08/20/14 4:15pm



The interior of a decked out 1978 Spring Branch Estates home uses changing floor finishes to cue its ups and downs as the floor plan twists around a spiral staircase beneath a 20-ft. dome. The flow creates living spaces on several levels — and some rather unusual, futuristic features . . .


Taking Turns
08/20/14 2:00pm

SIGNS OF A PLANNED MIDRISE AT D’AMICO AND DUNLAVY Sign for Riva at the Park, 3331 D'Amico St., North Montrose, HoustonThere’s a sign up in front of the former dentist’s office and bridal shop structure at 3327 and 3331 D’Amico St., tucked into the northern edge of the Villas at River Oaks (formerly Rincon) apartments on Dunlavy St. just south of Allen Pkwy. Sugar Land homebuilder Christopher Sims bought the properties in April; a logo for his Sims Luxury Builders, along with one for the probable architect, the Mirador Group, appear on a sign that went up on the 20,192-sq.-ft. lot last week, advertising a new midrise building named Riva at the Park. A website for the new development greets mailing-list signups with breezy copy touting the development’s location and appliances, but no description or rendering of what’s planned. Photo: Swamplot inbox

08/20/14 12:00pm

CITY MAY SOON CAN RULES THAT FORCE HOUSTON FOOD TRUCKS TO SPACE OUT Waffle Bus and Bernie's Burger Bus Food Trucks, University of Houston, HoustonWhat makes Houston’s food truck scene so quirky, so scrappy, so outré? Well, it could be some of the wacky rules mobile food units are required to follow when they’re operating within city limits — to guard against terrorism, major explosions, and other all-too-common street-food hazards. Three such rules — the fire code regulations that mandate that trucks park no closer than 60 ft. away from one another and that propane-equipped vehicles stay out of Downtown and the Texas Medical Center, and the health code ruling that subjects owners of mobile food vendors to fines if they’re found parking within 100 ft. of any table or chair — could be going away soon, however. A task force charged with looking into the issue is recommending the city 86 those particular regulations but keep in place others, including the requirement to visit a commissary every day. A city council committee meeting this afternoon will be the first opportunity for public comment on the proposed changes; the city’s Laura Spanjian tells Culturemap’s Eric Sandler that she doesn’t expect to the Greater Houston Restaurant Association to object to the recommendations. [Culturemap; more info] Photo: UH

08/20/14 8:30am

maximus coffee at 3900 Harrisburg Blvd

Photo of Maximus Coffee at 3900 Harrisburg Blvd.: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

08/19/14 4:45pm



Surreal artwork and rustic structural components left exposed seem to meld into a single composition within the Fifth Ward home and studio of artist Bert Long Jr., who died in February 2013. Fifteen years ago, the attached double-shotgun row houses had been painstakingly renovated (and combined) as the year-long thesis project of Brett Zamore, then a Rice University graduate architecture student. Long, who grew up nearby and was returning to Houston at the time, bought the property near the end of its transformation — for $30,000 — and lived there with his wife, artist Joan Batson. The mixed-use property is located in the Pinecrest Court neighborhood near Wheatley High School, east of Waco St. and south of I-10. It was listed for sale this morning, with an asking price of $200,000.


Home and Studio
08/19/14 1:15pm

Substation Expansion, 612 Yale St., Houston Heights

Without making a big alert-the-neighbors fuss about it, CenterPoint Energy appears to have begun expanding the electrical substation across the street from the new Alexan Heights apartment complex going up on Yale St. into an adjacent vacant lot, a reader reports. Crews began breaking up the 6,600-sq.-ft. lot’s concrete surface yesterday. CenterPoint has owned the lot at 612 Yale St. since 2004, according to county tax records, though the neighboring 6th and Yale Collision and Repair shop had often used it as parking space.

The lot appears at the top center of this recent aerial view of apartment construction and the substation:


Not Shocking
08/19/14 12:00pm

Construction of Raising Cane's, 1902 Westheimer Rd., Montrose, Houston

The signs are now up at the new building under construction at 1902 Westheimer Rd., across the street from the Winlow Westheimer shopping center. And they say: Raising Cane’s. And that means your center-of-Montrose drive-thru chicken finger spot will be opening very soon. Raising Cane’s is no stranger to Westheimer; the new restaurant will mark Raising Cane’s fourth location on the street (it’s got the 12201, 7531, and 5015 spots already). But this’ll be the first one inside the Loop.

More pics of Lower Westheimer’s fast-food future:


Montrose Drive-Thrus
08/19/14 10:30am

THE EMPTY LOT ON WESTHEIMER WHERE THE EDMONT WILL LAND 1634 Westheimer Rd., Montrose, HoustonThis long-vacant lot at the corner of Westheimer and Kueter, next to the Central Houston Animal Hospital and the recently shuttered EJ’s Bar on Ralph St., has been tagged as the future home of the Edmont, a new restaurant being planned by the people behind Paulie’s and Camerata and a former chef at the Vallone’s steakhouse. Paul Petronella, David Keck, and Grant Gordon have hired Abel Design Group to cook up a new restaurant from scratch at 1634 Westheimer — the same site eyed 6 years ago as a possible spot for a 75-room hotel. The restaurant, scheduled to open sometime near the end of 2015, is being named after a different hotel that never existed, though: a Manhattan spot patronized by Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. [Food Chronicles; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Allyn West

08/19/14 8:30am

port of galveston

Photo of the Port of Galveston: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

08/18/14 4:15pm



Note: The pricing history noted previously in this story was inaccurate. We’ve corrected it below.

From a pint-sized perch above a set of arched windows, saintly statuary appears to be keeping an eye o’er a updated 1925 Spanish Revival cottage near the Menil Collection. The heavenly presence might also guard against any sleepwalking encounters with the steep steps at the bottom of a flight of stairs . . .