12/02/16 11:45am

We’re almost done introducing the categories in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. So far, we’ve opened nominations for Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolitionthe “Where Are They Now?” AwardBest Industrial Incident, Special Achievement in Parking, and  The Houston High Water Award. If you haven’t done so already, there’s still time to put in your own suggestions for each of these.

This next category can get pretty competitive: Neighborhood of the Year. Past winners have come from all over the greater Houston area — the last honoree was Downtown, while the 2009 winner was . . . well . . . Galveston. (Robindell snagged the second place spot, last time.)

What qualifies a neighborhood to pick up that coveted “of the Year” designation? That’s for you to decide. When you make a nomination, be sure to say why your pick is especially award-worthy. You can submit your nominations — along with convincing explanations as to why your nominee should win — in the comments below, or in an email, by midnight on Friday, December 9. (If you’re just joining us, please consult the official rules for nominating.) Now tell us, who are this year’s contenders for Neighborhood of the Year?

The 2016 Swampies
12/01/16 5:30pm

This morning we opened up another category for the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. That brings the tally up to 5 so far — Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolitionthe “Where Are They Now?” AwardBest Industrial Incident, and Special Achievement in Parking. Here’s the last new category for today: the High Water Award.

This award is meant to honor contributions to flooding and flood drama in the Bayou City — or gee, maybe there’s some even more compelling form of high water here we should take note of? What deserves the spotlight for its role in the Houston flooding story? It could be an event, a place, a symbol, a lawsuit, a myth, or a something-else-entirely; we’re looking for nominees that capture a key element or instance of the city’s relationship with excessive water. Whatever you choose, just be sure to explain yourself when you send in your picks.

To float your nominees for this award, leave a comment below with your suggestions (and your rationale). You can email it to us, too, but all nominations for this category are due by midnight next Thursday, December 8. (More on how to nominate can be found by clicking here.)

The 2016 Swampies
12/01/16 11:45am

Yesterday we opened up 2 more categories for the  Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. So far we’ve got Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolitionthe “Where Are They Now?” Award, and Best Industrial Incident. Category number 5, opening this morning for nominations, is the Swamplot Award for Special Achievement in Parking. 

What has advanced the culture of parking in Houston? Has a game-changing garage or surface lot made waves on the scene? Or maybe you’ve noticed some less tangible contributions — perhaps serving to inspire new approaches to vehicle accommodation, or encapsulating a particular Houston parking zeitgeist.  Feel free to give this category any twists you think it deserves — just be sure to explain yourself when you send your picks our way.

To submit your nominees for this category, give us the what and why in the comments below. Or you can email us, instead— just do it by midnight this Thursday, December 8. More guidance on how to nominate can be found here.

The 2016 Swampies
11/30/16 2:30pm

Earlier today we introduced a new category for this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. There are a total of 3 so far: Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolition and a newbie: the “Where Are They Now?” Award. Now we’ll open up nominations for another category making its debut this year: Best Industrial Incident.

Time for some flash and bang! Houston’s lack of zoning and particular economic mish-mash make for some interesting neighbors; sometimes those neighborly relationships heat up, or get a little smelly. What was the best chemicals-meet-the-cute-little-neighborhood-next-door story this year? Most interesting unintentional send-off by land, sea, or air? Most dramatic accidental fireworks display? Feel free to creatively misinterpret this category — just be sure to sell your vision as you describe your nominee.

To submit your nominations for the official ballot, tell us about your top choices in the comments section below (along with as good a description as you can muster). You can always email it to us, too — just get it in by midnight this Wednesday, December 7. More guidelines can be found here.

The 2016 Swampies
11/30/16 12:00pm

This next category for the 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate is a brand new one. Yesterday we opened up nominations the first 2: Favorite Houston Design Cliché and Best Demolition. Here’s number three: the “Where Are They Now?” Award.

This category is meant to honor transformations. Places with a truly Houston-ish story to tell — whether that story’s a comeback, a midlife crisis, or a fall from grace — are all around us. Maybe there’s a particularly award-worthy contrast between your nominee’s humble or high-falutin’ origins and whatever it became down the line, after the crowds faded away (. . . or the oil market crashed, or the surrounding neighborhood went full Tuscan). Which places have fallen on hard times — or made the best of them? What spots around town are employed now in a way their creators (or previous owners) might never have expected? 

To launch your nominees on their way toward the official ballot, submit your suggestion — along with a clever explanation for why it’s a good fit — in the comments section below. You can also email your nominations to us — just make sure, either way, to do so no later than midnight this Wednesday, December 7. More guidance can be found here.

The 2016 Swampies
11/29/16 3:00pm

We’ve already opened the first category for this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, celebrating the Houston area’s best design clichés. Let’s get started this afternoon on the second category: the year’s Best Demolition.

Teardowns are plentiful in Houston — just take a peek back through Swamplot’s archive of daily demo reports. But for Swampies season, we’re looking for that special award-worthy demo that really goes above and beyond (or below, perhaps). Did a teardown this year have a certain historic weight to it? Did something go down with a bang, or with some extra flair and panache? What property should be honored this time around, and why?

Send us your well-argued nominations to the comments section below — or send them in a private message to our tips line. For more on the nomination process, head here.

Nominations for both categories announced today will remain open until midnight next Tuesday, December 6. We’ll be introducing more fun categories as the week goes on, so be sure to get your nominations in now for the first 2!

The 2016 Swampies
11/29/16 12:00pm

We’re kicking off this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate with a category that’s been a strong part of the program since the very first Swampies (back in aught-8): Favorite Houston Design Cliché.

What Houston building, shopping center, streetscape, home, interior, neighborhood, or yard cliché deserves recognition?

In 2014, the top honoree in this category was The Midrise Woodframe Apartment Building, AKA The Texas Donut; The Townhome Farm came in as the runner-up, trailed by strong contenders like The Oak Tree Stump. Winners in years gone by have included  The Typical Inner Loop Townhouse Plan,  Humping Bungalows, aka Humper Houses, “Lick ’n’ stick” fake-rock siding, Lone Stars, “Lakes of” subdivisions, and “Tuscanization.”

Who’s turn will it be this year — a jilted also-ran, or a newcomer to the scene? Well, that’s up to you. Your suggestions for this award may be inspired from stories you’ve read on Swamplot or from your own keen eye for overused detail.

Enter your choice in a comment to this post — or in an email to the Swamplot tip line, with the subject line “Nomination: Favorite Houston Design Cliche.” Nominations for this category will be accepted until midnight next Tuesday, December 6, after which the best-presented choices will be put on the official ballot and opened for voting.

You can submit as many nominations as you like, but your suggestions will have a better chance of making it to the ballot (and garnering votes once they’re there) if you make your point in a clever and convincing way. Photos help, too! Send images to the Swamplot tip line, but be sure to identify them and indicate what they’re for. If you need some guidance, here’s more information on how to make a nomination. And if you like a particular nomination someone else has submitted, feel free to second, expand, or improve upon it in the comments to help it find a place on the actual ballot.

Got it? Good. Send us your favorite clichés now!

The 2016 Swampies
11/29/16 9:15am

Welcome to the 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, where you get to choose the nominees! Here’s how the system works:

Nominations are opened in each award category as that category is announced. You can enter your nomination for a category as a comment to the post announcing that award category. Or you can submit a nomination in a private email to the Swamplot tip line (be sure to put the name of the category in the subject line).

Nominations for each category will be accepted for one week after the category opens. After that week, the best-presented choices will be opened for voting.

Here’s a list of all the award-category announcements that have been made so far; new ones will show up there as they’re announced this week.

You may submit as many nominations as you like in each category. But your choices will have a better chance of making it to the official ballot if you use the opportunity to make your point in a clever and convincing way. When the actual awards open for voting, each selected nomination will be introduced with some edited bastardization of the arguments readers made in the nomination. So be eloquent and persuasive! If you can send your own photos in support of your nomination, that will help a lot — and help you make your case to voters. Send images to the Swamplot tip line too (but be sure to identify them, and indicate what they’re for).

Comments to nomination posts will be counted as nominations only — not as votes in the final tabulation. Nominations may be seconded, expanded, or improved, and even simple “me too” comments might help an entry find a place on the actual ballot, but they won’t be counted as votes for the winner. The actual voting begins in the second week — stay tuned for more details!

The 2016 Swampies
11/28/16 1:45pm

Did you miss Swamplot’s year-end awards program? Well, it’s back! The 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate — aka the Swampies — start right now.

For those of you tuning in for the first time, the Swampies honor the designs, developments, neighborhoods, peculiarities, and personalities that make Houston so… Houston-y. But they’ll need your help to do it.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll be introducing this year’s 8 official categories one at a time. For each, we’ll need you to nominate 2016’s most ballot-worthy candidates, which you’ll be able to do in 2 different ways: by leaving a comment on the post announcing each category, or by emailing us (just be sure to put the name of the category in the subject line). We want to hear what you think deserves recognition this year — and why. The better you can explain why, the better the chance your nominees will show up next week on the official ballots.

As always, Houston is your city — and the Swampies are your awards. You make the nominations, you stuff the ballot box with your votes. We hope you’ll join in the fun!

The 2016 Swampies
11/23/16 9:30am

Astros Deer

The giant bows are sprouting from the Highland Village rooftops; the decorated fiberglass deer are in position on a smattering of Rice Village street corners; the Christmas music has already been floating through the still-in-the-70’s evening air from tinny speakers across the city this last week — but there’s still one more fall break left, before we break into the major winter holidays. Swamplot’s got some tasks to tackle and some thanks to give, so we’ll be off through the end of the week. Here’s wishing you and yours a lovely few days, hopefully together — we’ll see you back Monday morning, ready for that home stretch toward the end of the year.

Photo of seasonal deer statue in Rice Village: Swamplot inbox 

Happy Thanksgiving
10/25/16 11:45am

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WRITE FOR SWAMPLOT? Help Wanted SignWe’re looking to add a few occasional-ish contributors to Swamplot’s editorial mix. Got a way with words and a fresh take on this city (or know someone who does)? Here’s a terrific chance to dig into the ups, downs, ins, outs, wets, and dries of the local real estate scene —- and to get paid (well, something) for doing it. To apply, send an email to the tip line with the subject Freelance Contributor. (Please note: If you’re in the real estate biz, this is not the gig for you.) Tell us about yourself in a paragraph, and spend another telling us what kinds of stories you might be interested in working on. Will you trawl HAR for gawk-worthy listings? Review the artistic merits of sparkly refinery incidents? Scoop up tidbits on restaurant shakeups? Let us know the Houston real-estate-related stuff that you get excited about. Do include writing clips if you have ’em. If we like what we see, we’ll get in touch. 

10/21/16 4:30pm

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WRITE FOR SWAMPLOT? Help Wanted SignWe’re looking to add a few occasional-ish contributors to Swamplot’s editorial mix. Got a way with words and a fresh take on this city (or know someone who does)? Here’s a terrific chance to dig into the ups, downs, ins, outs, wets, and dries of the local real estate scene —- and to get paid (well, something) for doing it. To apply, send an email to the tip line with the subject Freelance Contributor. (Please note: If you’re in the real estate biz, this is not the gig for you.) Tell us about yourself in a paragraph, and spend another telling us what kinds of stories you might be interested in working on. Will you trawl HAR for gawk-worthy listings? Review the artistic merits of sparkly refinery incidents? Scoop up tidbits on restaurant shakeups? Let us know the Houston real-estate-related stuff that you get excited about. Do include writing clips if you have ’em. If we like what we see, we’ll get in touch. 

10/19/16 2:00pm

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WRITE FOR SWAMPLOT? Help Wanted SignWe’re looking to add a few occasional-ish contributors to Swamplot’s editorial mix. Got a way with words and a fresh take on this city (or know someone who does)? Here’s a terrific chance to dig into the ups, downs, ins, outs, wets, and dries of the local real estate scene —- and to get paid (well, something) for doing it. To apply, send an email to the tip line with the subject Freelance Contributor. (Please note: If you’re in the real estate biz, this is not the gig for you.) Tell us about yourself in a paragraph, and spend another telling us what kinds of stories you might be interested in working on. Will you trawl HAR for gawk-worthy listings? Review the artistic merits of sparkly refinery incidents? Scoop up tidbits on restaurant shakeups? Let us know the Houston real-estate-related stuff that you get excited about. Do include writing clips if you have ’em. If we like what we see, we’ll get in touch.