01/04/10 12:32pm

HOLIDAY FIRE ROUNDUP A former auto parts store converted to a house of worship for the local congregation of a Nigerian-based church burned in the early hours of New Years Day, in a fire begun from a candle at the altar. The facility at 9430 West Bellfort, which backs up to Braeburn Valley West, was completely destroyed, except for some metal siding. Congregants, who are now holding services in a northside restaurant, have vowed to rebuild. A few days earlier, in the gated enclave of homes just north of Rice University known as Shadowlawn Shadyside, another fire struck a $12 million mansion with some history behind it: “The home was designed by New York architect Harrie T. Lindberg for William Stamps Farish, the founder of Humble Oil, which was one of the companies that eventually became Exxon Mobil Corp. According to a biography of [Howard] Hughes, the mansion at 10 Remington Lane was where Hughes married Ella Rice, the sister of Farish’s wife.” [abc13; Reuters]

04/17/08 11:58pm

Neighborhood Guessing Game 3: Living Room and Dining Room

There was no consensus in this week’s Neighborhood Guessing Game . . . and nobody guessed the exact neighborhood of our mystery house. But one person came close enough to win, and we generated a healthy number of well-informed guesses . . . along with enough references to less-frequently mentioned Houston neighborhoods to send local real-estate obsessives on wild new searches through HAR.com listings.

The guesses, this week: Braeburn Valley; Westbury; Cherryhurst; Braes Heights (2 votes!); Meyerland; Maplewood South; Ashford Forest; Walnut Bend; Jersey Village; Montrose; Inwood Forest; Spring Branch between I-10, Westview, Gessner, and Antoine; Linkwood Ayrshire; Meadows Place; Shepherd Park Plaza; Candlelight Plaza; and Timbergrove.

All smart guesses. But all of them wrong! Well . . . almost all of them. The house is in Braeburn Valley West, a slightly newer neighborhood than Braeburn Valley — the guess of this week’s winner, HoustonAreaGuy.

HoustonAreaGuy’s reasoning, of course, was flawless:

I had a house there several years ago and this reminds me of alot of my house, although the rooms appears to be smaller.

There were plenty of strong comments this week, but our honorable mention vote goes to Pat Ennis, who had some solid observations . . .

It looks like the ubiquitious mid-70’s ranch house with detached garage and brick fireplace that can be found in a huge swath of southwest and west Houston. Some one ponied up for substantial cosmetic improvements, so it must be in a good neighborhood.

. . . but like other commenters displayed more logic than the real estate market can bear, apparently:

All that black and white in the kitchen though means it was likely done at least decade ago. Lakeside Place, Breaburn Valley and Westbury are all too far out for a 10-year old re-do.

. . . oh, but not too far out for a more recent redo that simply looks out of date!

After the jump: What a 1970 model Braeburn Valley West home looks like . . . today!