Situated on 4 acres in the heart of River Oaks, Rienzi, the former home of philanthropists Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, has long been known for its fine collection of European decorative arts, including paintings, furnishings, porcelain, and extensive holdings of miniatures, and for its lush gardens and woodland setting.
John F. Staub designed the original house in 1952 which he referred to as “Palladian with contemporary.” In 1971, the Mastersons commissioned Hugo Neuhaus to design the opulent ballroom addition. Rienzi was used and enjoyed by the Masterson family until 1997 when the property and its contents were given to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Ralph Ellis Gunn was entrusted to design the landscape which includes a combination of formal gardens and native plants. Visitors will see numerous young trees planted throughout the estate, thanks to gifts from The Garden Club of Houston, River Oaks Garden Club, and the Sterling-Turner Foundation. Since 1998, Rienzi’s gardens have been maintained by The Garden Club of Houston.