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:


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