LOTS AND LOTS of homes are changing hands these days, but only a few have a past! Step inside four fabulous Houston area mansions — that could be yours today!
3201 University Blvd.
'DARTH VADER' HOUSE It's an icon familiar not only to Houstonians, but to Star Wars fans around the globe! The "Darth Vader House" at 3201 University Blvd. is nicknamed such for its resemblance to the villain's helmet, and when it hit the market in May, it caused quite a stir on the interwebs, seeing as the current owner has famously turned down interviews and photo ops. Real estate aficionados and movie buffs alike have enjoyed flipping through the image gallery, which reveals a counterintuitively light, open interior. A sunken portion of the living room makes a unique seating area, surrounded by curiously patterned concrete and stone flooring; other oddly shaped areas are found throughout the home, which has a distinctly '80s, yet surprinsgly fresh, vibe. It's currently priced at $4.3 mil, and Sotheby's requires all who wish to tour the property to present proof of funds.
2920 Lazy Ln. is listed for $34.5 million by Douglas Elliman Texas
GREAT ESTATE The estate of Gerald Hines, one of the world's most successful developers, and namesake of the University of Houston's architecture school, who passed away in August 2020 at the age of 95, hit the market in March. Hines' River Oaks villa at 2920 Lazy Ln. is listed for $34.5 million by Douglas Elliman Texas.
The 4.5-acre property, situated on the famous street between Buffalo Bayou and Kirby Dr., has five bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, plus a 3,000-square-foot atrium with an enclosed pool and tennis court.
The home, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and completed in 1992, was initially inspired by holidays spent in Tuscany. Traditional elements — inlaid floors, marble-bedecked bathrooms — abound.
3996 Inverness Dr. is asking $26.5 million
STORYBOOK CHIC A River Oaks estate reminiscent of an English countryside manor is asking $22.5 million. The 18,000-square-foot home at 3996 Inverness Dr. is situated on two acres, and the building boasts $1 million in stonework alone (some imported from Cottswald, England).
With interiors by Houston designer Jennifer Burgess Loh, ASID (Burgess Loh Interiors, Inc.), the property is made for entertaining: There's a grand foyer that leads into a massive wine cellar with triple-barrel-vaulted brick ceilings. And a billiard room makes guests feel like they've been transported to a British pub. (They can even stay the night in a guest cottage that has its own gym and sauna!)
Outside, a climatized poolside pavilion boasts a commercial grill, pizza oven and crawfish boiler.
3408 Ella Lee received its official designation from the City of Houston in 2008
LUXE LANDMARK A historical landmark is on the market for $3.25 million. The 1940-built home at 3408 Ella Lee, listed by Walter Bering with Martha Turner Sotheby's International Real Estate, received its official designation from the City of Houston in 2008. Mature oaks line the property, designed by architects Hiram Salisbury and T. G. McHale and once owned by famed dermatologist Everett Seale. It's around 4,200 square feet — modest in River Oaks terms, but a true Colonial Revival gem. Original touches remain, but it's a thoughtfully and thoroughly remodeled home, with large, open rooms and a gourmet kitchen.