Romance Week: This Highland Park Tudor Was Built on Love, Love, Love

4305 Arcady ext frontThis is Valentines week, and we are committed to bringing you the most romantic homes in town every single day. Like 4305 Arcady. This strong, sultry Tudor has it all including something money cannot buy: class. (It also just hit the market!) Perfect location on one of Highland Park’s French Streets, it was built by the greatness that is Tatum Brown Custom Homes, a CandysDirt approved home builder  in 2006, one of the tip top home builders in town. (Who is currently building out two dynamo celeb homes in Bluffview.) Perched on a whopping 90 by 167 lot, the home is as pristine as it was the day Mark Danuser did his final walk-through.

But the story is even more beautiful than the home. It is a story about love and homes. Liz met Robert In January of 2010, and they were married a year later. Robert adored Liz from the moment they met. Robert was everything Liz had ever wanted to find in a husband, but she was concerned over four precious things: her four children. Most men, she says, do not want to marry women with an entourage.

But Robert is not most men, and marry Liz he did indeed, and then brought her and the children home to this beautiful dream home with five bedrooms, six full baths, to house their new family of six!

4305 Arcady LR2 4305 Arcady foyer 4305 Arcady dining roomWalk into custom millwork that lends the feel of The Lanesborough in Knightsbridge, with rich hand-scraped oak hardwoods, herringbone and limestone accents, arched doorways and ironwork. The 18th century front door leads you into the foyer and adjoining open formal living room with a large cast stone fireplace and a wall of windows to enjoy the street view, which you will with the expansive front yard. The dining room has a cross beam ceiling, a 350 bottle wine room with iron gate, and French doors to a front terrace. A large walk-in wet bar is conveniently located between the dining room and family area. The kitchen is well-equipped with Viking appliances, granite countertops, a deep sink and platinum designer fixtures, an island with room for seating, European wood inset cabinetry, and a full breakfast area loaded with built-ins. The kitchen also has a large pantry. Off this is the large family room, both rooms enjoying views of the backyard. The family room features oak beamed ceiling, an entertainment system, full surround sound and three pairs of European-style arched doors leading out to the covered terrace and outdoor living area.

4305 Arcady kitchen 1 4305 Arcady kitchen 2 4305 Arcady kitchen 3 4305 Arcady breakfastThere is a gallery hall with groin ceiling accents leading to a study covered with millwork — very British regency. You really do expect Lord Grantham to stroll in and ring for tea. Also downstairs is a guest room with en suite bath, built-ins and doors to the covered terrace. Liz, a talented artist, has been using this as her art studio.

Walk the grand stairs, front or back, or take the elevator up to the grandest master suite on the French streets. This one has a sitting room, private balcony, and of course his and her baths, both a sea of white carrera marble. Each side also has a separate walk-in closet. (Separate potties, too, keeps that love humming.) Upstairs are three more large bedrooms with tray ceilings, walk-in closets and en suite baths.

4305 Arcady family 4305 Arcady elevator 4305 Arcady study 4305 Arcady master 4305 Arcady master sitting 4305 Arcady master bath 4305 Arcady master bath 2Do you ever have that argument about where to have the laundry room, first floor or second? How about BOTH floors? (That solves it!) The media room is on the third floor with full bath, coffee bar and additional storage.

Now let us wander outside, to the covered terraces spanning the back breath of the house. This entertainment area overlooks the pool with attached spa and water features, a full outdoor kitchen area with built-in grill, drink cooler and seating area. The port cochere allows easy drop of groceries or catering goodies, and there is a three car garage above which you have another 1,000 square feet of elegant living space, perfect for two teenagers, a nanny or the help.

4305 Arcady pool 4305 Arcady guest houseAs Lady Mary said in the most recent Downton, “we may be aristocrats, but we like to get our money’s worth.”

Get your money’s worth you will, here at 4305 Arcady with 6837 square feet on one of the most romantic streets in Old Highland Park. Asking is a mere $4,795,000, listed with Christine McKenny, Dave Perry-Miller, who lives nearby.

Back to our love story. Where are Robert and Liz going? On a recent trip to the beach in northern Florida, Liz fell in love with a home and, well, Robert bought it for her. Just like that. He’s perfect, no? So is she, They are meant to be. The couple plan to divide time between their second and third homes.

And that’s what we call true love around the house.Wedding-Canopy-WaterColor-Beach




Swananoah FrontGrab your smelling salts and get ready. I have homes that just might make you forget the wrapping, baking, even the parties and flat out MOVE right now. I know we are all holiday crazed, but this one is worth stopping for!

8519 Swananoah, another creation by Kettering Ideas, is one such house. You have seen Kettering’s work before, but by the time you get to see it more closely, it’s usually gone. The genius behind these homes is a former airline pilot (stay tuned for a profile) who wanted to build the perfect home for himself, so he did. Then he just kept on building, every home as perfect and precise as the landing of a 747 on ice.

Speaking of ice: 8519 Swananoah was on open house tour the weekend of Dallas’ ice storm. More than 200 people came by each day, some from as far away as Southlake on icy roads! “We had music, we had wine, we had great food,” says agent Jacqui Bloomquist with Coldwell Banker. This girl knows how to throw a party, as much as Kettering knows how to build a house.

Swananoah Living 1 Swananoah Living 2 Swananoah StaircaseThis time, he took a perfect lot in a fabulous location: sought-after Bluffview, on a quiet side-stretch of Midway road (not the busy part), on the corner of Swananoah and Midway. This masterpiece of contemporary construction is surrounded by three to five million dollar homes. He grabbed an almost half-acre lot loaded with trees and constructed a soft contemporary that is quite honestly a perfect home in floorplan, size, and energy efficiency. The home has what I can best describe as an “Austin light” feel, created of very light wood and unusual stone. Walk in to an efficient foyer, tall clerestory windows and a solid free-hanging stairway that displays like a work of art. The study is on the left with a direct vent fireplace — these are necessary with airtight homes because they seal the fireplace off from losing interior air. The living room features a curved wood ceiling, total talking piece.

Swananoah Dining Swananoah Kitchen 1 Swananoah Kitchen 2 Swananoah FamilyStraight ahead is the huge, loaded kitchen that has the name “Wolf” stamped on every appliance, and family room. There is a large wet bar/Butler’s pantry, and first floor master off its own vestibule. Let me tell you about the master bedroom — you do not see retreats like this, not even in $7 million dollar homes. The master is almost the central focal point of the entire house, and why not? The main bedroom is huge, 22 by 17 or more, with a breakfast/coffee bar on one side. The bath is beyond words — it’s just one big O! The graceful soaking tub is the dramatic focal point, while there are two water closets off each side holding — actual water closets, or commodes! HE gets a commode and a urinal, SHE gets a commode and a bidet. Brilliant!

Swananoah Master Swananoah Master Bath Yes, that is a car-wash shower behind the tub!Swananoah FitnessThere are oceans of graceful counter space, storage and two huge closets with built ins and those easy-to-lower high rods. Off the master bathroom is an exercise room. This room features a giant steam shower, more like a steam room. A nearby powder room boasts an exterior door to serve as the pool bath.

Back to the family room, overlooking the pool: this home does not stop with a downstairs master, a study and call it a day. Yes, you could use the study as an extra bedroom I guess, it has the storage, but you won’t need it. There are five bedrooms in total, including a lovely guest room downstairs (with en suite bath) behind the family room. I would be a guest here 24/7: the wine closet would be right across from my bedroom door! Thus this would be a perfect home for empty nesters who may have an aging parent under the roof — hell, let them nip all they want — or a busy family with a live-in nanny.

Not to worry: the wine “cellar” does have a nanny-lock.

Swananoah gameroom Swananoah Office The hallway leading to the garage and laundry room is called the “Owners Foyer” in Ketterings’ book, and I love it. What is an Owner’s Foyer? It’s the place where you de-junk, de-load stuff, sometimes even dis-robe upon coming home with your arms full of the day’s activities. There are closets here, counters, sometimes even cubicles. In this home, there is something else for the whole family to enjoy: a powder room with the latest Kohler technology commode, a Kohler Numi Toilet. kohler-numi-toilet-1This starkly modern, box-shaped loo is motion activated, plays music, washes, dries, deodorizes, glows and warms your feet.

I would not be at all surprised if it also gave you a pedicure.

Swananoah Media Swananoah Pool Swananoah CabanaDo you see what I mean about this house? Every inch has been used wisely, adroitly, no wasted space or boasty, braggy hallways. The laundry room is efficiently loaded with built-ins, counters and a panic/safe/tornado room, so you can get in quick from the garage or pool. There is also a  closet. Up the back stairs is another flexible room with a kitchen/bar that could be a game room and even has a dishwasher, with an efficient media room off this. There is a half bath up here as well as the fifth bedroom and en suite bath.

On the front end of the second floor, accessible by that free-standing stairway, there are two large bedrooms with en suite baths, and a loft overlooking the living areas below.

This home has room to house four cars, in each of two structures. The second garage is a one-car and yields yet more space on the second floor that could be a cute studio or office. In all, there are 6032 interior square feet which you really won’t believe because there is just so much freaking space in this home. There are many decks, and the patio boasts invisible retractable screens which nets even more entertainment space. Of course the back patio is decked out with a full kitchen, grill, storage, sink and refrigerator — I think there is even a kegerator out here, no? Well, one could be added. Honestly, have not seen an exterior kitchen like this since Mike and Jan Davis’ home, Michael being the CEO of Capital Distributing!

The salt water pool is a tranquility infinity that provides the constant soothing sound of water. Don’t forget, this is off the master so you may even fall asleep to this soothing sound. There is also a spa, and a rear cushion cabana with fireplace, ceiling fans, and acrylic panels that make this a haven in the cold or a refuge from the August sun.

As if this epistle isn’t enough, I must tell you the home is created of natural stone, stucco and cedar with a metal seam roof and fully encapsulated with thick spray foam insulation. Energy costs for a home this size will be peanuts.

Everything is state of the art and created with conservation in mind, from the NEST Learning thermostats, to the recovery ventilation systems. Even the appliances are efficient.

Asking price is $3,450,000. I’m not sure any other home is Dallas gives you as much bang for your buck as this one does — just ask Rudolph!


Inwood Mortgage Home of the Week: A Home Fit for Lots & Lots of Holiday Company

Meadowood Inwood HOTW I have a thing about Old Preston Hollow, particularly come the holidays. Here’s the thing about 4617 Meadwood and this precious nook of Dallas: every house is perfect, every tree is gnarly and romantic. If older, the home is well kept up and maintained better than San Simeon. If newer, it’s to-die for, of stucco or stone,  and large enough to hold your entire family at Christmas plus any entourage. Let’s face it: during the holidays, we shelve any desires to downsize. We want space, we want square footage! This 10,815 square foot home home was built in 2005 on 2 choice acres. It features a slate roof, stone exterior and circular driveway. There are 5 bedrooms with suites, 5 full and 3 half bathrooms, 4 wood-burning fireplaces, wood floors and crown molding throughout, two staircases, of course a formal living room, a formal dining room with butler’s pantry, gourmet kitchen, breakfast room, house manager’s office, wood paneled family room with built-in shelves, and a library with the most gorgeous hardwoods I have seen. There is a  recreation room on the lower level, covered terrace, 3-car garage, swimming pool, formal gardens and more.Meadowood Foyer Meadowood Formal Living Meadowood Living Meadowood Dining Meadowood Kitchen Meadowood Breakfast The gourmet kitchen and appliances are a Kent Rathburn dream with two Wolf ovens, drawers and shelves. A magnificent armoire between the two bookshelves against the back wall holds the double Sub-Zero refrigerator. We don’t want to see the fridge, no. Nearby are the walk-in pantry, house manager’s office and utility room. Adjacent to the kitchen is the family room with walls of wood paneling and shelves. The home is large, but it can get larger. When more room is needed for entertaining, the metal-and-glass French doors along the entry hallway and in the family room are easily opened to include the covered-back terrace and the palatial grounds with a pool. Meadowood Master Meadowood Master Bath Meadowood Office Meadowood Gameroom Meadowood Patio Believe me, this is priceless!

The master suite is on the first floor with a huge master spa bath, wall coverings that beg to be touched, and is adjacent to his-and-hers dressing rooms with window seats, cabinets, shelves and rods from the floor to the ceiling: be sure to write that genuine Zebra rug into the contract! I LOVE the library, a sheer showcase with its wood wainscot and black leather, windows that open to the grounds and a walk-in wet bar. Stanley Marcus would have literally drooled to have this.

In addition to the four guest suites — yes, every bedroom is a suite — and game room overlooking the main entrance on the second level, there is a stunning lower level that includes the booze bar and snack bars. Even the snacks are good: every inch of this house is utter, sheer perfection. Erin Mathews has it listed at $7,995,000. Sounds frightfully overwhelming, but the home has been reduced from a high of $8,495,000. This is the house of Kristen and John P. Mullen, he of investment banking moolah, Kristen the talented wife who did all the decorating herself? Interiors were featured on the popular blog, Cote de Texas. Meadowood was first listed in February of 2012 at the heart-attack-inducing $8,495,000 price tag. I mean, you are getting 1.5 acres and more than 10,000 square feet. When it comes to stuffing the house, it’s like stuffing the turkey: the more space, the fluffier the outcome. I know the good folks at Inwood Mortgage would love to stuff your bank account with the funds necessary to buy this palace: buy it, bow it, and voila be done with shopping!

6239 Park Lane Inwood HOTW

Our house of the week for Inwood Mortgage typifies what a little clean-lined interior design can do for a 14 year old home: make it look brand new! Let’s face it: styles change every few years, but 14 years is almost light years when it comes to design. What I love about 6239 Park Lane is the timelessness of the original structure, the great bones, and the basic room flow that makes it adaptable to just about any decor or taste.

Cindy Musgrove with Blue Sky (see ad to the right, refresh if you do not) went in and made the home so fresh and clean, you might think it was built last year! It helps that the 1999 vintage has been so well taken care of and loved by it’s owners. There are 7207 square feet, five bedrooms, five full and one half baths. There is a large pool and gorgeous outdoor patio. Plus it’s located on that dignified stretch of Park Lane east of Preston with the impressive lawn setbacks and speedbumps, so you never have to worry about traffic here.

Location? A-plus!

6239 Park Lane foyer 6239 Park Lane foyer 2 62309 Park lane living room 6239 Park Lane dining roomWalk in to a generous foyer with traditional curved staircase, custom inlaid hardwoods of walnut and oak in the entry, and oak flooring everywhere. Intimate living room on your right, dining on your left connected to a long Butler’s pantry and the loaded up kitchen. Straight ahead is the family room with beautiful beams, a Juliet balcony from the top hallway, and light everywhere. There is a nice bar nook off the family room. The pool is gorgeous and fills in the view of the backyard. By the way, this lot is .43 of an acre, measures 190 feet deep by 100 wide, almost a half acre, which gives you enough space for pets or tinkering with a veggie garden plus the pool and spa.

6239 Park Lane Master bath6239 Park Lane family beams 6239 Park Lane family room 6239 Park Lane kitchenLike most of the homes in Preston Hollow, the master is on the first floor with a huge master spa bath (I love the view of the pool from the jetted tub) , and enormous closet with built-ins including a cool 3-way, “check my big butt”mirror. There is an adjacent office/sitting room/nursery right off the master. I love this concept sooo much better than having a “sitting area” in the master. I mean really, who actually sits in the master? The action in that room doesn’t require chairs — well, most of the time! If you are a gazillionaire, you are probably off jetting between homes and will not ever need to “sit in the master”.  So I am totally over the master sitting area. I am very much on board with this extra space that can be adapted to your lifestyle, and this is a great example of what thoughtful architectural design can do to a home even when she hits her teen years.

People, I implore you: do NOT skimp on architectural design! Or quality home builders!

6239 Park Lane master 6239 Park Lane Master bath 6239 Park Lane family overviewFour bedrooms are upstairs, each with great baths, plus a media room. The gigantic laundry room is downstairs located near the back stairs. The three-car garage is split into a two-car unit and a single stall. The home was built with insulated wood glass windows on a pier and beam foundation so go ahead, remodel away. I don’t think you will really need to, however.

Listed with my beautiful friend Pam Brannon at Briggs Freeman Sothebys for $2,185,000. And I am just in love! Trot yourself over to Inwood Mortgage to pre-qualify for this puppy… before it gets snatched up!6239 Park Lane patio 6239 Park Lane pool







10564 Cox Front

Here’s another fabulous property that just hit the market and won’t stay there for long! I am so in love with this gorgeous contemporary at 10564 Cox Lane in the Disney Streets neighborhood. Within walking distance of Peter Pan Park, you get a great location, great neighbors, and a competitive price at $432,000.

10564 Cox Living Dining

Marketed by Dallas City Center Realtor Kim Tierney and staged by Karen Eubank of Eubank Staging, this house shows like a dream! Colors, textures, and shapes — all of the decor works together to make this home feel unique without being too personal. Karen, a veteran designer, shared this hot tip she used to stage this home — if you need to balance a room without buying more furniture, break up a sectional into two pieces. Great idea!

10564 Cox Family

This 1970s contemporary is perfect for a family no matter the age thanks to its open floor plan. It has four bedrooms, two full and two half baths, and 2,853 square feet. There’s a two-car garage, two huge living areas including a family room with a bar, and a gorgeous pool.

10564 Cox Kitchen

The kitchen features French Limestone and glass tile, which really sets off the bamboo floors throughout the home. I love the breakfast bar and the barstools, a great place to socialize while cooking! There are stainless appliances, of course, and tons of cabinet space.

10564 Cox Master

In the master bedroom you can see what a fantastic value this home is. Check out the huge windows and the size of this room! Seriously, I would hook up my Apple TV in this place and just watch Netflix for the rest of my life (in between trips out to the pool, of course!).

10564 Cox Master Bath

The master bath is equally enticing, with its long vanity with polished stone and a huge mirror that leads to one of the most epic shower and bath combos I have ever seen in my life. The elongated tile is so very zen, and if there’s plenty of mood lighting, well, let’s just say that I would totally melt in that tub after a stressful day.

10564 Cox Backyard

Now, the backyard is just perfect if you’re looking for a way to keep from hearing “I’m BORED!” every five minutes this summer. There’s a great pool with a diving board, as well as tons of space in the garden to totter around. Seriously, this is just a fantastic property!

5523 Druid extI’m throwing this together for our poor Jo, who has the flu. That bug is a tough bugger, so don’t freak if you see me touring homes wearing a mask! I found this house for you in Greenway Crest over south of Lovers Lane, 5523 Druid — there’s a sassy street — east of the tollway but not butting right up to it. And yes, it has been reduced a bit to $450,000 down from a high of $459,000, but no HPISD, sorry, DISD.

5523 Druid LA 5523 Druid kit 5523 Druid master 5523 Druid Master bath 5523 Druid yardThe home is just as cute as a button. You get 1886 square feet with three bedrooms, two full baths, everything remodeled. You get a large family room plus formals, both dining and living room. Like every house in Dallas, there is a new roof, also plantation shutters, a fireplace, granite counters and gleaming hardwoods. Here’s what I really like: a detached office or studio with full heat and air that has a tiled floor. Kind of don’t like the one car garage but you know, you cannot have the world for $450K. I don’t have to tell you how wunderbar this neighborhood is, the great mature trees and even a circular drive on a .5 acre lot. This would be a great investment house for a young couple to buy, enjoy, and then tear down in five years or so. The house is great but was built in 1949, after all. But you know what they say: location, location, location!

9226 Greenville extDo not let this stunning home’s address fool you: 9226 Greenville. Though it faces the northernmost stretches of Greenville Avenue, it is located in a beautiful, quiet residential crook of Lake Highlands in area loaded with large luxury homes. Yes, Lake Highlands: Richardson schools. It overlooks a tranquil, treed creek with one of the biggest entertaining decks in the city. And it has been meticulously securitized by the best in town: 16 high security video cameras protect this property — which is more than you find in some mansions on Strait Lane! That plus a state-of-the-art alarm system, and tall stone walls that block out both noise and the bad boys.

9226 Greenville Creek lotThe home was built in 1995, but it has been completely remodeled by a perfectionist with a keen eye to planning flow, detail and seriously, one of the biggest decks in town. Ease of entry pattern right from the three car garage (with extra storage) to the house, with a huge laundry/mud room as soon as you get inside the door. The family room features a wall of stone with fireplace, and is open to the cheery breakfast room and gourmet kitchen with high-end stainless appliances and gas stove cooktop. There are rich, hypoallergenic bamboo wood floors throughout. All cabinets are hand-crafted and new, topped with gleaming granite. The kitchen also features a sunshine window and large pantry.

9226 Greenville FR9226 Greenville FR 29226 Greenville kit 29226 Greenville kit 49226 Greenville LRBonus: busy moms will love the built in study wall/work center in the breakfast room — a comprehensive work center that goes beyond one of those lame “planning desks”. This one has cabinets, drawers, shelves and power for laptops, phones, ipads — the basics of living in the 21st century.9226 Greenville kit3


The next wing encompasses the formal living areas and foyer, with soaring ceilings and two story windows, off of which is the master wing of the house. And a wing it is: you get a 20 by 18 foot room with stone wall, fireplace, high ceilings and an alcove that can be an office, sitting area or exercise studio. The spa bath is also generous, with separate Jacuzzi tub, waterfall shower, separate commode room and huge walk-in closet. All first floor rooms access the “forever” deck (I swear this deck never ends) overlooking the creek and lush privacy-producing foliage. There is also a private deck off the master through security doors.

The home is 5,000 square feet with five bedrooms — three are up with two full baths and playroom, two are down including the master and a guest suite also with bath. In all, the home has four full baths and one half bath powder room. The home is perched on a generous .37 acre lot — that’s more than one-third of an acre– so you get grassy play areas perfect for children or pets. Owned by a professional, the home was designed for as much carefree exterior and interior maintenance as possible and is truly lock and leave. Asking $699,000, a bargain that will leave you pocket change to buy some bullion. After all, who needs a depository when you’ve got your own.9226 Greenville master Bath 19226 Greenville master bath 29226 Greenville master

Is it true that women in the 1950’s spent most of their time in bubble baths? I want to totally revive that trend, starting right here with this house porn!

Here’s a delicious find up on 7715 Idlewood Lane, east of Hillcrest and north of Royal. Four bedrooms, five and a half baths, multiple formals. Snuggled in this hilly terra of circa 1950 mid century moderns we find this breathtakingly updated, 4679 square foot treasure. Sleek lines, layouts beyond open, and meticulous detailed design from the Cypress horizontal siding accents, commercial-framed doors, Groehe fixtures, various stone floors to beamed vaulted ceilings.

You can tell there’s something wonderful going on at the front. Take the stone slab walkway through sweeping Zoysia Zoro grass, go into the house through metal framed glass doors to a wall of windows showcasing the multi-tiered center courtyard surrounded by the entire house.

The home is exceptionally well configured. On right of the entry is the den, with courtyard views and a private hallway leading to one guestroom; there are three, each loaded with a walk-in closet, a full bath and floor-to-ceiling windows.

But, going back to the entry, go left and there is the elevated formal living room, highlighted by a fireplace set in a brick wall. Sunlight floods through the skylight. There is a  dining room, with a sliding glass door to a private courtyard that could easily be a dog run or private sunning porch.

The kitchen makes you draw in your breath and really want to cook, or at the very least steam something: Varenna kitchen  with two Sub-Zero refrigerators, Asko dishwasher, icemaker and Kuppersbusch appliances — induction cook top, oven, convection oven and coffee system. A total black and white story, it is balanced against a neutral stone wall with a see-through fireplace to the adjoining family room. The house reminded me very much of the multi-million dollar estates I saw in Hawaii, right down to those stone floors!

Adjacent to the family room, but cloaked behind a set of pocket doors is a smart study with custom millwork shelves and cabinets, and a dark Emperador marble floor.

Thought we were done with bedrooms? Mais non. Beyond the family room are two more ensuite guestrooms with views of the grounds. Then there is that glassed private walkway  to the master bedroom suite wing. Master has its own everything, including deck overlooking the courtyard and an Emperador marble bathroom with glass-and-marble shower room with soaking tub. And I do mean soaking! The only thing to beware of in this ‘hood is deed restrictions against building second stories on SOME streets. Asking $1,175,000.

But who’s going up? We are staying down in the tub. What mid-century masterpiece would be without a luxurious soaking tub? That’s all women in the fifties did: soak soak soak in bubble baths.

I’m so glad that era is so coming back!