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.


09/11/08 9:36pm

Neighborhood Guessing Game 24: Bathroom

Yeah, we know what’s been on your mind this afternoon and evening: Just where is that house from this week’s Neighborhood Guessing Game?

You guessed: Friendswood, Meyerland, and Old Braeswood. We had 2 for Tealwood, 2 votes for Memorial close to Voss, 2 for the Memorial Villages closer to Beltway 8 than Voss, 2 for River Oaks, 2 for Hunter’s Creek Village, and 3 for Tanglewood. Also: Gessner and Memorial, south of Memorial between Beltway 8 and Kirkwood, Bunker Hill, close-in Memorial, the Westcott area between Memorial and Washington, Memorial between Chimney Rock and Blalock, one of the Memorial Villages, Piney Point Village, and Indian Creek.

That’s a lot of Memorial! Thank you, Jeff, for simply framing the question:

This HAS to be Memorial Villages. But which one?

The win goes to K, who knows her Villages . . . and maybe a little somethin’ about Houston in the seventies:

Definitely Memorial Villages. You can tell by the heavily wooded lot and the size of the home for the year it was built (1970s). This was someone’s swank, possibly key-party-ish pad back in the booming 70s when all the richies were building their huge new homes in the Villages. I say Piney Point. It’s too modern for Bunker Hill, and has too many trees for Hilshire Village or Spring Valley, but this looks exactly like something you’d run across in Piney Point.

Three more of you who got the geography right — but missed the neighborhood name — get honorable mentions: sarahc, tcpIV, and Joni Webb.

Special honors go to David W, for leading off the guessing confidently in exactly the wrong direction:

Go 70’s – love all the angles. This house looks like it was expensively built but hasn’t been updated to much except maybe the glass block in the master bath – vintage Sub-Zero, big rooms, and nice courtyard out back. Clearly mature vegetation outside – I’m thinking Friendswood.

Yes, David W knew this house — and wrote to us about it. Did he throw you off?

After the jump: the big reveal!


08/15/08 11:51pm

This weekend: Hunters Creek Village, up and down Voss. Big lots! Big prices! And the new construction is bigger too! Here’s a tour of what you’ll find open if you visit this Sunday:

7623 River Point Dr., Riverbend, Hunters Creek Village

Location: 7623 River Point Dr.
Details: 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths; 2,035 sq. ft.
Price: $999,000
The Scoop: Multi-bay Midcentury Modern classic in Riverbend, designed in 1955 by Preston Bolton and Howard Barnstone, altered in the late ’90s. Courtyard entry, vaulted ceilings. Extensive enclosed back porch overlooks Buffalo Bayou. Houston Mod’s “Mod of the Month” (along with the Tanglewood home on Huckleberry Ln. by Arne Engberg described here). On the market for 3 weeks.
Open House: Sunday, 2-5 pm

Wanna see more?


03/12/08 3:41pm

House with Stockade Fence, Campbell Place, Spring Valley, Houston

Robert Boyd ends his series of bicycle tours through the Memorial Villages with a ride through the west end of Spring Valley, and concludes:

Perhaps this is a good way to characterize the Memorial Villages. They will tolerate eccentricity, but only a very small amount of it.

These are wealthy folks, and I bet many of them consider themselves to be individualists. Let your freak flags fly! You live in the Villages–you’ve made it. So do something wild and unique with your house and yard that proclaims your uniqueness.

After the jump, a few more photo gems from Boyd’s Spring Valley travelogue.