NBA fans know two things about Houston Rockets guard James Harden—his beard is legendary and he’s a prolific basketball scorer (he’s averaging 38.3 points per game this season). But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $10 million Houston mansion the All-Star scored.
Frankel Building Group designed this modern estate like a commercial property with bent steel, ... [+] abundant windows, flat walls and exposed 3-D panels—all of which Harden fell for.
Harden’s estate, called Memorial Modern, took three years to build and spans 3.5 acres in Rivercrest, an exclusive enclave in suburban Houston. The 26,000-square-foot ultra-modern manse features a grotto, wine room, casita, prep kitchen, full bar and a fitness room. It’s crafted from commercial-grade steel with minimalist design elements.
Here, there’s no need to fear “The Beard,” 2018’s NBA MVP. This is where Harden finally shuts it down—no gunning, traveling, Euro-stepping or microwaving Chinese takeout containers like in that State Farm commercial where he blew up former teammate Chris Paul’s kitchen. No, this is a state-of-the-art, LEED-certified estate, designed by custom home builder and architectural firm, Frankel Building Group.
“It was about building something extremely contemporary,” says Scott Frankel, the firm’s co-president. “There’s a continuity. From the minute you approach the gate to the very back corners of the lot, it’s all one continuous style.”
Frankel Building Group meticulously customized the estate from commercial-grade steel and exotic ... [+] materials.
Designing and building was a challenge because the larger the home’s scale, the minimalist principle is, well, minimized—it can get lost. But not here. Pre-Harden, Frankel Building Group took on the challenge for the original owner, with striking results—sticking close to the original design but modernizing it for a younger client.
“Typically, when you are building a home of this grandeur, you’re working with older clientele with more traditional design preferences,” says Kevin Frankel, co-president. “The original owner of this home, like Harden, was much younger. So what should a luxury estate look like for someone with means but with [younger client preferences]—such as very modern design style, increased security, resort-style pool that [complements] the architecture, and storage for show cars?” Memorial Modern is the answer.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden paid $10 million for this über modern LEED-certified home in ... [+] Rivercrest.
Permitting, engineering, roofing, and finishing were a big lift for this property, due to its unique pedigree—bent steel, abundant marble, curved roofs, exposed materials, etc. The firm used commercial real estate images (like hotel lobbies) as a reference. Marble and “thin, expansive porcelain” (challenging materials) were infused throughout the house to give it a more contemporary look.
“The amount of steel in this home is insane,” says Kevin. “We’re not talking about covered steel. This is exposed steel that has been bent, which is something you don’t typically see in residential architecture. The level of finish we did, the number of windows, flat walls and exposed 3-D panels in the house required so much side work and retention.”
The 26,000-square-foot mansion features a grotto, wine room, casita, prep kitchen, full bar and a ... [+] fitness room.
“This home was such a large undertaking,” adds Scott. “Getting it past architectural approval and built, without any major delays or issues was a feat on its own.”
The meticulous craftsmanship is apparent. The tiered, white exterior façade with dual terraces, semi-circle driveway and stadium-style curved carport resembles a futuristic modern art museum.
The monumental master bathroom is like a contemporary work of art itself—grand in scale, modern, sleek, reflective and bright. It’s highlighted by marble flooring, vaulted wood ceilings, mirrors and transparent glass (even a barber’s chair), and showtime lighting.
The double marble island kitchen with black ceiling light fixtures is über modern—complementing white cabinets, stainless steel range, and glossy black island drawers and appliances. The kitchen opens to the exterior grotto pool surrounded by violet-colored cabanas.
The violet master suite features vaulted, wood-beamed ceilings, hardwood floors, space-age lighting, and a captivating textured wall set with a gas fireplace and big-screen TV. Energetic and totally original—mesmerizing just like Harden (a music, fashion, entertainment and car buff) and the previous owner, a well-dressed entrepreneur.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden leads the NBA in scoring, personality and modern flair. (Photo by ... [+] Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
“We weren’t surprised this home ended up selling to Harden,” says Kevin. “Harden, though different from the original owner in terms of career, probably has the same energy and taste for the entertaining, resort-style vibe this home was designed around. Interestingly enough, Harden has been quoted as describing the home as ‘just him.’ It’s very much an extension of his overall demeanor.”
I’m the über curious type. I’ve photographed Stockholm’s chromatic doors, been ripped off in Athens, and survived an overnight stay in the real Friday the 13th cabin (t
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