Fire Up The Flux Capacitor: Cole House Condo is a Midcentury Miracle Renovation

Share News:

Cole Exterior 2

Built in 1961, Cole House at 3321 Cole Avenue is a full-on, midcentury swankfest.  From the second you walk in the door you’re convinced all that’s missing is Dick Van Dyke falling over an ottoman. I decided to walk down to Sunday’s open house when I read “studs” in the agent’s description. That is, in 2011, this unit was taken to the studs and renovated top-to-bottom.

You can hardly beat the location, being on the quiet block of Cole between Lemmon Ave. and Hall St. You’re in the thick of the Uptown/West Village scene without a lot of the weekend boozy hijinks found on more active streets. And the closeness to the Katy Trail and Central Expressway is a help for flicking about the city on foot or tire.

So anyway, you walk in from the street and follow an open air, landscaped inner courtyard path to the unit.  These few steps allow you to decompress from whatever else is afoot in your life. It’s a wonderful transition to another world.

Cole Walkway 1

Unit 108 is being marketed by neighbor and Keller Williams agent Brenda Kronenberg for $268,000. HOA dues, which include all utilities, are $617 per month. The unit is a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath home with 1,044 square feet spread over two levels. It’s not a home you’ll lose your keys in, but it’s a very comfortable size. Usually I’m a one-level guy, but the staircase is just a joy (and grandfathered in).  If you’re a helicopter parent with a toddler, you may want to pass.

Eye-Candy on a Stick!
Eye-Candy on a Stick!

You gotta admit, this staircase is eye candy constructed of wood and steel.  All the units in the complex have them.  Place your dining room table under the stairs and you have the dual view of natural outdoors juxtaposed with architecture that puts a smile on any dinner guest’s face. You?  You’re smiling all the time.

Cole Open 1

Opposite the stairs is the totally redone kitchen with new everything and quartz countertops.  It’s a good size for a normal cook, but if you want to have 20 guests for Christmas, you’ll need a caterer. Beyond the kitchen is the connected living room next to the decent (for a condo) patio space.  The sliding glass door is new as are the second floor bedroom windows which aid in peaceful sleep.

Cole Powder

Before “we” go upstairs, there’s a redone half bath right next to the front door which is a convenience. Because, ya know, we’ve all made that sprint from the front door to the bathroom. It’s nice that the 1960s architects thought to put a transom window above the sink for light as well as privacy.

Cole Storage 1

Upstairs are the two bedrooms and the main, shared bath. Go left for the master, right for the guest, straight ahead to the bathroom.  Neat and tidy without wasted hallway space.  The picture above shows a nifty storage area off the guest room.  Behind that frosted glass panel is a second closet.  Originally it was likely open to below, but we have more junk to store these days.  Good space allocation.

Cole M Closet 1

Speaking of storage, both bedrooms have pretty good closet space.  Here we see the master closet with what looks like quality Elfa fittings from the Container Store.  Girl or boy, everything’s adjustable for your mentionable and unmentionable needs.  The closet in the guest room also houses the full-size stacked washer and dryer.

Cole Bath Up 1
No dark corners in this upstairs main bath

Speaking with Kronenberg after the tour, we talked a bit about the building. Given its plum location, I noted that developers must be showering them with flowers and candy (a la Pretty Woman) trying to get them to sell. Oh you betcha! So far they’ve fended off the bulldozers (unlike the stucco apartment block across the street) and are reinvesting HOA dues back into the building.  New gutters, trim work and the like. Residents seem to understand that regardless of any buyout, they’d be hard-pressed to find another place in this fast moving area.

Like many high-low-mid-rises that have owner/agents, Kronenberg is the perfect person to sell in this complex. It’s her home and her pride of ownership shows. Will you be Brenda’s neighbor?

Remember:  Do you have an HOA story to tell?  A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors?  How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting?  Shoot Jon an email.  Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)!


Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

Reader Interactions


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *