Ex-Houston mayor Lanier to hold moving sale

May 8, 2012 12:17:47 PM PDT
Bob and Elyse Lanier are one of Houston's best known power couples. But the former mayor and his wife are facing a challenge that most everyone deals with at some point -- downsizing! They are moving into a new smaller home in a high-rise and selling an amazing lifetime of treasures.

It's a fashionista's dream. Starting at $300, top designer shoes -- size 9 -- from a woman who's in the best-dressed hall of fame. Then, there are those handbags, including one for $2,500.

"This Hermes bag I bought when I was in Paris about seven years ago, and I used it one time," Elyse said.

There's even an eye-popping collection of her trademark glasses. And of course, some of her fabulous designer outfits also are up for sale.

"This is a gorgeous, gorgeous Oscar De La Renta, which I am not sure I wore it once because I could never get it to fit right," Elyse said.

Some treasures are far bigger, and come with stories about the Laniers' exciting life as Houston icons. A 15-foot table with Chippendale chairs graced their dining room until recently; it's the centerpiece of many legendary dinner parties.

"We've entertained important people. We've had a lot of interesting, important decisions even in the last 12 years in our home," Elyse said.

Now that room is empty, and the Laniers walk through their 13,000-square foot mansion for the last times. The new owners, who bought it for more than $6 million, will be moving in soon.

It's a sign of the times. Lanier is now 87, and getting around is not as easy as it once was.

"Our needs are different. Where this is three floors, we want to be on one floor," Elyse said.

He grew up poor in Baytown in a house without an indoor toilet before moving into several homes in Houston's most exclusive neighborhood. He says he never looks back.

"It was just time to move on; I felt that way here, it made sense more to be there than it did here," Bob said.

He won't have his famous rose gardens or a pool fronting the golf course, but they are taking their artwork, along with scores of framed photos, and his office furniture. And there's something else he wants.

"I forgot to put it in the contract but I'd like to retain that center TV," he said jokingly. "Well it's a new TV and it's got a nice bright color to it."

Elyse, too, has something that won't be for sale -- her jewelry.

"It's not hard to move jewelry," she said.

The Lanier estate sale begins this Wednesday at the Houston Design Center and runs through Saturday.


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