01/28/15 12:45pm

A LIST OF 17 FASHIONABLE HOUSTON NEWCOMERS HEADED FOR RIVER OAKS THIS YEAR WHO’LL END UP ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS River Oaks District Under Construction, Highland Village, HoustonJohn Lobb, Akris, Kiton, Moncler, De Boulle, Giuseppe Zanotti, Etro, Chopard, Canali, Brunello Cucinelli, Brioni, Diptyque, Bonobos, Intermix. Haven’t heard of ’em? Well, how about Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, and Dolce & Gabbana? They’re all luxury retailers who are new to Houston, and who’ll be arriving here about the same time that OliverMcMillan’s long-awaited (but not-so-accurately named) River Oaks District opens up on Westheimer between the Galleria and the Highland Village Shopping Center — only a mile away from the actual neighborhood called River Oaks — sometime this spring. [Real Estate Bisnow; previously on Swamplot] Photo of River Oaks District under construction: OliverMcMillan

12/12/14 11:45am

3925 Del Monte Dr., Tall Timbers, River Oaks, Houston

3925 Del Monte Dr., Tall Timbers, River Oaks, Houston

3925 Del Monte Dr., Tall Timbers, River Oaks, HoustonBack in April, Swamplot asked whether, for $8.1 million, this 1941 River Oaks estate by architect Hiram Salisbury with a later addition by John Staub might be torn down to allow the construction of 2 newer mansions on the same property. Today, we have our answer: No. But for $7.2 million, the answer appears to have been yes — for the tearing-down part, at least. Yesterday, the city approved a demolition permit for the property, which changed hands in July.

Named a Texas Historic Landmark in 2001, the central part of the home was designed by Salisbury for attorney Thomas D. Anderson and his wife, Helen Sharp Anderson. In 1950, the Andersons had Staub design the home’s east wing. Mrs. Anderson died last year, 7 years after her husband. The listing, which featured carefully staged photos of the home’s well-tended grounds and interiors as well as its won’t-ward-off-bulldozers medal from the Texas Historical Commission, also noted that the River Oaks Property Owners association had already given approval for the 67,458-sq.-ft. lot to be subdivided.

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Oligarchs in River Oaks
10/10/14 10:30am

RIVER OAKS AND HIGHLAND PARK: SEPARATED AT BIRTH? Highland Park and River Oaks, by Cheryl Caldwell FergusonThey each contain some of their city’s most expensive homes, and gave their name to classic (well, in one instance used-to-be-classic) 1930s shopping centers. But just how comparable are Dallas’s Highland Park and Houston’s River Oaks? Cheryl Caldwell Ferguson’s new book — bearing the complicated title Highland Park and River Oaks — delves into the history of the 2 garden-style suburbs and their associated retail ventures, as well as their connections to larger city-planning efforts that flopped. [UT Press; Amazon]

09/22/14 4:15pm

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The last time this 1952 River Oaks home attributed to Staub and Rather was on the market was about a decade ago. At the time, it sold for $2.875 million to business titan and philanthropist Jack S. Blanton, who died in December of last year. The 1952 corner property features an expansion by a previous owner back in 1998 — around the time it sold for $1.08 million. In its listing earlier this month, the home’s asking price was $4.85 million. What sorts of add-ons have accompanied the rising prices?

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Still Rather Staub-Like
07/21/14 11:15am

Rendering of 2229 San Felipe TowerA new lawsuit filed last week against the developers of the 2229 San Felipe office tower currently under construction between Shepherd and Kirby is a bit different from the one that a group of neighbors initiated against the same party back in February, a reader notes. The plaintiffs in the new lawsuit are the owners of a River Oaks home directly across the street from the construction site, and they appear to have studied the ruling issued in the Ashby Highrise lawsuit carefully. (Back in May, Judge Randy Wilson ordered the developers of that building to pay neighbors $1.2 million to compensate them for “lost market damages,” but denied their request to halt the building’s construction)

Unlike their neighbors who sued before them, the residents of 2237 Stanmore Dr. are not seeking to prevent or delay the construction of Hines’s neighborhood office tower. Instead, it appears they are only seeking compensation for both public and private “nuisances” created by the 17-story building, including pollution, noise, and ground vibration during its construction and the resulting loss of sunlight and rain on their property. The building’s vaunted peepage opportunities don’t please them either:

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Pay Up
07/07/14 3:00pm

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Yet another re-listing of a 1949 home built by architect Hamilton Brown for his own family on the sloped loop of Tiel Way in River Oaks has freshened up the property’s market presence once more. But the price point is the same — it’s been hovering for a year at $2.825 million, having debuted at $3.75 million in 2010. Asking prices in the interim bounced down in listings by various agencies, hitting $3.25 million, then $2.95 million in 2011, and $2.875 million in the early part of last year, after a 3-month dalliance with $3.2 million in the fall of 2012. Like the wedge lot it occupies, the well-screened home is broader toward the few-frills front. Structural elements remain a focus inside (above) and out.

Despite the pedigree of an extensive renovation by architect Howard Barnstone (he did work on the property for LeRoy and Lucile Melcher, its later owners), there’s not a massive amount of Modern left to the house — at least if the interior decor has anything to say about it. The property was further altered in 2001 or 2002. Is that when all the beams attached themselves to the ceilings?

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One More Time
06/25/14 2:30pm

DRESSING UP THE MENIL HOUSE, SCARING THE ARCHITECT AWAY Dressing Room of Menil House, Decorated by Charles James, 3363 San Felipe St., Houston“Philip [Johnson] 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,” explained Dominique de Menil about the distinctive yet undeniably Miesian modern home at 3363 San Felipe St. the already-somewhat-famous museum curator-turned-architect had designed for her and her husband. “We wanted something more voluptuous.” And so in 1950 the first family of Schlumberger hired Mr. Voluptuous himself, the dress designer Charles James, to create the new home’s interiors — something he had never done before, and never would do again. How’d that turn out? Here’s Joanna McCutcheon, giving some background to the Menil Collection’s current exhibition featuring clothing and furniture James designed for his patron: “Upon entering the house — a clean, strictly modernist construction of brick, steel and glass, he immediately demanded that the ceilings be raised 10 inches. He wanted additional room to facilitate his plan of coating the walls in lurid felt and velvet. . . . The walls of the Johnson house were swaddled in dyed felts, while dark spaces were illuminated with shocking colour. Horrified, Johnson refused to include the house in his portfolio for decades afterwards.” [Disegno Daily] Photo of Menil House dressing room: Menil Collection

04/10/14 12:00pm

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One of the storied properties in the Tall Timbers niche of River Oaks quietly arrived on the market this week. Restrained and almost dainty in its design by the then in-demand architect Hiram Salisbury, the 1941 main building features columns and balconies accenting a brick exterior. The east-wing addition in 1950, meanwhile, was by another go-to architect: John Staub. The resulting work by 2 premier architects blended in one estate sits on a large lot measuring more than an acre and a half. All that land can be subdivided, ”for 2 building sites, already approved” by the River Oaks Property Owners association, the listing says. The asking price is $8.1 million.

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Twice as Nice