10/15/13 11:05am

Looks like MAM’s House of Ice will be opening inside this 780-sq.-ft. former paint supply liquor store at 1040 W. Cavalcade — just in time for winter! This spot is a bit east of where the sky-blue dessert trailer usually parks at Rutland and 20th. Why here? The owners explain to Eater Houston that they “‘tried really hard not to go into a strip center because [they] wanted to have green space’ so that families could go out, extend blankets on the green and enjoy the outdoor picnic tables.” HCAD records show that this new lot comes in at 3,500 sq. ft.

Photo: Eater Houston

05/29/13 3:45pm

An email sent out by the owners of re:HAB says that the bar will have to close and leave its Houston Ave. location by July. (A landlord issue, apparently.) But the email also says a new spot has been lined up — at 1658 Enid and Link Rd. in Brooke Smith — and that it could open as early as August “if everything goes according to plan (yeah right).”

So we’ll take things one day at a time, then. The bar first opened in the renovated (and repainted) former Houston Ave Bar spot along the Spring St. hike and bike trail. This new location is just a few blocks north of the renovated D&T Drive Inn on Enid and about a mile east of the proposed site of Town in City Brewing Co. on W. Cavalcade. The email goes on to describe this building as “nestled on the banks of ‘Little White Oak Bayou,’” explaining that you’ll be able to get to re:HAB this time “by car, bus, bike or kayak.”


03/14/13 1:00pm

Redo work on a 1920 cottage with a watching-the-world-pass porch spun off a mini-me houselet in back (above) and an airy, matching carport. The property, located a few blocks west of I-45 — between the Near Northside and the Heights — listed last Friday with an asking price of $399,000. The property had last changed hands in November 2012, for $119,500. But that was in its pink period (at right); it had first listed last March, for $150,000.


07/12/12 2:11pm

One of the reasons Brookesmith resident Vicki Scarpato bought the 1890 cottage on Archer St. pictured above last year was because of the 2009 Modern addition at the back: “I love the mix,” she says. Her home is next door to the modern structure architect Jeromy Murphy designed for his family and not far from the Cordell St. shipping-container house — all in a neighborhood that she calls “an interesting mix of beautiful new modern, Victorian cottages in various states of repair, and only a very few instances of three-to-a-lot townhouses.” Here are some pics of the back:


02/09/11 10:18am

CHANGING WITH THE TIMES ON NORTH MAIN “The Heights could certainly use a great drag revue,” concludes Katharine Shilcutt in her survey of the not-so-new restaurant at 4002 N. Main in Brookesmith, across Walton St. from Shipley’s Donuts: “Linda is the chef here at La Casa de Frida, a family-run place that’s been run by the same folks for 30 years on North Main. It was formerly Rico’s Cantina, then — for a very brief period last year — Rico’s Luchadores. That Mexican wrestling-themed concept didn’t pan out, so the family has now switched gears to a Frida Kahlo-decorated Tex-Mex cantina that offers Italian and Chinese food on the menu in addition to college ‘club’ nights on Fridays and drag shows on Saturdays.” [Eating Our Words] Photo: Swamplot inbox.

02/16/10 4:16pm

Sure, it’s a big break when local architects and designers get their work published in Dwell, but who knew that an appearance in the modern design magazine might ultimately be seen as just a stepping stone on the path to even greater fame? That’s right: With the recent appearance of the Unhappy Hipsters blog, Dwell‘s design stars will at last be able to reach a much wider circle.

Most photos on Unhappy Hipsters are taken from the magazine. But yes, the captions are changed — just a little bit — so that the work shown can reach a larger and perhaps more appreciative audience.

Already, two teams of Houston designers have been featured on the blog. A reader writes in to report that the photo above, showing the owners of Numen Development’s shipping-container house on Cordell St. in Brookesmith, was featured in a recent Unhappy Hipsters post. Except instead of the original caption from Dwell, which described the front porch, the species of grass on the lawn, and the bent-steel shade above, we have this:

Not on the grass, Sweetie. Never. On. The. Grass. See how much fun Daddy is having?

Who else is appearing on Unhappy Hipsters?


01/08/10 4:08pm

Architect and Swamplot reader Jeromy Murphy sends in a construction update on the house he and his wife — also an architect — are building for themselves at 502 Archer St. in Brookesmith, “not too far from the container house.” How’s the family project going?

Lori and I designed it together, proving that a husband/wife architecture team can succeed (as long as the husband just agrees to everything his architect wife wants).

One of those design decisions that came so easily: the 8-ft. Isis Big Ass Fan that’ll hang from exposed rafters on a porch overlooking a new retaining wall. The fan isn’t installed yet, but you can see the rafters in this photo:


09/28/09 9:00pm

The Swamplot Price Adjuster needs your nominations! Found a property you think is poorly priced? Send an email to Swamplot, and be sure to include a link to the listing or photos. Tell us about the property, and explain why you think it deserves a price adjustment. Then tell us what you think a better price would be. Unless requested otherwise, all submissions to the Swamplot Price Adjuster will be kept anonymous.

Location: 1005 Cordell St., Brookesmith
Details: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath; 980 sq. ft. on a 5,000-sq.-ft. lot
Price: $229,900
History: On the market for 3 months.

Why does the nominator of this bungalow think it’s overpriced?

Okay, then: What would be a better price for this home?


09/04/09 12:26pm

SECRET POWERS OF THE CORDELL ST. SHIPPING-CONTAINER HOUSE The Brookesmith home of Kevin Freeman and Jen Feldmann — fashioned from shipping containers by Numen Development’s John Walker and Katie Nichols — meets a national audience in the pages of the latest issue of Dwell: “The meat distributor [across Cordell St.] begins loading trucks as early as 5:30 a.m., but the couple imagines themselves as hipsters living in New York City’s meatpacking district, and that makes it okay. . . . The corrugated steel of the container that houses the master suite becomes a textured wall for writing messages in the home’s entrance. ‘When we were furnishing the house, I thought, “Oh no! Our fridge isn’t magnetic for Eli’s artwork,” but then I realized the whole house is magnetic,’ Feldmann says. ‘We’ve become magnet connoisseurs,’ Freeman adds.” [Dwell; previously in Swamplot]

01/14/09 11:19am

Next experiment at that Swamplot-Award-winning house built out of shipping containers on Cordell St. in Brookesmith? The unique driveway installed earlier this week. John Walker of Numen Development writes in with details:

It is composed of recycled crushed glass, with a resin binder, and achieves the consistency of caramel popcorn for lack of a better description, so it has voids that allow surface water to percolate through the paving and ultimately be absorbed into the underlying soil rather than running off into the storm drainage system. It is a triple threat: recycled material, reduces environmental impact of development, and it’s really cool!

Walker says Presto Geosystems, a division of Alcoa, installed the driveway as a pilot project for the Houston market.

This installation has been described by their consulting engineer as most likely the “first and last” residential project they will do in Houston as the product is expected to meet with huge commercial demand, especially for “landlocked” developments for whom expansion is limited by Harris County stormwater detention limitations.

Some views of the installation:


05/01/08 8:17am

Interior of 701 A—– St., Houston

So you think this week’s Neighborhood Guessing Game is tough? Sure it is. But it’s not impossible.

You want to see impossible? Try guessing the neighborhood of the home shown in these photos. This is a home we decided not to use for this week’s contest . . . for, uh, reasons that should become clear when you read all the way to the end of this post.

But don’t do that just yet!

Look at the photos of the interior below, after the jump . . . but stop scrolling before you get all the way to the bottom, so you can spend a minute or so testing yourself, to see if you’re the kind of Houston real-estate savant who really could figure out this home’s location, just by viewing images of the inside.

Swamplot readers are very sharp . . . but this has got to be impossible. Without seeing the pictures of the exterior (added at the very end), there’s no way you’d ever be able to identify the correct neighborhood. Well, okay — you might just get lucky. But there’s no way to figure it out, really.

Office Area, 701 A—– St., Houston

Ready to see more interior photos?


04/23/08 8:17am

New McDonald’s at I-45 and N. Main, Woodland Heights

A reader writes in with this report on the newly reopened McDonald’s at I-45 and N. Main, at the entrance of Woodland Heights:

It’s no “McStarbucks,” but it is different from most McDonald’s I’ve seen. The colors are rich coffee browns. There’s some fake zebrawood-looking formica on some walls, and a strange wallpaper-like tile in the bathroom. Right in the middle of the main eating area there’s a round structure that looks vaguely like a DJ booth. A bar-height counter juts out from it, where people waiting for their orders can rub elbows. The indoor playground in front is in a separate room. Sorry, no comfy couches.

How were the hamburgers?!!!?

01/10/08 2:42pm

House Made of Shipping Containers at 206 Cordell St., Houston, Under Construction

That house built out of shipping containers on Cordell St. in Brookesmith looks like it’ll be ready for delivery soon. Yes, this was a spec house — and yes, there already is a buyer.

Last year, Numen Development owners Katie Nichols and John Walker used shipping containers to construct the Apama Mackey Gallery on 11th St. in the Heights — because the gallery owner wanted a structure she can move when the property owner kicks her off the land. But the house Numen is building on Cordell looks like it’s going to be around for a while. It comes with its own, uh . . . doublewide lot, and it’s right across the street from a meat-processing plant.

After the jump: drawings, models, and an earlier construction photo of this neat little three-bedroom, three-bath, 1,851-square-foot package!


01/03/08 5:59pm

McDonald's Sign at Night

We have an answer to last week’s reader question about the future of the Woodland Heights McDonald’s, at the corner of I-45 and North Main St., which was recently demolished. Miz Anonymous (“from the lovely and talented ‘Brooke Smith’ subdivision”) writes in:

Neighborhood prattle says that one of those new fancy McDonald’s, with earth tones, Wi-Fi and lounge areas, will be put up there. We’re calling it “McStarbucks.” Guess the McD franchise figures the neighborhood is going “up” after all. We hope that the 45-feeder bums will have to get their panhandled-dollar burgers somewhere else.

Another clue the burgers are coming back: the hood on the freeway-visible sign, which remains. If you haven’t visited the Willowbrook McDonald’s, see the prototype photos in this BusinessWeek slideshow.

Photo of McDonald’s sign: Flickr user Michael Schanbacher