06/20/16 5:00pm

12930 Memorial Dr., Memorial Plaza, Houston, 77079

A perennial contender for the dubious honor of Houston’s gaudiest mansion may be trying to shake its claim to the title. The mansion at 12930 Memorial Dr. is back on the market this month for at least the sixth time in 5 years — and back down to an asking price of $1.5 million, after a 2014 upward jump and subsequent slow decline. Ownership of the house was traded back and forth between Costello family members until an April sale to an entity called Triple Gate Investments; the new sellers seem to be aiming for a more understated presentation. In this round of listing photos, all but a few of the house’s 11,760 sq. ft. have been stripped of furniture, chandeliers, and giant high-heel statuary, allowing distraction-free contemplation of the colorful interior.

Even the apply-your-own-head wildlife has been reset to its original state:


New Management
06/06/13 4:00pm

There’s a bit of a gold rush within this faux-from-the-get-go 1992 Georgian-style estate in the Clear Lake area’s Bay Oaks golf course community. Its fairway-and-lake locale lends the lot the appearance of even more extensive grounds. When the marble-floored home popped back up on the market a month ago, its new agency set an asking price of $1,545,000. That’s right about where it had landed midway through a previous listing’s slide from $1,799,000 (in May 2012) to $1,499,000 (in March 2013), when the polished up property took a bit of a breather.

10/18/11 11:31am

No faux finishing technique — or potential painting surface — was spared in the latest redo of this 21-year-old 9,181-sq.-ft. Woodlands mansion in Grogan’s Point. You’ll count 6 or 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a study, and gameroom, all with walls carefully protected by multiple coats of carefully splotched pigment. Those finishing touches put the many wall colors of this home beyond the reach of description.


07/19/10 5:33pm

BRUSHING IN THE OLD EUROPE Art-school graduate, grinder, and faux finisher Michael Bise pays the bills: “Last week for instance, I found myself in front of an eight-foot tall, three-panel window (of which there were 18 total) brushing blue milk-paint (a sturdy, old-master-y kind of paint made from lime—not the kind used to flavor Mexican beers, but the kind used to dissolve dead hookers—and cottage cheese, the delicious curdled-milk treat), which requires three or four applications of slightly different blues, each layer requiring sanding before the subsequent application, with a final application which necessitates a vigorous once-over with steel wool, leaving your arms and face covered in a fine layer of blue lime and steel shavings and your nostrils crusty with black boogers. This process yields the rough equivalent of a tastefully aged barn door, on a barn next to a cottage in the French countryside, if the barn were to have a Bentley parked in it with the sounds of Aryan children splashing around in a nearby lap pool echoing off its rough timbers. The other mainstay of fauxing consists of creating an approximation of Venetian plaster on top of good old Texas drywall. This is about as labor-intensive as hanging and floating the drywall in the first place. The “Venetian plaster” is made out of standard drywall mud from Home Depot mixed with paint tint and a few secret ingredients to make it smoother and shinier. The key of course is in the application. My partner Joe and I have dubbed this well-guarded application secret “punch, punch, drag.” This is the same application process used in every Mexican restaurant in Texas, but, as in all things, the devil is in the subtlety of the details. Some clients prefer their plaster to approximate the walls of Castle Dracula while others, perhaps having read Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice (or maybe not), seek a subtler version of decay. Ultimately, whether wood, plaster, concrete, or beam, the most essential aspect of my job is making new stuff look old. It’s an amazingly stupid job when you think about it (and you don’t have to think very hard to realize how stupid it is). . . .” [Glasstire] Photo: Michael Bise

01/14/08 11:41am

6118 Buffalo Speedway, West University Place, Texas

Just what is it about this West U house that’s scaring off the buyers? Is it the location on busy Buffalo Speedway? The outbreak of quoins on the front facade? The curious “custom paint” job in one of the home’s seven bathrooms that demonstrates to pooping gameroom guests how the house’s stucco surface might flake off?

Whatever it is, it sure looks like there’s a reverse auction going on: The five-bedroom, 5,119-square-foot house went on the market early last May and listed for $1,614,050. After three price cuts, it ended the year at $1,339,000. And now it’s only $1,239,000!

After the jump: a detailed look inside.