A Building Trend: Bigger Homes on Smaller Lots

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exterior 2240 Inwood Dr, Houston, TX
Jeff MyersYou might mistake this newly built Spanish Revival home as being original to Houston's River Oaks neighborhood.
A current trend in luxury homes is building big on smaller lots. Sure, there's not much elbow room, i.e. privacy, between you and your neighbor, but there's less lawn for maintenance. And more importantly, it means that you can get a newer luxury home in an urban or historic area.

River Oaks, which sits comfortably between downtown and uptown Houston is a prime example. It is one of the wealthiest and most expensive historic neighborhoods in Texas. "The median sales price last year was $1.555 million," says Monica Vaca, a Century 21 Realtor in the area who recently gave me and colleagues a tour of the neighborhood and of a spec home on the market for $4.899 million (down about 7.5 percent from its original list price).

The stunning Spanish Revival-style home with stucco-and-stone facade stands tall above the house to its right -- an original home on a block where most were built in the 1920s. But don't let the age of surrounding homes fool you, in River Oaks most are quite massive in-and-of themselves. Still, some are torn down to make room for larger new construction.

Remember, size is all relative. And in keeping with Texas' reputation, there's much that trends bigger there than in other markets. So when it comes to new construction in Texas, new homeowners want "small homes" with lots of big, big rooms, says Will Holder, president of luxury homebuilder Trendmaker Homes.

The spec home at 2240 Inwood Drive, built by Al Ross Luxury Homes, has a whopping 6,315 square feet on a lot size that is merely 11,857 square feet. The average new single-family home sold was built on a lot of 15,456 square feet, which is about a third of an acre.

Holder says that homebuyers will see a lot of new construction where homes are built deep and wide on smaller lots. Al Ross says to differentiate his homes, he is building, a lifestyle not just a home. For example, all of his homes come with a one-year personal concierge maintenance service that offers the homeowner complimentary seasonal flower and plant renewal; driveway and garage concrete cleaning; seasonal spray washing and cleaning of the home's exterior; gutter and fireplace cleanings; light bulb replacement; dryer exhaust cleaning; maintenance of appliances, plumbing and pipes; touch-up of scuffs and scrapes; and attention to any mechanical, technical or electronic issues -- all free of charge for 12 months.

Each home is equipped with such luxury amenities as elevators, energy-efficient air conditioning and heating, backup generators, and state-of-the-art smart home systems that control everything from sprinkler and mosquito systems to sound and video, with the touch of an iPad.

Big House on a Small Lot in Houston
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A Building Trend: Bigger Homes on Smaller Lots
This 6,315-square-foot Spanish Revival home at 2240 Inwood Dr. Houston, Texas, is listed at $4.9 million. 
The residence, built by Al Ross Luxury Homes, features hand-carved doors, white oak wood floors, sealed stone and tile floors, three fireplaces, a temperature-controlled mahogany wine room, outdoor pool, car lifts, boutique-style wardrobes and shelving.
The grand foyer with double-height ceiling is covered in South American Calypso coral, filled with swirls of fossils that interplay with the incoming window light. The fireplace with carved coral mantelpiece is accented by a Versailles- patterned stone floor.
The professionally-equipped kitchen boasts a refectory table-style island with artisan tile accents, a recess for pull-up seating, an under-mount sink with a pot filler, and abundant storage. Appliances include a full-size Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer and an Italian professional-grade range with custom-designed hood.
The master suite, located upstairs in its own wing,  is accented by a Versailles-pattern white oak floor, carved stone fireplace and tall French windows.  It has solid, double oak doors, that are hand-carved.
The great room with stone fireplace leaves "an unforgettable impression and provides a charming elegance for entertaining," according to listing details. It showcases the elegance of Old World European architecture.
The resort- style bathroom has inlaid marble floors and walls; a glass-front marble shower; furniture-quality sink cabinets with natural granite surfaces; and two private water closets and and framed mirrored walls. 
The master closet and dressing area is custom designed for couples. It is larger than master bedrooms in some other homes. It has ample shelving and an oval packing island with Silestone surface. There are electrical and USB outlets, and subtle LED underlighting to add convenience and luxury.

Find Sheree Curry on Twitter: @shereecurry
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