01/13/16 4:00pm

Renderings of Houston Botanic Garden at Glenbrook Park Golf Course, Glenbrook Valley, Houston, 77017

Bright and shiny renderings from the recently-released master plan for the Houston Botanic Garden show that design firm West 8 is aware of the challenges involved in straddling a world-class park across Sims Bayou, on the site of Glenbrook Park Golf Course just across I-45 north of Hobby Airport.  The Dutch firm, known internationally for unusual bridges and unconventional landscape design, has planned for many of the Garden’s displays to flood at will; the shores of Sims Bayou on the Garden’s property will also be resculpted. And to combat Houston’s just-shy-of-year-round heat, shade trees would be preserved or planted throughout the park, including the towering cypresses depicted in the bayou-side wetland gardens shown above (parts of which will be explorable by kayak).

Meanwhile, the more formal garden spaces planned for the park are shown with their own built-in shade (complete with custom ceiling fans): Colonnade structures (like the ones picture below) will ring each of the major collection gardens, which are designed to be “entered, enjoyed, and contemplated from the comfort of the shaded perimeter”:


Glenbrook Valley Garden
01/13/16 10:00am

Renderings of Houston Botanic Garden at Glenbrook Park Golf Course, Glenbrook Park, Houston, 77017

Now available: Dutch landscaping and design firm West 8’s master plan for the Houston Botanic Garden, complete with preliminary renderings of the future-former Glenbrook Park Golf Course (south of Park Place Blvd between I-45 and Galveston Rd.). The drawings include details of the so-called Botanical Mile walk-and-drive-way (shown above posing in Downward Dog over Sims Bayou): an arboreal bridge along the single-file parade of exotic trees is intended by the designers to serve as a new symbol for the city of Houston, better known currently for its general aversion to being outdoors.

According to the master plan document, the Botanical Mile will stretch along the western side of the garden and serve as the main entrance: visitors will enter the park from Park Place Blvd. and drive the length of the property to the parking lots, in the process crossing onto and back off of the large island created by a meandering limb of Sims Bayou:


Rooting Over Glenbrook Valley
04/10/15 11:15am




In contrast to the precision of its rather limited exterior landscaping (above), bold motifs of twisting vines (top) and wind-waving palm fronds (middle) add some garden to a garden variety 1963 rancher in Glenbrook Valley, even if it’s just on the wallpaper and draperies. Tended and tidy, the property popped up on the market two weeks ago; it has a $198,500 price tag. It’s located 2 blocks south of Sims Bayou and 2 blocks north of Bellfort St. on a central street in the neighborhood, Houston’s only outside-the-Loop historic district.


Patio Crowd
03/11/15 1:45pm

Medical Office Building, 7620 Bellfort St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston

Real estate agent Robert Searcy sends in make-’em-look-pretty pics of a few of the small Modern office buildings to be found along Bellfort St. between Telephone Rd. and Broadway in Glenbrook Valley. The buildings were built in the 1960s, many of them to serve doctors connected to the former Southeast Memorial Hospital on the northwest corner of Bellfort St. and Glenloch. (Later operated by Riverside General Hospital as its Edith Irby Jones Campus, the structure was torn down a few years ago after suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Ike.)

Pictured above: The Bellfort Women’s Care Clinic at 7620 Bellfort, formerly the office of Dr. Hans Altinger, who also lived in Glenbrook Valley. Next on the tour:


Some of the Doctors Are In
01/21/15 12:00pm

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES BOTANICAL GARDEN ON GLENBROOK PARK GOLF COURSE, GUS WORTHAM COURSE RENOVATIONS Glenbrook Park Golf Course, 8205 N. Bayou Dr., HoustonCity council voted unanimously this morning to give the go-ahead to plans to renovate the Gus Wortham Golf Course north of Idylwood, and allow the group that had previously attempted to turn that location into a botanical garden to develop a facility instead on the current site of the 18-hole Glenbrook Park Golf Course, along Sims Bayou on the north side of the Gulf Fwy. south of Loop 610. The long-term lease agreements are victories for the operating organizations behind both efforts, but the garden group clearly got its second choice; an Inner Loop garden on site of the oldest golf course in Texas would have had better access to public transportation including the new light-rail line, and would have been surrounded by less freeway noise. If the Houston Golf Association fails to raise $5 million for the Gus Wortham redo before the end of this year, it’s possible the split could be rejiggered; the Houston Botanic Garden Board is being given until the end of 2017 to raise $20 million for its efforts. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Glenbrook Park Golf Course: Houston Golf Nut

10/22/14 4:30pm




Since its purchase in August for $86,100, a 1956 Glenbrook Valley property located on one of the mid-century neighborhood’s interior streets has been zhushed for a flip. It’s now back on the market and asking $144,900. Changes are most apparent in the kitchen (above middle, with the original below it) and bathrooms. Tweaks before its listing last week included a new roof, new flooring, repairs to underground plumbing, leveling of the foundation — and home staging with careful attention to corners . . .


Buffed Up
06/06/14 11:00am

8008 Colgate St., Glenbrook Valley, Houston

8008 Colgate St., Glenbrook Valley, HoustonIt isn’t listed on MLS, but this 2-story mod from 1963 is now for sale. You can see it this weekend: The house at 8008 Colgate St. in Glenbrook Valley is one of 3 featured properties in this weekend’s “Mod of the Month” open house hosted by Houston Mod (along with 2 Meadowcreek Village homes that were featured on Swamplot recently). This one is the product of a to-the-studs renovation and expansion completed last year.

What a journey it’s been: “A long term owner had let the house go,” reports agent Robert Searcy, who’s representing the seller. “The flat roof had leaked, water and mold damage plus animals that had been allowed to defecate in the house, I think maybe even some that died in the house and were never removed. The owner’s cars had been sitting in the garage for decades, on flats, fake Christmas trees and junk piled on them, (a Rolls Royce and a Jaguar sedan, both had been bought new originally).”

Here are a few before-and-after views to give a picture:


Double Decker Redo
07/30/13 2:45pm

When showcased in the 1956 Parade of Homes, this Glenbrook Valley mod with desert-theme plantings (still in place) earned accolades for its forward-thinking children’s wing and U-shaped kitchen layout (intended as step-saving convenience for the chore-laden lady of the house). Those design details are among the features called out in the vintage promotional flyers included in the listing materials for the home, which popped up on the market earlier this month. The asking price today is $139,000, a few steps up from the $20,000 of its midcentury origins and the $52,250 it went for when it last sold, in 2008.

Since then, the compact-but-comfy home has had its internals updated; there’s new wiring, (underslab) plumbing, roofing, and appliances. Meanwhile, the carport (above right) has been wrapped in a snazzy new wooden-screen skin.


07/03/13 12:00pm

This 3-bedroom mod and its carport on Cayton St. in Glenbrook Valley was designed by A. Carroll Brodnax and featured in the 1957 Parade of Homes. The few photos included in this new listing show the mid-century home in need of a bit of present-day attention — but the asking price is only $69,999.


03/12/13 10:00am

Last week, owners Cheryl and David Bowman of 7919 Glenview Dr. were given a Good Brick Award from Preservation Houston for their renovation of this 1954 mod — one of the original 6, says Cheryl Bowman, built in Glenbrook Valley. Purchased in March 2011, the 2-bedroom, 1,834-sq.-ft. home, shown here from the backyard, wasn’t always such a pretty picture . . .


01/23/13 4:45pm

In Southeast Houston, Glenbrook Valley sits between Telephone and Broadway near Hobby Airport. Developed during that same spate of post-war optimism that gave us the Jetsons, the neighborhood is home to many smaller mid-century mods, including this 1,375-sq.-ft. one at 7722 Glenalta. Designed by P. Herbert Caldwell, the home should be listed this Thursday or Friday at $110,000. Have a look around:


07/25/12 1:38pm

Listed yesterday: This 1957 Mod in Glenbrook Valley long nicknamed the “Sputnik” house — after the custom-built light fixture its original owner hung on the front porch when he moved in. The light’s still there, but all the furniture’s been cleared out for sparkly photo shoot, so you can even imagine the place filled with Hummel-bedecked Ethan Allen if you like. The 11,694-sq.-ft. lot sits across the street from Sims Bayou, half a mile west of the Gulf Fwy., a couple miles north of Hobby Airport, so it’s got real southeast Houston street cred. The neighborhood, which includes a lot of homes of similar vintage, was designated a historic district not too long ago. Your guess on the home’s asking price?


06/23/11 5:43pm

INSIDE THE HISTORIC BATTLE FOR GLENBROOK VALLEY The color-coded maps, the front-yard tombstones, the shivering naked women, the Ranches and MCMs, the prayer nooks, the free tacos, the threatening drive-by waves . . . it all comes out (well, some of it anyway) in Steve Jansen’s Glenbrook Valley exposé. [Houston Press; previously on Swamplot]