08/05/16 4:30pm

3715 N. Main St., Norhill, Houston

3715 N. Main St., Norhill, Houston

Workers have begun attaching wire netting to the façade of the 4,344-sq.-ft. retail-turned-office building at 3715 N. Main, which county records indicate was built in 1940 and a nearby resident believes once served as a post office for the adjacent neighborhoods of Norhill and Brooke Smith. The netting is in advance, it appears, of a new stucco or stucco-like overcoat for the brick-front structure.

The Iglesia de Restauracion, an affiliate of El Salvador-based pentecostal ministry Mision Cristiana Elim Internacional, bought the building last fall; previously it served as the law offices of voting-rights attorney Frumencio Reyes. In stuccoing the structure, the neighborhood church will be following the pattern established earlier with the successive stuccovers of its own main sanctuary building, the former North Main Theater across the street at 3730 N. Main.

Here’s how that movie theater, which was built in 1936, once looked:

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Famous Beige Overcoat
08/03/16 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON HEIGHTS HISTORY IN THE MAKING Houston Heights Craftorian Home“. . . They probably looked around and saw hundreds of 3k-plus-sq.-ft. Faux Craftsman, Faux Victorian, Faux Colonial, Faux Historic, etc. ‘bungalows,’ that have replaced (or bastardized) most of the real Craftsman, Victorian, Colonial, historic bungalows and realized that the Heights ‘style’ is all fake anyway, so why bother replicating more Faux? They instead designed a building that represents its own era, 2016. . . . Don’t fret, in 100 years, this will be ‘historic’ too.” [John M, commenting on Once Bashful Heights Post Office Replacement Retail Now Willing To Step Up to the Street, Learn To Like Sidewalks] Illustration: Lulu

06/17/15 1:15pm

Sign for Arabella, 4521 San Felipe St., Highland Village, Houston

Sign for Arabella, 4521 San Felipe St., Highland Village, HoustonIt was introduced in April as the Arábella, but all you Randall Davis fans who’ve been trying hard since then to affect the correct pronunciation can relax your eyebrows. A reader sends in this closeup of the sign up on San Felipe, next to the driveway for the neighboring Target, advertising the 34-story condo tower the foreign-language-reference aficionado is planning to plant right in front of the just-about-complete SkyHouse River Oaks and across from Ashley Furniture on San Felipe, just inside the Loop. And behold! The accent is gone. Or rather, painted over, the reader reports.

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Acute Name
05/18/15 1:30pm

Treviso at Waterway Square,  Waterway Square Pl., The Woodlands, Texas

This is what “European sensibility” means in The Woodlands — at least to the Woodlands Development Company people marketing Treviso at Waterway Square, a 23-story condo tower planned across Waterway Square Pl. from the Woodlands Waterway itself, right behind the construction site of the 302-room Westin hotel now going up along the waterfront. The view down the waterway above shows the new tower at center, in front of an existing multi-story parking garage (whose cheese and bicycle shops at the base face Lake Robbins Dr.), and just east of the 24 Waterway Ave. office building and its ground-floor restaurantage. The completed Westin is at right center.

In the language of the development firm, this setting is “not unlike a European village.” So the name? “Treviso is a medieval Italian town near Venice that shares its combination of peaceful canals and iconic Piazzas but on a smaller scale, and just slightly off the beaten path,” declares a marketing brochure.

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23 Stories
03/20/15 12:00pm

Rendering of Village of River Oaks, 1015 S. Shepherd Dr., Shepherd Curve, Houston

Give the lawsuit filed by 7 residents of the costumed Gotham and Renoir Lofts buildings along the Shepherd Curve just south of West Dallas St. some credit. News of the legal action has spurred the defendant to do something it previously hadn’t: release to the public an actual rendering of the 8-story senior living facility it’s about to construct between the 2 Randall Davis condos, once it finishes clearing away the remains of the RR Donnelley printing company building at 1015 S. Shepherd Dr. And here it is, showing almost exactly how Bridgewood Property’s Village of River Oaks will look a few years from now — when you view it from Google Street View, that is.

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Google Street View Rendering
04/03/14 4:15pm

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There’s a balcony off the dining-room prow in the corner penthouse for lease in the midrise Renoir building north of River Oaks Shopping Center. Up on the 8th floor of the Randall Davis project, the 2-story condo unit has views on 3 sides, sweeping from the Galleria area to downtown. The $7,500 per month rate appears to include the furnishings — but don’t assume pets are OK, the listing says.

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Sky Season
02/07/14 1:30pm

Interior, 2121 Kirby Dr. Unit 33, Upper Kirby, Houston

The Huntingdon, 2121 Kirby Dr., Upper Kirby, HoustonA slideshow featured on the website of the Houston Business Journal (and noted in our Headlines post this morning) features the 7 most expensive homes sold in Houston last year. Coming in at No. 3 is the full-floor Huntingdon condo unit where former Enron CEO Ken Lay used to live. 2121 Kirby Dr. Unit 33 and its mopey-castle-in-the-sky interior (shown below after the furniture was removed) was listed for sale by his widow, Linda Lay, back in 2010 and featured on Swamplot occasionally over the following years as it hopped on and off the market a few times and descended in fits and starts from an initial (off-market) asking price of $12.8 million to the mid-single-digit millions. MLS and county tax records show the 9-bathroom, 6-elevator, 12,827-sq.-ft. pièd-a-terre with the $10K+ monthly maintenance fee finally sold last February to an entity controlled by another local CEO, for a (still-record-making, but more than half-off) $5.5 million, though the list price had by that time fallen $100K lower.

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Much Lower, but Still Sky High
01/28/14 11:45am

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Taylor Lake is only part of the scene-setting found at this sprawling 1973 waterfront estate on a point of Seabrook’s El Lago Estates. While the lion’s share of the listing photos feature the tidy grounds and exterior’s grand-scaled impact, the interior delivers quite a cinematic cornucopia of thematic decor — and lighting, such as found in the fuchia glow of the Moulin Rouged bedroom pictured above. Scene it?

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OMG Interiors
11/07/13 4:00pm

A waterfront estate in Coldspring’s Paradise Cove on Lake Livingston pumps up the nostalgia. It’s not just the charming merry-go-round (top), a tilted bit of grandchild bait strategically placed on the grounds. Built in 2007, the sprawling, multi-peaked home mirrors grand-scale cottage escapes of another era. The references play out in the home’s scale and interior sprinklings of somewhere-in-time architectural “finds” from round-the-world. Vintage touches blend in with modern building materials made to look old, such as the exterior’s bricks and replica slate roof  with griffin and copper finials. Meanwhile, the chimney stacks hail from England, the front door from France, and the gazebo from Egypt. How convincing is the assembly? Only the custom newel posts from New England get a close-up in any of the listing photos, which also indicate a penchant for heavy, dark-stained trim, red velvet accents, and claw foot tubs.

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05/29/13 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: FROM THE INNER LOOP REAL ESTATE LEXICON “Remember, ‘Craftsman style’ doesn’t refer to what a structure is going to look like. It’s a magical incantation that developers recite to make Heights residents feel calm.” [John (another one), commenting on Assisting the Living in the Heights]

04/01/13 2:00pm

And it looks like the Alamo is standing on its own again: Previously demolished, Alamo Tamales re-appeared last summer as nothing but leaning walls and steel rods, but it re-opened with a stalwart uprightness on Berry Rd. on Friday. Architect Tim Cisneros of Cisneros Design Studio sends the photo of the restaurant’s finished facade sandwiched between a dessert bar and cantina in the 21,000-sq.-ft. Northside strip center west of Irvington Blvd.

Photos: Cisneros Design Studio

09/17/12 7:19pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: MIDCENTURY STYLING WAS THE PSEUDO TUSCAN OF ITS DAY “. . . But let’s be honest with ourselves, if we can step out of our trendy mid-century loving selves for a moment . . . just because something was original doesn’t mean it was good, or desirable. Let’s not fall into that elitist trap. Honestly, I’m not crying over replacing that gawdawful carpet with anythingbutthatgawdafulcarpet. Yes, a lot of the updates are generic “what’s popular/mainstream right now” sort of stuff. But what they’re replacing is the exact same sort of mainstream styling, just with a healthy dose of nostalgia wrapped around it. Let’s not kid ourselves . . . as much as I personally like midcentury style, most of these houses were just as generic as the pseudo Tuscan places going up all over the area. They simply have the benefit of being fewer in number these days. There is nothing inherently better about one era’s overused style elements than another. Novelty is not the same thing as absolute superiority.” [JB, commenting on Fixed That for You: A Memorial Hollowed Modern, Corrected]

07/31/12 12:54pm

Even without the flag waving as punctuation, this 1890 Victorian serves as a pint-sized Americana residential souvenir, complete with gingerbread trim and turned posts on the porch. The fence, however, is of more modern scale — and function, given its automated gate across the driveway. Flashbacks continue inside the cottage, listed earlier this month at $369,5000. It’s located in the Bartholomew Place tendril of Sunset Heights, a long block west of Metro’s Heights Transit Center.

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