Photo courtesy of Warehouse 72

Looking for the perfect Houston venue for weddings, birthdays, graduations, and beyond? Warehouse 72, known for its chef-driven experience, unforgettable art, and in-demand wine and spirits dinners, is taking its 8,400-square-foot warehouse to the next level with a reinvented private events program.

Warehouse 72

Photo courtesy of Warehouse 72

Warehouse 72 is reinventing private events.

Guests will be able to use Warehouse 72’s art-adorned space as a blank canvas for their celebrations, with the ability to curate a custom menu with chef Jaime Salazar and beverage experience with general manager Richard Howell.

Newly appointed events and catering manager Tanzinia Reid is there to guide you through every step of the experience.

Reid joins Warehouse 72 from the JW in North Carolina, a $1 billion hotel property that's home to some of the most unique events in Charlotte. Her more than eight years of hospitality includes experiences with companies like Disney, The Kessler Collection, Marriott, and White Lodging.

“When reinventing our private events program, we thought, 'what do our customers want and need?'" says operating partner Richard Howell. "This program will allow us to reward our loyal guests with something new and exciting and to curate relationships with new guests. We are not only in the food and wine business, but the relationship business, and this program will help Warehouse 72 continue to establish a bigger community of foodies and friends who love to entertain.”

Using the space's exposed brick, concrete, aged metals, and warm color palette , Warehouse 72’s team will help each guest create an unforgettable event. The venue also pays homage to the cultural strength and diversity of the city through the brightly colored murals of Houstonian females by local street artist Sebastien “Mr. D. 1987” Boileau.

This ambiance carries through every part of the restaurant, including the picturesque and multi-functional indoor-outdoor dining spaces. Warehouse 72 perfectly caters to special events ranging from 25 individuals to more than 200 guests.

Here's a look at the available spaces:

Main dining area
Guest count: 100 seated
Ideal for: Cocktail parties, seated dinners, rehearsal dinners, large parties
Features: An open-concept kitchen, plenty of room for customization

Private dining room
Guest count: 60 seated, 80 cocktail-style
Ideal for: Meetings, cocktail parties, networking, happy hour, and social gatherings like birthdays, graduations, showers, and anniversaries
Features: A glass enclosure for seclusion and intimacy

Side dining
Guest count: 48 seated
Ideal for: Smaller seated dinners, happy hours, cocktail parties
Features: A cozy atmosphere

Patio area
Guest count: 45 seated
Ideal for: Social gatherings, mixers, networking
Features: Exquisite artwork, 100 percent covered, four larger ceiling fans and portable air conditioning units, privacy curtains upon request

Warehouse 72 came to life in 2019 under the vision and inspiration of Doug Pak. The sophisticated dining room featuring plush velvet banquettes, handsome quilted leather chairs, a sleek bar, and a large open kitchen welcomes guests as they enjoy a Mediterranean and American-inspired menu by chef Jaime Salazar.

Warehouse 72 is located at 620 Katy Fwy., suite 305. For more information about Warehouse 72 private events and catering and to schedule a tour of the space, please email tanzinia.reid@warehouse72.com or call 833-365-7272.

Photo by Sebastian Anaya

Wondrous weddings and fabulous fêtes lead 2021's top society stories in Houston

top society stories of 2021

Well well, didn't Houston look smashing in its big return to society gatherings.

After a year holed up at home in robes, shorts, and less formal attire, locals were eager to dust off the tuxedos and go gown shopping for fabulous fetes in 2021. One reason to dress up is a wedding, and our Real Wedding series proved most popular in the section, with readers swooning over nuptials featuring power couples and local-ebrities.

In all, a triumphant return to parties and soirees — all for a good cause, no doubt — as Houston, the most philanthropic city in the U.S., made a grand comeback to events. Here are the stories local scenesters strutted to most.

1. Houston power couple jets off to St. Croix for luxurious island wedding. Readers just loved the love story between Jacquie Baly, a former Greater Houston Partnership vice president who now works in public and media relations, and James Craig, who owns a booming oil business.

2. Houston celebrity chef and fiancée steal away to New Orleans for intimate wedding. Chris Shepherd surprised the city when he stole away to NOLA to marry his longtime sweetheart, power publicist Lindsey Brown.

3. Houston chef weds longtime friend in elegant Mexican getaway. In another local celeb wedding story, David Cordúa, who is Houston restaurant royalty, wed his longtime friend and love, Sara Padua Cordúa.

4. Handsome Houston hunks and celebs rock the runway in raucous, record-breaking gala. Always one of the most popular society stories of the year, the annual Una Notte gala boasts rugged local men of sports and influence rollin' on the runway to adoring crowds. A Simone Biles appearance made this year's event one for the books.

5. Beloved Houston jewelry dynasty dazzles in posh Post Oak party. A Houston institution for decades, the Zadok family wowed crowds with their shimmering, two-story boutique and a grand opening party featuring Gary P. Nunn.

6. Cyndi Lauper and Houston A-listers love the '80s at $2.8 million totally rad children's charity gala. Laura Ward could be officially known as Houston's children's benefactor. Her record-breaking gala starring Cyndi Lauper proved that time after again, no one does it like Laura.

7. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston draws an elegant A-list crowd for $1.7M Grand Gala Ball. Always putting on a grand affair, the MFAH didn't disappoint with it's nearly $2 million spring gala.

8. 11 Houston power women go Old Hollywood glam for cherished children's cause. Some Houston's most leading ladies and doers were honored in an Old-World Hollywood fashion show in this year’s St. Jude Gold Soiree, which raised $153,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

9. High-profile Houstonians shine in Operation Smile's life-changing gala. Prominent Houstonians Kent Schaffer and Shara Kuy, Keith and Shawntell McWilliams, and Dr. Daryl and Amy Dichoso were honored for their work with the benevolent charity that provides life-changing surgeries to children in need.

10. Hip Houston young professionals work up a sweat at swanky new River Oaks fitness studio. Hot young locals worked it as SWEAT (formerly SWEAT 1000), welcomed stylish Houstonians for the grand opening and the company’s rebranding at the Kirby Collection (3300 Kirby Dr.).

Photo courtesy of 38th Biannual Bridal Extravaganza Show

Houston's biggest bridal extravaganza unveils huge downtown show

here comes the bridal show

Brides-to-be, get ready: The biggest bridal show in the country comes back to the Bayou City Saturday and Sunday, January 8 and 9, 2022.

The 38th Biannual Bridal Extravaganza Show sets up shop in the George R. Brown Convention Center, bringing with it cakes, gowns, local vendors, fashion shows, flowers, and more to help give brides (and grooms!) a ton of inspiration for wedding planning. In all, more than 200 vendors will be present.

General admission tickets are $14.99 and $20 for early entry, and Sunday VIP admission is $49, and tickets can be purchased online.

The weekend bash features Insta-ready selfie walls, 15 fashion shows, cake samples, and seminars. There's a special Sunday VIP seminar with with Reward James Akpiri, the author of “Wedding Whoops: 50 Things Not to Do on Your Big Day.”

The first 100 VIP brides also receive signature swag bags with complimentary gifts from sponsors and vendors. In addition, look for super cool out-of-the-box ideas, like Jump into Bliss Houston, a luxury bounce house company, and Bierwagen Draft Beer Truck, as well as a mobile bar from The Vintage Brew.

Couples can also download the BrideScan app, which lets them connect with wedding professionals via a QR code. They will leave the event with a digital list of all of their favorite vendors, perfect for future wedding planning.

Founded in 1983, the Biannual Bridal Extravaganza has evolved into the country's premiere wedding planning event. It draws couples and their families from all across Texas and beyond. More than just a one-stop shop for wedding needs, the show offers couples access to experts and the chance to win big prizes.

Available to win this go around honeymoons, shopping sprees, a bachelorette weekend at the Westin of The Woodlands, a three-night stay at Breathless Punta Cana, a groom’s outing at Golf Club of Houston, a weekend getaway at Deer Lake Lodge, and more.

The show is open Saturday, January 8, 2022 from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, January 9, 2022 from 11 am to 5 pm More information is available here.

Photo courtesy of LovBe

Brides will swoon for sparkly rings from this female-founded jewelry line

I Do

Spring — and love — is in the air. If finding the perfect engagement ring is on your horizon (or maybe upgrading the one you already have), consider LovBe lab-grown diamonds.

In addition to their ethical and environmental benefits, LovBe has a few dazzling attributes special only to them:

  • Twice the carat weight of a mined diamond for the same price. Talk about more for your money!
  • Superior color and brilliance. Not all diamonds are created equal, whether lab-grown or mined. Only two of every 10 lab-grown diamonds examined by LovBe's experts are accepted as part of their collection. 98 percent of LovBe diamonds are graded Ideal or Excellent Cut — their diamonds are literally the best of the best, for the best value.
  • A female-founded brand. In a very male-dominated industry, LovBe is unique in that it was started by a woman — who actually had no background in the jewelry industry!

Lab-grown diamonds have identical chemical, physical, and optical properties to an earth-mined diamond. As testimony to this, the Federal Trade Commission removed the word "natural" from the basic definition of a diamond in 2018.

And launching this month is LovBe's first exclusive collection: LovBe Eternal, a capsule collection of nine engagement ring designs featuring fancy shape side stones.

From sleek, tapered baguettes to sophisticated pears to timeless round brilliants, LovBe Eternal allows couples to build their perfect engagement ring. Simply select a center stone of your choosing that fits both your design desires and budget, and then marvel at the ring that exemplifies your unique past, present, and future.

This new collection also marks the introduction of the LovBe Hallmark, a single, round brilliant lab-grown diamond securely placed where only the wearer will know of its presence. The diamond sits close to the vena amoris, which according to the ancient Romans went directly to the heart.

The diamond will be accompanied by LovBe’s signature "L heart" engraved stamp, ensuring the authenticity of each LovBe Exclusive Collection ring.

From customized designs to unparalleled customer service, your LovBe experience will be as rare and refined as your chosen diamond. Let LovBe be your guide to the perfect engagement ring — begin exploring your options today.

Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds!

Engagement rings
Photo courtesy of LovBe
Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds!
Photo courtesy of HAR.com

Rule this fairytale Texas castle for a princely $6.5 million

Lakeside palace

A five-story fairytale castle on Lake Whitney that easily could be a fixture at Disney World or along the Las Vegas Strip just hit the market for $6.5 million.

The 10-bedroom, 15-bathroom Parsons Castle — complete with a drawbridge and moat — is in the Lake Whitney town of Laguna Park, promoted as the Getaway Capital of Texas. It’s about 90 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth, near Waco. Adam Musiel of eXp Realty has the listing.

Built in 2017, the property features 11,500 square feet of living space on a more than two-acre site. The castle has served as a venue for weddings, corporate events, reunions, graduation celebrations, parties, and other gatherings.

Highlights of the castle include:

  • Balconies on each floor
  • 3,000-square-foot ballroom
  • Bridal suite
  • Groom’s dressing room
  • Gazebos
  • Pool and hot tub
  • Two fireplaces

Hundreds of commenters on Zillow Gone Wild’s Facebook page posted thoughts about Parsons Castle — dubbed "Taj Ma Y’all" by one commenter — that likely would disturb a king or queen.

“This looks like what happens when you start putting all the leftover LEGO pieces on top of each other,” one critic wrote.

“Looks like the home of a Texan oil baron trying to copy Middle Eastern oil barons’ houses, but confused Middle East with Middle Ages halfway through designing it,” another critic observed.

Several kinder, gentler commenters accurately noted that the castle looks like an ideal wedding venue.

Stuart and Rebecca Parsons built Parsons Castle.

“When we bought the property in 2005, we weren’t sure what we were going to build here. But before we even poured the slab, we had already had three or four weddings here. So that’s sort of how this all developed,” Stuart Parsons told Waco TV station KWTX in 2019.

Rebecca Parsons told the Waco Tribune-Herald in 2019 that her husband started drawing up design plans for the castle shortly after they bought the land.

“The castle evolved after years of design changes on the original building drawings,” Rebecca Parsons said. “The original drawings did not look like a castle, but with the help of Sterling Thompson Architects and John Rogers, the structural engineer on the project — who are both from Waco — the castle emerged, to everyone’s delight.”

Workers started pouring the slab for the project in 2009.

“It has been a long project with a lot of changes over the years,” Rebecca Parsons told the Waco newspaper. “But the finished product speaks for itself. It is absolutely amazing and beautiful inside and out, and the perfect venue for a wedding, big event, or big party.”

Parsons Castle sits on the shores of Lake Whitney in Laguna Park.

Parsons Castle
Photo courtesy of HAR.com
Parsons Castle sits on the shores of Lake Whitney in Laguna Park.
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Provocative, awe-inspiring Kehinde Wiley MFAH showcase remains this season's must-see exhibit

the new masters

Houston art lovers who haven’t yet attended the Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston are missing out on a showcase of jaw-dropping art.

The recently opened exhibit is an awe-inspiring collection of paintings and sculptures from the Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based artist of color, best known for creating a majestically leafy portrait of former President Barack Obama. Locals will remember that the MFAH was one of the rare museums to showcase the works — starting with a free opening weekend that became a city celebration.

While “An Archaeology of Solace” premiered earlier this year at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the MFAH is actually the first stop on its tour. Located in the Audrey Jones Beck Building, the exhibit is an overwhelming experience of Black power.

And it’s a power shift. While Wiley’s large-scale paintings and sculptures call to mind the heroes, martyrs, and saints of Western European historical art, they are unmistakably Black and brown subjects who suffer under “the specter of police violence and state control over the bodies of young Black and Brown people all over the world,” Wiley notes in an artist statement.

Thus, the rooms are all Black, as the gigantic oil-on-canvas paintings (a couple are practically the size of billboards) of laid-out Black bodies – usually rocking streetwear gear – are brightly spotlighted. Many of these works were inspired by historical pieces, mainly German artist Hans Holbein’s The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb.

Kehinde Wiley, Young Tarentine I (Babacar Man\u00e9), 2022Wiley's Young Tarentine I (Babacar Mané), 2022. Image via Museum of Fine Arts Houston / © 2022 Kehinde Wiley

The bronze sculptures are equally grand and striking. The most impressive one is the titular statue, a reworking of his 2019 sculpture Rumors of War. While the Rumors sculpture depicts an upright Black rider on a general’s horse, this sculpture features a fallen figure atop a horse.

Kehinde Wiley \u200bThe titular, An Archaeology of Silence (2021) harks to the 2019 sculpture Rumors of War. Image via Museum of Fine Arts Houston / © 2022 Kehinde Wiley

Both sculptures are based on a monument to Confederate army General James Ewell Brown Stuart, which was removed and placed into storage in the wake of the 2020 George Floyd murder.

This entire exhibit was inspired by the worldwide outrage that transpired after Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. Wiley himself explains the inspiration for the exhibit via the audio guide given to visitors:

The birth of the show starts as the world shuts down. As we see George Floyd slain in the streets of America, I get to work. I start thinking not only about this explosive moment that triggers the whole world into thinking about Black bodies in a different way, But I start thinking about imaging of bodies slain historically.

Fans of the artist can look forward to Kehinde Wiley merch upstairs in the gift shop. An obligatory exhibition catalog is for sale, as well as hoodies, umbrellas, bookbags, playing cards, coloring books, and more. Proceeds will go to the Black Rock Coalition, a New York-based artists’ collective.


“Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Solace” will be on display at the Audrey Jones Beck Building of the MFAH (5601 Main St.). For exhibition schedule, tickets, and more, visit the MFAH online.

Kehinde Wiley, The Death of Hyacinth (Ndey Buri Mboup), 2022, oil on canvas

Image via Museum of Fine Arts Houston / © 2022 Kehinde Wiley / courtesy of Galerie Templon

Wiley's The Death of Hyacinth (Ndey Buri Mboup), 2022.

Romantic River Oaks mansion boasting coveted neighborhood rarity lists for $11.5M

Where rustic and elegant meet

It's hard to come up with a more iconic River Oaks street than Chevy Chase Drive. It winds from Kirby to Willowick, meandering through the very heart of River Oaks, passing by beautifully maintained homes and the quiet Sleepy Hollow Park.

And on this iconic street, just a block or two away from that quiet park is 3244 Chevy Chase, a romantic, impeccably designed manor home that's listed at $11.5 million, represented by Ruthie Porterfield of Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty.

The manse was designed Elby Martin, AIA, in the tradition of Addison Mizner, known for his Mediterranean Revival and Spanish style, and built in 2006. It is formerly owned by Paul Gerrit Van Wagenen, noted oilman, attorney, missionary, soldier, and family man, who passed away earlier this year.

Unfolding across more than 13,000 square feet, 3244 Chevy Chase sits on more than half an acre. Inviting, yet secluded, rustic, but elegant, it offers everything a modern homebuyer needs.

Notably, it boasts a rarity in River Oaks, according to Porterfield. A large, downstairs primary bedroom, nearly unheard of in most River Oaks properties, with two primary bathrooms and closets.

A barrel-ceiling foyer welcomes guests. Gorgeous wood detailing is found throughout, with carved doors and exposed beam ceilings. Windows flood the home with light, and exceptional views of the courtyard and grounds abound. There's a cozy gathering space off the kitchen with built-in shelves sure to are a conversation piece, as is the iron chandelier.

Cedar lines the closet in the primary suite, which also boasts two opulent full bathrooms. The kitchen is a gathering space, and offers home cooks Wolf, Thermador, and SubZero appliances.

3244 Chevy Chase Drive

Patrick Bertolino for Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty

3244 Chevy Chase Drive

Outside, find sprawling loggias, a summer kitchen, indoor pool with spa, and a side yard with a stone fountain. There's also a flex area that is perfect for anything its owners might imagine, from play spaces to a putting green.

3244 Chevy Chase is unmatched in its ability to be both a space for entertaining and a cozy, lived-in home. All the bedrooms are en-suite. There are ample gathering spaces, from formal living room to the den and the media room. Ideal for a growing family and cornerstone estate, this is a place ready for new memories to be made and new traditions to begin.

Cozy neighborhood restaurant from Common Bond team opens doors on Heights' 11th Street

take me back

The Heights is home is to a new restaurant with an eclectic menu and a welcoming atmosphere. 1891 American Eatery & Bar is now open for dinner daily.

1891 American Eatery food spread

Photo by Andrew Hemingway

Entree options include steaks, salads, and a fried poblano pepper.

Located in the former Berryhill space at at 702 E. 11th St., 1891 comes from Garza Management, the restaurant group behind El Bolillo and Common Bond. Named for the year the Heights was founded, its operating partners include Common Bond director of operations Brad Serey and executive chef Jason Gould. Diners may recognize Gould from his time with legendary Montrose restaurant Gravitas, a modern bistro that operated in the aughts in the space that’s currently home to Bludorn. His resume also includes a lengthy stint with Tex-Mex favorite Cyclone Anaya’s.

“The building itself has been a mainstay in the neighborhood and we wanted to breathe life into it with an everyday, neighborhood bar and restaurant for the Heights community to enjoy,” Gould said in a statement. “We wanted to create something that was the essence of the Heights and that is community. This restaurant welcomes everyone from families with children, to couples on date night, or friends out on the town, and that is what we wanted to accomplish.”

Gould worked with chef de cuisine Gerardo Mendoza to develop 1891’s all-day menu, which caters to a wide range of tastes. Diners will find shareable bar snacks such as crab fritters, Korean BBQ fried cauliflower, a daily crudo, and hot honey pork ribs. An extensive selection of sandwiches and smash burgers include a BLT, grilled cheese, the “Classic Cheeseburger,” and a mushroom burger topped with a grilled portobello, goat cheese, provolone, and red onion jam. Entree options include salads as well as center of plate items like pastrami braised short ribs, confit duck legs, and a flat iron steak with a twice baked potato and green beans.

The family friendly atmosphere includes a kids menu that features choices such as popcorn chicken, popcorn shrimp, a pepperoni pizzette, and a petite steak and fries. Children of all ages will want to save room for desserts such as bananas foster croissant bread pudding, key lime cheesecake bar, and molten chocolate cake.

In keeping with the “& Bar” aspect of the restaurant’s name, the beverage options include eight beer taps. Cocktail choices start with margarita and mimosa flights as well as seasonal takes on classics like the Old Fashioned and Moscow Mule. A tidy list of wines by-the-glass and bottle rounds out the options.

Currently, the restaurant is open for lunch during the week and dinner night, staying open until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Weekend brunch service will begin in mid-December.