This journey started over ten years ago when I lived in Midtown. When I moved to Houston in 1999, that was the first part of town I looked at to buy a home. At that time, the area was still a little rough, so I defaulted to the Galleria area. 3-4 years later, I was back looking at homes being built in Midtown. I landed on a builder who was putting up blocks of homes in the area and using sheet metal as the siding, giving the streets and houses a modern aesthetic. I bought the townhouse while it was under construction and ended up making it even more mod. I lived in that house for longer than anywhere else I have lived in my entire life, 5 years. During that time, I would explore the area. That’s how I found the McGowen lot.
I purchased the lot with the intent of building on it one day. I could walk my lawnmower over from my house to the lot, mow the grass, and come back in an hour or two. That side of 59 was very sketchy at the time. I had a row of what appeared to be crack houses behind the property and a run down convenience store-turned-church next door. Bums slept on the porch of the “church” next door regularly and it was not unusual to find trash dumped on the property. There was only one new build project within blocks, which was essentially a gated tract townhome builder project that took up a whole block. McGowen was destined to be a corridor from Midtown into up and coming areas and since the city had recently expanded the street, I eventually got new sidewalks too.
As it became time to consider selling the place I had lived in for 5 years, I began looking at projects that were being built that I liked. Ultimately a designer with a home builder family was hired to design a 3 story town house to be built on the lot. After going round and round for months, I eventually had to fire that group because they weren’t willing to give me what I wanted. Thus the journey to design my own house began around 2011.
Since I couldn’t get a design I liked, I found a house for sale and moved in to it. It was a remodel, so for a few years my time was taken working on that. The house build project got put on hold once again. As I got close to putting that house on the market, I decided that I should experiment with a tiny house build that I would design and build myself. The plan was to move it on to the lot, live in it, then work on the actual home build. I bought my first container and moved it to the lot for storage. That worked fine, but the city had other ideas about me living there. Houston actually does not allow tiny homes or mobile homes on vacant lots. So once again, the project was put on hold as I figured out where to live in the interim. While I was busy with other projects, the neighborhood really started to move and have more new homes built. The houses that were falling down ended up getting torn down, along with the convenience store next to me. Townhouse projects were popping up all over the place.
After 5 years of a container used for storage sitting on the lot, it was time to get serious again about building a house again.