04/07/14 11:00am

Construction of Bistro Menil, 1512 Sul Ross St., Montrose, Houston

Construction of Bistro Menil, 1512 Sul Ross St., Montrose, HoustonWhatever the original plans were for the partial demolition of the gray-painted 1940 bungalow that sat across the street from the Menil Collection and across the footpath to the West Alabama St. parking lot from the Menil Bookstore, they appear to have been exceeded. A reader sends in these photos of the construction site at 1512 Sul Ross St.; they show that the woodframe structure intended for “adaptive reuse” into a new Bistro Menil according to a design by Stern and Bucek Architects has been removed entirely.

The Menil had announced plans for the bungalow-to-bistro conversion at that spot last October, in concert with an upgrade of the parking-lot path into a “new campus gateway” designed by landscape firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. “In keeping with the emphasis on sustainability that is a keynote of the landscape design,” read a Menil press release, “the Menil’s café is designed by Stern and Bucek through the adaptive reuse of one of the bungalows that define the character of the Menil’s campus.” The press release also noted that the Menil’s architect, Renzo Piano, had originally proposed putting a café in this exact location. Since named (via a contest) Bistro Menil, the arts institution’s first eating spot is set to be run by Café Annie, Taco Milagro, and Café Express alum Greg Martin.

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Leaving Only Footprints
03/21/14 4:00pm

Demolition of Bungalow at 1705 Dunlavy St., Windsor Place, Montrose, Houston

The speckled-yellow-brick 1935 bungalow at 1705 Dunlavy St. is dead. Missed seeing that address, one lot deep into the third block south of West Gray, on Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report? So did we. But a helpful neighbor was on hand this week to take notes — and pics — of the take-down. This counts as the first demolition of a non-corner Dunlavy house in “a while,” our local correspondent announces. “It was in disrepair for a few years, so [I’m] not surprised it’s gone.”

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So Long
01/13/14 4:45pm

842-e-25th-02

Sliding Door, 842 E. 25th St., Sunset Heights, HoustonA barn door and a side fence help define space for a Sunset Heights home, but neither appears to be a fixed feature. The interior’s barn door, for example, rolls into place to screen shut a bedroom otherwise open to the main hallway (at right). And beyond the side fence, there’s a vacant lot, but half of it belongs to this property. The souped-up straight-shot bungalow appeared on the market last week with a $475,000 asking price.

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Door on Demand
08/20/13 12:15pm

PAINTING HOUSES IN THE HEIGHTS Another Houston artist has turned to demolitions for inspiration. Though Ken Mazzu has spent the past decade driving all over the city and studying the twisted remains of iconic buildings like the Downtown Y and the Ben Milam Hotel, 15-year Heights resident and painter Cary Reeder seems to want to stay closer to home; Martin Hajovsky reports that Reeder’s paintings portray the last days of doomed bungalows she sees in her dramatically changing ‘hood: “Reeder’s [upcoming show at the Lawndale Art Center], in effect a different sort of home tour, will focus specifically on houses in the Heights that are endangered for demolition.” [Home in the Heights; previously on Swamplot] Image: Cary Reeder

05/08/13 10:00am

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.

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01/23/13 12:38pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ODE TO A DOOMED ALABAMA PLACE BUNGALOW, WITH CAVEATS “Poor, poor 2205 Branard. I know the standard Swamplottian response is ‘if you’re so sad to see it go, buy it.‘ I know that it was built in 1939, and wasn’t necessarily meant to last past 1989. I know that it may have structural problems, need electrical updates, and have a tiny kitchen. I know all those things, yet I can’t look at this adorable brick house, this poor condemned soul with its neck on the chopping block, and not get a lump in my throat. What did this house do to deserve such a fate? Did it not bow down to the ballroom-sized bathroom trend? Did it refuse to tart itself up in stucco to suit the Tuscan-craving masses? Did it commit the crime of having only (gasp!) 8′ tall ceilings?! Perhaps it was simply the offense of having a pleasing ratio of height, fenestration, and visual interest that doesn’t say ‘screw you, street, I don’t care what I look like outside, because I have granite countertops, slate backsplashes and crown moulding!‘ Does this make me a house-hugger? Probably. Will this earn me a thorough flaming from other commenters? Definitely. [Pours some out for fallen soldier 2205 Branard]” [Jennifer Mathis, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: No, Virginia]

12/17/12 1:58pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: IN SEARCH OF GENTLE DEMOLITION “Serious question here. I live in what is basically a future tear-down. It was my first house purchase 20 years ago, and I’m still in it. It’s a remuddled 30s-40s bungalow that looks like someone hired their brother-in-law to do the work, and it was previously a rental before I bought it. I’ve been resisting doing anything major to it because I have been actively looking for a ‘real house’ for quite a while now. It has the original 3″ oak floors that probably still have quite a bit of wear left in them, seeing as they haven’t been sanded and refinished very many times (only once in the last 20 years, and probably not more than once before that). It has an awesome counterweighted attic door that rolls down instead of unfolding. The bathroom sinks are older than I am (they’re dated on the bottom). The vintage 6-gallon-flush toilets might be desired by someone. Certainly the scrap metal inside the walls could fetch some bucks. So there might be some parts worth saving. But how do I find someone to deconstruct it, when that time comes?” [GoogleMaster, commenting on Comment of the Day: Used House Parts Scouting Report]

08/15/12 2:28pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE TEARDOWN DOGWHISTLE “I found that calling a property a ‘Charming Bungalow’ on MLS is a way to send a message to developers ‘Lot Value!!!’ without offending the hipsters in the neighborhood. Much like other beloved MLS code phrases . . . Fixer upper = Utter Dump, beware of tetanus!, Up and coming neighborhood = Sleep with one eye open and a finger on the trigger, Cosy = you’re better off living in a closet where you are now, Great Art Scene = Masses of unbathed malcontents roaming the streets and coffee shops.” [Commonsense, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Care for a Tower of Prayer]

06/27/12 1:09pm

Courtesy of a Swamplot reader who watched some of Houston Habitat for Humanity’s work dismantling the 1925 bungalow at 1310 Welch St. in Hyde Park, here’s an abbreviated photographic guide to the process. Above: the home on June 7th. And here’s how it looked just last weekend, with all the work complete:

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08/19/11 12:53pm

Sculptor Dan Havel sends in photos of the construction he and fellow demo artist Dean Ruck have been working on for months in a new pocket park at 3705 Lyons Ave. More than a month before its debut as the backdrop for a community concert (yes, that’s a stage poking out from the front), Havel says their project is “substantially complete,” though there are still a few more details to fill in, including stairs for the stage and some landscaping. Working from a ready-to-be-knocked-down house from a couple miles northeast at 3012 Erastus St., Havel and Ruck added, ahem, a whole lot of support to the interior, as these photos taken earlier in the summer show:

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08/09/10 4:54pm

Here’s a 1920 bungalow taking up valuable space on a 7,000-sq.-ft. lot on Merrill St. near Watson. The lot size and the Woodland Heights address make the “perfect combination for building your new home in the Heights,” declares the new listing. The structure, “in need of extensive repairs,” features 3 apparently unphotographable bedrooms and 1 bath. List price: $245,000.

04/15/10 2:40pm

When last Swamplot visited the tiny Freeland Historic District at the foot of the Heights almost a year ago, Samantha Wood and her husband, architect Jack Preston Wood, had just given up on plans to purchase a little bungalow at 536 Granberry St., demolish it, and replace it with a new 1-1/2-story bungalow. The Woods’ earlier plans — to build two 4-story townhomes on the property — stirred up protests from neighbors and a rejection from the city historical commission.

Did all that hullabaloo in the newly-minted historic district scare off potential buyers? A Freeland neighbor says no — and suspects most of the neighborhood’s new attention is coming from builders:

525 Granberry Street (now listed on the tax rolls and MLS as 525 E. 5th 1/2 Street) went on the market last week. So many offers have been received they ask that final bids go in tomorrow, April 16.

Why would builders be so interested in this property?

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11/23/09 1:26pm

What’s so special about this forlorn and blue bungalow just west of the Westheimer Curve? It’s the now-former home of Taurian Body Piercing, the shop where — in late January 2004, Janet Jackson’s stylist purchased a now-famous breast-shield nipple ring. A few days later, near the end of the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in Reliant Stadium, Justin Timberlake gave the sunburst-shaped piece of Montrose nipple jewelry a good half-second of international media exposure; at least that part of Jackson’s wardrobe didn’t malfunction.

What’s happening to this former armory, having served its forces so well in the Culture Wars, five years on? Taurian recently moved to that Warehouse District tucked below I-10 Downtown — it’s now cohabitating with Epoch Tattoo at 1306 Nance, down the street from the Last Concert Cafe. And the bungalow?

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