Your First Look at Houston’s New Legacy High-Rise — an Early Overview of the Rarefied Air of 1661 Tanglewood
Designer J. Randall Powers Looks to Rosario Candela and 1920s Park Avenue for InspirationBY Rebecca Sherman // 04.06.22
The living room at 1661 Tanglewood is going to be a sky-high marvel.
J. Randall Powers, aka Randy Powers, was tasked by Tanglewood Corporation to serve as design guru for 1661 Tanglewood.
1661 Tanglewood's limestone and brick façade is reminiscent of those designed in the 1920s by Rosario Candela for his buildings on Park and Fifth avenues.
The tower’s top floor features Paladio-inspired arches surrounding an entertaining room and 75-foot pool.
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Designed to be one of the most important and luxurious residential high-rises ever built in Houston, 1661 Tanglewood is a family-legacy project for developer Kendall Miller, whose grandfather William G. Farrington developed the neighborhood of Tanglewood in 1946. Not since Jimmy Lyon built The Huntingdon at 2121 Kirby Drive in 1984, almost 40 years ago, has such a combination of dream team, location and nerves of steel come together.
Now Miller and his team have raised the bar, as several other developers have done in the intervening 38 years. But none as high as this.
The arsenal boils down to lavish design and location. 1661 Tanglewood sits on the corner of Tanglewood Boulevard and San Felipe Street, the site of Miller and his family’s company headquarters for 67 years. They tapped one of Texas’ most prominent interior designers J. Randall Powers for this 33-story, $300 million tower, alongside architecture firm Jackson & Ryan Architects.
Powers’ fingerprints have touched every carved pilaster and rock crystal chandelier, and his design stamp will be on the building from top to bottom. From the classically landscaped gardens to a custom fragrance for the lobby by French parfumier Trudon and an arched, Palladio-inspired top floor that includes an entertaining room and heated 75-foot swimming pool.
Powers is also designing the lobby and all shared spaces, as well as five signature floor plans and several fully furnished turnkey residences.
Powers’ vita includes multiple projects that have landed in the pages of Architectural Digest and Elle Decor over his 25-year career. He’s been on the Elle Decor A-List since 2012. He’s known for creating powerful and crisp traditional interiors for some of the most well-known names in Houston, with projects in Dallas, Montecito, New York City, Cashiers and Newport.
Powers incorporates blue-chip art collections and a refined and rarefied patina, all of which he plans to deliver at 1661 Tanglewood.
“I’m a classicist, and this building will have an Upper East Side, Fifth Avenue feel,” he says. “Pilasters, columns, and moldings.”
An important inspiration for Powers is the architecture of Rosario Candela, whose magnificent 1920s buildings along Park and Fifth avenues feature interior architecture with exquisite materials and craftsmanship.
The lobby at 1661 Tanglewood will have backlit marble and onyx ceilings, limestone pilasters and rock crystal chandeliers custom-made by Voisson Paris. Powers has been stockpiling antiques for the past year, including 15th-century Venetian lion figures and Alberto Giacometti floor lamps from a historic American collection. He’s teamed with legendary designer Rose Tarlow to produce custom upholstery for the furnishings to complement the lobby’s palette of cream, taupe, gray, pale salmon and black.
“An octagonal living room has a hidden cigar lounge-speakeasy entered through a secret door by pressing one of the panels,” Powers says. “A de Gournay Art Deco mural is a dark sage-y green with platinum-leaf finish to appear like beautiful antique leather.”
The 33-floor residential tower, designed by Jackson & Ryan Architects, will be constructed of limestone and brick, much like Candela’s Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue buildings. Residences will range from 2,700 to 12,000 square feet with soaring 11- and 12-foot ceilings, no more than two units per floor, and downtown and uptown views. A rare-in-Houston triplex residence is also available, which incorporates three floors on a corner of the building.
“We’re including all the amenities this level of client is used to having in their home,” Powers says, citing hand-built French La Cornue kitchen ranges, bespoke millwork throughout and fireplace mantels by Chesneys, which collaborates with The Soane Museum and The Lutyens Foundation on authentic historical designs. A handful of residences will be completely furnished by Powers, from the furniture and art to Tiffany & Co. flatware and Baccarat crystal.
Ruthie Porterfield of residential real estate brokerage Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty will lead the building’s sales. Pricing and floor plans will be available at the new 1661 Tanglewood sales center when it opens mid year in Uptown Park.