One of Houston’s most recognizable homes is a castle-like eight-bedroom on Wichita Street in Riverside Terrace. The residence is approaching the end of a long renovation, after which it is set to become a boutique hotel or meeting space. The Houston Chronicle stopped by the house and got an update from the current owner.
The home was originally built in 1935 and served as an orphanage and later a daycare. Charles Fondow eventually bought the house and spent 31 years outfitting it with ornate turrets, half-timbered gables, and a towering series of roof decks reminiscent of the gothic architecture he saw in trips to Russia and Green Bay, Wisconsin. The house remained a work-in-progress, but Fondow hosted frequent parties nonetheless ("This house is the love of my life," Fondow told the Houston Press in 2001. "I don't know how to live in a house that's finished”).
After Fondow died in 2011 the house hit the market, and gawkers got a glimpse of what it looked like inside.
Real estate developer Nick Ugarov bought the property in early 2014 and embarked on his own renovation of the home. The house, which Ugarov has since dubbed Houston Towers, is considerably less spooky than before, though Fondow’s turrets and fencing remain.