Down and Out in River Oaks

We just know you’ll be wanting to get in one last snoop-through of that 5,701-sq.-ft. 1928 mansion on Chevy Chase that received its demolition permit yesterday. And who is Swamplot to deny you?

Who’da thunk that — try as he might, River Oaks society architect Charles Oliver still couldn’t design something as attractive as the four-fifths-of-an-acre lot he placed it on?


The home sold in late February for upwards of $3.5 million. It was renovated in 1990.

28 Comment

  • What a beautiful place.

  • Sad, so beautiful. So unnecessary. UGH, sometimes, I hate Houstonians.

  • Wonder what shade of Faux French Chateau will grace this lot… and make my eyeballs bleed.

  • Makes me sad :((

  • I’m sure it is infested with termites and has foundation problems.. /sarc

    Very sad..

  • Hope they can at least save the trees in the front yard. We see this over and over, maybe not quite so egregious, all over town. We need a moratorium on residential demolition.

  • location, location, location!

  • It had to go. Where are the turrets?

  • The only travesty here is that this project will undoubtedly usher in the likes of another nouveau riche household into this esteemed neighborhood. However, peer status and membership in discerning organizations will elude them.

  • Meh, obviously a rundown dump. Tear down that disgusting pile of grace, beauty, and craftmanship, dammit!

  • The original lines had such great proportion and scale, and the elements of the 1990 renovation seemed to be equally tasteful. How rare is that…….


  • May karma stick it to the people who purchased this beautiful home, only to tear it down.

  • Something about money, no taste, etc. here. *grumblegrumble*

  • Yes, I agree, tear down that weak cheaply made house that has withstood countless hurricanes and tropical storms in the area and replace it with a strong, sturdy, new particleboard cheap-labor construct that will no doubt be standing in another hundred years.

  • But which do you think would come first, the particle-board deterioration of the new place or the newest set of owners that will tear it down for something even gaudier in twenty years?

  • And I am sure when River Oaks was developed lo those many years ago, those who lived in other tony neighborhoods of the day, scoffed at all those nouveau riche neo-Plantations, Neo-Tudor and Neo-Georgians and Neo-French homes that were built. Granted it is a charming home and I’m sad to see it go.

  • JT may have a point, although “custom builders” and “modern architecture” didn’t really exist back then. Wealthy people hired an architect, usually from a big city, and then had a contractor build their house. Less wealthy people just hired a carpenter or brick mason to build them a house. Most of the people who moved to River Oaks when it was being developed were moving from the Downtown mansion district and dozens of those late-nineteenth century Victorian mansions on Main, Travis, etc. were demolished for commercial development after standing a mere twenty or thirty years. I don’t know of any other city where so many “mansions” were demolished after standing for so short a time.

  • Another one bites the dust…

    What’s sad is that River Oaks is losing the land versus house battle and some of the monstrosities on River Oaks Boulevard attest to that. A little side yard. Not much else. What made River Oaks so elegant, really, was the amount of land on each lot which was probably 1/3 house to 2/3 land in most cases. Now it’s more like 2/3 house to 1/3 land. Many are nothing more than enormous townhouses with front yards.

  • Disgusting….THIS is why Houston will NEVER be a truely world class city. It has no sense of place, of time, tradition, or history.
    Swamplot indeed.

  • Do you think any of the materials will be recycled? I could use a pile of bricks and wood flooring…

  • @Tex. Houston is *already* a world-class city precisely because it has a unique ephemeral aesthetic and an identity which is defined by constant reinvention.

  • Karen Lantz should take over this demolition. This is such a shame, but if they’re going to demo, they should do it right. So sad; it’s really a beautiful house.

  • Bobby….Houston is an armpit….Always was, always will be. Keep telling yourself you live in a world class city. Ephemeral aesthetic my ass.

  • At the risk of highjacking this thread, I’m perfectly comfortable with the idea that Houston has been a world class city since the 1980s. Houston is far from perfect, but throwing around subjective terms like “world class” which can mean whatever some anti-Houston commenter wants it to, seems simply and needlessly contrarian.

  • The building materials have been donated by the property owner to both Historic Houston and Habitat for Humanity. The organizations will be reclaiming as much af the material as possible, including the brick.

  • What is it with Houstonians? Nothing is ever good enough. I heard a rumor that they are going to start tearing down homes in Stablewood (gated community on Memorial just outside the loop), because the older homes in there (10-15 years) are getting dated. What happened to paint, wallpaper and refinish the hardwoods? Now we have to tear down the entire structure and start over, which probably includes making it bigger.