Favorite Houston Design Cliché: The Official Nominees

Note: Voting for the Swampies has ended. See the bottom of this post (above the comments) for a link to the results!

And here they are! The official nominees for the first category of the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate: Favorite Houston Design Cliché. Thanks to all of you who submitted suggestions!

You can cast your vote for this awards category by adding a comment to this post indicating your choice. Or you can send a secret ballot to the official judges by email. We’ll post the official rules shortly. The official rules are spelled out here.

And the nominees are . . .


1. Keystone Details on Wood Buildings. “Sure, God made Houston without any stone. But who says we can’t put little Heinz Ketchup label-shaped doodads above our windows and fake arches — just to show we really wish we had some?”

2. “Tuscanization.” “First came the interior Venetian plaster effects. Then the Tuscan-themed homes and shopping centers. Now the “we’re in Tuscany” fantasy is taking over entire swathes of Houston.”

3. Home Turrets. “These suckers are popped onto nearly every new home going up in Bellaire to add to their ‘European appeal.’ Swamplot had an entertaining article about some of these houses which you can see here.”

4. Shopping-Center Towers. “Nothing is more placemaking than a tower in the crotch of a strip mall with bloated Italianate surround details on unopened openings. Developers, if you’re going put a tower in the project, at least make it accessible to more than the birds you want to keep out!

5. Two-story McMansion Entrances. “Nothing says, ‘I have a bloated sense of self-worth’ better than one of these ginormous and utterly non-functional sallyports. They look all the more ridiculous when the front door is normal sized. The best of them are no wider than the double front door, go up at least two stories, and are topped with an arch, giving them the outline of an enormous phallus.

6. The Blue FEMA Tarp. “It is ugly, cheap, and ultimately temporary, though unlike much ‘design’ here it doesn’t pretend otherwise. Bonus points for actually being functional.

Which of these fine nominees truly deserves recognition as Favorite Houston Design Cliché? Let the voting begin!

Update: The winners have been announced!

Photos: Bellaire Home Tour (keystone and turret); Buena Vista Management (Airline Shopping Center); HAR (2614 Rose Bay Dr., Pearland); Flickr user M Sarz (blue tarp)

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