02/13/17 2:30pm

UNIDENTIFIED CHEMICAL STENCH, HAZE DRIFTING ACROSS TOWN OFFICIALLY NO CAUSE FOR CONCERN Albemarle Corporation Facility, 13000 Bay Park Rd., Pasadena, TX, 77507Suggested and mandatory restrictions on hanging around outside were issued by the Memorial Village area’s fire department and by Katy ISD respectively for a while this morning, in response to the acrid odor and haze blowing in some 40 miles across the city from somewhere near the Ship Channel. The Houston emergency response folks say that their monitoring has turned up no air quality red flags, but that anyone who can avoid the stink should probably do so just in case. The particular origin and composition of the odor also still seems to still be up for debate this afternoon: The Albemarle facility at 13000 Bay Park Rd. (shown above) called into the CAER hotline this morning to report that they might be releasing natural gas odorizer throughout the day as their gas facilities got worked on, and LyondellBasell’s Sheldon Rd. facility also sent a message to the CAER line that they would be conducting flaring today in response to a “unit upset,” but no official suspects have been named by the city.  The extent of the odor’s inland spread is notably broader than last month’s quickie Valero tank overfill stench incident in Manchester: KHOU reports that some of its viewers on the southeast side of town started calling in about the smell around 10 am, and that “by 11 a.m. the smell and an apparent haze covered most of downtown Houston and the west side, with some reports from as far north as Bush Airport.” [KHOU; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Albemarle facility at 13000 Bay Park Rd.: April R.  

05/13/16 5:00pm

403 Westminster Dr., Memorial Villages, Houston, TX 77024

For sale along Buffalo Bayou, just above the junction with still-biohazardous Spring Branch: the Frame-Harper house, designed in the late 1950s by Harwood Taylor. The 3-time houstonMOD Mod of the Month was unwhitewashed by Stern & Bucek in 2007 to the tune of various accolades, but after an initial 2008 listing (at a smidge under $3 million) the home was pulled off and pushed back on the market 2 more times before a late 2011 sale for $1.78 million. The house came back onto the market in August of last year for $3.45 million, holding out until a November withdrawal; the current listing asks for $2.85 million instead.

Above is the family room, with original walnut paneling, and some of the coffered ceilings un-de-coffered by the 2007 redo. Here’s how the rest of the un-remodel is standing the test of time:


Still Bayou Cool
12/15/15 2:00pm

311 Hunters Trail St., Hunterwood, Hunters Creek, TX 77024

Hidden in the woods behind the Houston Racquet Club, this C-floorplan mod leaning out toward Buffalo Bayou is currently on the market for just under $2.4 million — down from $3.8 million at the end of September, and $2.9 million at the start of November. The 7,449-sq.-ft. home is now being sold for what the listing claims is lot value, though a $900/monthyear maintenance fee is included. The curvaceous structure contains 3 bedrooms, 3 and a half bathrooms, a pool, and a small mixed-species grove.

Sadly, no photos of the interior are included in the listing, but aerial views are:


Home Invasion in Hunterwood
12/01/15 11:00am

1 Pine Creek Ln., Hilshire Village, Houston

Positioned above a fork in Spring Branch Creek just north of I-10, this 1971 mod was designed by former occupant Roland Beach, who passed away last April after living in the home for more than 40 years with his family. Beach, an exporter of construction materials to Barbados, produced much of the 2,630-sq.-ft. home’s extensive wood paneling and detailing in his own shop in the property’s detached 2-car garage.

His 3-bedroom, 3-bath dreamhouse was remodeled in 2008, when Beach added a master suite containing a round sleeping area, a sauna, and a kitchenette with dining space — allowing occupants to get away from it all without actually leaving the home. The house was named one of Houston Mod’s “Mods of the Month” for November; the asking price dropped to $825k from just under $840k at the end of October, after a few weeks on the market.


Suburban Retreat
03/27/14 3:00pm



Paul Revere didn’t ride past this pedigreed residential slice of New England in Memorial’s Greenbay Forest, but it sure looks like he could have. The classic Cape Cod home (top) is a much more recent vintage than 18th c., however. It’s a 1978 design by the go-to group for such work, Boston-based Royal Barry Wills Associates. With its simple, broad-faced elevation and snow-deterring roof, many features are true to form, right down to the “keeping room” off the kitchen (above). Earlier this week, the home landed on the shores of the MLS. It has an asking price of $3.5 million.


Colonial House
04/10/13 4:35pm

LOOKING FOR THE METAL STUDS IN HOUSTON “I got nothing against wood,” writes a reader who says he worked in his uncle’s construction business for 12 summers while he was in school. “I really like the smell of fresh cut wood.” Still, he’s hoping Swamplot readers will be able to refer him to both architects and residential builders who are familiar with metal-frame construction — to help him build a new home for himself in the Memorial Villages area. He says he’s convinced metal-frame construction will last longer in Houston because of its inhospitality to termite dining and perhaps a lower risk of going up in flames. [Swamplot inbox] Photo: Super Stud

02/04/13 4:30pm

Don’t ever say sluggers don’t need their creature comforts: This 16,000-sq.-ft., 5-bedroom, 9-bathroom mansion at 405 Timberwilde was home to former Houston Astro and 1994 NL MVP Jeff Bagwell, who retired with 449 homers after 15 seasons. Oh, and his mansion? It’s for sale for $15 million.


07/03/12 2:52pm

Beneath all the pine trees of this Spring Oaks property there’s a redwood-sided garage big enough for a RV, or so says the listing. Although the single-story 1955 home has been updated a few times, most of the remodeling appears to be a decade — or two — old. Still, the $790,000 metal-roofed home comes with nearly a half-acre of land, a pool, some patios, plus that extra-large, multi-purpose car barn.