Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quick! John Staub Houses For Sale! But Why the Hefty Price Tag?

John Staub estate in Shadyside
Earlier this month, the Houston Chronicle published a short article that resembled a real estate listing on some of the most elegant homes of the area (like the one on the right), designed by none other than the late John F. Staub, a residential architect based in Houston for more than 40 years. On the market for several weeks now, these houses boast grand lawn entrances, gallery views of water, and intricate interiors, all yours for just millions of dollars and counting. Though the price tag alone certainly gives these Staub houses an appealing aesthetic, what really made them the cream of the real estate crop? Size? Site location? Attention to detail? 

According to Stephen Fox's The Country Houses of John F. Staub (TAMU Press, 2007), the answer lies in Staub's conscientious effort to mold a sense of elitism in the very architectural design of each house. The understated elaborateness of each home's details and finishes gave them just as much a concrete flavor of sophistication as did the thoughtful consideration given to site location and spatial organization. Constructing a very perceptible awareness of upper class identity in the features and spaces of his houses not only fashioned a feeling of belonging for the emerging American patrician class, but also allowed Staub to function as the authority of taste and style in the greater Houston area. 

So it seems that every single building element within and outside these estates, no matter how subtle, contributes both to their beauty and current market value, even decades after they've been built. All of these architectural attributes possess their own John Staub signature of minimal elegance organically cast to fit the upper class. To own any of these houses would mean to hold on to a piece of the historic past uniquely designed by John F. Staub.

-L. G. Miranda        

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