04/26/13 3:45pm

Updates introduced to this 1950 home in Idylwood over the past 5 years played up its midcentury roots. Listed Thursday, the compact-but-complete property is asking $223,900. Brays Bayou is a block or so up the street. Gus Wortham Golf Course and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word’s Villa de Matel (and its chiming carillon) are also nearby.


03/21/13 11:30am

Pending status expired on this updated 1939 Idylwood bungalow, which hit the market a month ago and promptly went under contract. As of yesterday, it’s back as a re-listing at the same asking price: $283,900. The ivy-covered property sits atop a slight ridge on a street just up the block from Spurlock Park at Brays Bayou.


06/25/12 1:23pm

EAST END ALCOHOL REPORT A reader from the Country Club Place-Idylwood area checks in with rumors, some news, and questions: “A neighbor who does not do computers had a co-worker tell him that there is to be a ‘Latino topless bar’ open soon near Idylwood. For the life of me, I cannot see where he’s talking about. Of course, the definition of ‘near Idylwood’ is the variable. How can I find out where it will be and if this is true? Are alcohol permits available online? The old Helena Motel property on Wayside at 45 is being developed slowly and right now, a Chick fil A is being built next to the relatively new Taco Cabana. I can’t really see an adult entertainment place going in near that location although that block with the corner is prime for a strip shopping center. Demolition of the old Oshman’s property for Walmart is progressing quickly. Last I heard there was still some question as to whether or not this Walmart would sell beer & wine. The back side of the property is too close to the AAMA School on Maxwell. I imagine a lot of people will be unhappy if they can’t do one stop shopping there. Can you offer some suggestions as to where to begin my sleuthing on the topless bar?” [Swamplot inbox]

05/11/12 10:28am

“A couple things still remain up in the air,” about the new Walmart going in just south of Idylwood, reports East End blogger Lauren H. from that neighborhood’s front lines: “Like whether they are going to hire security or whether they are going to be able to sell alcohol.” After recent plan changes, the neighborhood’s southern border will end up with a buffer of at least 61 ft. from the big-box store’s parking lot. The store has grown, too: an additional 35,000 sq. ft. from a reduction announced early last year, made easier after the company bought the property directly on the corner of Wayside and the Gulf Fwy. feeder. It’ll end up at approximately 185,000 sq. ft., according to the recent plans she’s posted on her site. The corner purchase makes possible a second entrance from the feeder road, and resulted in a shift of the store’s garden and auto center to its Idylwood side:


08/12/11 3:06pm

Cities throughout Texas are slowing down the process of knocking down dangerous structures because of fears that angry owners might come back to bite them — even after their buildings have been demolished. By a 5-4 vote, the Texas Supreme Court last month struck a blow for the property rights of rotting, undead buildings throughout the state, giving their owners the right to sue in court for compensation even if a hearing before a city administrative board has already declared a condemned structure a hazard to public safety. If it isn’t overturned in a rehearing, the decision will likely force Texas cities to pick their demolition battles more carefully, and possibly get courts involved in what has traditionally been something handled by city departments.


04/28/11 2:49pm

The owner of 4 vacant apartment buildings and 4 carports just north of the future site of the Idylwood Walmart now has 9 days left to get a permit and tear them down — or the city will do it for him and send a bill. Zion Ohana bought the already somewhat-decrepit properties bordering Idylwood at 6634 Sylvan Rd. in January 2009, a few years after the previous owner — who had lived in one of the units — passed away. About 20 neighborhood residents and representatives of nearby businesses showed up to yesterday’s city hearing, but Ohana didn’t, and didn’t send anyone to speak for him. One Idylwood resident thinks that might be part of the reason the owner ended up with a $72,000 fine for leaving the structures in their current condition — $1,000 per day per structure for the 9 days since a notice was posted on the properties.


03/10/11 5:45pm

CALLING OFF THE IDYLWOOD BEDBUG INVASION That great wave of bedbugs storming through the East End that Swamplot reported on last week? Probably didn’t happen, reports the neighborhood resident who first sounded the alarm. After a careful investigation that included the assistance of a local science teacher and microscope, Idylwood blogger Lauren H. now indicates that she believes the critters found in her living room were carpet beetles. “At least we don’t have blood sucking parasites. We just have little critters who love to eat fabric and wood and are equally hard to get rid of. I found the source of our problem today. It’s our maroon chair we inherited from Jason’s parents. They have been telling us to get rid of it for years.” [East End Escapades; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Lauren H.

03/01/11 5:05pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: LOOK WHO’S READING SWAMPLOT NOW! “But for Swamplot’s prestigious Neighborhood of the Year award, Idylwood would have maintained its quiet anonymity and escaped the notice of these blood thirsty parasites.” [Mel, commenting on Shocking Documentary Photos from the Idylwood Bedbug Invasion]

03/01/11 1:09pm

“Remember a couple weeks back when I thought I was bit by a spider?” asks Idylwood blogger Lauren H. “Well, pretty sure that wasn’t the case.” She and her husband now think the critters who’ve seen fit to bite them in their east-side home 3 times each are actual bed bugs. “Or more specifically, couch bugs,” she notes in her online account. “Our living room is now covered in diatomaceous earth. It took care of our flea issue, and now we’re just hoping it continues to do [its] magic.”

Sure, we’ve all heard rumors about bedbugs in Houston. But until now, how much actual documentary evidence has been available? You know, the kind backed up by this kind of careful investigation and research:


02/02/11 10:31am

Just as Swamplot was reporting on the leaked site plan showing that a new full-size Walmart SuperCenter is being planned off the Gulf Fwy. at South Wayside Dr., Councilmember James Rodriguez comes back from a meeting with the company waving a slightly different site plan. And look, this one shows the proposed East End store between Idylwood and the freeway has already slimmed down by 58,000 sq. ft.! Does that qualify as a rollback? Plus: This plan (shown above, again rotated to fit Swamplot’s format) features 13 more parking spaces! Meanwhile, Walmart spokesperson Kellie Duhr tells the Chronicle the new store would be “about 150,000 sq. ft.” and feature a full grocery. That number jibes with the plan above. Also included this time, at no additional charge: an extra Tire and Lube Express next to the Garden Center on the south side. One curious detail, though: Both this plan and the one featured in Swamplot’s story on Monday are labeled with the same date.

What’s going into the lot at the corner of Maxwell Rd. and the I-45 feeder next to the driveway at the southwest corner of the site, labeled “Outlot 1” on both plans? A source tells Swamplot it’s being eyed for a gas station from Walmart sidekick Murphy Oil.

Plan: Doucet and Associates

01/31/11 2:33pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TO THE VICTOR GO THE SPOILS “Undoubtedly, Walmart was attracted to Idylwood by Swamplot’s prestigious ‘Best Neighborhood’ award. I am now thankful my beloved River Oaks was omitted from the contest.” [LandedGent, commenting on Surprise! Walmart Buying Land Next to Idylwood for Houston’s First Inner-Loop SuperCenter]

01/26/11 11:32am

Having awarded a “development of distinction” award last night to New Hope Housing’s Brays Crossing project, ULI Houston is now letting y’all see the promo video, a slightly different version of which we posted briefly last week. Details and videos on other award winners here.

01/20/11 4:14pm

Update, 1/21: Hey, what happened here? Urban Land Institute Houston executive director Ann Taylor writes in: “I’m sorry that we had to remove the New Hope Housing at Brays Crossing video, but it was not ready for prime time…still being edited to include more ‘before’ images and to add footage of the courtyards and gardens. It and all of the Awards Finalist videos will be screened for the public at the ULI Houston Development of Distinction Awards on Tuesday, Jan. 25.” We hope to post the finished video after that date.

Video: Cosmic Light Productions

08/13/10 9:10am

Then you saw it, now you don’t: Part 2 of FEMA’s buy it, then demolish it plan for the oft-flooded home at 1954 N. MacGregor Way in Idylwood is now complete, reports a reader. “The plants around the trees seem to be all that’s left. And, that funny knotty thing on the tree on the right.” A source scores the low-lying property as the 10th FEMA buyout of Hurricane Ike-damaged homes in the neighborhood, though more residents have turned down similar offers. Just across the street from the property: The uppity banks of Brays Bayou.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

07/16/10 9:45am

This house on Merry Lane in Idylwood is one of 4 “Century Built” homes designed in the late 1940s and early ’50s by a not-particularly-famous Houston architect named Allen R. Williams Jr. Where are the others? One — demolished a while back — was somewhere off Campbell Rd. north of I-10, though nobody seems to remember where. Another is on West 43rd St. in Garden Oaks. The third, built not far from Idylwood in Simms Woods, was restored and renovated by architect and interior designer Ben Koush in 2005, who dug up the home’s history, got it registered as the city’s first modern protected landmark, and now features it on his firm’s website and in occasional home tours.

All the homes had walls made of lightweight hollow concrete tiles (with electrical wires running through them in conduit), heavy slab foundations with grade beams and piers, metal casement windows, and roofs made of concrete panels and insulated with Fiberglas boards. And they all had similar floor plans. The Idylwood house has been on the market since the end of last month — for $150,000 — because its original owner, Carl Stallworth, passed away recently.

What could you do with this place?