Rienzi is recognized for its substantial collection of European decorative arts and paintings, but less is known about the residence itself — the former home of Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III — designed by one of Houston's leading architects, John F. Staub.
The collaboration between the architect and his clients is evident in Rienzi Begins: Architect John F. Staub and the Mastersons. Using original documents and photographs from the archives of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Rice University's Woodson Research Center at Fondren Library, the exhibition traces the genesis of this Houston estate from the Mastersons' purchasing the land in 1951 to sketches and early acquisitions of furniture and art for its interiors to its completion in 1953.
As part of the exhibition, an original bathroom, designed by Staub for Mrs. Masterson's teenage daughter, will be on public view for the first time. Lined in Norwegian Rose marble, the 1950s bathroom features a sunken bathtub and a crystal chandelier, and opens to a poolside terrace.
On view through Jan. 31, 2014.