07/23/14 3:45pm



There’s plenty of buffering yard in back, but this Idylwood home hugs the curve of the street in front, so open grounds swing to the side as well. Palm-crowned, the deep lot has a saw-like shape, with the house holding the “handle” near the jog. Beyond the far-away back fence on the property lies the side parking lot of the Wayside Dr. Walmart Supercenter. The well-tended 1952 home is set on a slight diagonal across its almost quarter-acre kinda-corner lot; but there’s a section (not pictured, though it’s also heavily landscaped) that falls outside any fencing (above) lined up to square off the setback.


Jiggered at the Jog
07/23/14 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: A BY-THE-DECADE GUIDE TO HOUSTON HOME CLICHES Houston Homes Through the Years“. . . How to estimate when a home was built: Before 1920s: has a historical marker out front. 1920 & 30s: large porched front on narrow lots. 1940s: houses built low to the ground — almost always look identical to each other. 1950s: seafoam green/Pepto Bismol-pink tile in the bathrooms. 1960s: wood paneling in the den. 1970s: diagonal exterior wood plank paneling. 1980s: skylights, skylights, skylights. 1990s: McMansion. 2000s: faux Tuscan exteriors. 2010s: Tear down something from the above list and build whatever in its place. Doesn’t matter what — we’ve run out of ideas at this point.” [Native Houstonian, commenting on Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Dead Animal Planet] Illustration: Lulu

07/23/14 12:15pm

Here’s the scene from above Morningside Dr. in the Rice Village, where Hanover is building a 12-story apartment structure between Tangley and Dunstan, just north of the 6-story Hanover at Rice Village apartments it completed last year. Ziegler Cooper Architects’ design for the 206-unit complex will include a pool deck on the top story and a courtyard on the third:


Hanging Over the Hanover Southampton
07/23/14 11:00am

BUILDING THE BIGGEST LIVING ROOM IN THE WORLD Astrodome: Building a Domed Spectacle, by James GastFrom the prologue to The Astrodome: Building a Domed Spectacle, James Gast’s just-published history of the origins of the Harris County Domed Stadium: “The Astrodome is not a distinctive work of architecture. It is certainly not a bad building, nor is it an exceptionally beautiful one. The Astrodome ended its days as a major league venue in 1999, but it remains a uniquely influential building. On the simplest level, it changed the game of baseball and — in the opinion of legions of self-described purists — not for the better. If you happen to be a student of the game, you know that the artificial turf first introduced at the Astrodome changed the way baseball was played, placing a new emphasis on speed and spawning a generation of light-hitting speedsters playing on artificial turf fields with deep fences. Off the field, the Astrodome’s creature comforts and barrage of electronic media forever changed the way the game is viewed. The Dome rose alongside the growing influence of television, and stood as a response to a commercial threat posed by television. To lure paying customers away from their TV sets and into the ballpark, stadiums needed to deliver comfort and amenities on par with the spectators’ living rooms. The Dome competed with television by emulating it: a comfortable seat, good food, and frequent electronic distractions. If, while at Phoenix’s Chase field, you find yourself engrossed in a video on the 6,200-square—foot high-definition scoreboard while enjoying curried chicken tacos with mint-marinated cucumbers and yogurt on top of scallion pancakes, you can thank — or curse — the Astrodome.” [Astrodome Book]

07/23/14 8:30am


Photo of Minute Maid Park: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

07/22/14 5:00pm




Without its stylized pediment and lip of aging awning, a funky mixed use property in Houston Heights is just a boxy building, its stucco in fading 1984 hues of seafoam green and coral. Inside, though, a more modern vibe takes hold (top) above studio space occupying the entire ground floor (middle). In its listing last week, the updated work-live pad’s asking price was $665,000.


Paint it Black
07/22/14 4:15pm

ZELKO BISTRO: WE’RE NOT GONE YET Zelko Bistro, 705 E. 11th St., Houston HeightsWas the “for lease” sign (at right) posted and then removed this morning in front of Zelko Bistro at 705 E. 11th St. just part of a high-stakes lease-extension negotiation? Responding to reports that her restaurant is a goner from the Heights location and that the converted bungalow is available “immediately,” owner Jamie Zelko reports it’s all part of . . . the process? Here’s the latest from the restaurant’s Twitter account this afternoon: “Hello everyone. We are currently in negotiations to exercise our option to renew our lease. We should come to agreement soon!” [Twitter] Photo: The Heights Life

07/22/14 3:45pm

LOCAL DESIGN MAG WANTS YOU TO REINVENT HOUSTON’S POLICE HQ COMPLEX — IN MINECRAFT Minecraft Model of Houston Police Headquarters, 61 Riesner St., HoustonThe online and offline publications of the Rice Design Alliance have announced a design competition to “reimagine” the area surrounding the city’s 21-acre police, courthouse, and jail complex centered around 61 Riesner St. between the Sixth Ward and Downtown — within the virtual world of Minecraft. Models of a number of existing buildings in the area bounded roughly by Houston Ave., Washington Ave, Preston St., I-45, and Memorial Dr. have already been crafted in the video game’s distinctive blocky style for the venture (try this server address:, including Kenneth Franzheim’s 1950 Streamline Moderne HPD HQ itself (above); the publication is still seeking help to model other existing structures, including the Ferris Wheel and Aquarium on the opposite side of I-45. But simply blockifying existing structures isn’t the focus of the competition; instead, the editors of Cite magazine and the Offcite blog hope beginning or experienced users of the gaming environment will be inspired to inflict their visions of the larger area’s possible future on the design jury of one — New York design critic Alexandra Lange. [Offcite; map of site] Rendering: JP Dowling

07/22/14 1:15pm

Former Houston Post Building, 4747 Southwest Fwy., Houston

Yesterday afternoon’s news came couched in pillowy fluff: Houston’s largest news-gathering organization will be moving to an exciting new state-of-the-art facility in the Galleria area! No, the Houston Chronicle isn’t leaving the heart of the city it covers: Key reporters will remain downtown!

But here’s a rougher-edged reading of the newspaper’s apparent retreat: The Hearst Corporation is getting ready to sell off one of its most valuable Houston assets — a block and a half of prime Downtown real estate — so it’s telling Chron editorial staffers to find room for themselves somewhere in or around the austere 440,000-sq.-ft. concrete fort where the company’s distribution, circulation, local sales, and press operations have been camping out, on 21 acres in the lower right armpit formed by the intersection of Hwy. 59 and Loop 610.

The former Houston Post compound at 4747 Southwest Fwy. (above), designed by Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson in 1970 as a stark Brutalist follow-up to their work on the Astrodome, was part of the booty obtained by the Chronicle when it bought out its rival paper in 1995. The announcement calls the complex its “future campus,” but the extent of renovations or any new construction planned on the site is unclear.

What about that downtown foothold the paper is promising?


A Newspaper Retreat
07/22/14 11:15am

ZELKO BISTRO IS SOON TO BE GONE FROM E. 11TH ST. Zelko Bistro, 705 E. 11th St., Houston HeightsA real estate agent representing the owners of the building at 705 E. 11th St. just west of Studewood tells neighborhood blog The Heights Life that the converted bungalow home of restaurant Zelko Bistro is available for lease, “effective immediately.” For the moment at least, Jamie Zelko’s restaurant is still open for business, but “Zelko will be moving out,” the blog reports. “[Berkshire Hathaway Suzanne Anderson Properties agent Mike Huff] doesn’t know when and can’t disclose much about why, but whether they close or re-locate is uncertain.” The for-lease sign that appeared this morning in front of the property (above) has been removed at the restaurant’s request. [The Heights Life] Photo: The Heights Life

07/22/14 8:30am

1500 westheimer

Photo of 1500 Westheimer Rd.: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool