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Everything posted by Scott08

  1. I remember when this house was last for sale, circa 2007. I kind of think the two single garages are cool.
  2. Reviving the most recent dead thread about 1111 Studewood. I drive by there all the time at many different times of day and night, and I have seen absolutely NO evidence that anyone is living there, or that any retail has signed on. Pretty sure when the project started they were touting their condos starting in the "low 400's," the sign now says "starting in the $480's." I have always been very skeptical that there is a market for condos that expensive in this area, if they'd priced them in the $250-350K range I think they would have sold out by now. And I think there's a huge risk/stigma about being the first buyer/tenant of a vacant project like this. I know enough about how real estate works to believe someone is losing their azz right now. How long can a building go vacant before they give it back to the bank? Anyone have any details about this place?
  3. I miss Big Mamou already. Contrary to your thoughts, I always thought their location was a terrible problem. It seemed almost invisible driving past it, the bright lights and traffic of the gas station next door attracted your eyes. Even worse coming from the north. I loved their red beans and rice, jambalaya, and a few other items I tried, but started going less and less when their hours started fluctuating. Some of my friends I took there thought the prices were a bit high for what you got. But once they started altering the hours (breakfast/lunch only on some days, Thursday-Sunday lunch only, etc) I figured they were on their last legs. They were nice people, hope they didn't lose too much.
  4. A friend of mine is interested in this (the foreclosure) and we toured it Sunday with my real estate friend. It was clearly a showpiece in its day but has had LOTS of deferred maintenance. Obviously some foundation problems and a mysterious concrete patch in the kitchen area that indicates something, possibly plumbing work, was done. He actually likes the yard but it's very overgrown right now. He also likes all of the original things about the house like the kitchen and bathrooms, but lots of cracks in the tile, etc. The terrazzo floors in the entry look to be in good shape, if I were restoring, I think I'd lay down some sort of wood flooring where the carpet and vinyl now are and try to fix the existing baths. The realtor was going to do some comp work, etc and try to find out more from the listing agent, but I haven't heard from my friend since. If he ends up buying it, he will stick to restoring rather than remodeling, the house could be a beauty for someone with patience...and money.
  5. I'm thinking the interior look and finishes completely match the exterior. Contemporary-modern/contemporary modern.
  6. I logged on to see the outrage that the store is opening today, and left disappointed. Walmart shoppers 1, Heights yuppies 0.
  7. I love the house but will be amazed if they can get that much for a two-bedroom in that area.
  8. The second cheaper one has been for sale on and off for years now. It's been flooded at least once and is probably in really dismal shape.
  9. Did some more reading up on the house today, there's lots of articles about it out there. Here's one from the NY Times after the restoration in 2004: A House That Rattled Texas Windows By WILLIAM MIDDLETON Published: June 03, 2004 WHEN John and Dominique de Menil built the first great Modernist house in Texas, in 1950, not everyone was thrilled. ''It was bewildering,'' said Anderson Todd, one of the few Modernist architects in Houston at the time. ''Most people in Houston knew nothing about Philip Johnson or Mies van der Rohe or Le Corbusier. This wasn't a house -- it was a dental office or a Laundromat.'' The de Menils put the house -- a long, flat-roofed, one-story building of brick, steel and glass -- in the fashionable River Oaks neighborhood, with its antebellum mansions and Tudor-style piles with manicured lawns. It was designed by Johnson, then a 42-year-old disciple of Mies just starting his own practice while building his legendary Glass House in New Canaan, Conn. One cabdriver saw the de Menils' windowless facade and asked, ''What is this, a clinic?'' Deliverymen pulled up to the front door, assuming it was the service entrance. Even their own children had reservations. ''I was very embarrassed,'' said Christophe de Menil, the oldest of the couple's five children. ''It was just so different. And my sister Adelaide speaks of being too embarrassed to have friends over.'' The de Menils' long, lean house is set at the end of a driveway that curves among towering oaks. The 5,500-square-foot house, with burnished black Mexican floor tiles, is built around a glassed-in courtyard, a feature the de Menils had seen in Venezuela. Now, 7 years after Mrs. de Menil's death and 31 years after her husband's, it has been returned to its original condition. The Menil Foundation completed an 18-month, $3.3 million restoration last month. ''You can feel how scrupulous the restoration has been,'' said Andrée Putman, the interior designer, who toured the house this spring. ''This was such a delicate intervention. There is a grace to it, a magnificent simplicity. You have the feeling that Monsieur or Madame de Menil could appear at any minute to take their children to school.'' The house is known for its art as well as its architecture. Shortly after its completion, the de Menils began filling it with one of the most important collections in the country -- a collection that eventually grew to 15,000 pieces in all, from Paleolithic bone carvings to Warhol soup cans. By the 60's, the de Menils had converted the garage into an office, where half a dozen registrars, curators and researchers tended to the collection. Mr. de Menil, who ran the American division of Schlumberger Ltd., the oil services company founded by Mrs. de Menil's father, Conrad Schlumberger, spent evenings in his study cataloging the collection, while Mrs. de Menil worked from a card table in one of the five bedrooms. (Most of the artworks are now several miles away in the Menil Collection, a museum designed in 1987 by Renzo Piano.) The de Menils arrived from France in the 1940's, and their house became a compulsory stop in the international cultural whirl. When Michelangelo Antonioni, the director, said he wanted to ''meet a lot of rich Texans,'' Mr. de Menil had a dinner party for him. On other occasions, Henri Cartier-Bresson stalked through the house stealthily taking pictures, and when René Magritte was in town, the de Menils arranged for some students to take him to a rodeo. The de Menils were pleased enough with the austere lines of the house, but they rejected the interiors that Johnson proposed as too severe. ''Philip felt we should have a Mies van der Rohe settee, a Mies van der Rohe glass table and two Mies van der Rohe chairs on a little musty-colored rug,'' Mrs. de Menil said two years before her death. ''We wanted something more voluptuous.'' To punch up the interiors, they hired Charles James, an eccentric fashion designer who had created sculptural evening gowns for Mrs. de Menil. James swept down from New York prepared to cause a little trouble. He took one look at the plans and insisted that the ceilings be raised 10 inches. He designed and built distinctive new furniture, including an oversize octagonal ottoman and a chaise longue in wrought iron and chartreuse silk. In an audacious deviation from the white walls prescribed by devout Modernism, James anchored the living room with a striking gray wall and made the hallways vivid pink, crimson and tobacco. ''He would arrive late, at 11 a.m., put on some army jumpsuit, and start mixing colors,'' she Christophe de Menil, then 17. ''The painters would leave at 12 p.m. for lunch, and then he would sit in the rocking chair, just filled with outrage -- where was everyone?'' By combining James's work with Johnson's, the de Menils subverted the pure, modern architecture with an exuberant, highly personal interior. In doing so, they humanized Modernism. They also infuriated their architect. For decades afterward, Johnson omitted the house from surveys of his work, even though de Menil patronage led to many commissions for him in Texas. The de Menil house is a Modernist landmark with its own personality. ''That French expression l'art de vivre -- how the de Menils lived there, with their collection and all the furnishings -- adds a layer to the house that makes it even more notable,'' said Terence Riley, chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. To capture the de Menils' particular spirit, the Menil Foundation, which owns and maintains the house, and Stern & Bucek Architects, which led the restoration, hired an architectural historian to collect memories from a dozen friends and family members. ''Someone once said that Charles James brought in some bibelot,'' Marguerite Barnes, a Houston writer who knew the de Menils, said in her interview. ''Nobody ever brought in any bibelot on Dominique de Menil. Her house was her own -- whether it was Houston, Paris or New York, you could walk in and say, 'Dominique's been here.' '' For all its distinctive character, the house had serious design flaws. The flat roof leaked, requiring the de Menils to keep Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubrey, partners in a leading Houston design firm, on constant call to patch things up. ''My first understanding of an architect was as the guy who fixed the roof,'' said François de Menil, the youngest son, who is now an architect himself, in New York. (The family had tended to neglect maintenance, particularly after Mr. de Menil's death.) In returning the house to its early condition, Stern & Bucek produced 50 mechanical and architectural drawings, more than twice the number Johnson had drafted. To protect wall surfaces that still had original paint, wood or velvets, the rewiring was done through the ceilings. Conservators dared not repaint walls that were completely original; those surfaces, including the dressing room doors and the pale pink hallway, became known as ''sacred walls.'' For those that had been repainted, conservators sent paint samples to a laboratory to help match the exact shades. ''It's crisper and cleaner,'' François de Menil said. ''Where there had been wear and tear, or it was somewhat decrepit, now there's a crispness.'' The restoration team wanted some elements to show their age, among them the antique jewel-colored velvets in the hallway and the buckled linoleum by the kitchen sink. ''Everyone has asked, 'You're going to do something about that scratched-up velvet aren't you?' '' said Bill Stern, one of the architects in the restoration. ''Well no! Those surfaces ensure a patina -- the age of the house is written into the architecture.'' Jane Anderson Curtis, a landscape architect, planted more than 20 towering trees, referring to archival photographs and a 1950 survey that documented every tree on the property. In the atrium garden, she used 15 varieties of tropical plants, including banana trees, fishtail palms and monkey grass. ''It's almost like a terrarium,'' she said. ''I wanted it to feel rich and diverse and layered and explosive.'' The restored house will not be open to the public. Instead, it will be used for special events and small museum gatherings. Most design problems have now been addressed, but nothing can restore the de Menils' energy and animation. Mr. Stern said he remembered the first time he saw the house: it was spring 1979, and he was a 32-year-old Harvard graduate working in the Houston office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. He received a invitation out of the blue to a dinner party Mrs. de Menil was having for a curator from the Pompidou Center in Paris. (''Two final things,'' Mrs. de Menil's assistant told him. ''This invitation is for one person, and be on time.'') Arriving precisely at 7:30 p.m., Mr. Stern found he was the first guest. He met Mrs. de Menil in the entrance hall, and soon his embarrassment turned to delight. ''I told her how thrilled I was to be able to see the house,'' Mr. Stern said. ''For the next 15 minutes she gave me a detailed tour. ''My eyes lit up -- it just had this otherworldly, magical quality. Overhead lighting had always been a problem, so in the dressing room, she picked up a lamp off the table, shined it towards a painting and said, 'Come look at this wonderful little Picasso.' '' Pink on Pink? AUSTERE Modernist design and forceful art have long given the de Menil house its magic. But as meticulous as the renovation of the house was, some of the art has been moved. Matthew Drutt, chief curator of the Menil Collection, took a decorative approach, hanging a quiet gray painting by Max Ernst on a gray wall that had formerly held such assertive works as a monumental Braque (shown at left). A pink Warhol now hangs on a pink wall; blue Magrittes hang in a blue bedroom. ''I put things where they would accent a space and make a statement,'' Mr. Drutt said. In a living room devoted to Ernst, he hung a portrait of Dominique de Menil over the fireplace (above). To some, that would have been out of character for the de Menils, who would have deemed it predictable -- and immodest. ''Some of it is fine, and some of it is questionable,'' François de Menil, a son, said. The portrait is ''the obvious problem,'' he said, adding, ''It's a mistake, but fortunately it is one that can be corrected.'' WILLIAM MIDDLETON
  10. I think more access was lost each day due to weather. When a friend of mine went on Friday, she says you could walk all the way into the flower gardens at the rear of the property. On Saturday when I went, you could walk partly down the gravel path but it was ribboned off near the entrance to those gardens because of water standing in the path. The path was pretty wet already at 1:00 Saturday, so I guess it got completely blocked off by the time you got there. I am still very happy to have seen the house up close and would go back again when the opportunity arises.
  11. Can't believe this hasn't been posted here yet, but the Menil house on San Felipe is part of this years Azalea Trail Tour running through tomorrow (11am-5pm). You can go through just it for $5 or see all of the houses on a pass that I think costs $20. I had wanted to see the Menil House for years and it's rarely open to the public, only occasionally used for museum fundraising events. I went today and it was well worth the $5. You don't get to go through the whole house, but you get a sampling of the rooms and layout seeing the kitchen and a couple of living areas, docents explain the rest of the layout. You then get to go outside to the gardens in the rear, unfortunately because of the heavy rains the last couple of days, it was not fully open because of some standing water on the gravel pathway. It could get better or worse by tomorrow. As you exit around the side of the house you can look into some of the other rooms from the outside, it looks like it probably was when last lived in. It's arguable of course, but I consider it one of THE most important modern houses in Houston. Phillip Johnson designed, famous socialite/arts benefactor owner, and interesting history makes it so. I encourage anyone who can to go take a peek.
  12. Last year there was an incident in Dallas that got a lot of publicity. A jogger wearing headphones turned into the path of a cyclist on the White Rock Lake path, fell on her head, and died pretty much on the spot. I am sorry about what happened, but as both a runner and cyclist, I NEVER wear headphones when on a public road/path. Even the Memorial Park path which is only runners is still pretty risky to be in your own little world.
  13. Any update on this? You've got me intrigued, especially about costs. His website implies that it's much more reasonable to refurbish the windows instead of replacing them.
  14. I like Big Mamou. Prices are a bit to high side depending on what you order, but for my usual red beans and rice with salad, not too bad. My main gripe is inconsistency. Whether dining in or picking up to go, the "presentation" seems to vary. Their hours also seem to highly variable, I guess if they're not busy they close. I walked in one night at 8:05 and they had already closed the kitchen. Still, I hope they survive.
  15. I'd be shocked if they could get that much money for lot value. Although it's big and on an "exclusive" street, there's a bigger parcel in River Oaks for sale that also backs up to the bayou, and it's been lingering for a year at around $6M.
  16. Haha, I was thinking the same thing. I live right off Studewood and walk my 100lb "manly" dog every night. 'Cept for the other dogwalkers and occasional porch sitters, I rarely see or speak to anyone.
  17. They've got this down to a science too. There was a thread sometime back about visiting Fallingwater. You drive into a wooded parking area, walk up to the Visitor's Center/Giftshop, and then and only then after paying your fee and being joined by a docent, are you led on the walking path back to the house. You can't see it at all until that point. At nearby Kentuck Knob, you are taken by a shuttle cart to the house from the Visitor's Center. We got there late one day after the last tour had ended and tried to walk down the path for a peak and got chased down instead.
  18. If you Google around, there's a fair amount of information about the house online, although I haven't seen any recent pictures (hint, hint Ben). I believe the original owner (Thaxton) sold it in the '80s and the next owner(s) did a few ugly cosmetic changes but nothing structural. There's even one account from a woman who played at the house as a kid and came back to see it a few years ago. In the early '90's it was back on the market, this time listed for "lot value," as it's sitting on almost two acres at the end of a cul de sac. The current owner saved it from extinction but not too much info given since. I've read up a fair bit on the fate of FLW houses around the country. While most folks recognize the pedigree of them, the ones built in the most desirable areas are the ones most threatened because of their dirt's value. Some of the more rural ones still have semi-affordable pricetags. I think it might take a while to find the right buyer for the Thaxton house, but I think at it's asking price, it's kind of out of the present day realm of being a teardown. Unfortunately, due to its secluded location, there's pretty much no way it could ever become a public attraction.
  19. Just one more point and I'll shut up. If red light cameras really worked, i.e. made people stop running them, then after only a short period of time we could just take them down, as there would be no need/revenue since everyone is stopping now. Obviously that's not the case. If there was no ongoing revenue from the runners, there would be no incentive for the contractor/city to keep them. Bad drivers, or good drivers making poor decisions will always do stupid things, you can't make that stop either with cameras or more police presence. KinkaidAlum, I feel your pain. I've got a titanium rod in my leg from when the woman turned in front of me while riding my bicycle almost six years ago. I couldn't bear any weight for 4 months. She made a bad decision and no amount of additional laws could have stopped her. It didn't make me stop riding or give up on the human race.
  20. His/her's latest comments had me almost rolling on the floor. I guess we have different definitions of laissez-faire/bohemian, because mine is living and letting others live as they wish, and keeping the liberal, yeah I said it, spirit that was alive in the Heights 20 years ago, hell it still is. The Walmart won't change my way of life at all I suspect. The NIMBYism that the Anti's have brought in from the 'burbs are what's right wing to me.
  21. This may be old news, but I came across the listing for the Thaxton house on HoustonMod's For Sale feature. http://search.har.com/engine/12020-Tall-Oaks-St-Bunker-Hill-Village-TX-77024_HAR71442672.htm. I'm sure not everyone agrees, but I would consider it one of the most significant homes in Houston for its pedigree as the only Frank Lloyd Wright building here. The listing's photos pretty much only show the addition, my understanding is the original house has been pretty faithfully restored. Any chance of having Mod of the Month there?
  22. I have lived in the Heights area since 1987. You and your group do not represent me. I first moved here for the laissez faire, bohemian attitudes. I rarely step into a Walmart but in no way oppose their legal right to provide a store "near" my neighborhood, as the new store will NOT be in the Heights as I know it. The battle is over, the store is being built.
  23. I curbed my tongue last week at the comments on this thread, but now that the cameras are going to be history, I'll be candid. As someone who actually likes to drive, considers a driver's license a privilege not a right, and has been to numerous driving schools over the years to improve my skills set, I'm very happy about this. The automotive press has called the advent of redlight and speed cameras as a money snatch since day one. The first words out of the City of Houston's spokesman today in the paper was "How are we going to make up for the revenue we've lost, furloughs and program cuts are going to become reality." Not one word about public safety, since it never was about that anyway. I don't run red lights, but many studies have shown that RLC's don't stop people from running the lights, and there's enough evidence that they can cause increases in accidents at those intersections. Further evidence that it's all about the money is the fact that the RLC operators have almost always filed suit to stop public referendums in places they have contracts. Here's an interesting article about yesterday's referendums around the country: 11/3/2010 Red Light Cameras Routed at Ballot Box In fifteen public votes, automated ticketing machines have never survived. Houston anti-camera protest The public rejected the use of photo enforcement in five more municipal referendum elections Tuesday. America's fourth-largest city, Houston, Texas, was home to the most hotly contested vote. The group Citizens Against Red Light Cameras, run by brothers Paul and Randy Kubosh, gathered enough signatures to force the issue onto the ballot against the wishes of the city council and in spite of a legal attack from camera operator American Traffic Solutions (ATS). Outspent by a factor of ten to one, the group nonetheless won a majority of the 335,778 votes cast on the measure. According to campaign finance disclosure documents, ATS poured $1,746,000 into the race, in a desperate attempt to salvage one of the company's most important accounts. "Despite the opposition having every conceivable advantage the people saw through the hype and the emotional blackmail and saw the cameras for what they are, a money making scheme that violates our constitutional rights and risks driver safety for money," Citizens Against Red Light Camera spokesman Philip Owens told TheNewspaper. Another ATS account was canceled by citizens in nearby Baytown, where 58 percent voted to terminate the red light camera program. "Despite being far outspent, sued and harassed we ultimately prevailed because the truth was on our side," initiative sponsor Byron Schirmbeck said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the legislature will take up a statewide camera ban this next session so citizens won't have to rip the cameras out city by city. We also urge the Baytown council to abide by the will of the people, no matter what the outcome of any future lawsuits by the camera company they partnered with... The people have spoken, bring the cameras down." On the west coast, the vote in Mukilteo, Washington was 70 percent against the automated ticketing machines. Tax-cutting initiative guru Tim Eyman organized the effort which earned a state supreme court order denying the attempt of ATS to block the people from voting. In Anaheim, California there was no camera vendor defending the program because the mayor and city council decided on their own to add a charter amendment prohibiting the use of red light cameras. The measure passed handily with 73 percent of the 45,000 votes cast. "I am pleased with the outcome of today's red light camera ballot issue," Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle said in a statement. "Anaheim's voters recognized that red-light cameras are not a proven deterrent to traffic violations or traffic accidents, and I happen to agree with that assessment. Other cities have chosen to use red-light cameras as revenue producing tool, but the city council disagreed so we (city council) took the vote to the people, and they have spoken." Garfield Heights became the fifth Ohio city to ban red light cameras and speed cameras, with a majority of the 9,194 votes cast insisting on the termination of all automated ticketing. Earlier this year, 61 percent of Sykesville, Maryland voters overturned a speed camera ordinance. In 2009, eighty-six percent of Sulphur, Louisiana rejected speed cameras. The November elections included three votes: 72 percent said no in Chillicothe, Ohio; Heath, Ohio and College Station, Texas also rejected cameras. In 2008, residents in Cincinnati, Ohio rejected red light cameras. Seventy-six percent of Steubenville, Ohio voters rejected photo radar in 2006. In the mid-1990s, speed cameras lost by a two-to-one margin in Peoria, Arizona and Batavia, Illinois. In 1997, voters in Anchorage, Alaska banned cameras even after the local authorities had removed them. In 2003, 64 percent of voters in Arlington, Texas voted down "traffic management cameras" that opponents at the time said could be converted into ticketing cameras. Photo enforcement has never survived a public vote. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/33/3311.asp If you still think they're a good thing, I can't change your mind, but I'd say it's yet another lesson for our city government to learn...don't start programs that you have to "create funding" for later to support.
  24. Being right down the street from the proposed site, it's pretty obvious to me that the hole is Walmart related.
  25. I was unable to stay for the meeting, but I rode by on my bike to sign the petition. Was greeted on the sidewalk by a bunch trying to keep people from going in....Inside, the organizers were very helpful and I hope we can stop this thing in its tracks. I was supportive of the mayor up to this point, but my feeling now is vote 'em all out next election. If they really believe there is overwhelming support for this ordinance, then they should welcome a chance for the citizens to approve it. Their stonewalling tells me they don't think they have the support but are going to force their personal agenda on us anyway.
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