Roger Martin and Life in the Loop

 

Dec. 18, 2012

4029 Southwestern Street - SOLD in West University Place

4029 Southwestern Street's stone-and-stucco turret-style entry opens to an elegant and understated home. Features include a pool, stone floors, high ceilings, crown molding, and neutral colors.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $1,320,000
  • House Size: 4,390 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 7,750 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 5 Full
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS # 67042754

Features

  • Grand entry hall with spiral stair and backyard views
  • Crown molding and neutral colors throughout
  • Upstairs game room
  • Master suite with sitting area and study
  • Master balcony with stairs to backyard and pool
  • Heated salt water pool with spa and rock waterfall
  • Gourmet kitchen with granite counters and professional-grade appliances

>More Great West U Homes for Sale

 

Dec. 11, 2012

Susan Paul, Former West U Teacher, Publishes Book

Tunes for Teachers, by Susan PaulCongratulations to Susan Paul, teacher extraordinaire, who has just published her first book titled “Tunes for Teachers”!

I first met Susan Paul when my son Christopher was in second grade.  She was then – and still is – one of the most creative people I have ever met.  Among the teachers and parents of West University Elementary School, Susan Paul was known for her ability to create topical ditties and songs on the spur of the moment - and on any topic.  Who else would have made up songs about metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous rocks?  I kid you not.  Now she has published those ditties in her first book "Tunes for Teachers".  Counting her years as a primary teacher at West University Elementary School, Susan Paul has been teaching early childhood students for over thirty years.  In addition to teaching kids, she also teaches teachers.  Susan Paul has spent five years providing professional development to teachers with the Houston Independent School District.  Now she has founded STRIDES Educational Services to serve both teachers and students.  For teachers, Susan offers consulting, coaching, and professional development.  But children (and especially gifted and talented children) remain her heart’s work.  STRIDES serves up storytelling sessions and a private Preschool offering enrichment for four-year-olds.

Susan Paul as the Cat In The Hat, STRIDES Educational Services

And just ask Susan about her birthday parties and tea parties!  Using costumes, props and puppets, Susan brings our favorite children’s stories come to life. These story-book characters entertain the kids while teaching important life lessons.

So well done, Susan Paul - we are proud of you and your accomplishments!

Roger Martin

 

Posted in Our Schools
Dec. 11, 2012

Roger Martin Visits Santa Clause at Edloe Deli

Roger Martin meets Santa Claus at the Edloe Deli in West University PlaceYes Virginia, there really IS a Santa Claus.  And Roger Martin spotted him at the Edloe Deli this week.  But who is who?  Roger is the white-bearded gentleman who is NOT wearing the red suit.  Santa is the other guy.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Dec. 3, 2012

Holiday Tasks for Real Estate Agents

Holiday Tasks for Real Estate Agents

As real estate agents, we are well aware of the cyclical nature of our business.  Few folks start their home searches during the busy family holidays.  And existing clients rush to close their houses by year-end, driven both by the desire to spend the holidays in their new home, and by the wish to capture their tax credits.

Inevitably, this natural cycle leads to a “hole” in our real estate schedule.  What are real estate agents to do?

Don’t fret.  This slack time in the real estate market is the perfect opportunity to get the jump on next year’s business.  Here are some suggestions…

  • Draw up your list of active clients.  Put it in writing – which will insure that no one slips between the cracks.  Send cards or drop off thoughtful client gifts.  Be personal, not pushy.
  • Update your contact management list with current emails, phone numbers, etc.  This is the perfect time to collect mailing addresses - think of all those holiday cards you receive.
  • Review your personal marketing campaign.  If it worked, do it again.  If it didn’t, make changes accordingly.  If you didn’t get around to it, schedule it now.
  • Take care of all your routine healthcare checkups.  Visiting the doctor, the dentist, and the gynecologist now will free up your time later when the market is busier.  Keep exercising – it keeps your brain from turning to mush.
  • Read all those business books you haven’t gotten had time for.  Swap insights with a friend.
  • Circulate to all the holiday parties you can.  Be sociable – the exposure will serve you well in the long run.
  • And yes – relax and spend time with your families.  After all, they are the reason we do this.

Your clients will come back just as soon as the holidays are over.  As a real estate agent, you must be prepared to hit the ground running when they are.  Giving yourself the gift of preparation could just be the best gift of the holiday season!

Roger Martin

 

Dec. 1, 2012

701 Bering #804 - SOLD in the Galleria

701 Bering #804 is a townhome with one bedroom, one and a half baths, and a loft. The combined living/dining room features two-story windows flanking a wood-burning fireplace, and the unit has a brick patio attached as well.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $169,900
  • House Size: 1,154 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 1
  • Bathrooms: 1 full, 1 half
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS # 75066009

Features

  • Open floor plan with combination living/dining room
  • Updated kitchen with solid surface counters and a Bosch dishwasher
  • Downstairs half bath
  • Spacious master down and loft upstairs
  • Large walk-in closet and full bath
  • Two car garage
  • Excellent location in the Galleria
  • Quiet complex, unit is close to the pool

>More Great Galleria Homes for Sale

 

Nov. 27, 2012

The Houston Economy – Bucking National and International Trends

Jobs - US vs HoustonAs usual, the recent symposium by the Institute for Regional Forecasting answered many questions about the Houston economy – and raised others.  This was the last lecture by Dr. Ted Jones, the Chief Economist at Stewart Title.  Thanks to Dr. Jones for plugging the gap between the exiting director of the IRF, Dr. Barton Smith, and incoming director, Dr. Robert Gilmer from the Federal Reserve.

As before, the economic information is mixed.  The Houston economy is doing stunningly well.  We are creating jobs at an annual rate of 3.5%, well above the 3% threshold for a recessions and twice that of the US as a whole.  Jobs in the Houston Metropolitan Area have now surpassed their previous record, and gains are predicted for next year across all categories, including medicine, oil and gas, petrochemicals, shipping, and construction.  And remember, that is before the much-anticipated re-opening of the Panama Canal brings the markets of a second entire hemisphere through our Port of Houston.  Houston is, therefore, stronger and better diversified than ever before.

Dr. Jones was quite bullish with regard to Houston real estate as well, citing historically low interest rates and a tightening supply.  He stated that real estate currently has “the best return in 12 years.”  However, the US as a whole is creating new housing at only half the rate needed to meet predicted population growth, and Dr. Jones predicted that housing and buildable raw land may soon become increasingly pricey.

So the Houston economy is doing fine.  The storm clouds on the fiscal horizon come from both national and international problems.  Congress has yet to deal with the looming Fiscal Cliff.  Which means that businesses and investors cannot make sound decisions because they do not know what their ground rules will be.  Dr. Jones also pointed out that over the last thirty-five years, the recovery from each subsequent recession has been weaker and weaker.  And he said that Europe has now slipped back into recession.

So once again, my crystal ball is quite cloudy.  How the robust Houston economy will respond to national and international forces is still an un-answered question.  As for us here in West University Place, I can testify for certain that the inventory of real estate properties is uncomfortably low.  Homes are selling at an impressively brisk rate and ignoring the year-end holidays.

So we look forward – cautiously – to next year.  We are happy to see Dr. Robert Gilmer taking the helm at the Institute for Regional Forecasting, and look forward to his take on the Houston economy in the spring.

Roger Martin

Roger Martin Properties

Nov. 27, 2012

The Golden Mean in West University Place Homes

The Golden Mean in West University Place Homes

Thanks again to my friend Mallory Agerton, for explaining why West University Place homes are pleasing to the eye.  Turns out, our architecture conforms to classical (and artistic) proportions!

 "What is the secret ingredient in a West U Bungalow?

(Hint: You studied about its creator as a kid in math class and probably didn’t even know it!)

There is something delightfully charming about the older West U brick bungalows.  As an artist, I find them beautifully proportioned. Frequently the craftsmen who built and designed them followed the proportions of the Golden Mean, a ratio discovered by Pythagoras and used extensively in the Parthenon and many other famous buildings.  The Golden Mean is the ratio of 1 to approximately 1.618   I have done a little sketch of the house across the street showing how often the Golden Mean is used in its design. To do the sketch I used a tool called Golden Mean calipers, which divide distances in a ratio of 1 to 1.618. However when I am out for my morning walk I don’t actually perform calculations to decide if a house is pleasing, I just notice that it feels right.  So the next time you are out for a brisk walk this fall, I hope you will appreciate the classic brick bungalows on your block.

In the sketch, I have labeled four places the Golden Mean occurs. The lengths corresponding to “A” are 1.618 times longer than the lengths corresponding to “B”. These places are:

  • Length of roofline to total height of the house
  • Width of upper left window to height of window
  • Division of roof horizontally by center peak of front porch over front door (This occurs often in bungalows in the placement of a front porch in an asymmetrical design.)"

Mallory Agerton, Mallory Agerton Fine Art

malloryagerton.com

Nov. 27, 2012

Golden Sun and the Golden Mean - by Mallory Agerton

Golden Sun by Mallory Agerton

Many thanks to Mallory Agerton, one of our talented West University Place artists, for contributing this guest post.

"Golden Sun is just off the easel, depicting a quiet moment when the sun slips down through the trees, and work is done for the day.  As a child my family went often to San Marcos on weekends to stay in the old caretaker's cabin by the river on Aunt Doris' farm.  My dad was a doctor, and we'd leave Houston after he'd finished seeing his last patient.  After passing through the city limits, we'd come to the gentle rolling hills of Brookshire.  He would relax, the sun would hover over the tree tops, and then descend rapidly covering the landscape in "blue dark."  With the classical music my father loved so dearly playing on the radio, I  would watch the hills flowing by, punctuated lacy trees and pastures.  I hope that my landscapes will connect you to your own memories of peaceful times.

A friend asked why my paintings have such a feeling of the idyllic.  One of the reasons why is that I use the proportion of the Golden Mean in planning compositions. The Golden Mean is a mathmetical relationship, 1 to 1.618. It was discovered by Pythagoras, and was used by the archictects of the Parthenon, Leonardo DaVinci, landscape painter George Inness, and many others.  Our credit cards have that proportion, and even many of the bones in the human body are formed in the Golden Mean. The proportion is found through out all of nature.

In "Golden Sun,"  the ratio of the heighth to the width of the canvas is 1 to 1.618, and the position of the sun in the painting is both horizontally and vertically on the the Golden Mean. Thus, the composition feels right to the viewer. While I often measure with a ruler, I also have calipers designed to locate The Golden Mean.  Frequently I will place the horizon line or the tops of the trees on The Golden Mean in a painting as well.

If you are curious about The Golden Mean, you might like to watch this video.

On another note, my painting of angels, "Be Not Afraid will be at the Dallas Museum of Biblical Art for the next couple of years.  It is not on display yet, but will be soon. The museum has a fine collection of  Christian and Jewish art, including works from the Renaissance and Medieval periods and all the way to the present.  You can read about the project here.

To see more of my works, you can visit my online portfolio at malloryagerton.com. I greatly appreciate your allowing me to share my art and my thoughts with you, and hope you will share yours with me."

Mallory Agerton, malloryagerton.com

 

 

Posted in Art in West U
Nov. 9, 2012

5904 Community Dr - SOLD in West University Place

904 Community Dr is a custom-built Hill Country retreat in the City of West University Place! This four bedroom, 2.5 bath home features limestone walls, a standing-seam tin roof, recessed lighting, surround sound, and stained concrete floors. The home was built by Tom Tynen and includes high ceilings, built-in cherry-stained cupboards and shelves, and much, much more. 

he vaulted entry is a gorgeous combination of limestone and wood. The living room is flooded with natural light. The dining room of 5904 Community Dr features views to the lush backyard and includes a built-in buffet topped with granite and display shelves. The island kitchen has glass-front cupboards, granite counters, and slate backsplash. The kitchen is well-appointed, with stainless steel appliances, a gas cooktop, plentiful storage, generous counter space, and a dine-in breakfast bar.  An enclosed sun room gives wrap-around views of the backyard, and also features a corner fireplace faced with Austin Chalk Facade.

he downstairs master suite has a large walk-in closet and built-in custom shelving. The master bath includes custom cupboards, granite counters and a walk-in frameless shower with a shower bench.  A slate-and-stone stairway leads to the three upstairs bedrooms, with their shared bathroom.

he over-sized lot is beautifully landscaped, including a flagstone patio, a lily pond, and a stone pathway. The backyard potting shed comes with a sink and lots of hooks for storage. 5904 Community Dr was built in 2005 and is in excellent condition. The home is a short walk or bike trip and to Colonial Park, Colonial Pool, the West University Library, and West University Elementary School.

 

Property Information

  • Sold For: $649,000
  • House Size: 3,287 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 8.933 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Listed by Roger Martin
  • MLS #10201656

>More Great West U Homes for Sale

 

 

Nov. 5, 2012

3611 Bellefontaine St - SOLD in Braeswood Place

3611 Bellefontaine St is a traditional 4 bedroom , 2.5 bath home with a garage apartment located within walkind distance of Mark Twain Elementray, Pershing Middle School, the YMCA and the library.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $661,000
  • House Size: 2,608 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 6,875 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 4 or 5
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • MLS #92927534

Features

  • Garage apartment
  • Energy-efficient windows
  • Recent roof (2011)

>More Great Braeswood Place Homes for Sale

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