AIA Houston Showcases Local Homes and Architects in 2015 Annual Home Tour


AIA Houston Showcases Local Homes and Architects in 2015 Annual Home Tour

Homes demonstrate design excellence is not limited by size or dollars

HOUSTON, TEXAS – September 15, 2015 - The weekend of October 24-25, 2015, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Houston will hold its 2015 Annual Home Tour featuring nine area homes selected by a jury of industry experts to represent the finest in new residential architecture. The two-day, self-guided tour is open to the public and offers attendees a rare opportunity to walk through and view an impressive assortment of privately-owned residences designed by accomplished Houston architects. Open to the general public, the tour attracts approximately 3,000 people each year and operates with generous permission from homeowners, community cooperation, 200 volunteers, and architects eager to share each home's design.

All of the homes on the tour are located within the Houston metropolitan area, designed by an AIA architect, and completed within the last 5 years. This year’s selection committee is Cord Bowen of The Southampton Group, Houstonia Magazine publisher Diane Caplan, and Mark Wellen, FAIA of Rhotenberry Wellen Architects in Midland. The criteria used to select homes for the tour include design excellence, quality and craftsmanship, innovative design solutions and use of materials, and sustainability of design. The selection committee reviewed all submittals and made a recommendation to the AIA Houston Executive Committee, which made the final selection of homes to include on the tour.

AIA Houston 2015 Home Tour Chairman Benjamin Perry, Assoc. AIA LEED AP of Collaborative Designworks explains, “Our desire is to showcase the best examples of what is currently being designed and built here in Houston. It is not to present a flavor of Houston but a spectrum of what is happening now -- from traditional to modern, 750sf to 7500sf, renovation to new construction -- and show how these can be wonderfully different and yet each can be revered.”

"It’s one thing to pass by and admire these stunning homes from the outside, but an entirely heightened experience to step inside and be captivated by the remarkable thought and talent that went into each design,” adds AIA Houston Executive Director Rusty Bienvenue.

See a map of all featured houses. Watch a video overview of the AIA Home Tour.

Featured Houses and Architects (all square footages are approximate):

  1. Iris Lee House, 11333 Iris Lee Ln., Houston, TX 77024 - 8,708 sf, studioMET

  2. 4111 Drummond St., Houston, TX 77025 - 2,100 sf, Curry Boudreaux

  3. 2235 Goldsmith, Houston, TX 77030 - 3,328 sf, Murphy Mears Architects

  4. 5906 Grace Ln., Houston, TX 77021 - 990 sf, M+A Architecture Studio

  5. Terraces at Palm, 1525 and 1521 Palm St., Houston, TX 77004 - 2,700 sf, Collaborative Designworks

  6. 1504 Kipling St., Houston, TX 77006 - 4,644 sf, CONTENT Architecture

  7. 2219 Kane St., Houston, TX , 77007 - 751 sf, Kinneymorrow Architecture

  8. Aurora Duo House, 1134 Aurora St., Houston, TX 77009 - 2,545 sf, studioMET

  9. Heights Integral Urban Homestead, 312 E. 27th St., Houston, TX 77008 - 3,570 sf, Environment Associates Architects & Consultants

Iris Lee House, studioMET
Quiet and unassuming, this modern refuge in the heart of Memorial sits among soaring trees on a corner lot where stop signs, ditches and culverts signal a pace of life slower than the hustle and bustle of arteries such as Interstate 10 and Memorial Drive just minutes away.

This private residence integrates the hard and rigid -- brick, glass, steel, metal panels and cypress -- with the malleable: ponds as greeters and landscape companions, organic plantings and framed views of nature and her moods.

The exterior massing volumes of the house disguise the spaciousness of the interior where boundaries, planes and corners seamlessly weave in and out.

At almost 9,000 square feet, the residence includes: an inviting double-height living space with expanses of sliding glass walls; a spoke of secondary bedrooms off the main living hub; another spoke for entertaining with an open kitchen/family room complemented by a summer kitchen and lanai; and a master retreat on the entire second floor with a private terrace overlooking the lap pool and tennis court.

4111 Drummond St., Curry Boudreaux
Lars Bang AIA, among the first of the University of Houston College of Architecture graduates, designed the Bendit House in 1952. Heralded by local and national media and featured on the Contemporary Arts Museum’s Modern House Tour Six, it was forgotten as one-story ranch houses that originally surrounded it continued to be replaced by large-scale builder stock. The house represents and yet transcends its time and place with a design rigor effectively showcasing the optimistic tenets of early Modernism. It is futuristic enough to be mistakenly identified as contemporary construction, although being over 60 years old.

A calibrated palette of textures and finishes creates an overall sense of calm and welcome, while the home’s architectural scale and proportions give it drama. Simplicity abounds with continuous surface planes and materials from exterior to interior and an uncommon, total absence of trim and moulding.

A complete roof replacement with contemporary materials allowed for vastly improved energy efficiency and weather resistance. Inside, original paneling and millwork were stripped of paint and restored to finishes of tinted stain, and a new plywood ceiling was installed throughout to match original layout and finish. The new job-built kitchen is an expanded homage to the original.

Infrastructure upgrades include new current code-compliant efficient electrical and plumbing systems. Period-correct fixtures, accessories and hardware, harvested from neighboring demolitions, contribute authentic detail. With restoration complete, the house offers lessons beyond historic context, addressing what are considered contemporary issues of sustainable residential design: energy efficiency via passive solar strategies, right-sized programming and aging-in-place suitability.

Goldsmith House, 2235 Goldsmith, Murphy Mears Architects
Located on a small lot in an older neighborhood, this new home provides a strong connection to the outdoors to enhance the owner's interests in entertaining, gardening and music. Exterior materials include face brick and stucco on the front, taking contextual cues from nearby houses, and a painted Hardie Plank open-joint screen in the rear. The brick wing, capped by a roof deck, defines the public and private outdoor spaces.

Guests are directed into the house by a subtle diagonal line in the auto court and entry that continues into the garden and beyond to the reflecting pool. A cast concrete stepping stone floats in the pool water, making a gesture that links the interior to the garden outside. Living and dining areas share an open space with the kitchen but are delineated by a free-standing cabinet passthrough feature that provides multiple framed views.

The baby grand piano placed in the bay window projects outside to large Corten steel raised planter boxes. Three steel trellis structures cantilever off the east façade, modulating sunlight at key openings. A fourth trellis shades the terrace space facing south into the garden, framing the view from the study. Rock-salt-textured concrete exterior paving complements the mottled stained concrete floors inside and connects with grass pavers to accommodate required guest parking off the narrow neighborhood street.

Grace House, 5906 Grace Ln., M+A Architecture Studio
This house began as a 560-square-foot exploration in small scale living, intended as a single bedroom starter home. After completing the original design, the owners learned they were expecting a baby. A second bedroom / bathroom was developed as a second phase, bringing the overall size up to 990 square feet. Other children have since come along and the house is currently home for a family of five, living in a small, hyper-efficient space.

As the project exists today, it is a complete reinterpretation, adaptation and radical transformation of one small house into another, slightly larger, small house – reframing and repurposing the intent and design of the original building. New concrete cast in place, steel and glass complement the original building and are connected via a floating glass bridge element that is used as a library and reading room.

Located in a transitional inner city neighborhood, this house is an infill project on an older street of post WW2 small asbestos-shingle-clad houses. It is the third small house project within a small, experimental, verdant garden setting minutes from downtown Houston. Expansive windows open the house to the north, flooding the house with daylight. Lower scale windows to the south extend the view of the living spaces into the landscape. Fine materials and construction systems are used throughout the house, but in very limited manner. The design goal is to provide quality of space and material refinement rather than pure quantity.

Terraces at Palm, 1525 and 1521 Palm St., Collaborative Designworks

A corner lot on a wide oak-lined boulevard in the Houston Museum District created an opportunity to allow for street-front terraces and a unique floor plan for each Unit. Double height spaces, split-level living rooms and monochromatic interiors are all packaged into a LEED certified design (pending completion). City planning requirements of a 15-foot-visibility triangle provide a place for the project to engage the street and the community, forming a small park with integrated seating and shading provided by climate-appropriate plantings.

The six townhomes are grouped into pairs of interlocking volumes reflected by two opposing stucco finishes, a natural grey and a painted white. The joining of these volumes are then further articulated with a dark bronze anodized strip of windows and aluminum panels. Openings within these blocks are created by carving in and pushing out of the stucco envelope. Windows are then grouped between adjacent rooms, floors and the neighboring unit to create larger overall openings within the exterior skin. This achieved a grander scale within the individual apertures and the massing of the building.

Kipling House, 1504 Kipling St., CONTENT Architecture
The Kipling Residence is a new and modern yet serene addition to the Montrose neighborhood just north of the Menil grounds. Designed for a growing family of five, it allows for generous open family zones oriented to large glass walls facing the street and a courtyard swimming pool. Tucked against the foundation to minimize spatial impact on the outdoor space, the courtyard swimming pool promotes the reflection of light up the brick wall flanking. The courtyard also creates a buffer between the master suite and the children's play and bedroom zones. The master suite, clad in a Cumaru rainscreen, echoes the first floor connection to the exterior, with large glass walls off screened balconies to the north and south sides. Fixed wood slats provide privacy on the first floor, while a large sliding second-floor panel allows the street balcony to exchange privacy control with the study. The children’s suite is defined by integral color stucco and features three light scoops facing east to assist in waking the children to the morning sun. A playroom features a tunnel for the kids to crawl inside, which also doubles as a stage. Behind the stage, there is a chalkboard wall for lessons or drawing the backdrop to the “play.” Material changes on the exterior define the various programmatic zones with brick and glass, housing shared spaces.

Kane House, 2219 Kane St., Kinneymorrow Architecture
Located in Houston’s Sixth Ward Historic District, 2219 Kane was built in the 1880s. Originally located at 2314 Kane, the house was relocated in 2014 to a prominent entry point to the neighborhood. Unoccupied since the death of its long-time owner, the structure was in a state of severe neglect when acquired by the present owner. The house serves as an office and guest house for the owner whose other small Sixth Ward home has no guest accommodations. The house is a mere 751sf plus the exterior porches.

The restoration and renovation retains the original plan of the home but makes discrete interventions to help the space function in a more contemporary way. The missing front porch was reconstructed from old photographs using vintage columns. A side porch – enclosed in the 1890s to make more interior space – was restored, allowing views to the west. An operable skylight was located at the center of the structure to bring light into the library area. Extraneous doors were eliminated while slightly misaligned doors were re-centered along the north-south axis of the house. The existing bathroom was enlarged to make a generous full bath. Millwork was arrayed along the west wall, providing storage and a fold-down queen-size bed. Finally, a slot was cut through the three main rooms. This cut respects the original divisions while providing continuity and openness throughout the house. Finally, a long bar of built-ins was inserted into this slot to serve as work spaces and kitchen while millwork was arrayed on the west wall of the two rear rooms providing storage and a fold-down bed. The kitchen and bathroom convert easily into guest quarters.

Heights Integral Urban Homestead, 312 E. 27th St., Environment Associates Architects & Consultants
The Height’s Integral Urban Homestead is a private residence designed for a couple striving to live in a healthy, stress-reduced and sustainably responsible manner within Houston’s inner loop.

This Registered LEED Platinum homeplace:

  • Aesthetically honors the Houston Heights historic architectural roots.

  • Is architecturally passive-designed for high energy performance plus PV solar system to become 100% Net Zero Energy. Has HERS Rating of minus 6.

  • Features a rainwater harvesting system that provides 100% of year-round household and landscaping needs.

  • Is designed with landscaping to be mostly 100% edible.

  • Harvested damaged existing trees on site to provide beautiful exposed wood interior trusses, cabinets, trim work and doors. A stately Sycamore street tree was preserved.

  • Accommodates polio physical disabilities, clean indoor air quality and healthy outdoor living desires. Is designed to surpass EPA’s Indoor airPlus™ certification.

  • Is architecturally designed for passive cooling. This home is intentionally designed to deliver reasonable comfort year-round, even without power. A linear cupola induces natural ventilative cooling and delightful natural daylighting. Natural breezes produced by the cupola can provide natural cooling during overheated days whenever desired. The private backyard porch can use the entry as a breezeway to enhance outdoor living, while pocket doors allow the home’s interior to remain fully conditioned when desired. Porches, awning roofs and deep overhangs provide shade in overheated seasons and allow open windows and porch usage during rainstorms. Designed-in cross ventilation throughout the home and purposely positioned porches and windows allow additional months of living naturally without having to use mechanical systems.

  • Is architecturally designed for low maintenance, high durability and aging in-place.

Aurora Duo House, 1134 Aurora St., studioMET
This modern gabled house is half of a double-lot project commissioned by a savvy developer client who believes good design is part of the equation. This two-story hybrid between a townhouse and a custom house exemplifies efficiently programmed living spaces, complementary outdoor balconies, clean lines and sensible material selections for the exterior and interior.

The plan includes an open concept kitchen-dining-living space with a patio and small green space. The upper floor includes a flex space, two bedrooms, a master suite and balconies overlooking the street and yard.

Sensitive to its context, this house and its adjacent twin are in dialogue with the original bungalows on this quiet street in Sunset Heights, just off the thriving commercial farmers market district of Airline Drive. Here, neighbors, foodies and the city’s restaurateurs stock up on various fresh produce, seeds and spices year-round.  

$25 Full-Tour Ticket
$20 Full-Tour Ticket for Bike Riders
$10 Single House Ticket (Single house tickets will not be available for pre-sale)

The Full-Tour and Single House Tickets can be purchased at any of the participating houses during tour hours and are good both days of the tour.

Full-Tour tickets may be purchased in advance online at or at the AIA Houston office, 315 Capitol Street, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77002.

AIA Houston wishes to recognize and thank the following tour sponsors (as of September 25th) for their generosity:

Diamond Sponsors

Tour Sponsor

Party Sponsors

Media Sponsors


The American Institute of Architects Houston is the professional organization for more than 1,800 architects and other design professionals in the greater Houston area. Its mission includes service to members and to the public.

Office hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Open to the public, the AIA Houston Home Tour showcases the finest residential architecture in the Houston area, as designed by licensed architects. Houses are chosen to showcase a variety of design styles demonstrating that excellence in design is not limited by size or dollars.

The home tour is a nonprofit fundraiser and supports various AIA Houston initiatives throughout the year. Watch a video overview of the AIA Home Tour.


Tina Zulu, Zulu Creative, 888.520.1789, ext. 1 or for AIA Houston.

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