1940s which left kind of a light grid pattern on the floor that is very cool. (I buffed on the floors for about two days with a dozen different floor screens to get them smooth as glass, then put a heavy coat of diamond clear floor sealer to bring out the natural patina and to keep them from soaking in spills.)

This property is also just a block away from the newly restored Levy Park... which has been a great addition to the neighborhood!


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