December 21, 2017
8. 5444 Candlewood Houston, TX 77056
List price: $6.895 million
Sold range: $6.5 million to $7.5 million
Square feet: 10,751
PASSION PROJECTS - Quality trumps quantity at Montecito Builders
July 20, 2017
"I build for the love of it." says Zora Spevak, president and founder of Houston-based Montecito Builders (montecito.co). Spevak worked as a real estate agent for seven years before realizing her true calling in 1987, when she renovated a tumbledown property in Bunker Hill Village, Thirty years later, she has built houses in Houston's most prestigious neighborhoods and garnered clients such as pro athletes, TV personalities and CEOs of Fortune 100 companies. Joined by her daughter, Holly Radom, who serves as the company's vice president, Spevak specializes in spec homes, working on only one project at a time. Her most recent venture - a new-construction project in Tanglewood (pictured)-sits on a half-acre lot and features soaring 12-foot ceilings. Spevak and Radom worked on the house for two years, careful to perfect every last derail. Thankfully, the effort paid off: The seven-bedroom house hit the market in late April with a $6,800,000 price tag - two weeks later, it had a buyer.
December 16, 2015
The Texas Institute of Building Design has awarded Todd Rice Residential Design two (2) First Place prizes for Montecito Builders homes at the prestigious 2015 TIBD Design Competition. The awards include First Place, Category I-C Built & Photographed 4,001 sf and over, and the W.R. Coleman Award of Excellence.
The TIBD Design Competition is an annual event and is one of the largest statewide competitions for the building design profession in the country. TIBD members were invited to submit projects as entries that represent their best work as designers. The entries were submitted in categories, based on type of project and size, and were objectively judged on their quality of design.
Nancy Sarnoff - April 18, 2015
Whether it was because of giant bonus checks, salary spikes or perhaps inheritances, Houstonians bought more million-dollar homes last year than ever before.
The number of buyers who paid at least $1 million for a house was 1,557, more than double what it was in 2010 and 16 percent higher than in 2013, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.
But don't expect a repeat this year. Demand for ultra-high-end properties has started to weaken in the face of low oil prices.
Zora Spevak, who developed one of the most expensive homes that sold last year, has seen "a serious slowing down of $3-million-plus homes."
Over concerns about the economy, she said, "people are holding back."
Of the top 10 most expensive listings that traded hands in 2014, half were in the Memorial area — not a shock considering that's where many of this city's top energy executives call home. River Oaks had three of the top properties, and The Woodlands and Sugar Land each had one.
Most Expensive Houston-Area Homes Sold in 2014
Houston Business Journal Staff - February 13, 2015
Information was obtained from HAR.com and HBJ research. Homes on The List closed between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014, and were listed on the Houston Association of Realtors multiple listing service (MLS). In the event of a tie, the secondary ranking criteria is home size.
Rank List Price Home Size (SF) Year Built Listing Broker Listing Agent Selling Broker
1 405 Timberwilde Ln. $12 million 16,414 1994 John Daugherty Realtors Patricia Reed John Daugherty Realtors
2 622 Saddlewood $9.495 million 12,335 2014 Executive Properties Zora Spevak Martha Turner Sotheby's
3 0000 FM 1227 $8.695 million 6,452 1985 Hodde Real Estate Co. Randy Hodde 5 Star Country Properties LLC
4 3925 Del Monte Dr. $8.1 million 6,774 1941 John Daugherty Realtors Mary KayFreeman George Murray & Co.
5 2406 Del Monte Dr. $8 million 16,347 2006 Greenwood King Properties Brian Spack Providence Brokerage Commercial
Big and getting bigger: Houston has created one of the hottest luxe home markets in the nation
Paul Takahashi - February 13, 2015
Houston's luxury home market is the largest in Texas, with nearly 1,200 million-dollar home sales between January and October, according to the Texas Association of Realtors.
Although the city's luxury home market represents just 2 percent of the overall housing market, Houston's luxury home sales have been growing by double digits each year since 2012.
Click through the gallery to see the top 20 most expensive homes sold in the Houston area in 2014.
"The overall economic growth and prosperity in Texas have contributed heavily to the luxury market, making it one of the strongest segments of housing in Texas"
Peek Inside the Most Expensive Homes Sold in 2014
Maribel Molina - December 17, 2014
As oil boomed throughout most of 2014, Houston's real estate prices climbed right along with it.
According to data compiled by Redfin, the Bayou City was sixth in the nation for the number of million dollar homes sold during the third quarter, trailing only California's metropolises and Chicago.
And this year, the price tag on the top 10 most expensive homes also raised the bar from 2013.
Since Texas is a non-disclosure state, the exact sale prices are kept private, but the Houston Association of Realtors provided the list prices of the homes. Last year, the most expensive home sold was listed for $14 million, a price more than $4 million higher than this year's most expensive home.
Despite the lower list price at number one, the benchmark was raised to break into the top 10. In 2013, the last home in the top 10 was listed at $4.995 million. This year, the final spot goes to a home listed at $5.7 million.
An estate at 622 Saddlewood ranked number one with a listing price of $9.495 million. With a European theme, the home is a certified Energy Star property, one of the largest of its kind with all LED lighting. Other features include a 14-car garage, chilled wine cellar, large elevator, reclaimed architectural features and foreign imports such as French stone and Italian chandeliers.
According to the Houston Association of Realtors, the home at 622 Saddlewood is the fifth most expensive home ever sold through the MLS (multiple listing service), excluding international listings.
New $9 million John Staub-inspired mansion with garages for 14 cars is Builder's dream
Barbara Kuntz - April 3, 2014
A Houston builder/broker is readdressing the classic John Staubarchitectural style so tied with prominent Bayou City homes with a $9 million mansion now for sale.
Zora Spevak, owner of Montecito Builders, was still carrying her slender but powerful flashlight to scrutinize house details when CultureMap caught up with her at the manse at 622 Saddlewood Lane in the highly desirable Hunters Creek Village.
"This is my spy," Spevak said with a smile about her trusty flashlight. "I check and double-check the painters' corners, the lining up of flooring planks, the bricks, everything."
"I want it to be my claim to fame when I'm gone," says Spevak, who has been in the real estate business for nearly 30 years.
Outside, landscapers continued to beautify the expansive grounds with more plantings. Inside, Maria Tracy of Tracy Design Studio and team members worked steadily staging the house for show, bringing in posh rugs, antique furniture, intriguing artwork, ornate mirrors and more from contributing vendors. In all this constructive chaos, Spevak offered a quick tour of the property.
Professional photographers are scheduled to shoot the mansion in the near future. Meanwhile, CultureMap, scouting with a point-and-shoot camera, took some sneak peek photos.
Note: Interested buyers — and curious architecture and interior design enthusiasts — can take their own look during an open house 2-7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
A bit of background
Several years ago, Spevak discovered the property on this secluded street and decided to build her "grand finale" spec house as a builder. "I want it to be my claim to fame when I'm gone," says Spevak, who has been in the real estate business for nearly 30 years. "I've always admired American architecture, particularly that of John Staub, so I researched his work to create the ageless American home."
Those Staub influences include intricate brickwork revealing herringbone and other patterns, secret garden gates hidden within exterior brick walls, and the use of fine materials such as copper, slate, marble and choice woods — those "extras" that subtlety enhance a home.
Wooden beams accenting 12-foot-ceilings are found throughout most of the property. Flooring is intermixed with tumbled travertine tiles and quarter-sawn white oak planks in varying widths for texture. The light-filled library sits to the left of the entry and the living room, to the right. A focal point here is a mid-18th century fireplace surround discovered at a French chateaux.
The formal living room graciously leads to the dining room. Antique sconces adorn the paneled walls and a grand chandelier hangs above the dining table: A polished and beveled marble surface placed atop curvaceous Louis XVI legs.
The massive kitchen is one of three in the house, with an auxiliary kitchen just off one of the two garages and another in a bedroom suite upstairs, designed for house staff or guests.
Moving toward the kitchen, visitors pass a wine cellar with groin vault that can hold more than 1,100 bottles and a floor-to-ceiling European buffet with counter serving as a walk-up bar. The massive kitchen is one of three in the house, with an auxiliary kitchen just off one of the two garages and another in a bedroom suite upstairs, designed for house staff or guests.
The kitchen and family room flow together as a "keeping room," where everyone gathers. Beyond is a game room with adjoining media room, separated by tall mid-18 century French double doors with authentic hardware.
The master suite sits as its own wing on the first floor and includes crystal chandeliers, large soaking tub, oversized frameless shower and his-and-her closets with glass door-encased, cedar-lined wardrobes. The mirror arrangements at either end of the closets and at the bath dressing counters create an "infinity effect" in the master bath. The master bedroom overlooks the large backyard.
Up the handicap-accessible elevator or L-shaped stairwell — with vaulted ceiling lined in the same white oak planks on the floor downstairs — is a second floor that includes a second master suite with his-and-her closets and another game and media room. An additional three bedrooms with en suite baths and walk-in closets are also located on the second floor.
Note: Peek in the first-floor powder room near the library, where you'll find two of Spevak's favorite finds: A wooden door with saintly carvings and a smooth, rounded vessel sink cut from a single block of white marble — the same marble as used for the Taj Majal.
A gated porte-cochère lined with a small orchard of lime and lemon trees opens to a large bricked courtyard and two enormous garages, complete with lifts and capable of housing 14 cars parked. The garages are also wired for television, music and more so they can serve as party room extensions for large affairs.
A swimming pool with fountain and outdoor kitchen — plus enormous fireplace — make a peaceful getaway just off the den.
And before you leave, take time to admire the gas lamp lighting the front sidewalk. It's a gaslight that once kept Houston's downtown streets bright.
Asking price: $8,995,000
Square footage: 12,335
Builder/broker: Zora Spevak