Private Houston: Classical Variations from Staub & Briscoe to Curtis & Windham

The ICAA is pleased to partner with Classical Excursions to present this exclusive tour of Houston, Texas. During the course of the tour, architectural historian and Arthur Ross Award winner Stephen Fox will guide participants through a number of the city's most beautiful private homes and experience exclusive receptions and events along the way.

Highlights of this exciting tour include visits to the Haywood Nelms House in Houston's famous River Oaks neighborhood, and Crotty House, designed by Birdsall P. Briscoe in beautiful Shadyside.

This tour is arranged by Classical Excursions. Please note that a registration form and deposit must be submitted to Classical Excursions and a confirmation of receipt must be received from Classical Excursions in order to be considered registered for this program. Payment of the $500 donation to the ICAA prior to registration does not guarantee placement on the trip. To inquire about registration for this program, please contact Lani Summerville at [email protected] or 413-446-8728 or Tom Hayes [email protected] or 413-243-4155.

Please note a fully tax-deductible donation of $500 per person is required to participate in this travel program. All travel program participants have the opportunity to receive a complimentary Individual level membership for one year to the ICAA.

Image: Knollwood House

Opening Lecture by Stephen Fox

Architectural historian and Arthur Ross Award winner Stephen Fox of Rice University will give the opening lecture and take on the role of guide throughout the tour. Fox is the author of The Country Houses of John F. Staub and a Fellow of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas.

River Oaks

Participants will tour River Oaks, Houston's best known neighborhood, which was planned in the mid 1920s as a garden suburban residential community by philanthropists and cultural arbiters, Will and Ima Hogg.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Tour participants will visit the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. This Latin Colonial style country house, designed by architects John Staub and Birdsall P. Briscoe, and gardens, designed by Ruth London, C.C. Fleming, and Albert E. Sheppard has been the setting for an outstanding collection of American furniture and art assembled by the original owner, Ima Hogg, since 1966.

Neal House

Tour participants will visit Neal House, a splendid Louis XV style Chateau designed by John Staub. This house features a garden originally designed by the Olmsted Brothers and restored by Suzanne Turner Associates.


Participants will visit Ravenna, a River Oaks house designed by John Staub with a Georgian exterior. Ravenna was restored for its current owners by Curtis & Windham with interiors by Mario Buatta and Daniel Romualdez.

Haywood Nelms House

Participants will visit the Haywood Nelms House in River Oaks, an extraordinary French provincial manor house from 1929 designed by the New York country house architect Frank J. Forster.

Memorial Residence

Tour participants will visit Memorial Residence in the Memorial-area suburban town of Piney Point Village. Rehabilitated and expanded by architect Virginia W. Kelsey, this spacious house, faced with radiant Texas limestone, exudes warmth and hospitality.


Participants will visit Shadyside, a 36-acre "private place" subdivision modeled on the private streets of St. Louis. Located on Main Boulevard between the Museum of Fine Arts and the campus of Rice University, Shadyside is an integral part of the now century-old suburban civic arena that also includes Hermann Park.

Crotty House

Tour participants will visit Crotty House, one of the six houses Birdsall P. Briscoe designed in Shadyside.

Blaffer House

Tour participants will visit Blaffer House, the second house constructed in Shadyside. During the 1920s architect Birdsall Briscoe added to the house twice for owners Sarah Campbell and R. Lee Blaffer, transforming the house from a Craftsman cottage to a grand Georgan manor.


Participants will visit Broadacres, a 35-acre subdivision located near the Museum of Fine Arts and designed by architect William Ward Watkin, the first professor of architecture at Rice University. Broadacres is distinguished by wide landscape medians and brick sidewalks and includes eight country houses designed by Birdsall Briscoe and six by John Staub.

Walne House & Kuldell House

Tour participants will visit a pair of manorial style houses in Broadacres. Walne House was designed by Briscoe and his partner Sam H. Dixon and was renovated for its current owners by Curtis & Windham. Across South Boulevard from Walne House participants will visit the Kuldell House, designed by John Staub, which features distinctly crafted finishes that have been meticulously restored by its current owners.

Lunch at Waverly Court House

Tour participants will enjoy a relaxed lunch at the Waverly Court House located between Broadacres and Shadyside.

Knollwood House

Tour participants will return to River Oaks to visit Knollwood House designed by Curtis & Windham.

Winston Woods

This program includes a tour of Winston Woods, a sumptuous country house designed by John F. Staub from 1939 that preserves its country setting in the midst of the city.

Meadow Lake House & Larchmont House

The tour will conclude with a pair of Regency style River Oaks houses by Curtis & Windham, with cocktails at the Meadow Lake House followed by dinner at Larchmont House.

Mansion at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens (Wikimedia Commons/Highsmith)

Parlor at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens (Wikimedia Commons/Highsmith)

Clio Garden at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens (Wikimedia Commons/Highsmith)

Texas Room at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens (Wikimedia Commons/Highsmith)

Memorial Residence (Virginia Kelsey)

Memorial Residence (Virginia Kelsey)

Memorial Residence (Virginia Kelsey)

Memorial Residence (Virginia Kelsey)

Knollwood House (Hester + Hardaway)

Knollwood House (Hester + Hardaway)

Crotty House

Walne House, 1924, Briscoe & Dixon; C.C. Pat Fleming, landscape design; 2006, Curtis & Windham / Image: Hester + Hardaway

Walne House, 1924, Briscoe & Dixon; C.C. Pat Fleming, landscape design; 2006, Curtis & Windham / Image: Hester + Hardaway

Walne House, 1924, Briscoe & Dixon; C.C. Pat Fleming, landscape design; 2006, Curtis & Windham / Image: Hester + Hardaway


How do I register for an ICAA travel program?

If you would like to register, you may contact the travel operator organizing the program. Please note that a $500 donation per person to the ICAA is required in order to participate in each travel program.

What does the required $500 donation fund?

Your $500 donation helps to further the ICAA’s goal of advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts by supporting its varied educational programs, including continuing education courses, college workshops, the Summer Studio in Classical Architecture, New Heights, and many more.

Am I required to pay a $500 donation for each travel program I register for?

Yes, a donation of $500 to the ICAA is required for each travel program you register for. The donation is required for each person attending a tour.

How do I make my $500 donation to the ICAA?

You can make your $500 donation to the ICAA online, or you can download, complete, and mail this form to the ICAA. You can alternatively fax a copy to 212-730-9649. You may also call 212-730-9646 x109 or email [email protected] to make a donation. Donations must be made separately from the registration fee.

Do I have to be a member of the ICAA to participate in an ICAA travel program?

No, membership is not required to attend an ICAA travel program. However, complimentary Individual membership to the ICAA is included with your $500 required donation.

I don’t see the full itinerary for the tour I am interested in. When will it be released?

For full itinerary and more information, contact [email protected], 860-926-4895. Due to the exclusive nature of our tours, some private locations or visits may be omitted from the ICAA's website.

What kinds of trips does the ICAA offer?

Over the past several years, the ICAA has travelled to destinations including Paris; Andalusia; Atlanta; Barbados; South Africa; Chicago; the Netherlands and Belgium; Scotland; the French Riviera; Morocco; the Italian Lake Region; Charlottesville; Naples; and New Delhi, among many other locations. The ICAA is always looking to diversify its travel offerings. If you have a suggestion or location you would like to see added, please email [email protected]