Tanglewood, the affluent neighborhood in Houston, is well known for two things: towering oak trees and families. It’s common for residents to put down roots there and have multiple generations stick around.
The lush scenery, large lots and central location within Houston certainly help keep people around. In the 1940s and ’50s, William Farrington, a civil engineer, developed the neighborhood and named it after Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Tanglewood Tales,” one of his daughter’s favorite books.
“When it was originally built, one-story ranch-style homes were the most common,” said Ruth Porterfield, a real estate agent with Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty. “When Mr. Farrington established the neighborhood, he planted 1,200 trees. Those trees have matured, and it’s now a nice walkable neighborhood.”
The local garden club actively beautifies Tanglewood Boulevard, a popular walking area for residents. Both Houston Country Club and River Oaks Country Club are a stone’s throw away.
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Tanglewood has an almost horseshoe-shaped border, with Houston Country Club and the Buffalo Bayou bordering the neighborhood to the north. It’s set between Sage Road to the east, Briargrove Drive to the west and Woodway Drive and San Felipe Street to the south. Just outside Houston’s 610 loop, Tanglewood is seven miles west of downtown Houston.
One can find well-proportioned, 5,000- to- 8,000-square-foot luxury properties in Tanglewood. The homes are large, but more restrained than the mansions in the tens of thousands of square feet in the outskirts of Houston. Luxury homes typically start around $2 million. They go up to $10 million if they’re in a more desirable lot, such as one along the Houston Country Club golf course or the Tanglewood Road trail, a mile-long granite path.
“Of course, none of those properties are available now,” Ms. Porterfield said.
Nicole Brende, another agent with Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, said the path serves as Tanglewood’s social epicenter. “It’s beautiful,” Ms. Brende said. “It’s where people jog, meet their neighbors, and there’s gorgeous trees and teak benches” from which to take in the scenery.
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Housing stock is trending upward in Tanglewood. As of March, 18 homes were on offer in an array of eclectic architectural styles. Contemporary Mediterranean, traditional and modern styles can be found on the same block.
A listing at 5390 Holly Springs Dr., for example, is a 5,547 square-foot house on a 0.87-acre corner lot with a swimming pool, offered at $3.4 million. The one-story structure is greeted by a circular drive, and mature oak trees only add to the stateliness of the property.
Condos and townhomes are becoming more common. “It’s interesting how Tanglewood is creating a market for high-rises,” Ms. Brende said. “Empty nesters now have the option to have a luxury home in the sky and stay in the same ZIP code.”
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Two notable high-rise buildings are planned. The Hawthorne, a 17-story building on San Felipe Street—named after the “Tanglewood Tales” author—has two- and three-bedroom units available ranging from $1.29 million to $4.195 million. It’s under construction, and slated to be finished soon.
Ms. Porterfield will lead sales at The Tanglewood, at 1661 Tanglewood Boulevard, a forthcoming ultra-luxury, 34-story building developed by the same Farrington family that created the neighborhood. The project will include a 75-foot swimming pool on the top-floor deck, surrounded by 40 columns and panoramic city views.
What Makes It Unique
Walkability, proximity to parks, country clubs and freeways, large lots and generous landscaping makes the neighborhood in Houston unique. Residents have tons of options for schools, shopping, grocery stores and dining. The Galleria shopping mall is less than five minutes away by car. Shoppers have no shortage of high-end fashion brands like Celine and Prada.
Tanglewood is home to the largest parish of the Episcopal Church in North America, St. Martin’s Church. It boasts approximately 10,000 members and held both funerals for President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush.
Ms. Porterfield, a resident of Tanglewood, describes the area as safe. “Off-duty Houston Police Department officers drive around the neighborhood, and they’re just watching the neighborhood,” she said.
The abundance of nearby private schools attracts many buyers, since a high proportion of them are families with children.
“People who live in Tanglewood have choices—they can go in the loop or out of the loop for private schools,” Ms. Brende said. “They’re going to Kincaid [School], St. Francis Episcopal [School], St. John’s [School], River Oaks Baptist [School] and Duchesne [Academy of the Sacred Heart], so really, the sky’s the limit.”
The nearby 1,466 acre Memorial Park is a huge draw, too. “It’s where the Houston Open is held,” Ms. Porterfield said, following a renovation of the municipal golf course. Along with tennis facilities, people can enjoy paddle clubs, an arboretum and a running course, among other active activities and sports amenities.
Who Lives There
The neighborhood tends to attract a high-profile, international demographic, namely those who work in energy, law and finance. It’s also uniquely multigenerational.
“A lot of children live in the area. Usually people just stay. It’s generational,” Ms. Porterfield said. “I work with several people who grew up in Tanglewood, raised their families in Tanglewood, and now those children are raising their families there.”
Ms. Brende agreed, and said that larger lots facilitate the building of larger homes. “People have extended families that they build these estates for, and the entire family—the parents, the grandparents—lives there,” Ms. Brende said.
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President H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush are by far the most famous family to live in Tanglewood. They later moved to a nearby gated community. The “Charlie’s Angels” actress Jaclyn Smith grew up in Tanglewood. Nowadays, business leaders and professional football players commonly buy properties, including Laremy Tunsil, an offensive tackle for the Houston Texans.
“It was fun having Bush live nearby,” Ms. Porterfield said. “One Halloween, when my kids were little, I opened the door [for trick-or-treaters], and I thought it was costumes, but it was President Bush and Mrs. Bush trick-or-treating with their grandchildren. They were very nice.”
Local buyers, Ms. Brende said, are taking their time because of relatively limited inventory paired with higher interest rates. Buyers who are relocating to Houston tend to buy quicker. Within the past year, she has seen more relocations from California, Florida and overseas to Tanglewood.
“Currently, we have about three months of inventory, and the average sale price has been about $2.3 million within the last 12 months,” Ms. Brende said. “With our active listings, the average listing price has gone up to about $3 million. We need more inventory, period.”
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