Property Details

1930s 5-PLEX * INNERLOOP (Houston, TX)

Meticulously restored 1930s fourplex + garage apartment near the Eastwood area of downtown Houston, inside the 610 loop.

All units are 1 bed / 1 bath flats with hardwood floors, central air & heat, vintage style kitchens with high-end, full-size appliances, and vintage style baths with pedestal sinks, subway tile, overhead rainshowers, etc.

This property recently underwent a $230,000 restoration from the foundation to the roof. Though the "look" is vintage and period correct, the mechanicals (plumbing, electrical, hvac) are all new.

The Eastwood area is an up-and-coming, hike and bike friendly, vintage neighborhood just east / southeast of downtown Houston with many original properties built from the early 1900s thru the 1940s. Super short commute times to downtown Houston, both University of Houston campuses, the Medical Center, Rice University, etc--but about 15-20% lower rents than my properties in Montrose, the Heights, Upper Kirby, etc. Same era architecture, same quality restoration... just cheaper dirt (and therefore, more affordable rents).

The city is currently working on a new light rail line connecting the East End to downtown (and thus, the Medical Center & Rice University). This property is two short blocks from this new line. (More info & maps of line here: )

More info about the area:

Project Resources: Olshan (framing, roofing, & sheetrock materials), Bison (doors, trim, moulding), Chesley (plumbing supplies), Crawford (electrical supplies), Custom Cabinets Houston (all interior cabinetry & trim work), Houston Hardwood Floors, Thorntree countertops), Custom Precision (custom stainless sinks)

Click on thumbnails below to see full size images.

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Houston, TX 77011

 Unit 1
 vacant:  Yes  rent:  $1095
 bedrooms:  1  bathrooms:  1
 sqare feet:  750
Large, ground floor, one bedroom one bath flat in 1930s vintage, innerloop 4plex.

After over 24 years of owning, restoring, and managing vintage properties from the late 1800s through Mid-Century--in Houston, San Diego, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City--I think I've pretty much figured out what the perfect vintage in-town apartment is all about. And I applied all of that experience to this project and ended up with, what I think is, the perfect vintage innerloop flat.

I tend to be an "inside out" kind of thinker, so I usually start each project with major mechanical upgrades--the things you don't see--but that have a tremendous impact on day to day livability. You can spruce a place up all you want but if the mechanicals are past their prime (plumbing , electrical, HVAC), it will ultimately effect the quality of life. Since we took this building down to the studs were were able to completely upgrade ALL of the mechanicals systems from the ground up. New plumbing. New wiring. Complete new air conditioning and heating systems. Even a new foundation.

And not just any generic, cheap central air conditioning system... but 14 SEER RUUD split systems--which are a quite bit more efficient and of higher quality than the el cheapo 10 to 12 SEER Janitrol or Goodman or Yorx systems that you find at most "rental" units--even the bigger, higher-end complexes in town. You might not think this matters to you as a tenant but it does.. in TWO important ways. 1. Cost to operate. Higher SEER ratings mean higher efficiency--which means lower electric bills. A cheap, low SEER a/c unit can easily add $50-100 per month to your expenses. 2. Better quality systems mean longer life and fewer failures... and believe me, you don't want your a/c to fail when it is 90+ degrees and 90+ percent humidity outside--as it frequently is here in Houston during the summer. I've gone through four HVAC contractors since I started restoring vintage buildings and I've learned a LOT about designing and installing air conditioning systems for this climate in the process. These systems in these units represent the apex of that experience.

Laundry is another key feature at this property. At this price point, inside the loop, it is not a given that you are going to have your own washer and dryer in the unit. And many times the washer & dryer you do get is a tiny, stackable, "compact" washer & dryer that you can barely wash your sheets in. At this property, the four units in the main building share a brand new, full-size washer & dryer that is located inside the rear entry of the building. (see pics below). These are good quality Whirlpool machines that have multiple cycles and settings--and are completely free--not coin-op. I make a reasonable and fair profit from the rents at my properties and I'm not one of those landlords who is trying to squeeze every nickel and dime out of his tenants that he can by using coin-op machines. So, free laundry is standard equipment. And with only four units in the building, you won't have any problems getting your laundry done. Open your back door, take two steps, and you are standing in front of the machines. I've even built a nice set of shelves above the machines so you can leave your soaps and sundries right there if you want to.

Another key feature that sets these units apart is closet space and storage in general. The existing floorplans had reasonable closets already but I was able to claw back even MORE closet space and storage throughout the apartments. Super big closet in the bedroom (about 10 feet wide) with double hanging space + ANOTHER large double closet off the dining area (also about 10 feet wide), PLUS floor to ceiling built-ins in the bathroom that even my girlfriend would have a hard time filling up--and she has more hair products than the love child of John Paul DeJoria and Horst Rechelbacher.

Bathrooms, bathrooms, bathrooms. I do love me some bathrooms. If you click through the various properties and projects on my site you'll notice that my bathrooms are usually very unique and very detailed, with intricate tile work, lots of built in storage--and usually BIG, tiled-in mirrors... yet always classic in style. These bathrooms have all of that and also feature overhead rainshowers, and mosaic tile floors with vintage inlays and patterns. They aren't BIGGER bathrooms than you might find in a typical apartment... the just have more storage and a lot more STUFF going on in them design-wise. Oh, and BIG mirrors + a GFCI plug right there at the sink.

After bathrooms, kitchens are probably my next favorite part of a project to design and execute. Over the years I got so frustrated trying to find good, vintage style cabinets that were reasonably priced--and of at least average quality--that I ended up starting a cabinet company to fill my own need. ( Unlike the vast majority of apartments out there, that use generic, pre-fab cabinets, all of my apartments have custom kitchen and bathroom cabinets that are all unique to each apartment and that are period correct and that maximize the footprint of the kitchen. Another thing that drives me CRAZY is not having enough PLUGS in the kitchen for all the stuff you need to use... blender, mixer, coffee maker, cell phone, laptop, pannini press, toaster, etc. (OK, maybe I have more small appliances than the average renter... :) So, in these kitchens I made sure there were MORE than enough plugs--EIGHT in the backsplash--for pretty much anything you could possibly want to plug in.

I'm also frequently shocked at the low quality of APPLIANCES used in even the most high end apartments out there. My friend Kellie was living in a Randall Davis loft downtown--the St. Germain--paying about $1700/month--and her kitchen had literally the cheapest appliances you could possibly buy--like an electric Magic Chef stove and a $200 OTR microwave--and I kid you not, an "apartment sized" refrigerator. I couldn't believe it. I mean, my CHEAPEST apartment--an $995/mo efficiency in Montrose--has nicer appliances than that. And these units at Linwood have even NICER appliances. (see pics below). $400 built-in GE OTR / microwave. $800 GAS range. $1000 bottom freezer refrigerator (no more bending over to get stuff out of the crisper!)... again, considering the price point of this unit--this level of appliances is unheard of. (In fact, if you find an apartment in the same price range with nicer appliances out there--let me know. I'll give you $100 cash.)

Flooring is another key feature of these units that set them apart from anything else in this price point. Real hardwood floors are getting harder and harder to find--for a very good reason: they are expensive to install and expensive to maintain. But personally, I can't live in a place that has carpet or vinyl floors. And even the "faux" hardwoods (Pergo, laminate, "engineered" floors, etc.) tend to annoy me. A piece of plastic with wood grain printed on it just isn't the same thing as 3/4" solid hardwood flooring. And in this unit we installed solid 3/4" white oak hardwood flooring--on top of new 3/4" tongue and groove decking, with 30# felt in between. So: solid, air tight, no squeaks.

Lots of windows. Maybe I'm just strange but I seem to be happier in a space that has a lot of good, clean, natural light. Because this building was build LONG before central air and heat, it had plenty of windows already--but just about every one of them had been painted shut, had cracked or missing glass, or in some cases, had been covered over with sheetrock. We "liberated" all of these windows, taking out every single sash, stripping them with grinders and sanders, priming, painting, and rehanging all the windows with new sash ropes and counter-balance weights, replaced any broken or cracked windows, installed new glazing, new hardware, etc. So, lots of natural light and good cross-ventilation when the weather's nice.

Lighting is another area where these apartments stand out in a crowd. When you walk through the units you notice that there are lights everywhere you need them--and the right kinds of lights. Sconces in most rooms below eye level, keyless fixtures in the closets, recessed can lights in the kitchen (putting task lighting where you need it--on the countertops--to eliminate shadows and dead spots)--and cool, vintage ceiling fans--without the goofy light kits most ceiling fans have. It may seem like a small thing but it's something you definitely appreciate when you have it.

Neighbors are also super important. The old adage "one bad apple spoils the bunch" is nowhere truer than when it comes to a 4plex. In the first year of operation at this location my tenants at this prooperty were... a teacher, a nurse, a med student, an engineer, an architect, a stage lighting designer, and an interior designer... so, you can kind of get a feel for who I am looking for--and who is looking for apartments like mine. No strippers. No drug dealers. No gang bangers. No whack jobs. No pit bulls. I've been doing this a long time and I'm pretty good at filtering out the bad seeds before they even apply.

For more info on the Eastwood neighborhood, go here:


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