Real Estate / Mansions

Palatial River Oaks Mansion Famously Owned by a Royal Couple is Sold, $16 Million Asking Price and All

A 1950s Home That's Been Transformed Into an Entertainment Marvel

BY // 03.12.22

The palatial, storied mansion at 2115 River Oaks Boulevard that gained international fame as the residence of Baron Ricky di Portanova and Baroness Alessandra di Portanova was snapped up in a mega sale after no more than a month on the market. Even with a list price of $16 million.

Nancy Almodovar, CEO of Nan and Company Properties Christie’s International Real Estate, had the exclusive listing. Walter Bering of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty brought the buyer to the sale of the property. In fact, Bering was the agent who sold the mansion to the previous owners in 2002.

“To personally represent such a prominent property and to be able to have it under contract in less than a month of hitting the market is a milestone for our company,” Almodovar says in a statement. “And establishes a new standard for the luxury home market in Houston.”

Once upon a time, the mansion was a typical 1950s River Oaks home. That was before the multi-millionaire di Portanova, scion of oilman Hugh Roy Cullen, transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary. The backyard was enclosed, creating a massive air-conditioned entertainment space with a 40-foot-long swimming pool sunk into a floor of travertine marble. Since their passing in 2000, the house has changed hands only a few times.

River Oaks 2115 IMG 65_1_1 (Photo by TK Images)
The 12,000 square foot pool room in the former home of the late Baron Ricky di Portanova is enclosed in 70 tons of glass and steel. (Photo by TK Images)

“The current owners took on an extensive remodeling project with precision and exacting detail to modernize the home for today’s living, and of course, grand entertaining that is synonymous with the home’s history,” Almodovar says. (A year-long project that cost $7 million.) “It is truly a home that embodies both Houston’s future and its glamorous past.”

Almodovar is making history herself as she cuts an impressive swath across Houston’s residential real estate market. High-profile properties seem to be her niche. Consider her recent sale of The Woodlands mansion that made international headlines for its 3,000 square foot closet and the fact she has a 9,500 square foot full-floor penthouse at The Astoria, listed at $6.7 million, already under contract.

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The real estate dynamo’s personal and professional achievements have been widely saluted.  Texas Business Journal has named Almodovar  to its Texas 100 list: Influential Texans to Know in 2022. Houston Women Magazine included Almodovar in its  Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women 2022 honors and RISMedia inducted her into the Real Estate Newsmakers – Achievers Hall of Fame in 2021.

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