04/01/16 11:30am

3688 Willowick, Houston, 77019

Known as ‘Bayou Breeze’ to its friends, the 16,022-sq.-ft. English manor-style residence designed by architecture and landscape firm Curtis & Windham includes 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, and 2 half baths. Listed in January 2013 at $19.995 million, the house’s asking price has lowered incrementally 5 times since then, most recently falling to $14.495 million just in time for Christmas last year.

The house was built along Buffalo Bayou across from Memorial Park in 2000, but incorporates older materials (such as wood from some North Carolina tobacco barns used in the floor above, and bricks plucked from the previous house on the property).  Nods to antiquity in the furnishings come from New York interior designer Bunny Williams. The 3.71 acre lot includes a pool, a putting green, and several formal gardens.  


Mostly Born on the Bayou
03/01/16 1:45pm

2 Longfellow Ln, Houston, 77005

A piece of Americana comes standard with this 1921 collaboration between architects Harrie T. Lindeberg and John F. Staub, who would later go on to design Bayou Bend. This Georgian-style home north of Rice University contains a copy of the wallpaper mural Views of North America by Jean Zuber (which can also be found in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House).  The $18-million pricetag nets you 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths, and 3 half baths.  The 12,808 sq. ft. home is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and comes surrounded by a pool, a carriage house with an additional apartment, and plenty of leafy greens to cover the view from across-the-street Hermann Park.


Take a Peek
02/17/16 12:30pm

Former Greenleaf Gardens, 803 Kipling St., Audubon Place, Houston, 77006

Former Greenleaf Gardens, 803 Kipling St., Audubon Place, Houston, 77006Greenleaf Gardens appears to be getting ready for some less-communal, more-perennial planting on the corner of Kipling and Stanford streets in Audubon Place. A reader snapped a few photos at the former community garden last week, including a picture of the sign announcing an application for a certificate of appropriateness for new construction in the historic district. That application is in the name of Greg Swedberg of 2Scale Architects, on behalf of Michele Alvarado of Sanctuary Builders, which bought the property last fall after the city decided not to buy the land and turn it into a park.

The paperwork for the certificate includes sketches and and plans for the 2-story duplex in the works for the space, which may need to be revised to something a little more neatly rectangular, based on late-January feedback from the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission. Here’s a view from the corner of Kipling and Stanford, as submitted on January 6th:


Turning a New Leaf
12/17/15 3:45pm

SUBTERRANEAN GARDEN UNDERGOING LABORATORY TESTING IN NYC Meanwhile, under Manhattan: In a dense urban environment where natural settings come at a premium, a team of designers is following the lead of the High Line (which repurposed an elevated rail line track to create a linear public greenspace). The new plan: to turn a former trolley terminal into a sunlit underground park. The most obvious problems facing the Lowline project revolve around getting enough natural light underground to enable plants to survive and thrive — the designers have now opened the Lowline Lab, a laboratory-slash-community-center in which they will test out technological and horticultural ideas, while getting the public involved. [arch daily]

02/20/15 3:45pm




Somewhere behind this leafy garden wall, which rises 14 ft. high along Mason and Pacific streets, a 1910 home in Montrose’s Avondale area has been holding on to another era — and another city, maybe. From the garden gate at curbside (top), glimpses inward, toward the brick-paved courtyards and patios (middle), appear to be a bit more challenging than the views outward from the pier-and-beam property. Its neighborhood watch vantage point is located south of Fairview Ave. on a corner east of Taft. St., borders 21st century townhomes, and features a mid-century commercial space across the street that’s brewery bound. Listed a week ago, the self-secluded spread has a $875K asking price.


Horror Vacui
08/01/14 11:00am

GOLFERS AND GARDENERS GET GROUND RULES FOR GRABBING GUS WORTHAM PARK Gus Wortham Park Golf Course, 7000 Capitol St., East End, HoustonThe deadline for the Houston Golf Association to raise the $15 million the city says it’ll need to save and restore the Gus Wortham Park golf course at Lawndale and Wayside will be the end of next year, Gail Delaughter reports. If the nonprofit organization can’t meet that goal, the city will have a separate set of fundraising goals set up for the group that wants to scrap the greens and build a botanic garden at the 150-acre site, which lies just a couple blocks south of the coming far eastern extension of Metro’s East End light-rail line. If Gus Wortham golf supporters do come up with the funds, the botanical garden will likely be planned for the Glenbrook Park golf course on the northeast side of the Gulf Fwy. outside the loop. The targets and dates will be encoded in separate contracts the city is putting together with the 2 groups and put up for a vote in city council sometime this month. [Houston Public Media; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Houston Parks Board

04/04/14 11:00am

O'Neil St. Community Garden, Sutton Square, Fourth Ward, Houston

The vacant lots shown here at the corner of Bailey and O’Neil streets will soon become a community garden for the Fourth Ward’s Sutton Square neighborhood. The properties, which measure 12,000 sq. ft. in total, sit behind the office building on West Gray purchased last year by an energy-startup accelerator program (at center and left in the photo above) and relabeled the Surge Shack.


Growing in Sutton Square
04/01/14 12:30pm

Public Forum on Gus Wortham Golf Course, E.B. Cape Center, 4501 Leeland St., Houston

A reader sends in a report from the “spirited debate” at Monday night’s public forum at the E.B. Cape Center on Leeland St., covering proposed plans to convert the Gus Wortham Golf Course at Wayside Dr. and Lawndale St. in Houston’s East End, just north of Idylwood, into a new botanical garden: “Councilman Robert Gallegos, Mayor Parker, and many other politicians were there, as well as a standing room only crowd of those for the botanical garden (wielding the provided flowers), and for saving the golf course (fanning themselves with provided Gus Wortham fans). The crowd was encouraged to be quiet to keep things running smoothly, but this didn’t always happen, as many folks were pretty passionate about their opinions. Those wanting to save the golf course had at least double the presence of the garden folks, and were admittedly louder as things went on.”

Our correspondent, who claims to support renovating the existing golf course and putting a botanical garden elsewhere, notes that an earlier proposal in which the 150-acre site just west of Brays Bayou would have been shared by a 9-hole golf course and a new garden in the northern half has been scrapped. Houston Botanic Garden president Jeff Ross showed the latest “rough draft” of the proposed garden plan. Here’s a screen-shot photo:


Tee’d Off
09/25/13 4:35pm

Board members of Houston Botanic Garden, a nonprofit formed in 2002 that’s been looking to bring a big-time garden to the city ever since, have had their eyes on several properties, including the KBR site in the Fifth Ward. But it’s the 150 acres home to the 18-hole Gus Wortham Golf Course — the oldest in Texas — that they are after now. The course, which includes a driving range, is owned by the city, and Jeff Ross, president of the garden club, explains that the organization hopes to ink a “long-term lease” that would allow it to “repurpose the property,” much like the 55-acre VanDusen Botanical Garden had done with the old Shaughnessy Golf Club in Vancouver. Ross explains that this repurposing could mean reserving as many as 65 acres for a 9-hole course — which could be built from scratch or involve a kind of rejiggering of the existing holes — and setting up the gardens on the remaining 85-90 relatively hilly acres that roll here toward Brays Bayou.


05/14/13 11:30am

This is what Hermann Park says it would like to look like when it turns 100 next year: This drawing of Centennial Gardens from Chicago landscape architecture firm Hoerr Schaudt shows the blossoming of the current 15-acre Garden Center that’s between the museums and golf course along Hermann Dr. Looking forward to its centennial in 2014, the park conservancy has also recruited Peter Bohlin, the architect behind the Highland Village Apple Store, to design a new entrance:


02/06/13 11:15am

Austin-style eco-landscaping finishes out the front of this renovated 1940 Oak Forest home new listing, which comes with an initial asking price of $319,000. The property’s far greener outback includes a fenced-off veggie-herb-fruit garden. Next to it, an air-conditioned treehouse stands guard; a balcony allows visitors to the raised clubhouse to keep a watchful eye on errant vegetation. Inside the main house, meanwhile, a super-sized master suite occupies a goodly portion of the total living space.