Real Estate / Mansions

Houston’s Own French Chateau Mansion Is a $29 Million River Oaks Stunner — Inside the City’s Third Most Expensive Home

Lavishly Updated With a Beyond Dreamy Pool Setting

BY // 09.06.23
photography Patrick Bertolino for Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty

While a chateau in France’s Loire Valley might be a bit far for taking in the Houston Astros’ playoff runs at Minute Maid Park, there is an hôtel particulier in Houston’s revered River Oaks neighborhood that easily transports one within minutes of everything luxe and necessary in the Bayou City. The remarkable dwelling at 3630 Willowick has just been listed with Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty for $29 million.

That eight-figure price tag makes the River Oaks mansion at 3630 Willowick the third highest priced home listing in Houston falling in behind 100 Carnarvon with 26,000 square feet on a 2.3 acre lot, which is listed at $36 million, and 107 Timberwilde with 22,000 square feet on nine acres listed for $65 million.

According to listing agent Rachel Solar, The Wall Street Journal reported that if the home sells for its asking price, it would set a record for the most expensive home sale ever recorded on Houston’s Multiple Listings Service.

The hand-painted ceiling sets the stage for the dramatic dining room with its Baccarat chandelier. (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty)
The hand-painted ceiling sets the stage for the dramatic dining room with its Baccarat chandelier. (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty)

What makes the mansion equally interesting is that it is being sold by Lori Krohn Sarofim, former daughter-in-law of late billionaire Fayez Sarofim.

Centered amid 1.5 lush acres backing up to River Oaks Country Club golf course, the French chateau style residence boasts five bedrooms, seven full and four half baths, multiple fireplaces, a third floor gym with a wet bar, an elevator, a safe room, a game room, a garden room, a wine room, and for a house of this size the all-important china closet. The dramatic chef’s kitchen was designed and installed by St. Charles New York.

Owners of the home will find the primary suite a welcoming oasis with a private patio, plus dual baths and a two-level closet.

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Built in 1994, the striking River Oaks chateau has been lavishly updated with high style notes throughout its 15,000 square feet. Embellishments to the design include ornate ironwork, limestone floors, custom boiserie and millwork, chevron-patterned parquetry, sparkling crystal chandeliers, trompe l’oeil walls, tracery ceilings and antique fireplaces.

Two vine-covered pergolas flank the swimming pool at 3630 Willowick in River Oaks. (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty)
Two vine-covered pergolas flank the swimming pool at 3630 Willowick in River Oaks. (Photo by Patrick Bertolino for Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty)

Two examples of the luxe interiors you’ll find at 3630 Willowick in River Oaks? The living room is dressed in a combination upholstered velvet and plaster finishes from Foster Reeve. And the breakfast room features De Gournay hand-painted wall coverings creating an indoor garden ambiance.

According to Houston Business Journal, the home in Lori Sarofim’s family since 2006, underwent an extensive four-year remodel that began in 2014.

As would be expected, this River Oaks mansion’s property includes a pool, a three car garage with guest suite/quarters above, a home generator, biometric access, a Savant system and a water filtration system. The pool setting is particularly lovely, flanked by two vine-draped pergolas in the vast backyard that is sumptuously shaded by crape myrtles, weeping willows, oaks and magnolias.

The house is listed with Rachel Solar of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty.

For a closer look at 3630 Willowick, click thru the photo gallery above this story.

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