Houston 101

Houston By the Neighborhood: River Oaks 3.0

Sweeping circular driveways are de rigueur when throwing a party for 200 of your closest friends. Shown: 3443 Inwood in River Oaks
Sweeping circular driveways are de rigueur when throwing a party for 200 of your closest friends. Shown: 3443 Inwood in River Oaks Photo by Jeff Myers
If your idea of entertaining is having friends over for pizza and board games around the kitchen table, then River Oaks might not be for you.

click to enlarge Making a good first impression. - PHOTO BY JEFF MYERS
Making a good first impression.
Photo by Jeff Myers
But when it comes to throwing a bash for 200 of your closest friends, there's nothing better than one of those magnificent swankiendas with reception halls, movie theaters, butler pantries and underground wine cellars, not to mention outdoor amenities like putt putt golf, tennis courts and covered swimming pools.

Finding a house built between the 1920s and 1950s comes with all sorts of perks — designs by legendary architects Howard Barnstone, Birdsall Briscoe, Hiram Salisbury, John Staub and Charles Oliver — often designated as a Historic Landmark and with century old oaks. But these OG homes aren't necessarily energy efficient and some can even turn into huge money pits with rotting wood and failing infrastructure.

There was a big teardown and rebuilding boom in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, and we're labeling those designs by Lucian Hood, Robert Dame and the like River Oaks 2.0. Houses that went up during this period are solidly built but don't incorporate any of the EnergyStar efficiency or whiz-bang-boom technology that's new on the market.

Purchasing an OG or 2.0 home also can come with a few pitfalls. Sure, you might hit the jackpot and buy Carolyn Farb's old property on River Oaks or builder Frank Bellows' former home on Meadow Lake. But you're just as likely to walk the same halls as some of the shadier characters in Houston's history: Eric Scheffey, aka Dr. Evil, who was sued 78 times for malpractice; or former Enron chairman and CEO Ken Lay who forced Enron's credit rating into junk status.

This week we're taking a look at River Oaks 3.0, with state-of-the-art, never lived in, new construction in this toniest of neighborhoods that's got it all: location, location, location.

click to enlarge The chef's kitchen at 3443 Inwood features Italian porcelain counters, three ovens, top-of-the-line appliances, custom built cabinetry and a huge island. - PHOTO BY JEFF MYERS
The chef's kitchen at 3443 Inwood features Italian porcelain counters, three ovens, top-of-the-line appliances, custom built cabinetry and a huge island.
Photo by Jeff Myers
Just listed by Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty is a newly constructed property at 3443 Inwood Drive by Al Ross Luxury Homes, blending contemporary, French and modern architecture in a stunning 11,500 square foot home. It's a Control4 Smart home, which means that you can dim the lights, play music, turn up the heat, lock the door or arm the security system with one touch from your smartphone.

click to enlarge This large light-filled home at 3443 Inwood was built on a 24,300 square foot lot (approximately). The executive study/library overlooks the back yard. - PHOTO BY JEFF MYERS
This large light-filled home at 3443 Inwood was built on a 24,300 square foot lot (approximately). The executive study/library overlooks the back yard.
Photo by Jeff Myers
Even though this property was just completed in 2019, the builder managed to preserve this century old oak in the back yard. Amenities include a heated pool and spa and a cabana with a summer kitchen.

click to enlarge There are people who live in New York City who would gladly trade their apartment for this custom closet. - PHOTO BY JEFF MYERS
There are people who live in New York City who would gladly trade their apartment for this custom closet.
Photo by Jeff Myers
The spacious master suite has its own living room with an exquisite fireplace surrounded by Italian marble, elegant hardwood floors and a generous master bedroom, sumptuous master bath and a world-class custom closet.

Al Ross Luxury Homes finished the property at 3443 Inwood with European materials, elegant finishes, Italian porcelain floors, Venetian plaster on the walls and one-of-a-kind chandeliers. To learn more about this $9.95 million property, contact listing agents Nadia Ross and Hedley Karpas with Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty at 713-558-9256 or 713-444-5721 or visit sothebyshomes.com/houston/sales/1239788-3443-Inwood-Drive-Houston-TX-77019.

But if you're kickin' it old school and really want a chance to live in one of the storied architectural landmarks in OG River Oaks, there are still a few properties remaining. Check it out.

1924-1926, 3456 Inwood, $22 million (Cleveland Sewall house, designated Historic Landmark)
1950, 2930 Lazy Lane, $16.490 million
1935, 3229 Groveland Lane, $12.9 million
1939, 1721 River Oaks Boulevard, $9.9 million (once owned by Carolyn Farb)
1932, 9 West Lane, $7.999 million (once owned by Eric Scheffey)
1968, 3195 Inwood, $7.95 million (once owned by Kenneth Lay)
1939, 3640 Inwood, $6.75 million
1937, 3015 Inwood, $6.7 million
1929, 3372 Del Monte, $6.5 million
1940, 3600 Inverness, $6.15 million
1948, 3909 Del Monte, $5.995 million
1958, 3940 Inverness, $5.95 million
1947, 3405 Meadow Lake Lane, $5.295 million (once owned by Frank Bellows)
1934, 3023 Del Monte, $4.9995 million
1925, 2203 Brentwood, $4.8 million
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney