Have you ever wanted to shop one of those otherworldly River Oaks Estates? Later this month, you can. But be prepared to loosen the purse strings.
On June 26, Lewis and Maese Auction Co. is set to auction off the private (yet impressive) collection of art, antiques, furniture, and more of Jim and Jeanette Woods. Jim—who passed away in 2018—served as chairman, president, and CEO of Baker Hughes for 11 years in the '80s and '90s.
The Woods' palatial 5-bedroom, nearly 9,000-square-foot home with a $6.9 million dollar asking price flew off the market last month, courtesy of Martha Turner Sotheby’s. And the Woods' adult children tapped Lewis and Maese, a former River Oaks antiques shop that shifted its focus solely to auctioneering in the past decade, to handle the possessions.
"We get calls every single day, and we ask for photos. This man called me six months ago and said his father-in-law had passed away," Ernest Maese, owner of Lewis and Maese, told Houstonia. "The minute he said River Oaks, it was interesting. Then he mentioned his father-in-law was CEO of Baker Hughes. Alarms started going off."
The property, at 3208 Chevy Chase Dr, was originally the home of oil tycoon Bob Smith in the '30s and later Roy Hofheinz, the Houston legend who's responsible for bringing Major League Baseball and the Astrodome to town, before the Woods family moved in. They updated and revamped the home in the '90s, appointing each room with treasured antiques from up and down Royal Street in New Orleans, top of the line reproductions, and fine fabrics.
"The inside looked like a jewel box," Maese says.
Among the items for sale are 18th century-consoles, tables, and a grand piano. The crystal chandeliers and bronze sconces are up for grabs, as are hand-made needlepoint and Persian rugs. Of course, there will be sterling silver, Baccarat crystal, and porcelain pieces, too—this is River Oaks, after all. And The Houston Chronicle even reports that artwork by the likes of Pablo Picasso is included in the haul.
To Maese, the most impressive collectibles for sale are a life-like bronze sculpture by California-based artist Richard MacDonald ("It took my breath away," he says) and a rich marble-top cabinet that opens up into a small desk in the grand entryway.
Still, more everyday items, or what Maese calls "Southern comfortable" pieces —like a giant sectional, patio furniture, and bedroom sets—will also be included in the auction. And we'd be remiss not to mention the bar and $2 pizza slices.
This will be Lewis and Maese's first in-person event since the onset of the pandemic and one of the few collections where every item is sourced from a singular estate.
"Our clients had become our friends," Maese says. "It's good to get to see their faces. It just has a better feel when there are people here rather than doing it by machine."
The live auction will be held at Lewis and Maese's studio at 1505 Sawyer St. starting at 11 a.m. on June 26, with previews June 23–25. An online catalog of the items for sale will be available June 9, with online offers hosted through LiveAuctioneers.com. Happy bidding!