Luxury Outlook 2023
An ambitious exploration into high-end residential markets across the globe.
In the early 1990s, Texas executive and entrepreneur John Thrash began the construction of a new home on a lush 3.6-acre property he had purchased in Houston’s leafy Memorial neighborhood. Using an extant midcentury Mexican-brick residence as a starting point, he aimed to create an expansive haven that paid homage to his idols—I.M. Pei, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—and that exhibited an organic symmetry found in the architectural vernaculars of both the East and the West.
Houston, Texas | Jay Monroe, Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty
What resulted was a contemporary triumph of subtlety and surprise measuring nearly 20,000 square feet. The estate’s scale unwittingly became one of its most appealing and essential characteristics, providing as it naturally does a peerless setting for grand galas hosted by Mr. Thrash and his wife, philanthropist and socialite supreme Becca Cason Thrash. Over the ensuing decades, the Thrashes—mostly at Becca’s behest—have entertained an array of luminaries—including former presidents, George Clooney, Tom Brady, and Anna Wintour—at festive fêtes benefitting a variety of philanthropic causes.
Mr. Thrash’s vision is immediately apparent just inside the stately front doors, where the window-wrapped entryway sets the symmetrical tone for the entire estate. From here, rooms of unique stylistic splendor and impressive scope begin to unfold, delicately balancing refinement and restraint. Every space—the studious wood-paneled library, the atrium-like dining room, the convivial bar, and a magnificent room enclosing a 44-foot pool—has been finished at the very highest level of quality, with expanses of beguiling blonde white oak, surfaces of extraordinary stone, and steel-framed glass that blurs the lines between indoors and out and admits wondrous light. Every window enjoys a picturesque view—including the vast kitchen, which accommodates catering crews and midnight snacks with equal ease.
For private moments, the estate offers four restful bedrooms, among them a consummately private guest apartment perched above the three-car garage. Equally luxurious, it features one bedroom and bath, a living room, and a kitchenette. The owner’s suite boasts a distinctive bed that rests on a majestic perch where it revels in a cinematic view of the emerald grounds and neighboring Buffalo Bayou. Throughout the home, crisp angles and layers of reflection and transparency at every turn contrast and harmonize with the gentle, graceful curves of brick archways—hints of the original residence, which certainly only dreamed of having some of the world’s VIPs wandering its halls.
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