Houston Real Estate Blog

From the monthly archives:

January 2010

 This past week, John Daughtery Realtors celebrated its Top 30 producers as well as Hall of Fame Agents. Below is John Daughtery Jr. toasting the top 30 producers.

Laura Sweeney was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The evening was in rememberance of Warren Strauss who passed away earlier this year. Below is John Daugherty Jr. , Laura Sweeney, Assistants to Laura Wendy Rutledge, and John McGhan.

Full Size  – Click Here – PDF version published in Houston Chronicle Sunday’s newspaper January 24th, 2010

Full Size  – Click Here – PDF version published in Houston Chronicle Sunday’s newspaper January 24th, 2010

Full Size  – Click Here – PDF version published in Houston Chronicle Sunday’s newspaper January 24th, 2010

Full Size  – Click Here – PDF version published in Houston Chronicle Sunday’s newspaper January 24th, 2010

Remembering Warren Strauss

January 29, 2010

Warren Strauss was one of the faces of this city’s eclectic medley of trendsetters. His enthusiasm and energy brightened the offices of John Daugherty, Realtors for 30 years.

Originally from Boston, Strauss traded on Wall Street for 20 years, likely sharpening the skills that granted his success as an importer/exporter, connoisseur of art and antique furniture and that made him an extraordinary Realtor.  John A. Daugherty, Jr., president of  John Daugherty, Realtors, heralded him as “unique…a Houston institution,” one committed to serving “successive generations of Houstonians with professionalism, integrity, and dedication to client services that is unrivaled in Houston residential real estate.”

Warren headed a number of non-profit organizations to further extend his generosity to this city and advanced his charitable nature to his John Daugherty family. According to Emmy Gordon, the Agent Assistance Fund he pioneered provided food, flowers for funerals and financial relief for the catastrophic events that cause distress in people’s lives. Says Ms. Gordon, “He would be the one to pick up trays from numerous places, pack them in his car, deliver them to whom ever, unpack them and on and on.” She further attests that his generosity “will never be duplicated.”

Ultimately, Warren Strauss leaves not the sorrow of his loss, but the inspiring joy of his memory and his joie de vivre. Without a doubt, Warren Strauss lived life as well as a life can be lived, but we at John Daugherty, Realtors will miss him dearly.

John Daugherty

Written by Catherine D. Anspon & Portrait Jenny Antill -And Published in November 2009 of PaperCity
PDF Version of the article – click here

The kingpin of Houston residential real estate for the carriage class. Forty years in the biz that he helped forge. The man of the double-digit million-dollar listings, who was once tapped to sell the Mastersons’ famed Rienzi. Consummate gentleman. Old school. Collector and antiquarian. Gardener. Raconteur and oral historian — can recite unscripted, the architects and owners of Houston’s grand manses, River Oaks to Shadyside, going back at least 50 years. Keeper of the flame.

Let’s start with the

frame work …

My dad was in the oil-field supply business and grew up in Houston, on the north side. His father grew up in Houston. I know I’m a third-generation Houstonian, maybe fourth. My parents laid a wonderful foundation for me with people. I was an only child, so I grew up with my parents’ friends. They took me everywhere. I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything in the world. My mother was one of the original presidents of The Women’s Institute. They were both great people, and I can tell some wonderful stories about the Eddy Scurlocks, the John Mecoms, the Jim Wests.

My mother was in a poker group, back in the ‘50s, with Alice West, who was married to “Silver Dollar” Jim West. I grew up on Del Monte. I went to St. John’s School for the first nine years of my schooling. I’d walk home, and whenever they were playing poker at the West house, I’d go over there because we didn’t have a swimming pool. Well, sometimes Mr. West would be there, and he’d throw silver dollars in the pool for me to dive for. And I still have about 12 silver dollars that I got out of that pool, in my safe; most of them date back to the late 1800s. They’d play poker once a month, and I can remember Mrs. West’s driver would bring my mother home. Only five houses down the street! But they’d drive her home because it was about 3 o’clock in the morning when the poker game ended.

When and how did you first become involved in realestate?

What was the big break?

At a cocktail party. It was for the youngest son of some close friends of my parents who was being ordained as a Catholic priest. There was this man there named Jimmy Jax, who was an ex-Rice football player. Jimmy had a very small, residential real estate operation near the corner of Buffalo Speedway and Richmond. We started talking, and two weeks later, he made me an offer. I said, “Jimmy, I really think this is what I want to do, because I love architecture, I love people.” So I said, “I will accept the position with you, with the understanding that I’ll be knocking on your door, probably within a year, wanting to buy into the company” … John Daugherty, Realtors, opened in 1967, so we’re 42 years old. And it sounds funny, but I haven’t sold a house since 1975. I quite selling because I knew if I were competing with my sales associates, I would take the cream and give them the leftovers. I quit selling to start building my organization. And it’s worked well.

Most fascinating properties you’ve sold? 

 What we call the Texas White House is one. Alfred Finn was the architect, and it was completed in ‘27 for Ross Sterling, on Morgan’s Point in Kemah. It cost $1.4 million then. I think the Sterling estate gave it to Boys Harbor, and for a long time it was [called] Boys Harbor. Paul Barkley bought it in the late ‘50s. He was a friend of my parents. He was a big Lakewood Yacht Club man. We sold it through his estate, and we’ve sold it twice since. Then on Longfellow Lane in Shadyside is the D. D. Peden home. This was the first house, to the best of my knowledge, that New York architect Harrie Lindeberg’s firm came down here to design. Lindeberg sent this young architect named John Staub down to oversee it, and he ended up staying in Houston. We sold it last year, and it was the most expensive estate sold in Houston in 2008. And there’s Rienzi. Well, Carroll and Harris Masterson, who owned Rienzi, tried for years, back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, to give Rienzi to the museum.

The homeowners in Homewood, which is Lazy Lane, would not allow it. So then the Mastersons decided to sell the house, and we put it on the market. And, finally, Homewood residents came around and said, “Yes, you can give it to the museum,” and we took it off the market. So we never sold it, but having these brochures prompted a big list price. Then the J. Robert Neal home on Lazy Lane … It’s a John Staub–designed house and has always been one of my favorites. John Mecom Sr. bought it around 1960, and we sold it after Mrs. Mecom passed away. The Neal family brought all the materials and everything from France, and it’s just a magnificent home. We sold it to David Dewhurst. And then we sold it for David, to John and Terri Havens who live in it now.

Favorite architect?

For residential of a particular era, John Staub. He brought Europe to Houston. He was just a wonderful man. And we have sold every Staub house in Houston, to the best of my knowledge, that has ever come on the market, at least one time. His proportions are great. His ceiling heights. His fireplaces are the best. If you study Staub’s fireplaces — I’ve built 32 fireplaces in my life — his fireplaces always look like they are taller than they are wide, but it’s an optical illusion. They weren’t short and squatty like a lot of fireplaces today.

Houston’s had its share of scandalous socials. Tellus the houses where scandals occurred.

Candace Mossler’s house on Willowick. Candace lived there forever, then we sold this house about four times. Probably the most famous person who’s lived in it since Candace Mossler was Frank Lorenzo. People that have been around a long time in Houston will remember Candace. She and her nephew were accused of killing her husband, Jacques, in Florida. And they got off. I knew her very well because her daughter, Rita, was a friend of mine. I’ll never forget going into the house right after the estate was getting ready to sell it, and I walked into her bedroom. There was a door that opened into the hall, and it had four or five deadbolts on it, and then a door going into her bathroom had four or five deadbolts on it. So, she must have been a very paranoid person. And we’ve sold the Dr. John Hill and Joan Robinson Hill home on Kirby Drive, through their estate. Joan died, or was killed, in the upstairs bedroom, and John was killed by an intruder in the foyer. I remember Joan was very active in the Pin Oaks Charity Horse Show. Everybody loved her.

Personaltalismans?

 

I like red ties and I like Hermès ties. And my shirts are Hamilton custom shirts.

 

 

 

Travelobsession?

I love Europe. I mean, I’m not a Far East guy at all. I just love the architecture and the way of life in Europe. I love Spain. I remarried five years ago [to Debbie], and we were married in Barcelona, in honor of my mother, whose family came from Barcelona. We were married in a beautiful kind of 15th- or 16th-century castle, like an estate, in town. I’d love to live in it. It’s a beautiful city. You could spend a couple of days there and not see it all. Oh, the architecture by Gaudí. We spent so much time looking at Gaudí’s works.

 

Do you relax?

I have a second home on Lake Conroe. And, I started spending more time there the last several years, and I just love it. Yes, that’s my thing; I’ve gotta have the water. I love gardening. I have 90 tomato plants on Lake Conroe. We’ve got squash and lettuce, and some years we grow corn, and some years we grow watermelons, but it’s mostly tomatoes.

What are you compelled to collect?

I love antiques. I’ve been collecting since my senior year in high school. I still have the first antique I bought. I collect inkwells. I started years ago. I go back and forth and take some of them home and bring some of them to the office. And I’m a boat person. I’ve collected some old wood Chris- Crafts. I have a 1937, 19-foot Chris-Craft Runabout. And then I have a 1953, 22-foot Chris- Craft Custom Sedan. I call that my Humphrey Bogart boat. It’s got a canvas hard-top. And then I’ve got a 1956, 21-foot Chris-Craft Capri, which is a speed boat.

Have you thought about penning a volume?

I should write a book, but then I’d have to leave town. And I like it here, so I’m not going to write it anytime soon.

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