Ritz Tower

Holy moly, now this is living well! We love the Residences at the Ritz Carlton, as do many a millionaire and socialite in Dallas. The location is amazing, the views are gorgeous, and the amenities are matchless inside this exclusive condo development. And if you want to live there without the obligation of a mortgage, you can rent a prime unit for a whopping $10K a month!

Unit 702 inside this opulent building has two bedrooms, two full and one half baths, more than 2,100 square feet, and tons of marble everywhere. It’s fresh to the market from Dave Perry-Miller Intown Realtor Emily Ray Porter, who has also listed this unit for sale at $1.49 million.


Extreme Wow Dallas W

Photo: Extreme Wow Suite, W Dallas Hotel Credit: W Hotels

I showed this CultureMap slideshow to a friend who lives in Seattle and she said (rather predictably):

“That’s in Dallas? That doesn’t look like Dallas at all!”

What is it with people having this internal stereotype of what looks “Dallas” and what doesn’t. Do these swanky and sexy rentals not have enough leather and cowhide for her taste? Seriously.

But I’m going to take it as a compliment, especially if I’m looking for an un-“Dallas” hotel to have a little staycation. Maybe the grandparents are taking the kids for a weekend. Maybe you’re too tired to drive or fly anywhere. Maybe you’ve come to realize that what you really want are fresh towels every day, an in-house masseuse, and a rooftop bar no matter the location.



Photo: Presidential Suite, Omni Hotel Dallas Credit: Omni Hotel

So save the dough you’d normally spend on your first-class ticket to Vail and head over to one of these outstanding hotels. Heck, if you like your stay, buy a sleek pied-à-terre at the Palomar, the Ritz, or even the W. And be sure to read Diana Oates’ full breakdown of what you get for the money on CultureMap.

Headington Condo Outside

Harold LeidnerIt’s hard to find a better landscape architect than Harold Leidner. I’d hazard to say that few, if any, can match his eye for how landscapes interact with their surroundings, and how to make modern design look and feel organic.

He’s best known for his amazing work on the 21st floor penthouse at the Ritz Carlton Residences that was recently purchased by Charles and Moll Anderson. Featuring bold shapes and textures, this project is a feast for the eyes.

Browse Leidner’s projects and designs on his Houzz page or find out more about his work on his website.

CandysDirt.com: Where are you from?

Harold Leidner: Born and raised in Dallas. Great place to live and work.

CD: How did you get into landscape architecture?

Leidner: Started in high school when I was mowing lawns and taking care of landscapes. It piqued my interest in the design of landscapes and the value of beautiful properties and gardens.

CD: Innovative outdoor design is a hallmark of your brand. What inspires you most?

Leidner: Sophisticated and modern design that is well detailed. I also enjoy seeing and incorporating unique items in the garden that are not typically found there. The recent Chihuly exhibit at the Arboretum was a great example. Having the artistry, color, and delicacy of the glass blended into the gardens was beautiful.

CD: Where is home for you in Dallas?

Leidner: I live in the Prestonwood neighborhood off Preston and Arapaho. We are fortunate to have a great lots that back up to a natural creek.

CD: And you drive ….let me guess, Mercedes Benz?

Leidner: BMW X5 M. Fun to drive and I love the gadgets.

CD: What is your favorite ‘hood in Dallas and why?

Leidner: Tough to call. Many great areas in Dallas like Preston Hollow, Kessler Park and Lakewood. I would probably say Uptown, mostly because I’m a Mavs fan.

CD: What project are you most proud of?

Leidner: Now that is even more difficult. I have had the pleasure of working for many wonderful clients and on many gorgeous projects. One of my recent favorites was a residence we completed in Highland Park for Betty Lou Phillips. Combination of a beautiful site, superb architecture along with a client with an exquisite design sense.

CD: Likewise, what was your most challenging or memorable project?

Leidner: My most memorable project was probably the penthouse terraces we completed a couple years ago at the Ritz Carlton Residences in Dallas. A once in a lifetime project overlooking the skyline of downtown Dallas. Spectacular views, especially at night. The construction was an immense challenge however, in getting all the workers, tools and materials from the ground to the 21st floor. Not as easy as you might think.

Headington Condo outside 2

CD: Has your work taught you any life lessons?

Leidner: Everything changes except the completion date.

CD: What does the future of design look like?

Leidner: Our designs and clients are all pushing towards a clean and modern design style that fits their lifestyle. Fortunately we are seeing more residential architecture lean a bit more towards modern, which allows us to respond with luxurious landscapes and gardens that simplify the outdoor living experience and enjoyment of nature.

CD: If you ever change careers for an encore you’ll…

Leidner: Become a doctor like my daughter.

CD: Do you have a second home?

Leidner: Besides my office and car, no.

Jaap Ritz#1104Comes word late last week that Jaap Van Zweden, the esteemed Dutch-born Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, has listed his home at The Residences of the Ritz Carlton with Ritz Queen realtor Sharon Quist. He is asking $2.9 for the 4,258 square foot unit that is exquisitely decorated, features a wood-paneled music room (of course), and was written up in D Home Magazine a few years ago. The home has two bedrooms, two and a half baths, and formals.

Now here’s something interesting: Jaap co-owns the unit with violinist Michael Guttman. Sources tell me the two are very good friends, and often make real estate investments together. Which is interesting, but not a totally unique concept: families and friends often purchase homes together, particularly second vacation homes. It’s a great way to spread out costs and split equity.

Jaap, who is married to Aaltje, has four children. They also have a family home in Amsterdam. He and Guttman purchased unit #1102 in 2008. Dallas interior designer extraordinaire Sherry Hayslip designed it to perfection. She also, of course, designed the Ritz itself from the very start.Jaap Ritz#1104 music room

At $2.9, #1102 is now the most expensive listing in Residence I, which only has — I cannot believe this — SIX active listings as of today. You recall that Pogir sold Tim Headington’s stunner of a penthouse #2100 last March 1 for about $1040 a square foot.  Moll and  Charlie Anderson are busy redoing the space. Colin Lardner’s listing #1901 is in option contract, and listed at $800 ish a square foot. That unit is 2928 square feet for $2,450,000, but it’s up on the 19th floor.Jaap Ritz #1104 dr Jaap Ritz #1104 bedroom1 Jaap Ritz #1104 bedroom 2

Jaap Ritz #1104 bath Jaap Ritz#1104 foyerSo at $681.23  square foot, Jaap’s pad on eleven is looking like a sweet deal.

By the way: there are 20 cancelled listings, and 12 expired at The Residences. Agents tell me the downtown condo market is almost as steamy as Park Cities/Preston Hollow/Lakewood… which is on fire!

This has to be the greatest thing since, well, designs by Dorothy Draper: Interior designer Carleton Varney, who designed several units here in Dallas, including The Residences at the Ritz Carlton and also at The Stoneleigh Hotel, has also designed furniture, lighting, dinnerware and linens; he has two lines of fabrics, as well as a CD (“Carleton Varney, Music With Style”).

His client roster includes the likes of former President Jimmy Carter, Errol Flynn, the late Joan Crawford, and he’s very close to the Hunt family as well as Allie Beth Allman’s Kyle Crews. He sells wares on HSN, where he is never without his signature scarf-worn-as-tie, and his sparkling, wonderful personality. I am also crazy about his son Nicholas Varney’s jewelry line which is sold at Neimans. But get this: Carlton’s going back to teaching. That’s right, Carlton was a teacher before becoming a designer. Now he’s a design teacher!

The Dorothy Draper School of Decorating at the Greenbrier, a grand resort in West Virginia that Ms. Draper redecorated in the 1940s, and that Carlton re-vamped in July of 2010, will hold four sessions of the weeklong school, each with 20 hours of class time. Topics will include “Giving Your Room Personality,” “Color and Fabric Backgrounds That Work” and “Creating the Wow Factor.” The cost is $5000 and already I’ve sent an email off to Kyle Crews: we need to bring Carlton to Dallas for something very similar at the Ritz!

Residences at the Ritz Carlton

What do you think? If not the Ritz, then I’m packing my bags for The Greenbrier. We attended the opening of the new underground Greenbrier Casino and rubbed shoulders with Brooke Shields, Debbie Reynolds, all of Carlton’s friends. It was heavenly.

The Stoneleigh

The Stoneleigh

At first they wanted the Residences at the Ritz Carlton, but they couldn’t find a three bedroom condo to lease for just one year. So now word is that agent to the stars Allie Beth Allman, who I hear now tweets to keep up with Khloe, is helping the newcomers ink a deal at the W. Not sure which penthouse just yet, but I’d venture to say 2801 looks good, because it’s finished out (not a shell like a few of the remaining units over there) and has four bedrooms 4.2 baths, boasts 9285 square feet so the whole Kardashian gang can come in for Thanksgiving. (Khloe: Celebrity caters!) The unit is held by Encore Holdings and is the former home of Jonas Woods, remember him, who sold it in September of 2009 for $9,950,000 or $900 a square foot. Dang, remember those days? (Saw it in MLS, but I don’t believe it, I had heard closer to $6 million. But Carolyn Shamis, God rest her soul, is dead and I cannot call her!)

Allie Beth was the listing agent.

Another possibility might be Thomas A. Hartland’s 3102 which is 5731 square feet and a three/3.5, sold as a raw shell in October 2007, must surely be finished out by now. Also Don Carter has two units at The W, a smaller unit 2209 and and 2709 which is 3758 square feet, a three bedroom, 3.1 bath, had been on the market for $1.7ish.

Other agents helping the kids find a nice crib: Forrest Gregg who works on the Ben Jones team at Allie Beth, and  Seychelle Van Poole.

Don Carter's #2709

I was in Pebble Beach last week at the venerable Concours D’Elegance along with the glitterati of Jay Leno, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sherle Crow! When I saw Arnold, I steered away but snapped a pic. But Jay, dear Jay, we are becoming regular Concours buds. Last year, when my husband snapped the photo, Jay said “hey, old man, take your finger off the lens.” This year, the magic was “second homes.” He was particularly fascinated with Champs D’Or — “is this in France?” he asked, and the Residences at the Ritz Carlton.