Houston-based Thomas O’Neill, known since the 1990s for creating homes and interiors that from day one seem suitable for the pages of esteemed design publications, has an impeccable eye for detail. His residences are both functional and fashionable, with carefully cultivated style at the core of every decision. This French-inspired manor near Memorial Park exemplifies that attention to refinement and harmony, with soigné formal rooms with genuine classical flair giving way to more contemporary spaces conducive to today’s unique blend of relaxation and sophistication.
From a stately paver motor court framed by meticulously manicured landscaping and a gracious foyer with a groin vaulted ceiling, spaces move—front to back—from traditional to modern. Bright and elegant, the formal living room enjoys an ornate fireplace and opens to a private courtyard. The adjoining study features built-in bookcases and cabinets as well as French doors to the front grounds, while across the hallway from the living room—through a graceful archway—is a handsomely paneled den with custom millwork and finishes. In a convenient central location is the formal dining room, which is served by a catering kitchen and butler’s pantry—outfitted with a full complement of stainless-steel Bosch appliances and Carrara marble countertops—and a wet bar with stain-resistant LG counters. The consummate entertainer will appreciate a walk-in climate-controlled wine cellar with richly stained millwork, rugged brick flooring, and lattice shelving accommodating more than 740 bottles.
Along the back of the home, the delightful kitchen features Carrara marble countertops, stainless-steel Wolf appliances, a distinct refrigerator and freezer, and a spacious island with custom cabinets and counter seating. Double doors of steel and glass wrap around the breakfast room, affording idyllic views and floods of light and opening to the enviable summer kitchen. Flowing directly from the kitchen is a family room—more airy and contemporary in feel—with a soaring cross-timbered ceiling, a cast-stone gas fireplace that adds character and warmth, and a wall of steel-framed windows overlooking the alluring pool terrace.
Exuding an enduring sense of glamour, the primary bedroom suite—located on the main level—boasts plaster walls, white oak floors, a vintage chandelier, a gas fireplace, built-in ceiling speakers, and picturesque views through floor-to-ceiling steel-framed windows with Crestron-controlled shades. A serene oasis, its luxurious bath offers dual vanities, a Carrara marble shower with a seamless glass door, two walk-in closets, and the centerpiece, a freestanding porcelain soaking tub seemingly enveloped by the treetops and resting beneath a vintage chandelier.
Five guest bedrooms with distinctive color schemes, tilework, and textiles—one with an en suite sitting room—are secluded on the upper level. Also here are a game and exercise room with access to a private patio; a second wet bar with Carrara marble counters, a Scotsman ice maker, and a small Sub-Zero refrigerator; and a home theater with surround sound and a powder room nearby. A convenient elevator accesses every level.
The pièce de resistance is the estate’s impressive outdoor space, which is surrounded by the greenery of the River Oaks Country Club Golf Course and Memorial Park. An inviting alfresco oasis, it features a marble-tiled patio, a Roman-style infinity-edge pool, a spa, a summer kitchen with a built-in grill, and a living and lounging area with a fireplace. A wrought-iron and marble staircase descends to a patio and then a swath of lush lawn stretching out toward the edge of the trees. Here, a brick path leads to a pergola tucked beneath the trees and on the edge of the Buffalo Bayou.