Most Houstonians are likely fairly familiar with Montrose. Sitting in the heart of the inner loop, this popular Houston neighborhood is surrounded by countless amenities all sharing an artsy vibe, and its central location makes getting to pretty much any part of Houston fairly easy. If you live outside the area though, you may be unaware of Montrose’s historic Avondale subdivision…unless of course you’re passionate about adaptive reuse of historic structures like I am!
The subdivision, which is divided into two historic districts, Avondale East and Avondale West, was developed in the early twentieth century. Avondale homes were built in the Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Neoclassical, Prairie, American Four Square and Craftsman styles, all of which were popular architectural styles at the time. Because they so quintessentially captured Houston’s development in the early twentieth century, Avondale East and Avondale West were designated as historic districts in November 1999 and September 2007, respectively.
Avondale’s historic significance largely stems from the impressive architecture of its homes as well as the many notable developers, architects, builders and past residents of the subdivision. Another defining historical feature of the neighborhood is its red sidewalks and curbs, which were tinted red to complement green lawns and trees, and to reduce glare. Some of these original sidewalks and curbs still remain today and you’ll likely get a glimpse of them on a walk through Avondale East.
The Avondale community was developed as an exclusive and upscale residential neighborhood and thus, as one would expect, it is full of beautiful homes on large lots. In fact, one of the neighborhood character protection tools afforded by historic district status is minimum lot size, meaning that lots can’t be subdivided to make way for the ubiquitous townhouse development that characterizes much of central Houston. The lots along Avondale Street are especially substantial, as the street was originally designed to hold the subdivision’s most extravagant homes. To learn more about Avondale, its history, architectural styles and boundaries, check out the City of Houston Planning and Development Department’s manual covering this historic Montrose subdivision.
Knowing the history behind the stunning homes in this historic subdivision, I’d be excited about the prospect of listing any home in Avondale East or Avondale West. So naturally, I’m ecstatic about having the opportunity to be listing 405 Avondale, a home as versatile as it is rich with history. The home is currently used commercially, with a studio around back, but sitting on a huge lot with considerable open spaces, it’s great for comfortable and luxurious living as well.
This historic hallmark of Avondale West has been around for over 100 years, meaning some changes have naturally been made to update the home and improve its functionality. That being said, 405 Avondale’s intriguing design, quality craftsmanship and natural essence have remained even after all these years. Take a look below at a Houston Daily Post article from the year the home was built detailing its original design. Hearing the story behind it only adds to the allure of an already captivating home.
HISTORY OF 405 AVONDALE ~ MONTROSE
As reported in the Houston Daily Post
February 18, 1912
NEW MONTROSE HOME
A handsome residence of unusual design is being erected for Judge Walter M. Brown on Avondale Avenue. The Architect is G. W. Cottingnon. Among the distinctively out-of-the-ordinary features in the design is the fact that the entire base of the house, from grade line to the sills of the first story windows is done with impervious pressed brick. This is dark matted in color, laid-in white putty mortar with narrow joints. The sill course capping this brick is cement.
The House is two stories high, designed in a severe but handsome style of architecture, and surrounded on two sides with a broad porch.
From the top of the sill line to the cornice, including the entire cornice, the walls are done in cement stucco, ingot iron lath. The stucco being rough case, all of the window and door frames are set back in the walls the same as in a brick building, so as to give depth to the openings.
The porch piers and columns are of the same kind of brick as the base of the house, also the porch, balustrade and rails of concrete. The roof is of shingles and stained moss green.
The interior of the house is arranged with a large living room 16 feet by 30 feet, dining room, and kitchen and stair hall, with pantries, closets, and flower conservatory on the first floor. On the second floor there are three chambers with full compliment of closets, trunk room, halls and a complete equipped bathroom. There are also toilets, etc., on the first floor.
The house will have quarter sawed white oak floors, hardwood doors, and selected sap pine finish. In the living room and dining room there are large brick mantels of neat and pleasing design.
All of the walls and ceilings in the rooms of the entire house are lathed and plastered, done with hard wall plaster. The walls are to be tinted in colors soft and pleasing.
The particular feature of the house is the large porches and sleeping porch.
This wonderful video put together by Patrick Bertolino really captures the grandeur and uniqueness of this home.
For more information on 405 Avondale as it stands today, check out the HAR listing here: http://www.har.com/405-avondale-st/sale_37690684
And of course, if you have any questions about the home or historic Avondale East and West, feel free to contact me.
- 405 Avondale
- adaptive reuse
- Avondale East
- Avondale West
- Historic Preservation Manual
- historic renovation
- Houston Daily Post
- Houston historic districts
- live work
- office space
- Patrick Bertolino
- versatile office space