In the heart of Houston, just five miles west of the city’s gleaming knot of downtown towers, is the elegant and leafy River Oaks neighborhood. The gently curved streets and bijou cul-de-sacs are lined with stately trees and grand mansions that are built in a variety of architectural styles and set on large (and largely flat), immaculately manicured parcels. It is sometimes referred to as the Beverly Hills of Houston, though it more accurately resembles L.A.’s historic Hancock Park and Windsor Square neighborhoods.
Founded in the 1920s by Hugh Potter and William and Michael Hogg, sons of former Texas governor Jim Hogg, River Oaks has always been home to some of Houston’s most notable (and most colorful) residents. They include late political satirist Molly Ivens, oil baron Oscar Wyatt and his socialite wife Lynne, prosperity theologist and pastor Joel Osteen, and Senator Ted Cruz and his Goldman-Sachs executive wife Heidi Cruz.
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Over the last few decades, many of the neighborhood’s older homes have been razed and replaced with new ones. One of those newer homes, a ten-year-old mansion grounded in traditionalism but shot through with the comforts and luxuries of modern living, is newly listed for $27.5 million. The oil gusher of a price makes it one of the sprawling city’s highest-priced homes currently on the market. Robert Bland of Compass holds the listing.
Just off the broad boulevard that leads to the River Oaks Country Club and squirreled away on a tiny cul-de-sac, the nearly 16,000-square-foot home anchors a 1.2-acre parcel. Completed in 2014, the Curtis and Windham-designed mansion was custom-built by veteran energy trader Neil Kelley and his wife Carol Kelley, who acquired the property in 2010.
The Kelleys told The Wall Street Journal that they’d lived in several other homes in River Oaks but decided to build this home as a place to put down some roots after Neil survived a serious car accident about 15 years ago. The couple used only the best materials and the finest of the trades to customize every inch of the ample residence to suit their personal tastes and preferences, with many spaces designed to accommodate their extensive art collection. Despite its size, there are just four spacious, ensuite bedrooms. There are, however, a total of eight bathrooms, four of them powder rooms, and the number of fireplaces also tallies up to eight.
Among the home’s many spaces for entertaining is a vast entrance gallery that leads to a step-down living room that features curved crown moldings, a detailed ceiling, and a fireplace. There are also fireplaces in the octagonal dining room, the paneled den, and the poolside screened-in porch, as well as in a baby-blue study and a family room that’s dramatically capped by a honeycomb-patterned barrel-vaulted ceiling. Elsewhere are a black-lacquer library, an octagonal home office, a lavish chef’s kitchen, and, over the attached four-car garage, a gigantic gym with a dedicated massage room.
The primary suite is on the main floor and comprises a spacious bedroom with yet another fireplace, and a private sunroom, also with a fireplace. There’s generous closet space, and the multi-room bath goes full glam with shimmering nickel fittings and a mausoleum’s worth of marble, including a bay of floor-to-ceiling fluted marble.
Most rooms on the main floor overlook or open to the backyard, where stone terraces lined with clipped boxwoods and sculpted plantings give way to a soccer pitch-sized lawn and lush, formal gardens. Alongside the elegantly simple, rectangular pool is a long pergola, and tucked into a shady corner is a small putting green. Kelley is an avid golfer, so there’s also a Trackman golf simulation room within the house.
Among the many other creature comforts are a home automation system, designer lighting, an elevator, and, just in case the power goes out, a generator.
Click here for more photos of 3 Briarwood Court.
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