PHOTOS: Take a look inside 8 wild, wonderful Houston-area homes that graced the market in 2021

Behold, some of the most memorable mansions listed for sale this year

Some of the most memorable Houston area homes listed in 2021. (Images courtesy of HAR)

Property listing pursuers, when seeking strange and rarefied properties at which to ogle, you need not look far. Plenty of jaw-dropping abodes in the Houston area grace the market each year, and in 2021, the KPRC 2 digital team sifted through thousands and thousands of listings in search of the most expensive, bizarre and beautiful properties. Now, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most-memorable mansions for your perusal.

So, whatever the reason you’re here, whether you’re honest-to-goodness house hunting, you’re searching for new images to tack to your dream home vision board, or you just need something to gawk at to pass the time cooped up indoors, enjoy virtual tours of these unusual Houston homes that graced the market in 2021.

Not in a galaxy far, far away: Houston’s $4.3M ‘Darth Vader House

3201 University Boulevard, Houston, TX 77005 (HAR)

In May, a futuristic, 7,040-square-foot fortress graced the Houston housing market. Dubbed “The Darth Vader House,” the eclectic estate is stationed at 3201 University Boulevard is Houston’s West University Place neighborhood. Unfortunately for science fiction fans, the home was snatched off the market in November. Listed for $4,300,000, the home ultimately sold for between $2,501,001 and $2,879,000, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

The home features four bedrooms, five bathrooms and an unforgettable façade.

“Nothing else like it in the area,” the property listing stated -- a markedly modest description we consider something of an understatement.

Though this home is no longer up for grabs, you can still enjoy a virtual tour through this one-of-a kind abode -- Simply click here.

‘Downton Abbey’ or HTX? Regal River Oaks manor offers English elegance for $20M

3781 Willowick Road, Houston, TX 77019 (HAR)

A majestic River Oaks manor is on the market for $20 million.

The home, completed in 1950, sits on 1.63 acres. The ritzy residence at 3781 Willowick Road is described in its listing as offering “an exceptional floor plan enhanced by spectacular scale, substantial ceiling heights, and serene views from the steel and glass windows and doors opening to the surrounding park-like setting.”

The 7,211-square-foot abode has four to five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a paneled library and four fireplaces.

Words just don’t do justice to this enchanted estate. Click here for a virtual tour through 3781 Willowick Road.

Fancy a swim? Ritzy River Oaks mansion on the market boasts bonkers indoor pool

2115 River Oaks Boulevard (HAR)

House hunting? Let’s say you have some specific criteria for your dream digs: You need a home -- wait, scratch that, make it a mansion -- with square footage rivaling a small department store, seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms is ideal, a chandelier in every room is an essential, a massive indoor pool is a must-have you can’t live without and it’s all gotta be located on one of the most desirable streets in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the in the area. Oh, and you just won’t settle for anything under $15,999,999 million.

Well, we’ve got some stellar news for you: An opulent 21,500-square-foot abode on River Oaks Boulevard is up for grabs -- and it’s perfect for you.

Yes, inside, marble, columns, gold accents and lavish sitting rooms abound, but the lavish indoor pool is unequivocally the home’s draw-dropping, conversation-starting standout, featuring a glass panel ceiling, multiple chandeliers, seating areas and palm trees.

Click here for a virtual tour through 2115 River Oaks Boulevard.

This is the historical Galveston mansion you always imagined moving into when you had $1.5M lying around

1702 Post Office Street In Galveston, Texas (HAR.com)

The home is a step back in time, but in all the right places.

Built in 1905 by architect George B. Stowe, the Grand Manor Mansion is located in Galveston’s East End Historic District.

Beautifully maintained, this turn-of-the-century, late Victorian will make you wish you were wearing a floor-length gown as you rustle up and down the steps -- or perhaps wear a monocle as you head to the grand dining room.

And did we mention the stained glass? If you’re a fan, the intricate main entry, staircase and dining room windows will leave you with your jaw dangling in the kaleidoscope of color.

Click here to take a gander at this spectacular Galveston listing.

Eccentric Sugar Land estate has its own in-home club room complete with bar, dance floor

21 Grand Manor, Sugar Land, TX 77479 (HAR)

This Sugar Land estate reps square footage rivaling a small department store, seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms, an elaborate living room water feature/ bridge combo, an in-home club with its own bar, game room and dance floor. Oh, and it’s on of the most desirable roads in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the area.

What else does this $4.75 million home offer besides a palace-like feel and it’s own in-home party room? We’re glad you asked. Other notable features include a home theater -- complete with its own ticket booth -- and marquee sign, a home gym, wine room and pool.

Click here for a virtual tour through 21 Grand Manor.

Houston’s only Frank Lloyd Wright listed for $3.15M

12020 Tall Oaks Street, Bunker Hill Village, TX 77024 (HAR)

Nestled on a wooded lot in the scenic community of Bunker Hill Village, where homes routinely sell for seven figures, the structure at 12020 Tall Oaks Street, best described as a severe, concrete-block of horizontal lines, has long attracted special attention among contemporary architecture enthusiasts. That’s because it’s the only home in Houston designed by America’s most influential architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. For several months in 2021, the storied structure was up for grabs.

The Thaxton House, named for William Thaxton, the insurance executive who commissioned it in 1954, is one of just three Texas homes with such a pedigree. The others are in Dallas and Amarillo.

Click here to take a gander at what millions of dollars can net you in Houston real estate.

Bigger and grander in Texas: $13.9M Memorial-area mansion has massive staircase, garden, ballroom

8843 Harness Creek Lane (Martha Adger/HAR.com)

This $13,950,000 home in the Memorial area has a bona fide ballroom, y’all.

In addition to this feature, the house at 8843 Harness Creek Lane has expansive gardens that surround this opulent estate. Inside, there are three to four bedrooms, five full and six half baths and more than 20,000 square feet of space on 1.41 acres.

The house also has a four-car oversized garage, a massive library, a wet bar/lounge, a grand gallery, a playroom and a laundry/staff room.

The backyard entertaining areas have intertwining walkways that lead to the pool and outdoor living retreat – “all looking below to a bayou setting,” according to the listing.

Click here to look inside.

Former Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady’s $8M Sugar Land estate has indoor basketball court

23 Beacon Hill, Sugar Land, TX 77479 (CA Modern Realty / HAR.com)

This year, Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady listed his Sugar Land home, which he has owned since his time with the Houston Rockets.

Per the property listing, McGrady’s home is the largest estate located within Sugar Land’s prestigious gated community Sweetwater Estates.

At nearly 24,000 square feet, the property boasts three stories featuring nine bedrooms, eight full and four half bathrooms, a six-car garage, a game room, home theater, full-court basketball gym, custom pool with slides, a guest house with its own kitchen and bathroom, and more.

Click here for a look inside the home.

Honorable mentions: The odd abodes outside the Houston area

What can we say, we’ve got a wandering eye. Several property listings in other corners of the Lone Star State caught our attention this year. Though they’re way, way outside Houston city limits, they feature some truly bizarre, unusual and unexpected features worthy of your perusal.

OMG -- That’s a media room? This Texas abode on the market has an airplane cabin-themed home theater

5312 N Scout Island Cir, Austin, TX 78731 (HAR)

In September, an oddity graced the market, where it stayed only briefly before it was was snatched up. The oddity is 5312 North Scout Island Circle, a luxurious Austin domicile asking $4,500,000. A glimpse of the home’s crisp modern exterior and passersby are likely to assume the property is magnificently accoutered though predictably modern. It’s not -- well, at least not entirely.

Every room adheres to the conventions of the modern aesthetic (severe lines, sparse décor, muted colors, windows galore) except one -- the media room, which was designed to emulate an airplane cabin. Outfitted with cabin windows, overhead compartments and actual Delta aircraft seats, the room’s resemblance to a plane is incredible.

Even though this home is now off the market, you can still enjoy a tour of this interesting abode, courtesy of the internet.

Click here for a virtual tour.

This Texas castle on the market has its own moat

119 Private Road 1820 Rd, Clifton, TX 76634 (HAR)

A majestic, five-story, 11,500-square-foot abode graced the market earlier this year -- and it’s still up for grabs.

Parson’s Castle, a palatial estate perched atop a hill overlooking Lake Whitney in Clifton, Texas, opened in 2018 as a resort fit for royalty. Now, it’s up for grabs as a family compound, a luxury boutique hotel, or an event venue -- for the regal price of $6.5 million.

The castle grounds boast multiple gazebos, a large front lawn, moat and drawbridge, private pool and hot tub.

Click here to take a virtual tour of Parson’s Castle.

This Texas home looks totally normal. It isn’t.

13229 Southview Ln, Dallas, TX 75240 (HAR)

A perplexing Dallas domicile asking $989,000 graced the market briefly in 2021. A glimpse of the home’s nondescript exterior and passersby are likely to assume the property is the definition of normal. It’s not.

This “home’s” façade is, in actuality, a façade -- and a convincing one at that. If one were to venture inside the 5,786-square-foot structure, they’ll discover the remnants of what appears to be a facility of some sort.

Described as “a property unlike any other,” the building’s walls, flooring, and ceiling are all made of concrete. It’s connected to two electrical grids and also features a natural gas generator powered by two diesel fuel tanks. Industrial equipment, large fluorescent lighting fixtures, and exit signs abound. Fire extinguishers are affixed to walls in nearly every room. With both office and warehouse space, “this property can serve as the perfect storage spot for large wine collections, art collections, multiple cars, as well as serving as the ultimate safe house,” the listing reads.

Even though this home is now off the market, you can still enjoy a tour of this interesting abode, courtesy of the internet.

Click here for a virtual tour.

This eclectic Texas home comes equipped with its own model train display, giant marble clock

7 Cortez Ave, RANCHO VIEJO, TX 78575 (HAR)

This home is still up for grabs. Described as a “true piece of paradise” offering “spectacular resaca views,” the 6,979-square-foot home boasts 10 bathrooms, eight bedrooms, a game room and an assemblage of rather eccentric amenities including a massive model train display, a large marble clock, and a miniature ski lift.

The home once belonged to the late Roberto Cantoral, a composer, singer and songwriter whose works include popular Spanish-language songs “El Triste,” “Al Final,” “La Barca,” and “El Relo,” the Brownsville Herald reported. Cantoral had the large marble clock sculpture placed in his front yard to celebrate his biggest hit, “El Reloj,” which means “The Clock.”

Click here to gander at this quirky Texas listing.

Looking for more posh Texas properties? Go to our real estate page or subscribe to our free weekly newsletter, House 2 Home.


About the Authors:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.