I drove down to Houston this past weekend for the Houston Modern Home Tour (tour information & website here).  I’ve gone on a number of home tours in Dallas and always enjoy the experience.  Speaking of, the Dallas AIA’s Tour of Homes is coming up November 1st and 2nd.  Don’t miss it!


Photograph: Benjamin Hill Photography  Architect: 2Scale Architects

A modern home tour is a chance for anyone to see new architecture in their area.  Houston has long been a city that cultivates modern architecture & design and I wonder what part of this is due to the relative lack of zoning.  In case you don’t know, almost anything goes in Houston whereas in other cities zoning ordinances lay down a “map” of what kinds of buildings go where.  This generally leads to large neighborhoods of residential houses and apartments separated from commercial buildings and industrial zones.  Effectively it led to the rise of the commute – the workplace may be fairly removed (distance-wise) from where you live.

Houston’s zoning does keep, for instance, a power plant from opening up down the street from residential areas.  But just driving down Westheimer reminded me of how just about everything else is blended together.  There’s the Galleria mall, and across the street are 20-story or greater office buildings which sit immediately next to a church which is next to a house…you get the picture.


Builder / Designer: Robertson Design

Back to the home tour.  There were 7 recently-completed houses available for viewing (one so recently completed the wet paint signs were still up – this seemed a little….tacky in my humble opinion).  A variety of Architects and designers designed the homes, and they were built by a variety of builders.  The one link was a modern style.  I really enjoyed seeing the houses that were occupied.  The home above was a brand new 2 bedroom that had a kind of split-level approach.  The concrete walls appeared both inside and outside and the interior was zen modern.  I really thought the owners did a great job with their house.

Several homes appeared to be spec homes available for sale.  I feel a bonus to the tour is to see how owners occupy and live in their modern architecture.  I’ll admit to checking out what art they collect, or what books and items they have on the shelves.  The empty spec homes just didn’t compete with lived-in architecture.  Perhaps they needed to be staged with some furniture.  The home below was unique in that it was eclectically furnished (fun children’s area included) and was raised several feet off the ground on piers.  This will offer some flood protection, but I believe the feeling of being raised off the ground and added height of the 1-story house was a big design goal well-met on this house.


Photograph: Joe Aker  Designer: Lisa Pope-Westerman

This triangular home below was designed to infill a small triangular piece of land left over from an adjacent development.  High ceilings, clean design, and really great art made it one of my favorites.  This was the only 3-story home on the tour, and the entire 3rd floor is an open studio space where the artist/resident works.  The quality of the natural lighting was incredible in this house.


Photograph: Anna Veselova  Architect: Alan Bianchi

See you on the Dallas AIA Home Tour on November 1st!


This post was originally written before re-branding as Eckxstudio for Modern Architecture at the end of 2017.

At Eckxstudio for Modern Architecture, we design unique and stunning projects, individually crafted for our clients’ lives. We’re passionate about listening to your needs, wants and desires as inspiration to design the dream home you’ll never want to leave.