Just as we round the New Year's corner, let's look at a round-up of the most expensive residences on the market in 2015. And who doesn't like to scroll through images of beautiful, sometimes quirky and even extravagant homes?
Interestingly, in the top six are two mansions in The Woodlands, two in Memorial, one in River Oaks and one in Sugar Land. Three manses sit on prestigious golf courses. One property has been on the market since 2013, while the others put up the for sale signs last year.
In the top six are two mansions in The Woodlands, two in Memorial, one in River Oaks and one in Sugar Land.
The most expensive home — ever
Shattering previous Houston listing prices is our own Versailles, a palatial Memorial-area chateau that hit the market in September 2014 with a royal price tag of $43 million — the highest priced home ever listed in the Bayou City. And it remains No. 1 on the most expensive home list for 2015 at a cost more than twice of what previously were considered the city's most pricey homes.
Known as Chateau Carnarvon, the Neoclassical marvel boasts 27,000-plus square feet of living space on a private, park-like 2.5 wooded acres with an enormous terrace overlooking the European-style gardens with walkways for viewing. A swimming pool with loggia and summer kitchen adds to the atmosphere of living the life of the rich and famous.
And, of course, the residence features a Versailles room and salon, as well as white marble floors, inlaid mosaic decorative tiles and gilt and hand-painted decoration, among other luxurious appointments.
Formerly No. 1
Last June, the 30,717-square-foot French Renaissance estate at 88 Grand Regency Circle claimed fame as the most expensive property in the Houston area at $16.8 million. The super mansion remains for sale at that price.
The "Scarlet" bedroom suite is bedecked in furniture, headboard and accent pieces as a tribute to the Gone with the Wind star.
The manse features two master suites, with the grand master suite at more than 3,500 square feet including a private sitting area with fireplace. The royal master bath has a marble Jacuzzi tub, crystal chandelier, separate showers, vanities and dressing areas.
Eight of the 11 bedrooms are themed suites. For example, the "Scarlet" bedroom suite is bedecked in furniture, headboard and accent pieces in crimson silks and velvets with gold trim as a tribute to the Gone with the Wind star.
A third-floor bedroom serves as a VIP guest quarters and is called the "Frankie Avalon." The "Hawaiian Suite" has two separate closets with a dressing table. The bath is decorated with dolphin-inspired faucets and bath fixtures.
A River Oaks gem
The ticket on Bayou Breeze was first listed in 2013 at $19,995,000; today the mansion is still on the market with a reduced price of $14,995,000. The English-style country estate sits on 3.7 secluded acres in the middle of River Oaks.
With 16,022 square feet, the manse at 3688 Willowick is incredibly vast for an inside-the-Loop locale. The estate includes the main three-story house — with six bedrooms, six full baths, two half baths and wine cellar — detached guest quarters and a two-bedroom garage apartment. Bayou Breeze is a custom wonder designed by Curtis & Windham, built by Randy Ratcliff and decorated by famed New York-based designer Bunny Williams.
Golf course appeal?
It's back to The Woodlands and to the edges of the manicured Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course for the fourth most expensive house on the market: None other than 17,315-square-foot residence of socialite and fashion designer Theresa Roemer — including the infamous three-story, bigger-than-a townhome closet (sans the designer goodies) — for a cool $12.9 million.
More amenities are a spa and salon, complete with tanning bed, 10 bedrooms and 10 full and three half-baths.
Roemer and her oilman husband, Lamar, redesigned the private sanctuary, formerly owned by minister Kirbyjon Caldwell, in 2013. The driveway reveals views of towering water features, setting the stage for the grandeur to come. Inside, 20-foot-tall walls of floor-to-ceiling glass flood the enormous entry with natural light and Swarovski crystal chandeliers hang about.
More amenities are a spa and salon, complete with tanning bed, 10 bedrooms and 10 full and three half-baths. Outside, a summer kitchen and covered veranda overlook the large swimming pool with back-lit water wall and fountains. The entire backyard enjoys vistas of a lake and, of course, the golf course.
The Crown Jewel
Yes, the Crown Jewel, as it is nicknamed, brings us to Sugar Land's swanky Sweetwater subdivision for the fifth most expensive property now listed in the Houston area. In true palace style, the mega-home at 5324 Palm Royale Blvd. shimmers with a stained glass dome in the three-story foyer, 24-carat gold leaf details, interior and exterior water features with multi-color lighting and a grand centerpiece hand-blown Murano glass chandelier made exclusively for this property.
The 10-bedroom mansion, with 19,180 square feet of living space behind double driveway gates, remains for sale at $12.8 million. The 73,335-square-foot lot abuts the fairways at the private Sweetwater Country Club.
Historic Malvern in Memorial
Malvern Estate at 7 Winston Woods, one of Houston's grandest John Staub-designed homes, went up for sale in July of last year and continues to carry a $11.5 million asking price - and boasts direct ties to old Houston oil society of the rich, educated and sophisticated.
Original owners left the third floor of the house floored but not finished, and their children (reportedly) used it as an indoor skating rink.
Located at 7 Winston Woods, the 10,153-square-foot residence still stands grand within the 12-acre Winston Woods, a gated enclave of eight home sites and private nature preserve.
Original hardwood floors inlaid with parquet patterns, antique fireplaces and mahogany-paneled walls are found throughout. The original owners left the third floor of the house floored but not finished, and their children (reportedly) used it as an indoor skating rink.
Pennsylvania green stone terraces surround the house and transition to stacked-stone and brick paths that travel to a contiguous 2.134 acre wooded, restricted reserve and to the bayou. There, owners enjoy a flagstone waterfall, flowing pond and a fire pit.