Developer Holden Shannon and designers Matt and Tina Ford of Shade House Development have initiated an ambitious plan to tweak what has become part of the American iconography: the row house. They’ve taken a little more than an acre of land in the Houston Heights and are constructing nine pristine white row houses, almost Shaker in their simplicity, in a rental development dubbed Row on 25th.
Shannon, a Rice University grad with a business interest in the Row, says, “The idea here was taken partially from the white Minnesota farmhouses where I live part of the year, with their vast green cornfields … as well as the town of Marfa with its quietness and visual restraint.” Matt Ford has created a subtle gradation of white exterior-paint hues, orchestrating a darker contrast as each structure recedes into the space. “We also cantilevered the homes so they float eight inches off the ground and placed them to the back of the lot, planting a native Muhly grass field in front to set off the white forms,” he says. Still in the planning stages is a common area with tables, plus benches by metal artist George Sacaris. Interior designer Barbara Hill has been enlisted to stage the 1,900-square-foot dwellings — which rent for $2,850 a month — with apropos art and furnishings.
Never losing sight of the upscale amenities required in the competitive real estate rental market, the team has installed Sub-Zero refrigerators and professional-grade appliances in the kitchens, which are clad with gray limestone (a material used in the master baths, too) from counter backsplash to ceiling. Ford used ash and reclaimed longleaf pine for flooring, stainless-steel on kitchen cabinetry and slab windows (save for the west wing, where windows havebeen omitted), enabling light to gently cascade through the courtyard and
into the house.
A modernist’s mecca, the walls are smooth and free of door and window trim. Concerned with living greener? You can take solace in the fact that Ford — whose eco-minded work has been featured in Dwell magazine — has utilized Zero-VOC floor and cabinet finishes, used reclaimed material for the fencing and installed reflective metal roofing and tank-less water heaters. Row on 25th is at 226 W. 25th Street. Information shadehousedev.com.
Row on 25th Shaker-like row houses. Photo by Jack Thompson.
Interior, Row on 25th
Interior, Row on 25th