|March 31, 2003, 3:49PM
Ritzier houses grew up around neighborhood
By KATHERINE FESER
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle
As one of the first residents of Tanglewood, Lillian Illig has seen the transformation of her exclusive Galleria-area neighborhood.
"We thought we were at the end of the world, it seemed so far out here," recalls Illig, who moved to the subdivision in 1950, when it was surrounded by farmland.
Lillian and her husband selected the neighborhood for a spacious home and lawn for their three children. She was the first president of the long-standing Tanglewood Garden Club, which helped plant the live oaks that have filled out along Tanglewood Boulevard. She enjoys daily walks along the boulevard that has become a gathering place for residents and has several benches along its wide paths for stopping to relax.
Today, Illig's is one of the few original homes on her block, as grand-scale two-stories began replacing them in the mid-1980s. Original homes typically contain from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet, while the newer ones can top 8,000 square feet.
Developed by William G. Farrington, Tanglewood opened in 1949 with the innovative "rambling ranch" style, featuring spread out one-stories with central air conditioning on spacious lots. The first homes cost around $25,000, a price tag about four times that in another Farrington development called Southdale. The section of Bellaire near the railroad tracks, with two-bedroom houses, was built for veterans in the late '40s.
Today's prices in Tanglewood run between $300,000 and $3 million for the most exclusive, says Donna Ellis of Greenwood King Properties. Many original houses have been updated with the finest finishes.
The shady lots are well-suited for the upscale English-style two-stories of brick and stone or stucco Mediterraneans with clay roofs that have been built recently. Newer houses often feature wine cellars, three-car garages, and 11-foot ceilings.
"The lots in Tanglewood are so much larger than the norm in West University or some of the sections of River Oaks," Ellis says. "You can just get so much more for your money."
Lots range from $34 to $45 per square foot in Tanglewood. In River Oaks, lots sell from around $65 to $70 per square foot and in West University, lots sell for around $50 per square foot. The smaller lots in Tanglewood are 100 feet by 150 feet; the larger ones are half an acre.