08/20/14 4:15pm



The interior of a decked out 1978 Spring Branch Estates home uses changing floor finishes to cue its ups and downs as the floor plan twists around a spiral staircase beneath a 20-ft. dome. The flow creates living spaces on several levels — and some rather unusual, futuristic features . . .


Taking Turns
07/18/14 5:00pm



There are vintage, historical, and perhaps sentimental aspects of this place in Merlin Place, just north of Spring Valley: The listing notes the home was “modeled after” the owner’s previous property in Piney Point. And bits of old Houston, older Galveston, and really old New Orleans worked themselves into the 1995 custom home, which still has some unfinished rooms. Thursday’s listing of the Mansard-roofed property, located between Voss and Bingle roads and south of Westview Dr., has an $840,000 asking price.


Saving Graces
04/15/14 4:30pm



Spaces are configured in unusual ways in this 1992 contemporary home in Spring Branch’s Shady Villa Annex neighborhood, located south of Westview and east of Antoine near Spring Valley. The home’s deep setback on a double lot, for example, puts outdoor amenities like a pool and grotto on the side and gives the stone-and-steel exterior’s towering stairwell a twist of wood-and-glass finishes.


Twists and Turns
04/04/14 5:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE BOOM IN SPRING BRANCH Illustration of Spring Branch Home“This part of Spring Branch has seen the median listing price go up from ~$150k to ~$250k over the past two years. Listings all over SB get multiple cash offers on the first day; a $400k listing will get bid up well into half-mil territory by week’s end. If this ball keeps rolling, we could start to see the first teardowns north of Long Point before the end of the year. Decision, decisions . . . best to buy now, or sit tight and wait for the pop?” [Rodrigo, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Auto Air] Illustration: Lulu

03/13/14 12:00pm

Houston Cosentino Center, 1315 W. Sam Houston Parkway North, Houston

What more suitable spot could there be in Houston for a showroom, warehouse, and designer-education center focused around Silestone and the other kitchen-and-bath-slabs lines of a Spanish manufacturer to land than in a brand-new complex of tilt-up buildings aligned along the southbound Beltway 8 feeder of the Sam Houston Tollway across from Spring Branch? Not long after the concrete slabs went up at 1315 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. North (north of Westview Dr.), the slabs of ground quartz, marble, recycled materials, and precious stones went in. The multi-warehouse complex opened late last year; The Houston Cosentino Center at Suite 150 opened last week.

So what if the vast concrete expanse of the feeder-road-side parking lot in the middle of the U-shaped tilt-wall complex looks kinda bleak? The inside is set up to be sleek:


The Kitchen Slabs of Cosentino
12/04/13 1:00pm


It’s one and done for this wee 1-story, 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home with 1-bay garage in the Westway Courtyard Homes development of Spring Branch. (This single-minded 1979-built home did opt for twice the driveway, however.) Still, it’s the smallest home among double-decker neighbors. Arizona-style landscaping also sets the extensively “renewed” address apart from others in the community of 329 efficiently proportioned homes located north of Clay Rd. near Gessner Rd. This pint-sized property appeared on the market in late November and has a $81,105 asking price.


Single Stylin’
11/26/13 3:30pm



It’s not exactly over the rainbow, but a tinted-window office over the garage of a 1959 property in Silber Terrace does catch a groovy UV glow. The ranch-style home morphed at some point into a live-work spread on an oversized, unrestricted lot fronting Antoine Dr.’s southbound lane north of I-10. Beyond the back yard’s treeline, Woodlawn Cemetery extends westward views. This mid-November listing comes with a $775,000 asking price.


With Cemetery View
11/21/13 11:30am



Among the cheek-to-jowl townhomes in the Willow Walk development, a 1983 Tudor-ed up unit exhibits blonde ambition in its choice of interior paneling, flooring, and trim (above). The 1-and-a-half-story Spring Shadows home squeezed its way into the market late last week. Its asking price is $275,000. (That doesn’t include any greens fees at the Pine Crest Golf Course across the street.)


Golden Glow
10/07/13 12:00pm

A NEW MIXTURE OF USES FOR THE OLD SPRING BRANCH MED CENTER The proud new owners of the 300,000-sq.-ft. Spring Branch Medical Center say they plan to flip the 18-acre property on Long Point Rd. into a residential and retail development. Investor Bruce Phillips tells the Houston Chronicle that the old medical buildings, most of which were built in the ’80s, might not have to come down to make the change happen and could be repurposed. The purchase was led by BlackSwan, which is also developing with Stream Realty that 25-story office tower near Washington on Waugh and Barnes. [Houston Chronicle ($); previously on Swamplot] Photo: MAM Jobs Network

10/03/13 3:30pm

Construction began yesterday on a new 1.35-mile segment of hike and bike trail on White Oak Bayou, the first of 5 planned sections that will more or less formalize the route that some trail users have taken it upon themselves to blaze. Eventually, the $3.4 million that the Bayou Greenways project will spend here will create about 11 miles of off-street passage from Hollister Rd. in Spring Branch to Downtown.

But first things first: This new segment will span Shepherd and Durham and W. 11th St., where, as this rendering from SWA Group shows, that charred MKT railroad trestle will be replaced with a snazzy new one — somewhat to the chagrin of John Nova Lomax, you’ll remember, who’s on the record lamenting the yoga dads and their ilk that that char might have once scared off.

Rendering: SWA Group

08/14/13 3:30pm

SAY HOWDY TO THE LARGEST GAY COUNTRY BAR IN TEXAS Lamenting the closing of Brazos River Bottom in Midtown, the new owners of the 1955 Esquire Ballroom — where a young Willie Nelson, among other country crooners, cut his teeth — say they are restoring the vacant dancehall and saloon and will be opening on August 24 what they claim is the largest LGBT country bar in Texas. At 11410 Hempstead Hwy. in Spring Branch, the 10,000-sq.ft. building is now named Neon Boots and, according to a press release, is being renovated to include a “huge dance floor and performance stage, six bar stations, table service, [and an] expansive outdoor area with deck and patio. The owners also anticipate installing a mechanical bull.” [Neon Boots; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Esquire Ballroom: West Houston Archives