In the Morgan’s Point Historic District, a 1997-vintage custom home’s water-view windows and width-of-house veranda (visible through the window in the top photo) provide vantage points for some relaxing Upper Galveston Bay surveillance. The waterway is likely to be full of passing activity; the Barbour’s Cut shipping terminal is nearby. The bayside property, designed by Bruce Conaway and built by John Wycoff & Associates, includes an updated 1900 carriage house, which sits closer to the street on this deep lot with a 103-ft.-long private beach and a 400-ft.-long shared pier.
Earlier today we introduced the first category in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, celebrating the Houston area’s finest design clichés. Now, nominations are open for the second category: Best Demolition.
Demolitions are such a regular occurrence in Houston that they warrant their own daily report on Swamplot. But we’re looking for that special teardown that stands out from all the rest. Last year, it was the Park Memorial Condominiums. What property would you honor this time around, and why?
Send us your thoughtful and 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, refer to these instructions.
Nominations for both award categories announced today will remain open until midnight this Sunday, December 8. We’ll introduce more categories tomorrow, so why not submit your nominations for the first 2 categories today?
Cleveland Turner, a Third Ward resident whose passion for art and junk flowed out of his home, onto his front yard, past the sidewalk, and into a few museum exhibitions, passed away Sunday after a bout with stomach cancer, at the age of 70-something. Known as The Flower Man, Turner’s effusive and eclectic stylings landed him appearances in the CAMH and on TV shows “Roadside America” and “American Dreamers.” A bicycle-riding yard-art pioneer for more than 3 decades, Turner regularly festooned the fronts, sides, backs, and interiors of his own home in the neighborhood — most recently at 2305 Francis St. (above)
A BRIEF GUIDE TO HOUSTON’S WALKING-WHILE-DRINKING ZONING Ever wonder where in our fair city it is and isn’t legal to drink alcohol in public? Writer Nick Panzarella stakes out the boundaries: “We researched the Texas legal code, which states that public drinking is prohibited only in certain areas of state parks and wherever a city has specifically deemed it illegal. In 1994, the City of Houston successfully petitioned to ban drinking in public within the entire Central Business District (the area roughly bounded by Dowling Street and I-45, McGowen Street and Buffalo Bayou). On the one hand, you can’t drink on downtown’s streets, or Midtown’s or EaDo’s. On the other, it’s open season for open containers everywhere else.” That doesn’t condone public intoxication, notes Panzarella. “But there’s no law against strolling Allen Parkway with a Lone Star while taking in the skyline, or sipping margaritas to-go in Eleanor Tinsley Park.” [Houstonia] Photo: Jeff Turner
And yet again? The 2013 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate begin with a category that’s made an appearance every year since the awards first started back in 2008: Favorite Houston Design Cliché.
Aren’t we tired of it? And yet: Each year this particular award has seen a different winner. Last year it was those Humping Bungalows (runner up: the ubiquitous Sago Palm). In previous years we’ve had “Lick ’n’ stick” fake-rock siding, Lone Stars, “Lakes of” subdivisions, and “Tuscanization” grab the award. Whose turn will it be this year?
That’s up to you. What Houston building, shopping center, streetscape, home, interior, neighborhood, or yard cliché deserves recognition in 2013? 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 only or — more privately — in an email to the Swamplot tip line, with the subject line “Nomination: Favorite Houston Design Cliche.” Nominations will be accepted for one full week, until midnight this Sunday, December 8, after which the best-presented choices will be put on the official ballot and opened for voting. If you need some guidance, here’s more information on how to make a nomination.
You can submit as many nominations as you like in this category, but your choices will have a better chance of succeeding if you use the opportunity to make your point in a clever and convincing way. When the actual awards are open for voting, each selected nomination will be introduced with some edited bastardization of the arguments made by the readers who submitted them. So be eloquent and persuasive! If you can send your own photos in support of a nomination, that will help a lot — and help you make your case to voters. Send images to the Swamplot tip line, but be sure to identify them and indicate what they’re for.
Comments to this post will be counted as nominations only. Nominations may be seconded, expanded, or improved. Even simple “me too” posts could help an entry find a place on the actual ballot, but they won’t be counted as votes for the winner. The actual voting in this category will begin next week. Are you ready? Send us your favorite clichés!
2013 may be coming to a close soon, but Swamplot’s annual awards program is just beginning.
Throughout the month of December, we’ll be hosting the sixth annual Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate — also known as the Swampies.
The Swampies honor the designs, developments, neighborhoods, peculiarities, and personalities that make Houston, well, Houston. But we can’t hand out any awards — or put any ballots together — without your help.
Starting today, we’ll be announcing the awards’ 8 categories, one at a time. For each category, we’ll need your help to come up with the official slate of nominees. You can submit your own nominations either by leaving a comment on the post announcing the category, or — if you’d prefer to communicate your ideas more privately — 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 your nominee deserves recognition, the better the odds it’ll make the official ballot.
Over the years, categories have come and gone, but the heart of the Swampies hasn’t changed — they’re your awards. All nominations and votes come from Swamplot readers; you are the ultimate judge. We hope you’ll join in the fun!
Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report lists buildings that received City of Houston demolition permits the previous weekday city permit offices were open.
Time for a little after-Thanksgiving unstuffing.
GIVING THANKS — AND HANDING OUT AWARDS Staying in town or trying to get out? Either way, we wish as restful and pleasant a Thanksgiving holiday as you can manage. Swamplot will be back on Monday with more real estate fun, including the return of our annual Swamplot Awards program. So if you do spend time over the long weekend tabulating things in the Houston landscape you’re thankful for — or maybe some of those less worthy of gratitude — we hope you’ll be ready share a few of your more profound thoughts with us next week. Photo: Bill Barfield via Swamplot Flickr pool
Pansies in the planter and fresh paint inside and out help perk up a 1955 Willowbend Ranch-with-carport that’s been overhauled since its purchase in June 2013 for $205,000. The refreshed version — with new kitchen, tilework, landscaping, and pigment-coated brick — sprouted on the market earlier this month, asking $379,900. Is the redo worthy of a $174,900 lift?
COMMENT OF THE DAY: HARRIS COUNTY WOULDN’T MISS JUST ONE LITTLE PIECE, ESPECIALLY IF I STRUNG IT OUT OVER SEVERAL YEARS “This is starting to feel like the Johnny Cash song where he steals the car one piece at a time. Only in this case, it’s the Dome.” [Walt, commenting on The Astrodome’s Add-On Towers Will Collapse Early Next Month, in the Dark] Illustration: Lulu
Responding to the unidentified pamphleteer who went door to door over the weekend distributing warnings of an impending demolition for The Place Apartments at 1341 Castle Ct., the 90-unit complex’s new management responded early this week with its own tenant missive. The politely worded note from property manager Lori Lindley of newly hired Greystar responds point-by-point to the issues raised in the original flyer, namely that 1) tenants will get a “document stating the amount due,” not an eviction notice, if they’re a few days late with rent payments; 2) the management office is now closed on weekends; 3) online and drop-box payment options offered by the previous management company are no longer available; 4) a recent utility bill was distributed late to tenants only because of the recent change in ownership; and 5) the biggie: “The property was purchased with the intent to do a lease down. However, it is not our goal to evict any resident . . . We are currently renewing leases through 4/30/2014; should this change we will notify all residents accordingly.”
A WESTHEIMER WENDY’S LONG JOURNEY TO A $200 BURGER Tracing the culinary histories of several switched Houston hotspots, Marene Gustin catalogs successive scenery changes at 2300 Westheimer in Upper Kirby: “And take the new 60 Degrees Mastercrafted on Westheimer Road. The former home of John Moore’s Palazzos Trattoria, this building goes way back. Originally built as a fast food drive through, when I first came to Houston it was Armandos, then something I vaguely remember called Dish either before or after it was an outside the Loop version of Two Chefs Bistro, which had wonderful angels on horseback, a hot appetizer of baked oysters wrapped in bacon by chef Andreas Zierau. Then for a long time it was Arturo Boada’s Beso before becoming Palazzos. And now 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, yet another new restaurant I haven’t gotten to yet. New restaurants opening in Houston in the final months of 2013 have been as numerous as bluebonnets sprouting in springtime.” [Culturemap] Photo: 60 Degrees Mastercrafted