04/10/15 3:00pm



Woodsy trim takes a casual course through a 1941 home in Idylwood, starting with a boarded up wall in the living room (top). The property’s listing earlier this week came with a $459K price tag — and a Sunday afternoon open house on its calendar.


Trim Tweaked
03/30/15 4:30pm



Doubled windows dominate the front of an updated 1946 Idylwood home. Each pair indicates a front-to-back section of the floor plan within. The south-facing property sits on a sloping lot in the neighborhood’s southeast corner; the street, which begins at Wayside Dr. just north of Walmart, eventually bends past the grassy banks of Brays Bayou. Over the weekend, the home popped up on the market as a listing seeking $265K. The same agent handled the property’s previous sale in 2008, when the current owner paid $185K before sprucing it up.


Two by Two
01/21/15 12:00pm

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES BOTANICAL GARDEN ON GLENBROOK PARK GOLF COURSE, GUS WORTHAM COURSE RENOVATIONS Glenbrook Park Golf Course, 8205 N. Bayou Dr., HoustonCity council voted unanimously this morning to give the go-ahead to plans to renovate the Gus Wortham Golf Course north of Idylwood, and allow the group that had previously attempted to turn that location into a botanical garden to develop a facility instead on the current site of the 18-hole Glenbrook Park Golf Course, along Sims Bayou on the north side of the Gulf Fwy. south of Loop 610. The long-term lease agreements are victories for the operating organizations behind both efforts, but the garden group clearly got its second choice; an Inner Loop garden on site of the oldest golf course in Texas would have had better access to public transportation including the new light-rail line, and would have been surrounded by less freeway noise. If the Houston Golf Association fails to raise $5 million for the Gus Wortham redo before the end of this year, it’s possible the split could be rejiggered; the Houston Botanic Garden Board is being given until the end of 2017 to raise $20 million for its efforts. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Glenbrook Park Golf Course: Houston Golf Nut

11/05/14 11:00am

THE RANSACKING OF IDYLWOOD’S LITTLE FREE LIBRARY 4918 little-library-idylwood-ransackedWhen Little Free Library 4918 owner Sally Harris returned home “from an incredibly productive morning and midday” Sunday afternoon, she found the door to her festive Mardi Gras-themed Idylwood book repository hanging wide open and more than half of the books “plundered.” (See photo at bottom.)  Her belief that the security precautions she had taken on Halloween night had seen it through pranking season proved sadly mistaken; and oddly, religious tracts and pictures of Jesus were found in the rifled-through library.  Vented Harris on Facebook Sunday afternoon: “When I set out to create a neighborhood library, I always said you can’t steal ‘free’ but this is vandalism and it has me shaking and angry.” Harris posted that she recently had been considering a remodel anyway, and some of her friends have already pledged to help her restock via book donations. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Little Free Library 4918, 6644 Lindy Ln.: Sally Harris    

07/23/14 3:45pm



There’s plenty of buffering yard in back, but this Idylwood home hugs the curve of the street in front, so open grounds swing to the side as well. Palm-crowned, the deep lot has a saw-like shape, with the house holding the “handle” near the jog. Beyond the far-away back fence on the property lies the side parking lot of the Wayside Dr. Walmart Supercenter. The well-tended 1952 home is set on a slight diagonal across its almost quarter-acre kinda-corner lot; but there’s a section (not pictured, though it’s also heavily landscaped) that falls outside any fencing (above) lined up to square off the setback.


Jiggered at the Jog
04/11/14 5:00pm



Somewhere upstairs in this updated 1939 Idylwood home, a hidden staircase leads to the upper level’s “extra room.” The property’s listing this week, asking price $269,995, appears to keep the secret, however: No photos of the access or space are included.


Bedecked Front and Back
04/01/14 12:30pm

Public Forum on Gus Wortham Golf Course, E.B. Cape Center, 4501 Leeland St., Houston

A reader sends in a report from the “spirited debate” at Monday night’s public forum at the E.B. Cape Center on Leeland St., covering proposed plans to convert the Gus Wortham Golf Course at Wayside Dr. and Lawndale St. in Houston’s East End, just north of Idylwood, into a new botanical garden: “Councilman Robert Gallegos, Mayor Parker, and many other politicians were there, as well as a standing room only crowd of those for the botanical garden (wielding the provided flowers), and for saving the golf course (fanning themselves with provided Gus Wortham fans). The crowd was encouraged to be quiet to keep things running smoothly, but this didn’t always happen, as many folks were pretty passionate about their opinions. Those wanting to save the golf course had at least double the presence of the garden folks, and were admittedly louder as things went on.”

Our correspondent, who claims to support renovating the existing golf course and putting a botanical garden elsewhere, notes that an earlier proposal in which the 150-acre site just west of Brays Bayou would have been shared by a 9-hole golf course and a new garden in the northern half has been scrapped. Houston Botanic Garden president Jeff Ross showed the latest “rough draft” of the proposed garden plan. Here’s a screen-shot photo:


Tee’d Off
02/06/14 4:45pm



Remains of a time-worn neighborhood entry marker (top) set off a fortified corner property on a double lot in Idylwood that was listed mid-January and has a $328,000 asking price. Light walls and dark-stained trim inside the updated 1940 home help highlight the fruit bowl of color pops when they appear, starting with the mango punch of the bar-gated entry door (above) . . .


Old Ironsides
10/30/13 10:00am

HOW EASY IS IT TO GET OUT OF IDYLWOOD? A reader wonders if subdividing lots might get you new subdivision rules: “There is a great big ole sign [pictured at right] in the vacant lot at 6636 Meadowlawn in Idylwood. It is a notice of a request to replat the lot into two single family lots. It is plenty large enough, being one full lot and parts of the two lots on either side. As it stands, I can understand why they’d want to replat. The company that bought the property is Nadco LLC. That in itself is not so strange but what is strange is that the sign also says that the two new lots will create a new subdivision known as Idylwood Partial Replat #1. . . . I’m wondering if the ‘new subdivision’ would be subject to Idylwood deed restrictions or if they could totally disregard setbacks and lot lines among other things.” [Swamplot inbox; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/25/13 4:35pm

Board members of Houston Botanic Garden, a nonprofit formed in 2002 that’s been looking to bring a big-time garden to the city ever since, have had their eyes on several properties, including the KBR site in the Fifth Ward. But it’s the 150 acres home to the 18-hole Gus Wortham Golf Course — the oldest in Texas — that they are after now. The course, which includes a driving range, is owned by the city, and Jeff Ross, president of the garden club, explains that the organization hopes to ink a “long-term lease” that would allow it to “repurpose the property,” much like the 55-acre VanDusen Botanical Garden had done with the old Shaughnessy Golf Club in Vancouver. Ross explains that this repurposing could mean reserving as many as 65 acres for a 9-hole course — which could be built from scratch or involve a kind of rejiggering of the existing holes — and setting up the gardens on the remaining 85-90 relatively hilly acres that roll here toward Brays Bayou.


09/25/13 3:20pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT’S THE SCOOP ON EASTWOOD? “I’m new to the site and researching Eastwood. Considering buying a lot or tear down and building. Currently own/live in a wonderful townhouse in Montrose, but have a growing family and we’re outgrowing a townhouse and can’t afford to buy what we need in Montrose. So, we’re looking in Eastwood, Third Ward, and other close-in neighborhoods that are more affordable. Anyone have suggestions on the ‘best’ residential streets/blocks in Eastwood? We’ve driven around a lot but I haven’t committed the streets to memory — there are a few with a median that are gorgeous and walkable with a stroller. Any info will help! Oh, and what about Idylwood as a place to live with a young family?” [Htown Convert, commenting on A Bayou-View Property Rises in Idylwood] Illustration: Lulu

09/12/13 2:00pm

At a meeting yesterday, reps from the Houston Parks Board told reps from the Idylwood Civic Club that the HPB would agree to let alone that grassy knoll, shown here, where a trailhead providing access to the Brays Bayou hike and bike was to have been installed. Described in 2009 documents as “Sylvan Dell Parking Lot,” it appears that the proposed trailhead would have provided 19 off-street parking spaces, benches, lighting, a gazebo, and exercise equipment. Though those specs don’t really matter now: Houston Parks Board rep Jen Powis tells Swamplot that the Idylwood residents “chose to eliminate” the project.


09/09/13 4:30pm

Big shoulders on a 1928 property in Idylwood look as if the muscular house remodeled in 2000 could transform into an action figure, pull itself out of its slab, and head across the street toward a bend in Brays Bayou. As it is, however, the home’s porch, deck, and side-car vantage points will have to do for the bayou view. The double-lot spread appeared on the market at the end of August and has a $325,000 asking price.


08/19/13 3:00pm

Maybe attracted by the gravitational pull of the hulking 185,000-sq.-ft. Idylwood Walmart going up on the other side of S. Wayside Dr., Shipley Do-Nuts is moving into this strip center. This location is about 2 miles closer in than the one near HCC Southeast, also on the northbound Gulf Fwy. feeder.

Photo: Allyn West