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Everything posted by cwrm4

  1. Given the location they have chosen, I found this sentence from that article rather interesting: "As an admitted homebody, Orr grew tired of having to hassle with finding parking (a notorious problem in this town), fighting crowds..."
  2. There seems to be a emerging parking issue for "restaurant row" due to Christian's. Last night I noted that D'amicos and Tacos-a-go-go were relatively empty, yet Christian's was packed out...and there wasn't a single parking space in sight. I had to park in the middle of the parking lot to grab a to-go order from Tacos-a-go-go. While D'amicos has signage for guest spots, it doesn't appear to be enforced. Throwing another establishment into the mix isn't going to help, especially since folks seem to camp out at Christian's for a long time.
  3. I stopped by Revival Market last night for a BLT sandwich, and I was very impressed with the whole operation. The sandwich was unbelievably good, and they appeared to stock everything you would need (meat, vegetables, bread) to cook a nice dinner. The place was packed, but I only had to wait ~5 min for the sandwich. As a few others have noted, it would appear that this place is what McCain's should have been (but wasn't).
  4. I've got an old wooden utility pole in the middle of the back of my backyard, running electrical/cable/phone parallel to the back edge of my lot. I also own the lot on the other side of the pole, so the pole kinda wrecks the vista. The electrical is low voltage...all wires on the pole terminate two houses down and the pole is downstream of the transformer. The pole is pretty beat-up and after Ike developed a 10 degree lean. It looks like hell. I'd like to move the pole about 8 ft down the supposed easement to hide it behind my garage. (Interestingly, there is actually no easement recorded wit
  5. It's pretty simple to do yourself. You can purchase the rolls of radiant barrier foil at Home Depot. You then staple it between the rafters, with some taping etc as needed. I did my 1910 bungalow at a total cost of $225 I believe. I tracked average summer attic temps before and after I installed it and recognized a 20 F drop in the attic. Did I save on electrical bills? No, but my house went from barely tolerable (80F) to reasonably comfortable (74F) during the day in the summer, with the same AC unit running full blast all the time. The other oft overlooked problem with houses in the Heights
  6. I would recommend John at Aztec Castings on North Main. http://www.azteccastings.com/contact.htm
  7. Here's a list of hardwood dealers in Houston BlueLinx Hardwoods Houston architectural millwork, cabinetry and casework 650 Gellhorn Drive Houston, TX 77029 713-675-3544 Fax: 713-675-3386 M-F8:00am - 5:00pm Booth Lumber Co Trew Tropical Hardwoods 7218 E. Mt. Houston Rd Houston, TX 713-824-1386 Clark's Hardwood Lumber Company 700 E. 5 1/2 St (In the Heights) Houston, Texas 77007 713-862-6628, Fax: 713-862-5673 Hours: M-F 7:30-5:00, Sat 9:00-1:00 info@clarkshardwood.com Hardwood Products Company 1585 W Sam Houston Pkwy N, Suite 200 Houston, TX 77043 (713) 984-8904 or (800) 444-1206 West Sam Ho
  8. It's a 6600 sq ft lot on a good block with sidewalks. Lot value is probably closer to $260k - $275k.
  9. That's the second house Bungalow Revival has jacked up and added a story underneath; the other was done several years ago and is over around 4th and Harvard I think. Most bungalows are not that wide and have a wall running down the middle. You can add engineered beams/i-joists to span between the walls and fairly easily create support for a second story, though additional piers/footings will be required underneath the house. It's not cheap, but no remodel/expansion job is. The trick with adding a second story is ensuring you can properly locate all the utilities. A lot of "pop-top" houses end
  10. Rent a dumpster for a weekend and go find some $10/hr day laborers. You'll be able to do it for 1/4 the cost of what any demo company would charge. Alternately, just borrow a trailer and take the remains to the city dump. I demo'd an ancient 2.5 car garage and was able to fit all of it on a 16' trailer.
  11. Saw a liqour license app for the old Salud! winery space (end of the 2-story yellow strip mall next to Dirk's). It is shown for "Shade Cafe & Bakery"...presumably related to Shade in the Heigts. Does anyone have any info on this? Haven't seen anything on the Houston food blogs.
  12. Or Grogans on Yale. More expensive than Montalbano but usually have better stuff. Whatever you do, do not use untreated yellow pine siding, which I see too many people doing in the Heights. It will be rotten again in 5 years. Use kiln-dried treated pine, cypress, cedar or redwood. Alternatively, if this is standard clapboard siding, you can use Hardi trim board, which is 7/16" thick, or Hardi Artisan, which is 5/8" thick. Standard Hardiplank is too thin to match wood clapboard siding. Also, if you use any type of wood siding, make sure it is "back-primed" - painted with primer on the backside
  13. Regarding termites, many Heights-area houses were treated with chlordane (same chemical family as DDT) in the 60s through the 80s. Chlordane can prevent termites for up to 50 years. So, if you have evidence of old termite infestation, chances are the place was "chlordaned", and you won't have to worry about (ground) termites for a long time. The greenies will claim chlordane was banned because of negative effects to the environment, but the real reason was that Dow and BASF secretly lobbied to get it banned so they could sell stuff with a much shorter effective life.
  14. Does anyone know what the free booze situation will be this year, i.e., will the stores be allowed to provide "complimentary" wine or will the TABC enforcers be running around again?
  15. My 1200 sq ft 2/1 bungalow in Woodland Heights, on a 5000 sq ft lot, with garage, was just appraised for $295k for a refinance, and I got the full-on cavity search from the appraiser (due to the new appraisal rules). I would think $260k is the absolute lowest you will find for a 2/1 in Norhill. Go Below that price and you are going to be looking a myriad of needed upgrades that will quickly blow whatever money you thought you were saving. Woodland Heights will be slightly (5%) higher. In the Houston Heights, most 2/1 bungalows that are left will be on larger lots and thus more expensive. Sunse
  16. The net would be have been close to an additional $2k or so...coincidentally the same price as the new table saw I am buying...I decided I would rather have the table saw. It is, after all, just a garage with a lot of storage upstairs (for now). My neighbor put piers in his foundation, and hit water 8 ft down, so I kinda questioned how much support the piers would really add vs. beefier beams. (I'm pretty close to White Oak bayou).
  17. I did not use piers...I considered 12 x 24 beams + piers but went with 16 x 30 beams with no piers. Also, the form height was 1 ft above grade, so basically when we dug down for the beams we were digging out the select fill, which I put on top of the pads and then compacted again. Fortunately, I also hit pretty good soil about 20" down. I do realize concrete will crack eventually...but hopefully not for a long time! I think put enough steel in there that I hope it will span any soil support issues that could (or rather, will) materialize.
  18. Thanks, we may be the only two out there! I'm amazed at how many people tell me "I can't believe you are spending that much on a garage"...and then they go climb in their brand new Range Rover (which will depreciate $25k in one year) and drive off. By the way, the 28-day test came back at 5000 psi! I guess when the plant knows you are going to have it tested, they tend to err on the side of too strong.
  19. For what it's worth, I excavated two feet, "limed it", and then had it built it back up with select fill, compacting in 6" lifts. I poured a 5" slab with #4 rebar over 16" wide x 30" deep perimeter beams + 12" wide x 30" deep interior beams (#5 steel in the beams). I almost did 12 x 24 beams over drilled piers, but you have to draw a line somewhere. I also spec'd a 4000 psi mix and paid to have a testing guy onsite (and made sure the plant knew ahead of time that a testing guy would be there during the pour). I made sure the drivers knew that I was the only one who could approve adding water.
  20. I need to renew the lease on 12000 sq ft of warehouse space (2000 sq ft built out as offices) I have in west Houston near BW8 and I-10. Warehouse has 16' clear height, 4 doors, no dock. Built in 2002. Zip code 77043. Other than LoopNet, are there other sources to try to determine what the current rates are? Can anyone provide a perspective on the current price trends in the warehouse space leasing market and what the occupancy rate in that area is? I really need more space so am also considering a move.
  21. This is excellent advice. Spending a few thousand more to have the plans redrawn a few times is a minor cost in the face of a $150k++ project. The first thing you need to do is get the lot surveyed. Make the guy stake out the exact corners of the lot (the pins in the ground may not be in the right place - I learned this the hard hard hard way). Once the survey is confirmed, have the architect to draw up the new site plan. Go get a bunch of survey stakes and tape and stake out the walls of the addition. You need to really get comfortable with how much yard you will have left, as well as space f
  22. I would think for an architect + engineer you would be looking at at least $8000, if not much more. For a designer + engineer, at least $5000. There is a huge range in per sq ft cost based on how obsessive you get about matching the old house. You could slip up to $150 sq/ft pretty easily. There will be a lot of "quality" decisions to be made...for example, how will you support the addition? New piers (below ground) would be the best, but then you have to put new piers in under the rest of the house so that the entire house will be on "equal footing". Electrical - do you have enough service f
  23. What if Fiesta just "sold" MAM's electricity as part of the "ground lease"? It would relatively simple to determine the power consumption of their snowball-making machines.
  24. I ended going with Hollywood Door. I found the owner extremely helpful and knowledgeable. It's not installed yet (construction not done), but my neighbor had them install a door and was very happy. I did discover that a number of people in the garage door business in Houston are first-class pricks. You would think in a soft economy they would be a little more receptive to someone wanting to buy a high-end door. I also went with an insulated steer door that "looks" like a wooden carrriage door (with windows). The 18 x 8 door, with a jackshaft opener (mounts to front wall of garage) was $3100. I
  25. If you are an attorney in Texas, can't you act as your own buying agent and claim 3% for yourself on the purchase of your primary residence?
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