Who will purchase this $17.5 million, headline-making home on Lazy Lane—the uber-private, ridiculously exclusive street off Kirby Drive in River Oaks? Will it be an investor from China looking for five acres of lush property smack in the middle of town, or will it be a longtime Houstonian who relishes the chance to make prominent Houston families like the Kinders and the Arnolds their neighbors? As of press time, it remains a mystery.
We hope whoever it is, the buyer is someone who appreciates that the home is steeped in Houston history—that multiple presidents have visited for fundraisers, that its architect, UH professor Howard Barnstone, also contributed his considerable talents to the de Menils’ home and the Rothko Chapel, and that when Barnstone built the steel-framed wonder on Lazy Lane in the mid-’60s, he called it a “p-a-l-a-c-e,” per Stephen Fox’s 1987 obituary of the architect in Cite.
With its endless luxuries and amenities—cherry-wood paneling, sky-high ceilings, workout room and sauna, beautiful landscaping and pathways, pool, and separate guest house—the home does indeed feel like a palace, one that is probably better described as “contemporary” than as “Brutalist” these days, thanks to various changes and updates, the latest of which took place after the freakish Hurricane Harvey flooded the lower level of the home for what its realtor says was the very first time. Anyway, Barnstone’s reverence for the location, in the form of those endless, soaring windows overlooking Buffalo Bayou, is what makes the place: It’s wonderful to be surrounded by the wildness just outside, and hard to visit and not imagine living here, sipping coffee on one of the outdoor seating areas while watching for hawks.
If we had the money, who would the buyer be? You guessed it: us.
- Size: 11,676 sq. ft.
- Architect: Howard Barnstone
- Year built: 1965
- Current owners: Richard and Virginia Mithoff