Like Mother, Like Daughter

69 comments

 

image 

It’s not often we see a house designed by Mario Buatta in Houston.  Usually he works in New York or Florida, rarely Houston.  But there it was, in Architectural Digest (2007), all beautiful in pinks and greens and yellows.  The Buatta house is being publicized again – it’s now for sale, and listed on HAR, the favorite real estate haunt of nosey Houstonians or house stalkers (not talking about me, of course) – you know, those obnoxious people who search HAR’s website to find a house to either admire or hate, and then run to the tax rolls to discover who owns it.     The Buatta house is a little more intriguing because of who owns it and what its competition on the market is.  You see, the lady of the Buatta house, is related to the lady of another grand house for sale, right down the street a-ways in Houston’s toniest neighborhood.   One is owned by the mother, the other is owned by the daughter – both still young, vibrant, civic-minded women.  See if you can figure out which house the mother owns, and which house the daughter owns.    To be sure there is peace in the two households, both are using the same real estate agent!

P.S.  If you live in Houston, see if you can guess who owns the houses.   There is one HUGE clue in the pictures!!!    To play the game, if you already KNOW who owns it, don’t ruin it for those who are guessing.  Feel free to email me with your story:  mrballbox329@aol.com.  

 

The Tale of the Tape:

 

image

 

House #1:  $10,800.00                                                                                                                                         

Over an acre, backs up to the golf course of RRCC                                                                                    

13,386 Sq. Ft. /3 stories /5-6 Bedrooms/9 Full, 2 Half Baths                                                            

Built:  1988, designer unknown                                                                  

Garage:   3 cars     

 

                                                                                              image                                                                                                                              

House #2:  $9,950,000.

Over 1 1/2 acres, backs up to busy Kirby Street

7,968 Sq. Ft./3 stories/5 Bedrooms/6 Full, 3 Half Baths

Built: 1939 by renowned John Staub; interiors by Mario Buatta

Garage:  none 

Pool Pavilion:  3,331 sq. ft. designed by Curtis Windham, 2007   

        

 

House #1:

image

Both houses are located in River Oaks, Houston’s most exclusive neighborhood.    House #1, though, is on the golf course of the River Oaks Country Club, primo real estate to be sure.  You really can’t see the house behind the gates if you are cruising the street, but cruising the internet it’s no problemo at all.  Lots of flowers, including beautiful rose gardens, are included in the landscaping.

 

image

House #1 is a Regency style home and is relatively new for River Oaks – built in 1988.  At over 13,000 sq. ft. the facade belies the true size of the house.

 

image

The front door is seen at the end of this entry hall.  The dining room is to the right.  The house has a definite contemporary vibe going on:   is this the mother’s house, or the daughter’s?   Would the daughter like contemporary or the mother?   I don’t know the interior designer used in House #1, but judging by these pictures,  I might guess it was done by the great and elegant Herb Welles or his partner Jerry Jeanmard.  But, like I said – this is ONLY a guess!

 

image

Contemporary art work lines the walls of the two story stairwell.   Note that the furniture is not contemporary, but classic French antiques.  

 

 

image

The dining room is wallpapered in a toile.  Antique rug and furniture. 

 

image

At the end of the long entry hall, down a few steps, is the expansive main living area.  This room is filled with richly upholstered furniture and more French antiques.  The view out the windows is of the pool, the rose garden, and the golf course.   There are very few golf courses located inside the city limits of Houston – real estate along these courses is very pricey. 

 

image

The paneled office/library is set up for a true businessman or woman.   Three TVs are great for news and sports watching.    Would an older man want three TVs or a younger man????

 

 

image

The kitchen is a good size for a large family – with lots of children?    It looks like there are more televisions in this room.  Someone must be either a political junkie or a sports junkie in this family!

 

image

The large family room appears to me to be an addition  - located off to the side of the main house.  Notice the paint treatment on the ceiling.    This room looks like it was designed for large crowds – push the furniture to the sides and you have a ballroom!!

 

 

image

The master bedroom is oversized and is all in pinks, both hot and soft.     Out the window is a balcony that overlooks the swimming pool and golf course.  Must be a gorgeous view!    This room is directly on top of the living room.

 

image

This large guest room overlooks the front of the house. 

 

image

One of several rose gardens on the property.   It appears this one is located right outside the stairwell.

 

image

The back yard:  the three large windows are the living room.  Above is the master suite with its private balcony.  

 

 

image

Past the swimming pool is the River Oak CC golf course.  Expansive views like this are rare inside the loop.

 

image

At dusk, the living room and master bedroom balcony are on the left.  The large family room is to the right.  It looks like this was added on, perhaps it was once the garage?   Is this large swimming pool for children or grandchildren?   Have you already made up your mind if this is the mother’s house or the daughter’s house?  Wait………

 

 

House #2

 

image

House #2, right off busy Kirby Street.  This lot is on 1 1/2 acres – 1/2 acre larger than House #1.   The front has a large parking court – room for plenty of partying guests!      This classic house was built in 1939 by famed architect John Staub who helped develop River Oaks.

 

 

image

The back facade of the classic Staub house.    It looks like there are two balconies flanking the main section of the house – underneath the right balcony, the area was enclosed to make a sun room  The area on the left looks like it was left open.

 

 

image

The front entry hall is quite different from House #1.  This foyer is relatively small looking, but probably this is just an optical illusion.

 

 

image

From Architectural Digest:  the main living room is painted a Nancy Lancaster yellow, filled with English and French antiques and English styled upholstery.  Designed by Mario Buatta, this room makes no mistake about that.   Unlike House #1 with its contemporary art collection, House #2’s art is more traditional.

 

image

Yellow silk plaid curtains and a classic Colefax and Fowler fabric dominate the living room.   The two living rooms in House #1 and #2 are similar in their quality and quantity of furniture.  But which living room is mother’s and which is daughter’s?

 

image

The real estate pictures are not quite as enticing as the Architectural Digest photographs taken by Gordon Beall,  but the room still looks beautiful.  It would be interesting to see House #1 under the Architectural Digest lens, too – to level the playing field!  These ceilings appear low – they are actually a lofty 10’ high.

 

image

The beautiful pink dining room with its white fireplace and Nesle chandelier looks cozy in this picture by Architectural Digest.

 

image

In real life – seen in the HAR pictures, the room is very large – 24x17.  The carpet is by Starke.

 

image The morning room is in a glass-enclosed space, located under one of the balconies.   It is a cozy spot overlooking the back yard. 

 

image

The real estate picture shows the true size of the room. 

 

image

The library in its original mahogany paneling is traditionally English.   Is the portrait the lady of the house in her younger days, or is it the mother in her younger days?  Hard to say. 

 

image

The real estate photos of the library.   The morning room is right outside the doors. 

 

 

image

The master bedroom is a pure Buatta pink fantasy.  With his traditional four poster bed, there is no mistaking who designed this room – but for whom?   The daughter and her husband, or the mother and her  husband?

 

 

image

Taken at night for the Houston real estate web site.    The chintz on the bed is Lee Jofa, the carpet is by Starke.  With the windows on each side of the bedroom – its runs the width of the house. 

 

image

The porch along the back of the house with classic iron furniture in green and white stripe cushions – very southern looking, to be sure.   The recently built pool pavilion is off to the right.   Does this look like a place for children or for grandchildren?

 

image

Looking from the back of the house out to the yard – the pool pavilion is on the right, past an allee of Live Oak trees.  The swimming pool is directly facing the house – past the trees.

 

 

image

A night time shot of the large swimming pool.

 

 

image

A hidden garden off to the side of the yard.

 

image

A view of the pool pavilion.

 

image

At over 3,000 sq. ft, the pool pavilion is larger than most houses.

 

image

Buatta designed this space also.  The checkerboard floors were inspired by the lobby at Claridge’s hotel in London.

 

image

The real estate photograph.  What a grand space for large parties with live bands and dancing!   Past the middle doors is the bar area, seen below.

 

image

An oval bar in the pool pavilion – complete with white marble floor.  This building also houses an exercise room, a library, and a kitchen for entertaining.   Obviously this “pool pavilion” is really for grand parties rather than a place for playing children – or grandchildren.   Again, is this the young daughter’s house or is it the house of the still-young herself mother? 

 

To Recap:

 

House #1’s living room:

image

 

House #2’s living room:

image

 

Do you think you know which house is for a young family, with young children and which house is for an older couple, with no children at home?   Does the fact that Mario Buatta designed one of the houses sway your opinion?   Or does the location sway you – one house on the golf course, the other on a larger lot, but right off a very busy road?   Do you have a favorite house?     Do you prefer the more contemporary one, with the French antiques, or the older, more traditionally styled house – with English antiques and furniture?          Does the furniture give away which one is owned by the daughter and which by the mother?   Do you wonder why both houses are for sale at the same time, both sharing a real estate agent?  Are they downsizing or moving up or both?    Maybe they should just trade houses!    

 

P.S. Remember if you happen to already know who lives here, don’t spoil the fun for those playing along!

Battle of the Sexes

135 comments

 

I have mentioned before that I am obsessed with lanterns these days.  Not just any lanterns, of course – that would be too easy and cheap – but antique French lanterns like this:

 

image

 

This beauty came from Chateau Domingue, the wonderful architectural elements store in Houston.   But, even though I love the antique lanterns, they can be very pricey.   So imagine my delight last summer when I happened into one of my favorite shops, M. Naeve, and found not one, but two identical lanterns – albeit reproductions – at a very decent price.   Sold!   I knew exactly where they would go – my family room and the stair landing.   But, it was going to be a long, hard road to get them hung and I knew exactly why my beautiful new lanterns were going to become a major issue in the Webb household.  This is one of the issues:

 

image

Issue I:  The ceiling fan that has been hanging in my family room for 15 years.  

 

houstonshopping 169

Issue II:   Ol’ Mr. Slipper Socks Man himself.

 

Now understand, I hate to brag, but my house is my domain.   I, and I alone, am in charge of each decorating decision.  And by large, that’s a true statement.  Except for a few issues – one of which is ceiling fans.   Mr. Slipper Socks Man has to have “air moving around” to be happy – even in the winter.  And it’s not just because Houston isn’t scalding hot (which it is) but maybe, just maybe, if he would let me move the thermostat down from 78 degrees he might not need his “air moving around” 24/7 – but that’s what he claims he needs to be happy.  And I’ve humored him and let him ruin my bedroom and my family room with his ceiling fans.   But these two gorgeous lanterns were just too much to pass up – and frankly, I’m tired of humoring him.  I hate ceiling fans and I’m done with them.  But to get them hung I knew it was going to take a lot of skillful psychological maneuvering.    I was up to the challenge.

OK, it took longer than I thought.    The two lanterns sat in the garage for a year, waiting for him to change his mind about his insistence on a ceiling fan in the family room.   After waiting in vain for a year, I finally had to take the matter into my own hands.  The lanterns needed light kits installed, so a few weeks ago, I dragged them out of the garage to Alcon on Alabama who miraculously electrified them both in less than a week.    When the lanterns were finished I brought them home and placed them on the floor by the front door - a BIG hint.   The lanterns sitting by the front door seemed to say:   “Hey, Mr. Slipper Socks Man – we aren’t going away.  We’re here to stay, get used to it, bud.”    So, they sat there for a week, and we never once discussed them.  But he knew, he knew exactly what I had on my mind.  And bless him, he is so sweet – and I guess that’s why I humor him because, he is the sweetest man in the world.  He finally comes up to me one day, out of the blue, and we have this conversation:

“You can go ahead and put up the lanterns, I’ll just get a space fan.”

“Really? You don’t mind?   Because I thought I could always just put one on the landing and the other one in the guest room.”

“No, go ahead, it’s O.K.”  

See?  I told you how sweet he is.  Had I only known then what plans he had in his mind.

Sam and Randy Bennett, the best electricians in Houston,  bar none,  (these guys can install a sconce anywhere and not leave a mark) came out and installed the two lanterns the next day.  One went on the landing, the other in the family room.   To tell you the truth, I am in love.  Do you blame me?    Look:

 

tablescapethursday 010

Like I said, I hate to brag, but does a light fixture get any prettier than this?  I’m in love, seriously in love.  Yes, I know it’s not an antique, and yes, I know an antique would look better, but hey – it’s good enough for me.    In fact, I couldn’t be any happier. 

 

tablescapethursday 021

Full on view – wow!   To me, this lantern is worth more than a 10 carat diamond and a closet full of designer clothes. 

 

 

tablescapethursday 005

The landing with the second lantern.   Love it, but I’m not as “in love” with this as the one in the family room.  This is like comparing your Chanel purse with your Cole Haan purse – you like them both – you just like one a little better.  Not that I would know, I don’t own a Chanel purse, but I’m assuming I would feel that way. 

 

 image

Another view – hard to get a good shot.  

 

So, Mr. Slipper Socks Man had a migraine the day these were installed and left for work late.  On his way out, I told him I would get a space fan for him.  Fine, just get a good one, he warns me.    You know it!

 

image

BEFORE.

 

 

tablescapethursday 115

AFTER.

 

I thought this was a good fan.  It’s small, but really powerful.   Quiet too.   And kind of cute, in a old fashioned way.  Easy to remove before company comes over, a good compromise.     Mr. Slipper Socks Man comes home and admits (he hated to do this, I know) that he loved the lanterns.  He actually used that word “love” which is a rarity he reserves for his daughter always, and me sometimes.  The fan though, really, really bothered him.   A lot.   He moved it around a few times.  He asked me “have you lost your mind?” – it was:

1.  Too small.

2.  Not powerful enough.

3.   Too loud (it wasn’t!)

4.  A total disappointment.

5.  It was a big mistake to “let” me take down the ceiling fan and put the lantern up.

 

He was so miserable he went upstairs to the bedroom to watch TV before the 10:00 news.  Another rarity.   The next night, he stayed downstairs until only 8:00.    I knew he was silently fuming over the loss of his ceiling fan only to be replaced by my kind-of cute retro fan.   I figured time would take care of it.   I was wrong.    The third night he came home with a huge package from Brookstone.  I have no idea what a Brookstone is, but I can only imagine  how much I loathe that store.  

 

lanternnew 011

 

It’s not funny.  Not funny at all.  I”m not laughing.  I am the one fuming now.   I mean, really, is HE serious?   OMG, just looking at this picture makes me want to cry.  And I’m serious about that.   I am at a loss of how to handle this.  He, though, is in heaven.  He proudly points out all the features to me:  a remote control!!!   It oscillates!!!  It’s really quiet!!!  (It’s not.)   He neglects to mention it’s most obvious adjective:  It’s Ugly!!!!

 

 

lanternnew 008

You see it there, on the right by the TV on steriods, another one of his dreckorating ideas.    I need a valium.   Look how TALL that thing is!!!!!!  OH and I almost forgot, he also bought a mini version of this for Elisabeth’s room!!!   I might kill him tonight.

 

001

 

Oh wait, there’s more.    Mr. Slipper Socks Man is really dreckorating tonight.   He moved the rattan child’s size chair in front of the fan to hide it.   OOOHHHHHH – yes!!!!    That REALLY hides it!!!  I can’t see that humongous, ugly, black thermometer at all now.  Whew!  Problem solved, Mr. Slipper Socks Man to the rescue.  Another job well done.  Ok, I’m going to go cry now.  This is just not getting any better.  

 

 

image

 

Which bring me to this:   The Skirted Roundtable is discussing this very issue this week – “Designing for the Sexes” – and no, it wasn’t planned at all.  I had no idea I was going to be embroiled in my own “Designing For The Sexes”  fiasco.   We also discuss -  in the Blogging Segment – how to grow your audience.  Be sure to listen this week!!!   AND as an added bonus this week – we have a new feature:  “Saturday Short” – a sort of bloopers from the Skirted Roundtable, things that made the cutting room floor.  I haven’t even heard it yet – but judging from the picture of the “recliner” I have a good idea what it’s about!!!!!  Very funny!!!

Click HERE to hear!

 

Ben just read this – he has one request.  That I show him looking like a “human being.”   Here he is on his company’s web site:

 

image

Aw, he’s soooo cute!!!!   And he’s cool too!