Modern incarnations of the Northeastern brownstone are popping up in unlikely markets faster than mushrooms after a downpour.
Houston-based builder/developer Hahnfeld Witmer Davis is using the venerable housing type to promote pedestrianism and what principal Robert Davis refers to as the “chance meeting” on the street. The Remington brownstones, an enclave of 29 homes in the community of the Woodlands in Houston, feature classic walk-up stoops, bay windows, and parlors with high ceilings. The neighborhood sold out in six months. Hahnfeld Witmer Davis now has four similar projects in development in the area.
Just north of Indianapolis, 80 federal-style brownstones built by Ryland Homes anchor the town center of the Village of West Clay, a traditional development.
“We are using brownstones to build affordability into infill areas ... as well as in the expensive suburbs,” says Alan Goldsticker, president of Ryland Homes' Indianapolis division.
In the Tustin, Calif., community of Tustin Field, the 58 contemporary brownstones known as Wright's Landing serve as a landmark. The structures flank the main entry roads, creating a visual gateway to the neighborhood.
So what's in the name brownstone? In some cases, it means architecturally authentic homes; in others, it's mostly marketing speak. “In West Clay, we used the term brownstones because it was a new name and the developer liked it as a brand,” says Goldsticker. “It has a historic ring to it.”