When is a house more than a house? When it's a 21,000-plus-square-foot party palace formerly owned by Baron Ricky di Portanova and Baroness Alessandra di Portanova, where Roger Moore once turned up by helicopter and models in cat suits rappelled down the side of it.
Listed at $16 million and represented by Nancy Almodovar, CEO of Nan and Company Properties Christie's International Real Estate, the eye-popping extravaganza at 2115 River Oaks Blvd. is a must-see-to-believe experience.
Baron di Portanova, a grandson of Houston oil magnate Hugh Roy Cullen, came to Houston from Italy in the 1960s to claim his inheritance. He revamped this mansion at 2115 River Oaks Blvd. after his bid to buy New York's iconic 21 Club for his wife (as a birthday gift, no less) fell through.
The di Portanovas were bright lights on the Houston social scene and held court from this astonishing property. The baron died in 2000, and the River Oaks mansion was last on the market in 2014, as we reported.
Now, it's for sale again, following a mega $7 million renovation. The seven-bedroom, eight-bath manse was taken down to the studs and completely remodeled and automated.
Enter the home into a sweeping foyer with dramatic marble columns and flooring, beckoning guests through elegant archways. A sweeping staircase with iron railings pulls the eye upward toward a stunning chandelier. The marble-floored first floor sitting room is anchored by an iron spiral staircase that leads upstairs.
One of the home's most opulent elements is the 12,000-square-foot indoor pool area. A stunning blue pool centers the space, which saw some of Houston's best parties back in the day.
Areas for seating and dining surround the pool, creating spaces for everything from a casual breakfast to an all-out bash. The whole space is enclosed under a glass panel ceiling. And, of course, there is an adjacent secondary kitchen that offer bar seating and high-end appliances.
Gold detailing accents the fireplace in the great room, a huge projection screen is the focal point of the media room, which opens out onto the pool area via wooden doors. Mahogany paneled walls line the study, which also boasts custom shelving.
Upstairs, find the primary suite with its concave ceiling, sitting area with built-in bookshelves, and a balcony overlooking the pool. Dual sinks and a deep soaking tub highlight the primary bath. Secondary bedrooms feature their own en-suite baths.
The home's lush landscaping allows for an outdoor space that's perfect for entertaining. A private courtyard with a fountain offers unparalleled beauty. Sitting on a 43,973 square-foot lot, 2115 River Oaks Blvd. is accessed via a secured wrought-iron gate. It is a home with a history that includes a revolving door of bold-faced names. Yet it remains, first and foremost, a home.
And it's one waiting for the next generation of occupants to put its own stamp on these elegant rooms.