01/15/13 3:30pm

The sporty midsize sedans are probably not included, but this rendering — included in a replat application to be voted on Thursday by the city planning commission — does give us a clue about what Dallas-based developer Trammell Crow might be considering for the 3.5-acre Heights lot between Yale and Allston that Swamplot reported on last week.


01/11/13 11:30am

A January newsletter from The Southampton Civic Club informs members that Hanover, building the mixed-use midrise pictured above, has purchased additional property on Morningside in Rice Village “just north” of the current construction site. The newsletter states that Hanover is planning to begin Phase II: a 12-story, 200-unit residential building with no retail. The newsletter’s language suggests that the property is bound by Morningside, Tangley, Dunstan, and Kelvin; that’s where the Village Commons, the Tangley Building, the Village Apartments, and Garden Gate are — at least for now.


08/15/11 1:50pm

CAN’T SHOWHOUSE YET What can HBJ reporter Jennifer Dawson tell you about the filming she attended over the weekend of 2 Meritage model homes in Fall Creek, for a new HGTV show called Showhouse Showdown? Not a whole lot. Five rooms in each of the 3,000-sq.-ft. houses on Robbie Creek Ln. had been decked out over a period of 3 days by a different interior designer, each wielding a $50,000 budget. The first 150 attendees got to vote on a winner: “I was game for standing outside in the heat, because I was eager to see who won the competition. But, no such luck. HGTV shot the reveal segment twice. Once as if the decorator of House A won. And once as if House B’s designer won. That’s a sure-fire way of making sure the cat doesn’t get out of the bag before the show airs. The producers also didn’t want the designers’ names revealed before the show airs, terms I agreed to. We also weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the houses.” [BizBlog] Photo of “Windrose” model used in competition: Meritage Homes

05/17/11 9:50am

Actual trees are still standing in the Magnolia Grove lot where that live-oak clearance event began last month. What’s left: A little street mustache lining Feagan St., between Snover and Jackson Hill. The reader who sent these photos — and says she appreciates “raw” local real-estate news — wants to know what’s going in.


04/14/11 2:44pm

These are probably the last images you’ll see of two large oak trees on the 4200 block of Feagan, says the reader who snapped pix this morning of the clearance event that’s been going on there for the last few days. There’ll be no designing around them, apparently: A worker on the property “said he hated to do it but both remaining oaks were coming down.” Coming in, gathers the reader: maybe 28 new townhomes between Dickson and Feagan St., just west of Jackson Hill. “Numerous smaller oaks, pecans, hackberries that are now crunched on the ground” were hacked away earlier.


04/08/11 5:12pm

In an email to the West University city council, public works director Chris Peifer sounds the alarm about the steel-frame home with metal siding currently under construction at 2723 Centenary St., a couple blocks west of Kirby: “As the street view of this structure will deviate greatly from the typical street view/appearance of the neighborhood I wanted to give you notification,” Peifer writes, after noting that the city doesn’t prohibit the use of the materials on the home or regulate “personal taste or esthetics.” And then he adds this: “FYI…Heads up. There are high value properties directly adjacent to this property that may take exception.”


11/08/10 1:21pm

A little Midcentury Modern, a little Galveston: Except here, there’s a view of the oil-stained freeway and Downtown’s skyscrapers in the distance, instead of oil-stained beaches and faraway platforms. UH architecture professor and Renzo Piano Building Workshop refugee Ronnie Self‘s house for himself and MFAH museum shop book buyer Bernard Bonnet is perched on the edge of 288, just north of 59, on the Third Ward’s western freeway frontier. All the living space in the 1,600-sq.-ft. box (HCAD scores him with an extra 256 sq. ft. for that open-air central stairway, but not for the ground-floor utility room) is raised 8 ft. above ground level on a tapered slab, just high enough to peek over the sound wall. Which means that even when 288 fills up with water, Self’s house will still stay dry, above it all.


10/27/10 4:40pm

Included in the $1,470,000 asking price of this just-finished 3-bedroom, 3-1/2 bath house in the northern reaches of Boulevard Oaks: a pair of doors from a 19th-century house near Osaka; that Chinese wine pot (of similar vintage) sitting at the end of the central hall by the kitchen; a 46” Sony Edgelit TV; those planters on the back terrace; the dining room table and chairs; and of course the coffee table, upholstered pieces, and Buddha in the living room. “Many of my buyers have relocated to Houston without anything to sit on,” explains developer Carol Isaak Barden.

Barden’s house replacement at 1916 Banks St. is the 15th project she’s built to sell — if you count each townhouse in her earlier multi-unit ventures separately — and the second one designed by Seattle architect Rick Sundberg. Sundberg, who’s since left to start a new firm with his daughter, was still with Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen when he designed Barden’s Wabi Sabi house a few years ago (they’re now down to Olson Kundig without him). Barden called this house Wabi Sabi II until she started spending a lot of time coordinating the work of local designers and craftsmen on the project.


10/21/10 12:45pm

Included among the 9 new or newish architect-designed homes on this year’s AIA home tour this weekend: 3 properties that made recent cameo appearances on Swamplot. Shown here: the one-room-deep one-bedroom home Kay O’Toole had built behind her “antiques & eccentricities” store at 1921 Westheimer, next to Winlow Place. Did you know it was hiding back there? The design by Murphy Mears Architects — with interiors by the owner — showed up in Veranda magazine and (far more notably) in one of those extensive Cote de Texas posts earlier this year.

What about something a little more Modern-looking? And maybe a little more . . . available?


10/11/10 12:45pm

Last night’s postponed airing on ABC of the first Extreme Makeover: Home Edition filmed in Houston proper made no mention of the mud-inducing and deadline-destroying downpours, the organizers’ multiple pleas for Gatorade, patio furniture, trim carpenters, siding installers, and plumbers — or the mad (and ultimately futile) rush for an on-time finish that was a major source of drama at the South Union site. But it did feature a brief pre-demolition “roast” of the Johnson family’s dilapidated original home on Goodhope St. by comedians Tommy Davidson, Ralphie May, and Paul Rodriguez, as well as a later appearance by supermodel Brooklyn Decker, (wife of tennis star Andy Roddick), flown in to design the 5 Johnson girls’ elaborate pink closet. Plus: plenty of those fawning building-product-delivery placement shots. On what looked like it could have been the limo ride back from IAH after the family’s Paris vacation, Cedric the Entertainer briefly “joked” to the girls that they wouldn’t get to see their new house right then. But viewers’ only delay was a commercial break.


LOOKING FOR HOUSTON ON LAST NIGHT’S EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION? The efforts of all those local volunteers rushing madly to finish a new home for the Johnson family in South Union were supposed to be featured in last night’s season premiere of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. At least that’s what ABC was saying up until the middle of this month. C’mon, you say that to all your markets, don’t you? But — surprise! — a Baltimore build completed just a couple of weeks ago was featured in the 2-hour special instead. The Houston show, featuring construction work coordinated by HHN Homes and featuring a select group of comedians, has been rescheduled for October 10th. Photo: Candace Garcia

09/24/10 4:40pm

A reader IDs this construction site at the corner of Van Buren and Bomar in Montrose as the latest project of longtime UH architecture professor and serial homebuilder John Zemanek. The 1,400-sq.-ft., single-story home is just steps away from the architect’s current home on Peden St. (pictured below), which was featured on Swamplot last year. We’re told Zemanek considers that house too big for him now, and plans to move into this one when it’s complete. Writes our tipster: “We’re eager to see how this concrete bungalow(?) turns out… and hey, we’re wondering if he’ll put the old place up for sale or not. We get first dibs if he does . . .”