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The Modern Architecture + Design Society’s Houston Modern Home Tour Returns Sept. 23

By Cheryl Alexander

The MA+DS Houston Modern Home Tour, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., will feature a variety of modern residential architecture that punctuates the Houston landscape. This highly anticipated annual event is an opportunity for folks to get up close and personal with some of the best modern architecture right in their own city via a self-guided driving tour. For seven years, the tour has offered a fun-filled day of local sightseeing and open-house-style visits for aficianados of archi­tecture, design, real estate, and those who just really love seeing cool homes.

Modern residences in Houston date back to the 1940s. A great many mid-century houses are spread around town by well-known modern architects like Lars Bang, Preston Bolton, Hugo Neuhaus, and others, as well as areas where modern homes are clustered in notable areas like Glenbrook Valley and Meyerland. Most locals are familiar with the Menil House by Philip Johnson (Pennzoil, Transco, Republic Bank — numerous huge projects around town) off San Felipe in River Oaks and the equally impressive Frame House off Memorial Drive.

This year’s tour homes, though newer construction, are no less progressive and impressive in their countenances than those early examples. In each, visitors will see the work of the best modern architects of the new millennium, and the best new innovations of technology and design for residential construction. Three of the homes that will be open for viewing are detailed in this preview:


2304 Goldsmith Street, Houston 77021

Architect: m + a architecture studio

BR: 5 • Bath: 4.5• Sq. Ft: 3300 • Year Built: 2016

Photos by Dror Baldinger, AIA, Architectural Photography

This residence is a new home on a prominent corner in a middle class neighborhood that is undergoing redevelopment. It was built for a young professional couple, Ryan and Betty Hammer, and their children, Ashley (5) and Luke (2).

The couple were drawn to modern architecture because, by their own admission, they are not “overly fussy people.” Betty said, “Clean lines with minimalist interiors that allow the structure to speak for itself appeal to us. We dislike unnecessary design details and would rather showcase the inherent loveliness of the wood, steel, glass and concrete elements rather than cover it up with an ornate design. Every­thing must have a function.”

The Hammers found m+a architecture and its principals, Mark Schatz and Anne Eamon, by researching modern homes they admired. They expressed their desire that their home be built with affordable yet high-quality, long-lasting materials that were also sustainable and environmentally friendly. Instead of building something huge for the sake of being huge, the Hammers wanted something comfortable that cleverly utilized every square inch. Schatz and Eamon understood the vision and supported it, so the project commenced. The end result lived up to the couple’s vision.

“We simply love how our home fits our lifestyle,” said Betty. “Much of the design makes it sophisticated, yet we are still comfortable.”

Features like the polished concrete floors allow the kids to just be kids, so there is no worry about something being damaged. The steel posts, beams and wall not only provide support but also endless possibilities of how and where to display the art the parents create with their kids.

Visitors will immediately understand that the home is a study in light. For example, the living area features a 25-foot curtain wall of glass that spans two stories allowing the living areas to be filled with light. As well, the James Turrell-inspired clerestory provides a tranquil, bright space to the second floor hallway. It was important for the Hammers to assess each iteration of plans for true functionality in their lives. This included picking out paint colors, bathroom tiles, lighting, and drawing out closet and kitchen configurations. Cutting costs wherever possible was a priority, so they took on installation of kitchen cabinets, custom closets and wiring for home audio/visual.

Additionally, Ryan built and stained the master closet barn door using reclaimed wood from the previous structure on the property. In fact, the couple was dedicated to salvaging or reusing as much of the previous structure as possible, so with the help of Ryan’s parents, they donated a large portion of the demolition to Habitat for Humanity.

Visitors, too, will notice the prominence of blue and gray paint. Betty explains, “We are both Rice alums, so the blue paint in our entry is Rice blue, and our garage is painted Rice gray.”

2304 Goldsmith Street – A wall of floor-to-ceiling windows marries the indoors with the outdoors and floods the entire back of the home with natural light. The Electrolux refrigerator was chosen as a budget alternative to the Sub Zero or the column type systems. The large gas cooktop is by Thermidor; counters are Dekton, which is a quartz variety that resembles marble; island end panels acid-etched steel plate; dining room light is “Raimond” by Moooi; kitchen cabinets basic birch flat panel with clear sealant by Texas Style Cabinets in Brenham.


The front view of the home illustrates its “four square” composition: a big square overall with four subdivisions, all of which are different. The black metal trim around the windows offers a visual punch. Front wood fence is 1 x 4 horizontally-placed western cedar; exposed galvanized steel frame, 7.2 metal siding panels by MBCI; RAM Industries windows; large format sliding doors by Western Window Systems; pine tongue and groove wood ceiling; exterior Hardi siding is painted Rice University blue.


Smooth horizontal lines and a floating stair case characterize this contemporary space. The steel wall on the right doubles as a magnetic board where the family displays the kids’ art and as a place to leave notes and memos for each other. CNC high definition plasma cut exposed steel stair parts by Triple-S Steel Supply; stair treads are cut pine glulam beams; wooden wall is common birch plywood with a simple clear sealant; RAM Industries windows; and polished concrete floor finish by Dungan Miller Design.


Strong geometric lines and a fusion of indoors with outdoors define this modern space. “Raimond” light by Moooi; exposed galvanized steel frame, 7.2 metal siding panels by MBCI; RAM Industries windows; large format sliding doors by Western Window Systems; pine tongue and groove wood ceiling.


A powder bath is tucked under the upper flight of stairs. Powder bath sink by Alape; faucet by Groehe.


Outdoors the dining porch is made contemporary through its use of industrial materials. The wall of windows and large sliding doors make it an extension of the living room. Exposed galvanized steel frame, 7.2 metal siding panels by MBCI; RAM Industries windows; large format sliding doors by Western Window Systems; pine tongue and groove wood ceiling; blue emerald shade tolerant zoysia grass lawn.



2202 McClendon Street, Houston 77030

Architect and Builder: studioMET

BR: 4 • Bath: 4 • Sq. Ft: 3,700 • Year Built: 2017

Photos by James Leasure, Modern Architecture + Design Society. Front Elevation by studioMET

The owners of the McClendon Street home were inspired by the architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who emphasized open space and connection between the interior and exterior. His designs incorporated plate glass, steel and stone and were generally free from ornamentation.

Previously the couple owned a mid-century modern style 1950s home in Meyer­land that had terrazzo tile floors, original walnut cabinets and period light fixtures. They appreciated how the design and construction held up well to current trends utilizing open, functional and efficient spaces. Unfortunately, their previous home flooded during the 2015 Memorial Day floods and was severely damaged. They reluctantly sold it, and it has been razed for construction of a large traditional style house.

The owners became aware of studioMET when the firm began building a home nearby and also saw several studioMet houses on home tours. After their first meeting with architect Stephen Andrews, they were confident that he was committed to great design and quality construction.

The large glass walls and windows that illuminate the new home with natural light also provide a view to the yard and water feature. The smaller sub-spaces in the home, such as the study and formal living room, provide efficient function. “The kitchen is another great space where we like to experiment with cooking and baking,” the owners shared. “We plan to use the house for small group gatherings from our church.”

The four-bedroom, four-bath home is outfitted with an elevator, an upstairs laundry room, a covered patio and an outdoor kitchen. Like many modern homes, this one offers convenient built-ins in the form of a window seat in the family room, built-in shelving and a reading nook between the formal living room and staircase, and a built-in wet bar with pocket doors to keep it hidden when it’s not being used.

Though the owners wanted an unassuming home, they didn’t want a modern construction that was spare, cool or stark. Stephen designed a home for them that is warm and inviting while also clean, linear and simple with great sight lines.

This home’s design features a kitchen that is open to the dining room. A vertical metal screen separates the family room from the other common areas. Beyond the kitchen is a small study that can be closed off with a sliding panel. Countertops by Ceasarstone; hand-glazed ceramic tile backsplash by Ann Sacks; cabinets are custom jobsite built.


Strong horizontal lines in this home’s front elevation echo back to mid-century modern architecture. A brick and cement board panel is a defining geometric feature.


The sunken formal living room opens to the foyer. Multiple ceiling elements and heights serve to define spaces and add visual interest.


This home illustrates the beauty of minimalism with its application of clean, straight lines, well placed lighting and natural materials.


The wall between the stair and the formal living room is carved out to form an open bookshelf with a reading bench. The Ipe wood ceilings (Mason’s Mill & Lumber) extend from inside to out.


6517 Wharton Street, Houston 77055

Architect, Designer and Builder: studioMET

BR: 4 • Bath: 3 • Sq. Ft: 3,200 • Year Built: 2016

Photos by James Leasure,
Modern Architecture + Design Society and studioMET.

This modern home is situated on a 5,000-square-foot lot in an Energy Cor­ridor subdivision that has seen significant redevelopment recently and is a great example of modern residential architecture with a modest budget. The homeowners are a young couple with a passion for good design. The home displays a mix of materials including board and batten, brick and wood, all with a color palette of natural earth tones.

The open concept plan maximizes the home’s footprint and fosters family togetherness, as well as allowing flexibility for entertaining. The kitchen, dining and living room coexist in one shared space – the “great room.” By combining these spaces, the routines of daily life (cooking, eating and relaxing) become shared experiences.

This young couple originally thought they could not afford to work with an architect and that the cost to build a modern house was out of their range. When they met with the team at studioMET, they learned that good design can be accessible to everyone on any budget.

It was important to the homeowner and their family to incorporate Vastu Shastra, a traditional Hindu system of architecture which literally translates to “science of architecture” and which describes principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement and spatial geometry.

The architects at studioMET shared that during the planning and design phase of the project, incorporating the Eastern system was challenging. In order to translate many of the principles to modern day Western urban norms of living, they worked with a Vastu Shastra consultant in order to include as many of the principles that the clients’ program and site would allow for. The result is a wildly pleasing and functional fusion of modern architecture and ancient design principles.

The front elevation features natural materials of brick and wood with warm earth tone paint colors.


A private entry courtyard with a succulent garden, cast in place concrete pavers featuring moon rock and a custom-made, clear, sealed cypress door are distinctive and dramatic elements of this home’s exterior.


Dining and kitchen spaces are constructed using long lines and rectangles, as well as light colored wood on the kitchen island and the cabinetry and a light concrete floor. Modular lighting adds contrasting shape and interest.


The classic modern architecture of this residence includes a strong connection to the outdoors. Lighting by Tom Dixon; sofa by Ligne, Roset Ploum.

Visit mads.media/2017-houston-mads-modern-home-tour for tickets and more information. Tickets are priced at $40, but Houston Lifestyles & Homes readers can enjoy a $10 discount by applying the code HOULIFE at checkout.

VIP tickets are also available for $100 that include a launch party with a panel and Q&A with some of the event architects on Thursday, Sept. 21 at the Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main St.

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