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Step Inside an Airy Re-Invention of the American Row House

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In It's Not Easy Being Green, Curbed pulls back the curtain on cutting-edge, environmentally friendly design, from urban passive houses to green tweaks on suburban living. Have a suggestion for an upcoming column? Pass it along.

In Houston Heights, Texas, upscale historic homes reign supreme: New Orleans-style row houses, iron-wrought Greek revivals, gabled faux Victorians, and bungalows fraught with gingerbread milieu dominate the landscape. It's a type of historic neighborhood that makes the nine homes of Row on 25th look not just charges of lofty minimalism, but something like vacuum-sealed packages from The Jetsons era. Inspired by Minnesota farmhouses and the "quietness and visual restraint" of the Texas town of Marfa, the homes, built by Shade House Developments, seem to round-out the town's tour of historic architecture, sitting with a quiet confidence as if to proclaim that homes like these—clean, simple, and unapologetically similar—are what's next to come. They're stunningly smooth, sure, but what's more, they're the the realized imaginings of a pair of eco-minded designers, so each home is outfitted to leave a minimal environmental footprint. More below.

? Designers Matt and Tina Ford installed reflective metal roofing, which helps disperse Texas heat—ray-scattering roofs can keep up to 90 percent of sun's heat from being absorbed—as well as energy-saving tank-less water heaters. Some floors are planked using reclaimed longleaf pine from the 1880s, and the duo used Zero-VOC—volatile organic compounds, the no-good stuff found in paint, protective coatings, and dry cleaning fluid—finishes for the floors and cabinets.

? The architecture of each home is meant to look classic, but sharp-edged and modern, with familiar silhouettes and themes stripped down and aired out. From San Francisco to New Orleans and hundreds of suburbs in between, row houses are, after all, an American architectural staple, so even homes as linear and monochromatic—though, fun fact: each home is a slightly different shade of white—as these hearken back to childhood homes of decades past.

? Each 1,900-square-foot home has an open plan, with huge planes of white wall and lots of head space, plus a two-car garage, private courtyard, and a languid expanse of grasslands out front. Rent? $2,850 a month.

· Shade House's Row on 25th [Official Site]
· The Row House Reinvented [Papercity]
· All It's Not Easy Being Green posts [Curbed National]