This private residence commands an expansive five acre site of rolling terrain in the exclusive River Oaks community in Houston. The multi-phase project included an entire year of architectural design work, followed by the deconstruction of an existing 15,000 sq. ft. limestone clad ranch style home built in 1974, the reconstruction of this existing home as a classic French Chateau, and an additional 17,000 sq. ft. of new construction within the chosen architectural genre.
The scale of the project was daunting. While the home ultimately covers over 32,000 sq. ft., it includes the main house, guest house, cabana, gazebo, pavillion, mechanical buildings, the tower, the theatre and arcade building, and the security building.
More akin to running a large commercial project than a typical residential construction job, the construction schedule of the project was quite aggressive. Originally budgeted for 24 months, actual construction ran 26 months. The homeowners were heavily involved in the project from design through construction. Weekly meetings for three years between the owners, builder, architectural staff, interior designer staff and various trades kept the project on track.
The site offered numerous opportunities and challenges. The Property dropped 25 ft. in elevation from the front to the rear. About one half of the site was at the street grade while the rear portion of the property rolled dramatically down to Buffalo Bayou. Thus, the tennis court required a 17 ft. tall stone clad, steel reinforced concrete retaining wall. The owners requested a 48 ft. wide flared stone staircase down the hillside to the lower lawn and gardens. A 90 ft. long stone clad bridge across a wide babbling brook affords one entry to the estate.
Interior features include extensive use of plaster cornice mouldings, walnut and cherry hardwood flooring, five hand carved limestone fireplace surrounds, climate controlled wine room, a two story elaborately detailed mahogany library, a salon, theatre, arcade, cabana, a walk-in refrigerated cooler and a commercial kitchen for those catered affairs.
Mechanical features include a 100 ton chilled water air conditioning system, Lutron Homeworks lighting control system, an elaborate closed circuit security camera system and a state of the art theatre and whole house audio and communication systems.
Despite the large scale of the project, the home retains a human scale and warmth throughout. The design teams, both architectural and interior, collaborated with the builder and homeowner to achieve the common goal of executing an extraordinary design through the judicious use of materials, texture, color, proportion and scale.
Best in American Living Award:
Texas Star Award:
Houston's Best PRISM Awards: