Editor's Note: Houston and the surrounding areas are loaded with must-have houses for sale in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. In this continuing series, CultureMap snoops through some of the best and gives you the lowdown on what's hot on the market.
An award-winning modern house designed by the late homeowner and noted architect William F. Stern hits the market as a virtual art gallery once filled with a meticulously curated collection, including a now painted-over Sol LeWitt instructional creation.
That 30-foot-tall Sol LeWitt “light and space” project was at one time painted directly onto the front wall of Stern's living room following the artist's precise instructions, which is common with LeWitt's work. The artist's wall paintings generally exist for the duration of an exhibition, then are destroyed, giving the work in its physical form an ephemeral quality, according to an explanation of a recent exhibit at the Centre Pompidou in Metz, France. However, these LeWitt paintings can be installed, removed and then reinstalled at another location as many times as required for exhibition purposes.
Stern, who died at age 66 in March 2013, a day after members of the American Institute of Architects-Houston voted unanimously to give him the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award, left his home and art collection to The Menil Collection. A Menil official explains that artwork bequeathed to a museum cannot be sold. "Since Mr. Stern gave us the house and the painting in it, we can't sell the house with the Sol LeWitt in it," he explained.
The artwork could not be removed without taking out the wall. The museum, however, has the right to sell LeWitt's instructions, which could be duplicated in another instance.
"I sometimes say I built the house because I wanted to commission Sol to do a wall drawing," Stern told CultureMap during a 2011 tour of his home and the pieces of art he rotated throughout each year.
"Honestly, though, the piece was never part of the original design,” he added at that interview.
Stern's architectural wonder stands with its Menil-like gray cladding at 1202 Milford, a prime location close to many of Houston’s finest museums. The bright and airy three-story structure with white interior walls features an open floor plan ideal for entertaining. The two-story living room with oversized windows allows for an abundance of natural light and custom built-ins. Of course, the design includes great wall and ceiling space to display art.
"Piece-by-piece the collection grew and by the time I considered building my own house, I wanted to create something that would shape the experience of viewing art with light and space," Stern noted during the 2011 tour.
The sleek kitchen features granite countertops, double ovens and generous storage space. Two staircases take owners to the second and third floors. The huge master bedroom and bath sit high on the third floor with great views. Private balconies offer even more outdoor vistas. The house includes a second bedroom with en suite bath.
The outdoor space is filled with mature trees and professional landscaping. The property does not include a garage.
Square footage: 3,189
Asking price: $1,475,000