House & Garden, 1954
Below are photos taken around 2004 for the Texas Historic Marker Application and an excerpt describing the house
“The 1950 Mary Wood and Hugo V. Neuhaus, Jr., House is a one-story, steel and wood-framed, flat-roofed, glass-and-brick-walled modem pavilion that reflects the influence of Ludwig Mies van der Robe and Philip Johnson on the architectural development of mid-twentieth-century Houston, Harris County, Texas. The house is based on an H-shaped plan incorporating a pair of garden courtyards. The east (entrance) face of the house is oriented toward Kirby Drive, a parkway thoroughfare drive that links River Oaks to downtown Houston; the south elevation of the house faces Lazy Lane, the single street that traverses the Homewoods subdivision. Lazy Lane is a broad street that divides around landscaped median islands. Massed evergreen broad leaf trees and hedges screen most house sites from the street. The walls of the Neuhaus House are planes of smudge-faced brick, laid up in a mixed blend of salmon, orange, and buff brick, alternating with planes of glass, either horizontal ribbons of wood-framed casement windows above stucco-faced spandrels or floor-to-ceiling wall planes of plate glass, with all walls capped by a horizontally continuous, white-painted wood fascia.
The most striking feature of the Neuhaus House is its transparency. The interior of the house, based on a functionally zoned plan, alternates between glass-walled reception rooms and more enclosed private spaces. The glass-walled rooms are spatially continuous with a west-facing, three-level, rear patio garden, which contains a rectangular swimming pool dramatically inset between the living room and dining room. The grounds of the house are planted with mature shade trees and shrubs. A small bath house at the northwest edge of the patio (now used as a guest house) minors the architecture of the house. The front (east) elevation is three bays wide. The southernmost bay contains a single circular window set in the brick wall. The intermediate bay is subdivided into three bays comprising an inset entry portico, a brick wall plane, and the kitchen window: a large central fixed glass pane f1anked by one-over-one metal-framed casement windows. The kitchen bay, similar to the organization of windows on the south and north elevations, has an A-B-A pattern (narrow aluminum-framed windows flanking a central plate glass window) with a solid horizontal spandrel below the window openings. Historically this band, stucco on the exterior, was painted a blueish-gray. Presently, this stucco spandrel band and others beneath casement window bands has been painted to match the brick. Paired, wood-framed, glass front doors rise from floor to ceiling and are flanked by fixed sheets of plate glass. The third northern bay of this east elevation contains the three-car garage. Overhead doors are inset between square brick columns
The north elevation is five bays wide. The first, eastern, bay, containing the garage, repeats the circular window set into a brick wall as seen on the front elevation. The second bay, an in-fill addition from the early 2000s, is a glass-fronted pavilion with clerestory windows that project above the roofline of the original house. The third bay has a variation of the A-B-A window type with a narrow pane and large fixed plate glass pane (A-8 pattern) followed by a narrow brick colunm, then a wood-framed glass door with the mirror image window grouping (door-B-A). The fourth bay is a recessed brick garden wall with a heavy wooden door that appears to be original. The door is constructed of solid vertical wood blocks with horizontal wood bands at the top and bottom. The fifth bay is the pool bathhouse that has been remodeled into an exercise and guest house.
The central void of the west-facing rear patio adjoins the three bay west (rear) elevation of the house. The inset patio is paved with light pink terrazzo trimmed with brick. The patio is set on three levels. The architectural drawings for the house identify the paved segment closest to the house as planned for “dancing,” an intermediate terrace for “dining “and the lower grass-surfaced terrace near the graceful brick steps down to the rear lawn for “lounging.” The rectangular swimming pool (16 ft x 43 ft) is located on the first patio level. It is surrounded by a light pink terrazzo decking and is inset adjacent to the living room and behind the entry hall. Historically there was a door from the living room that opened out over the pool, also known as the “plunge pool.”
The south elevation, the house’s longest, consists of three bays. The westernmost bay contains two asymmetrically placed circular windows in a brick field. The intermediate bay is a deeply recessed glass window wall-a combination of doors and floor-to-ceiling fixed panes. The third bay contains three window groupings: the first a door then plate glass window followed by narrow window with and operable lower casement (door-B-A); the second bay has the A-B-A pattern; and the third bay is the mirror image of the first (A-B-door). The stucco band beneath these windows has been painted to match the brick.
The private spaces are divided into three clusters arranged around the transparent central core of the house-the entry hall, living and dining rooms. The house reveals itself slowly from the entrance large hall where the visitor encounters a strategically placed solid brick wall that serves as a stage curtain and moving around it slowly reveals the most spectacular feature of the house: the pale pink terrazzo patio and plunge pool nestled tightly against the glass walls of the living and dining rooms and the landscaped patio and gardens beyond. The living room has glass walls on its north and south sides and the dining room on the west and south sides. The pool is dramatically inset closely against the northern glass wall of the living room and the southern glass wall of the dining room similar to Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion of 1928-29 (demolished 1930, rebuilt 1986). The northern side of the house has the kitchen, storage areas and servant’s rooms. The children’s wing is located on the eastern side of the transparent core and the large master suite, sitting room and dressing rooms is opposite on the western side of the house. The original finished ceiling height is 10′ throughout the house and the original terrazzo flooring is off-white (pale pink surrounding the plunge pool).”