Something caught the eye of occasional construction scrutinizer Tuco Ramirez yesterday at the corner of McHenry and Carothers streets (and not just the site’s elaborate and colorful vinyl construction fencing): what appeared to be 2 workers on the job in the middle of the downpour and accompanying lightning. Upon slowing down to take a closer look, Ramirez realized the figures “were standing still — turns out they weren’t working at all.”
Above are some close-ups of the mannequins snapped after the rain slowed down; while both do appear to be making an effort to model some level of appropriate protective gear, each still lacks a few of the basics, from safety goggles to pants. “Have to admit, if it wasn’t pouring cats and dogs at the time, I would never have noticed they were fake,” continues Ramirez. “I got out of my truck to snap these shots from a good perspective, but I assure you they look very convincing from the street view.”
Positioned above a fork in Spring Branch Creek just north of I-10, this 1971 mod was designed by former occupant Roland Beach, who passed away last April after living in the home for more than 40 years with his family. Beach, an exporter of construction materials to Barbados, produced much of the 2,630-sq.-ft. home’s extensive wood paneling and detailing in his own shop in the property’s detached 2-car garage.
His 3-bedroom, 3-bath dreamhouse was remodeled in 2008, when Beach added a master suite containing a round sleeping area, a sauna, and a kitchenette with dining space — allowing occupants to get away from it all without actually leaving the home. The house was named one of Houston Mod’s “Mods of the Month” for November; the asking price dropped to $825k from just under $840k at the end of October, after a few weeks on the market.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: TERRAZZO FOR FLIPPERS “Poured terrazzo floors like those in that house are nowadays so astronomically expensive that the only new residential construction they are seen in today are high-end, architect-designed custom homes built for extremely wealthy people.
I wonder if people who replace poured terrazzo floors with hardwood, travertine, or whatever realize that they are discarding something very expensive for something much cheaper.
It even makes business sense. Even flippers could increase their profit margin if instead of replacing terrazzo, they just educated their buyers about how valuable these floors are. (Things that are revealed to be rare, expensive, and hard to replace have a way of magically becoming very attractive).” [august15, commenting on This Not-Screwed-Up-Yet Meyerland Ranch Mod, in Almost Original Condition, Is Available for $460K] Illustration: Lulu
Local art guide Robert Boyd takes himself and readers on a photo tour of the outbuildings surrounding Nestor Topchy’s home “just south of the North Loop,” catching readers up on a few of the structures the artist has built since (or salvaged from) his residency at the legendary TemplO (earlier, Zocalo), the 6-acre arts commune he ran on a rented former truck depot at 5223 Feagan St. in the West End from the late eighties into the early aughts. And he finds much to impress, including the glass-walled tin-roofed structure pictured here, which Topchy pieced together from steel windows and doors salvaged from buildings in Houston and Argentina, and which fronts a pond on the acre-plus property. Topchy calls it the Crescent:
COMMENT OF THE DAY: GETTING RID OF WASTEFULNESS “It amazes me that we’ve become so rich as a society that we can collectively afford to have fashions of home improvements that will go in and out of style (although remain perfectly functional) the same way clothes do. The funniest to me is when you see on one of these HGTV shows someone espousing all the right ‘green’ mantras, but the first thing they do when they get the house it tear out all the perfectly functioning appliances, cabinets, counters and carpet…etc to be thrown in a dumpster. All the while feeling smug about how sustainable the place is because they are putting in bamboo flooring . . .” [longcat, commenting on Comment of the Day: Your ‘Updates’ Are Dating You] Illustration: Lulu
That steel frame on Centenary St. that roused some West U residents to name-calling and concern-raising 2 years ago now has a steel house built around it — and a single father and his two sons inside. Still, says architect Cameron Armstrong, the build wasn’t as smooth as it might have been: “[C]ertain neighbors were actually quite hostile — they heckled the subcontractors (and not always from across the street!), and made numerous frivolous complaints to the police about things like (non-existent) parking violations by workers. . . . They thought they were living on a street with a predictable visual future, which turned out not to be the case.” Adds Armstrong: “[I]t’s hard to identify substantive objections. . . . The good news is that most of the neighbors are just fine with how the design turned out.”
That there’s some pretty bad Feng Shui going down in this commercial for Honda, which was filmed in Vancouver and shown on teevee and the web beginning last October. The man behind the wheel of the CR-V sure is driving some bad chi into the gullet of the far-from-the-prairie home at the end of the T-intersection, to the encouraging narration of Garrison Keillor. But isn’t the house kinda asking for it anyway, what with all that glimmering vortex-popping and all?
And gee, doesn’t the hole stabbing through the house look a heck of a lot like . . . that temporary sculpture that stood on Montrose Blvd. in Houston a few years back? Portal to another dimension? Naah — from here it looks more like a shortcut to Grant St.
LOOKING FOR THE METAL STUDS IN HOUSTON “I got nothing against wood,” writes a reader who says he worked in his uncle’s construction business for 12 summers while he was in school. “I really like the smell of fresh cut wood.” Still, he’s hoping Swamplot readers will be able to refer him to both architects and residential builders who are familiar with metal-frame construction — to help him build a new home for himself in the Memorial Villages area. He says he’s convinced metal-frame construction will last longer in Houston because of its inhospitality to termite dining and perhaps a lower risk of going up in flames. [Swamplot inbox] Photo: Super Stud
Thieves made off with copper wiring from UH’s University Center late Saturday night, a UH public safety department bulletin reports: A contractor noticed early Sunday morning that the wiring had gone missing; a reader tells Swamplot that this knocked out thebuilding’s power and is delaying renovations. The Barnes & Noble and Cougar Byte stores inside the UC have been scrambling to set up temporary locations elsewhere on campus.