Houston’s Modern Homes Tour is back in person, with houses from River Oaks to Braeswood

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Houston's Modern Homes Tour is back in person, with houses from River Oaks to Braeswood

In his mind, Gilbert Garcia had been dreaming of a different house. He wasn’t sure what it would be, or even where, but he knew it wasn’t the house where he and his wife, DeeDee, raised their four children.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a large number of parcels were cleared or sold near Bracewood Square, where he is located. Garcia knew it was time to convince his wife to build their dream home when he saw two prime locations on the cul-de-sac in support of Caljan Park.

“We’ve lived on the same street on the other side of Stella Link since 2002. It’s the house where our kids were born and raised, and there are so many memories on these walls,” said Garcia, 58, and managing partner Garcia Hamilton is Houston’s second-largest fixed-income asset manager and the largest minority-owned firm of its kind in the country. “Our previous house was fine, but it was smaller, it wasn’t bespoke, and I felt like the other houses on the street had the same general floor plan.”

Large glass windows, flat roofs and contemporary style houses are what drew him to studioMET, a design-build firm in Houston, when he asked who made it.

when: March 19th from 10am to 4pm

Where: West 42nd Street (Echo Custom Homes); Sue Barnett (Echo Custom Homes); Bellefontaine (Hollenbeck Architects); Del Monte (Gary R. Chandler Architecture); Denes (studioMET); Pipe Rock (LEAM Design Build)

Tickets: $15-40; Mad Media

other information: MADS requires visitors to wear masks when visiting homes.


Garcias worked with studioMET partner and architect Yoonchul You and Laura Umansky and Shannon Smith of Laura U Interior Design.

Their home, which moved in late last summer, will be one of six in the Modern Architecture + Design Society’s 2022 Modern Home Tour by BEC engineers and consultants, which will be on-site on March 19 after being cancelled in 2020 Event returns and a virtual tour in 2021.

Touring architects and/or builders include Echo Custom Homes, Hollenbeck Architects, Gary R. Chandler Architecture & Interiors with Paula Fyhr Designs, LEAM Design Build and studioMET. Tickets cost $15 to $40 and are available on mads.media.

When Garcias decided to build a new home, DeeDee Garcia, 51, decided to quit her job as an optometrist to devote her time to the project. It took them a year to plan and get permits, then build the house 8 feet off the ground with a strict drainage system below to comply with new city building codes.

Since their new house is on the same street as their old house, frequent visits to the construction site are easy.

Now, the Garcias sit in their backyard, enjoying the laughter of children playing in a nearby park, or fiddling with smart device apps that control everything from curtains to lighting, temperature and even a giant fish tank—a One is 550 gallons and the other is 950 — built in a 6,444 square foot house.

“It’s all on one app. It’s amazing and the biggest difference (between our old and new homes) is how the electronics work. It’s so modern,” says Gilbert Garcia. “I’m still learning. When I have questions, I ask my daughter.”

There is a spacious backyard patio, a swimming pool and a 750 sq. ft. pool house with one bedroom, full bathroom, kitchen and laundry. During parties, its doors are open and used as a bar.

The Garcias lived in their new home for a short time, hosting Lamar High School seniors, the Straker Jesuit Homecoming Dinner, a pumpkin carving party for their daughter’s friends, a political fundraiser, a football team dinner and Charity Dinner Ball School of Business, University of Houston.

“We love to be entertained. We love to be the family where the football party is. Where the school events are. We love to be That The house,” Gilbert Garcia said. “Before, we would put some in the study and some in the kitchen, which was not conducive to events. I wanted a big open floor plan with a separate area for the teens so we could see them but not hear them. “

Outdoors, backyard space feels limitless. Indoors, they can accommodate 22 people between islands, with a breakfast table extending from the end of the island and a large live-side dining table, all close to each other.

Over the holidays, their extended family—including their four children, Andrew, 30, and his wife, Maria Daniel, 22, and a Texas A&M senior, Benjamin, 19, and St. A senior at Thomas High School, and Juliana, who is 15 — could gather in this home and eat in the same room.

Full design and construction is underway and the Garcias contact you one day to say they have decided this will be their last home so given its high elevation it needs to be more accessible. The architect turned quickly to find a place to install the elevator from the garage to the first floor and the elevator from the first floor to the second floor.

Despite being built and completed during manufacturing and shipping delays, studioMET architect and principal Shawn Gottschalk said Garcias’ timing was lucky. Bulky items like kitchen appliances are ordered early enough to avoid long wait times and the problems homeowners and contractors are dealing with today.

Still, the cost of many materials has increased — 25 to 35 percent for wood and 50 to 60 percent for electrical — Gottschalk said.

For those who appreciate only modern architecture, there is a lot to see in the six houses on the tour. For those looking for ideas for their new construction, remodeling or even decorating projects, think of the home on tour as a creative home from which you can start your own project.

Garcias, Smith and Umansky go to great lengths to decorate Garcias’ house. Modern homes have less decor—no fussy window trim or baseboards—so you can see how different approaches can be used to finish and fill each space.

Garcias’ former home was filled with traditional furniture, save for a pair of simple mid-century bedside tables – and now lives in the guest room.

Since DeeDee Garcia’s departure, she has embarked on a fashion journey.

“We were in transition with the city (planning) all year and I was able to collect – for the love of God and Pinterest – a lot of pictures of families. That’s what Shannon and Laura went through. They looked and I liked everything,” DeeDee said.

The family chose three dining areas because they like to entertain, even though only two of the couple’s four children are still home. They used three different chair styles – one with brown wood, another with blue upholstery and a third with grey leather, but they all look great together.

The formal dining area has a more rustic live-side table, so you’ll see how the fusion of styles comes into play. The same goes for their art, a range of modern, contemporary and more rustic Southwestern styles.

“We’re gathering here now,” Gilbert Garcia said of the dining area, DD noting that they used to eat in the living room in front of the TV. “It changes the dynamic. You don’t expect that when you have teenagers, … but it somehow brings us closer together.”

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