Mid-century Dream On the Market
Mid-century modern home commissioned by billionaire oilman is a $4 million gem
Editor's Note: Houston, the surrounding areas and beyond are loaded with must-have houses and properties 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.
Billionaire George Mitchell, the father of fracking, commissioned this mid-century masterpiece on the banks of Buffalo Bayou for his sister Maria Ballantyne and her family, husband Dr. Jay Ballantyne and seven children. The house has remained in the family's hands until now.
Designed by MacKie & Kamrath Architects, the home was completed in 1961 as a testament to the philosophy and principles of Frank Lloyd Wright, whom Karl Kamrath called his friend.
Interior design: Modern enthusiasts will swoon over the organic architecture with a cantilevered living room wing facing a ravine flowing to the bayou. Built-in seating and storage, cement blocks, redwood beams and eaves with large overhangs, signatures of the era, dominate the design.
Built for entertaining, the house enjoys an open floor plan, uncommon in the early '60s. The living room, with a cantilevered music alcove overlooking the ravine, flows to the dining room with movement onto the kitchen, the adjacent breakfast room and the den.
We love the den with its 30-foot span of windows with upper transoms, original redwood beams and a wall of built-in shelving and storage. The bonus here — a pocket door and full bath allow for conversion to a guest bedroom.
Five bedrooms in a separate wing of the L-shaped house connect to the rest of the home via a gallery hall, ideal for displaying prized artworks.
Exterior: The house sits on almost two acres, separated from bustling Kirby Drive by a 60-foot expanse of parkland which is maintained by River Oaks Property Association. The mature gardens are rich with a stunning bank of crepe myrtles and towering pines, oaks, magnolias, sycamore, cypress and numerous tropicals.
Square footage: 5,218 sq. ft.
Asking price: $3,999,000
Listing agent: Ginny Jackson, broker associate with Greenwood King Properties.