12/20/18 10:30am

In just under a month, longtime Richmond Ave record shop and turntable repair destination Sound Exchange will move from the brick house pictured above to a Second Ward spot near the corner of N. Milby and Commerce. The 39-year-old business didn’t originally open in Montrose, but it got there right away: After a one-year stint in Rice Village, it moved to the strip at 1617 Westheimer, where it spent 19 years before relocating to its present digs at 1846 Richmond.

Already in the works for the block where Sound Exchange sits: rejiggering the property lines to create a new 29,466-sq.-ft. parcel out of the lot shown above, plus 2 additional lots behind it on Colquitt St. that house apartments. Houston’s city planning commission is set to review the proposed replat at the beginning of next year.

Photo: Vinylhub

Winlow Place
10/23/18 5:15pm

Go ahead, name a few of Houston’s most heavily-Instagrammed hotspots. The Waterwall, North and South boulevards, maybe the “We Love Houston” sign that — until recently — sat along I-10. But who ever wanted to go pose next to the Katy Fwy. just to pick up a few new followers? If only there was a location where the photogenic offerings sat under a roof — preferably in one of those hip Houston retail-and-restaurant strips where the food might merit a few pics as well.

Enter Flower Vault, the budding brick-and-mortar Instagram destination shown at top that’s taken over half of Joybird Furniture‘s storefront at 1735 Westheimer, 2 blocks west of Dunlavy. For $20 per person (and $10 per pet), you can spend an hour taking pictures inside the studio’s blossoming interior spaces. The admissions fee won’t preclude other patrons from visiting at the same time, so you may have to take turns in front of the backdrops. But check out the results so far; it appears everyone’s been happy to share.


Not Your Father’s Florist
09/22/16 10:30am

LANIER MIDDLE SCHOOL CEREMONIALLY CHANGES NAME TO LANIER MIDDLE SCHOOL Bob Lanier crestThe Lanier-Lanier name change got the official seal of approval as of yesterday morning by way of a seal-updating and renaming ceremony at the middle school’s campus at Woodhead St. and Westheimer Rd. That previously threatened lawsuit over the HISD’s plan to flush out Confederate sympathizers from its campus name roster was in fact filed in late June by a group of parent-and-alumni-types; documents filed with the district clerk’s office show that a request by the plaintiffs for a temporary injunction to stop the renamings from moving forward was denied by the judge on August 22nd. Lanier’s campus is keeping all but its first name, swapping author Sydney for former Houston mayor Bob; the other 7 schools on the changeover list started the year with more dramatic shifts in nomenclature. [HISD Blog; previously on Swamplot] Image of new Bob Lanier Middle School seal: HISD    

12/30/14 3:00pm



Chomp goes the excavator on a portion of the 3 adjacent 1950s and ’60s-era complexes at 1920 W. Alabama St., 1924 Marshall St. (pictured at left), and 2810 McDuffie St., right across the street from the Alabama Icehouse and just south of Admiral Linens.

In late July residents of the 3 complexes were told to move out by September 1, so that new owners City Centre at Midtown, an affiliate of developers Dolce Living, could be begin tearing down the 2-story buildings to clear the 1.58 acre parcel for one 6-story, 258-unit luxury apartment building.

Though it will be situated in the western edge of Montrose’s Winlow Place area, the building will be named City Centre at Midtown.

Here is a rendering released to the media in the days after the 35-day eviction notices went out:


Making Way For Montrose’s CityCentre At Midtown
07/28/14 11:00am

Apartments at 1920 W. Alabama St., Montrose, Houston

The new owner of 3 adjacent 2-story apartment complexes at the western edge of Winlow Place in Montrose have politely asked all tenants to leave by the end of August. The fifties-and-sixties-era courtyard complexes, at 1920 W. Alabama St. (above), 2810 McDuffie, and 1924 Marshall, were sold by Prestige Holdings at the end of April to a company called City Centre at Midtown, which appears to be connected to apartment developer Dolce Living. The adjacent complexes together include 73 apartments; the 1.58 acres of land they sit on has frontage on West Alabama St. (between Hazard and Huldy, pictured above) and McDuffie St., which dead-ends into a parking lot shared by the McDuffie and Marshall St. properties. According to a tipster, a notice for the abandonment of that dead-end portion of McDuffie St. was posted in February. Admiral Linen’s 3-building complex (behind the Randalls grocery store) at 2030 Kipling St. is immediately adjacent to the properties.


‘Cuz We’re Building New Apartments
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?


04/23/10 11:40am

Continuing his commentaries on city off-street parking requirements, blogger Andrew Burleson takes a snapshot of parking conditions near the often-crowded corner of West Alabama and Hazard. To the east: the little 8-parking-space head-in strip center that houses Candylicious, Retro Gallery, and The Chocolate Bar. To the west: Erick’s Auto Center.

Among Burleson’s startling finds: On a weekday evening, actual empty parking spots appear to be available in front of The Chocolate Bar! But what’s going on down the street?


02/10/10 3:49pm

Ubiquitous design blogger Joni Webb hyperventilates over the March issue of Veranda magazine, which features actual interior pics of the house Kay O’Toole had built behind her Kay O’Toole Antiques & Eccentricities shop. The shop is in the building with the rounded corners next to the Firkin & Phoenix Pub parking lot at 1921 Westheimer:

I had heard the blogosphere mumbling about this Veranda showing Kay O’Toole’s new house and that was what had my mouth watering like Edward’s whenever Bella is around. Honestly, I’ve been waiting over two years for this issue!

O’Toole owns a French antique shop housed in a 1920s brick building that was once home to several different businesses. Through the years, she eventually acquired the entire building and tore down the dividing walls – creating a long and narrow haven for the best of what France, and now Belgium, Sweden, and Italy have to offer.

O’Toole’s single-story, one-bedroom stucco home — designed by Murphy Mears Architects — is another long and narrow haven, modeled after something O’Toole saw in New Orleans’s French Quarter: It’s one room deep, and backs up to the property’s back fence.

Couldn’t Webb have just charmed her way inside, camera in hand? Oh, she’d tried that:


05/11/09 8:29am

Reader rdan weighs in on Swamplot’s recent discussion about the boundaries of Montrose:

In order to address the confusion/questions over Montrose neighborhood designations, I dug up the attached map that was put together a few years ago by the Neartown Association, the umbrella organization for the roughly 20 neighborhoods and civic associations that constitute the area known as “The Montrose”. Some of the civic associations, such as Mandell Place, Winlow Place, and Cherryhurst, represent the original legal subdivisions that were established in the 20’s. Others, such as WAMM (Westheimer Alabama Montrose Mulberry Civic Association), were established more recently to help property owners re-establish deed restrictions that had lapsed over the years.

In doing a little research on HCAD, it appears to me that the areas represented by WAMM,
Audubon Place, a portion of Avondale (south of Westheimer?), and all or part of the UST campus covers what was the original Montrose subdivision.

Image: Neartown Association, via Swamplot inbox

05/07/09 3:32pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHERE MONTROSE BEGINS AND ENDS “. . . the referenced area has been known as ‘Montrose’ since the 1960s, at least. There are numerous ‘pockets’ not in original Montrose that have historically been called part of the area for decades. Generally, east of Shepherd, west of the US 59 spur (and Brazos), N. of 59, and S. of W. Dallas connotes ‘the Montrose’ or the Montrose-area, even if it does not denote it. I, too, once tried to parse the issue, (Winlow), but eventually, one gets tired of people saying ‘Oh, yeah, you mean Montrose!’. I love Montrose, and I don’t need neighborhood signs or old, original designations to muddy the waters. Believe me, if it seems ‘Montrosian’, then you’re in the ’trose (start with at least a smattering of 1930’s bungalows). Nothing quite like it the southern U.S architecurally, ethnically, socially and socio-economically. Montrose is our big, sloppy, lovable integrated, tolerant heart. If you want to say ‘I’m in the ____ part of the Montrose’, fine. Besides, Montrose always finds YOU, if you’re around it.” [devans, commenting on Comment of the Day: Name My Neighborhood]

04/17/08 11:19pm

Demolition of Former Martha Turner Properties Building, 1902 Westheimer Rd., Houston, April 17, 2008

Swamplot reader Buildergeek sends pictures from the demolition of the former Martha Turner Properties building at the corner of Westheimer and Hazard.

Whatever’s happening to the site, it sure doesn’t sound like what Nancy Sarnoff reported a year and a half ago in the Chronicle:

The old headquarters of Martha Turner Properties near River Oaks has been sold for the third time in as many years to a florist who plans to gut the property, add a floral showroom and lease out space to other businesses.

The owners of Plants ’n’ Petals, a 25-year-old flower shop located near Highland Village, purchased the former real estate office at 1902 Westheimer for an undisclosed amount. . . .

The renovations will include installing windows on the Westheimer-facing facade, gutting the interior and adding a mezzanine for offices.

The building will have about 12,000 square feet of space when it’s finished by the end of 2008.

After the jump: Clearly, the building was too close to the street!


01/30/08 12:35pm

1704 Kipling St., HoustonNot all recipients of the 2008 GHPA Good Brick Awards will be able to attend this Friday’s historic-preservation awards banquet at the River Oaks Country Club, but some will have better excuses than others. Ken Rice, who along with Sarah Goodpastor will receive an award for the renovation of a 1930 brick duplex at the corner of Kipling and Dunlavy, won’t be able to make it because he’s currently serving a 27-month sentence in federal prison for securities fraud.

Yes, that’s former Enron Broadband CEO and architecture patron Kenneth Rice, who already helped lessen his sentence by testifying against other Enron executives in two separate trials after his 2003 guilty plea. Rice agreed to forfeit more than $13.7 million worth of cash investments, real estate, cars, and jewelry as part of his plea agreement. His sentence included a $50,000 fine.

Rice, 48, could end up serving less than half of his prison term, though.

His lawyers say he hopes to enter a drug and alcohol treatment program available to nonviolent federal inmates that, if completed, could shave up to a year from his term. In addition, federal inmates can reduce their prison time by 15 percent with good behavior. With those two combined, Rice could get out of prison in 11 months.

After the jump, details and photos of a project Rice is likely hoping will count towards that good-behavior credit.