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Steve Mason’s Luxury Small Cottages

modern luxury cottages in Oklahoma City

Simon Hurst

Modern architectural influence has struck the heart of Oklahoma City, and we are loving the luxurious results.

Developer Steve Mason believes in downtown Oklahoma City. Over the last 20 years, alongside his company Mason Realty Investors, he’s bought and redeveloped nearly three dozen properties around the city’s urban core, where he now has 55 tenants in total. Those tenants range from an office for Oklahoma Senator James Lankford to the interactive art experience Factory Obscura.

luxury apartments in Oklahoma City cottage district

Simon Hurst

When Mason was thinking about building a home, he stuck to his belief about downtown and invested in the area’s high-end neighborhood, the Cottage District. The area only measures a few blocks, but it’s given architects and their clients a place where they can redefine luxury apartments and cottages in Oklahoma City. Fifteen years ago, before development started in the district, people who could afford houses priced $1 million and more either had to live in a refurbished historic home, a large mansion north of downtown, or the suburbs in gated golf course communities.

Then, as downtown gained new attractions thanks to the city’s sales-tax-backed Metropolitan Area Projects, the area became a place where people wanted to live. There were Oklahoma City Thunder basketball games and Oklahoma City Dodgers baseball games to watch, parks to visit and a flat-water river for Olympic paddle sports training and recreation.

modern luxury apartment patio Oklahoma City

Simon Hurst

To be closer to the downtown renaissance, residents started buying available lots in an area that sit south of St. Anthony’s hospital, yet only a few blocks from the towers in the city’s skyline. With no strict design guidelines, the area became a place to test out architecture and design ideas. The lots are like many old plats, with only 50 feet of width and about 140 feet of depth for the house; a size that along with the hilly locale has dictated eclectic, modern and luxury apartments in Oklahoma City.

In 2005, architect Brian Fitzsimmons was among the first to design a home for the area. He started with his home, Okasian, and his firm also worked on three other homes across the street, in which have already seen a change in ownership.

“Since it was my house, I wanted to do what I wanted,” Fitzsimmons said. “I was able to do that in the Cottage District.”

modern kitchen Oklahoma City cottage district

Simon Hurst

An architecture and engineer firm ADG, has had their own principal Betsy Brunsteter behind two of the city’s review boards as the Cottage District was being developed. Brunsteter said at the urban review board where Fitzsimmons presented that she was excited about his design. On a trip to Seattle, she saw similar, modern homes, so it was great to see this type of design come to Oklahoma City.

The city’s regulations and guidelines for the district only dictate setback distance, building height and materials. The existing historic residences have been updated to luxury homes, small cottages and apartments in Oklahoma City with wooden siding, but the modern homes being built can have a variety of materials, including glass, steel, architectural metal, and/or masonry.

The continued, modern look has been fueled by the architects.

Brunsteter said the district set a new standard for home design in the community. Even now, modern-style homes are popping up in different parts of the urban core.


The Cottage District opened the door for that kind of high-end, experimental design.”

Oklahoma City luxury apartment cottage district

Joseph Mills

“It went from maybe what was envisioned as a historic preservation area to an area that was really pushing the boundaries of contemporary architecture at the time, giving a lot of architects an opportunity to design something completely different from what else was going on in Oklahoma City. The Cottage District opened the door for that kind of high-end, experimental design.”

Sage Sotheby’s Realtor Jenna Harper said she’s seen a lot of interest in the area, but buyers will ultimately have to pay a premium. Homes start at $300 a square foot, with most residences measuring at least 1,500-square-feet and spanning up to 5,000-square-feet. The luxury homes and apartments nearby in Oklahoma City with the same price point are historic properties that have been completely renovated with modern amenities.

“The architects have built up this great aesthetic where they’re all trying to one-up each other with ideas,” said Harper. “There are a lot of ideas being pulled from other cities.”

“The architects have built up this great aesthetic where they’re all trying to one-up each other with ideas,” said Harper. “There are a lot of ideas being pulled from other cities.”

urban cabin design Oklahoma City cottage district

Joseph Mills

Architect Anthony McDermid said it was his clients who brought various ideas to the table when he and Allison Fredrickson at TAP Architects designed the 5,000-square-foot Three Palms home and their clients actually brought magazine clippings to the early design meetings.

“It was a little like pattern-book architecture,” he said. “We took their ideas and incorporated them into the design, then made sure we incorporated the south-facing views (of downtown). Since the neighborhood sits on a hill, it commands great views, which is something that’s almost unheard of in Oklahoma City, especially with its proximity to downtown.”


luxury urban apartment Oklahoma City

Joseph Mills

The home, like other modern-style properties, has high ceilings, an open stair and a kitchen with top-of-the-line kitchen appliances, making it a prime example of luxury properties and small cottages in Oklahoma City.

TAP works more often in commercial architecture, ranging from school projects to historic renovations.

“What they were looking for was something that as a firm we enjoy,” he said. “We enjoy contemporary design. It’s an aesthetic that resonates with me.”

The area’s aesthetic has caught the attention of the entire development community. The majority of new development occurred between 2012 and 2017 during which time almost 30 new residences were constructed. Innoluxe design-build firm owner Adam Hawes has built four homes in the area and one set of duplexes and has worked a lot in Oklahoma City’s suburbs, but the Cottage District brought him a new opportunity.

Oklahoma City luxury cottage district

Simon Hurst

“There was finally an area in Oklahoma where people were willing to pay for a fully-designed high-quality home,” he said. “It wasn’t just the status quo. It shows that the residential industry was willing to do much more unique and interesting structures.”

While some Oklahomans may still enjoy the view of the prairie, Mason said he likes seeing the city from his house. His luxury Oklahoma City home, designed by ADG, has a proximity to the urban core and it’s become a place where he can host parties for organizations in which he’s involved with. He said he likely wouldn’t have that hosting option if he lived outside the core of the city.

“It’s fun to go up on my roof and look at the Devon Tower, the Sky Dance Bridge, and the Wheeler Ferris Wheel because I believe in this city,” he said. “To me, my view is better than living on 20 acres.”

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