Julio Quinones North Dallas Ranch Turns Up the Sparks in Sparkman Estates

3241 Merrell ext
This is one of those listings that drives me to drink because I cannot for the life of me understand how damn wonderful our real estate market is. Do you know that I wake up and pinch myself every single day? We are so lucky, I am so lucky, to be in a real estate market where we have beauty surrounding us. Beauty like the jewel box that is 3241 Merrell Circle.

If I were going to be poor — well, on a super tight budget — I’d so want to be poor right here in Dallas. Why? Because people are kind and generous and would give me their cast-off designer duds? Throw me a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and say, if you can catch it, you can drink it? NO! (more…)

The Beat Condos Ext

The Cedars is a favorite trendy neighborhood of ours, full of urban lofts, condo buildings, and townhomes in an area that is cleaning up nice, but still is a little gritty, kind of like Brad Pitt in “A River Runs Through It” or George Clooney in “The American.”

So yes, like both Pitt and Clooney (SWOON!), the Cedars is a fantastic neighborhood that is easy on the eyes even with a five o’clock shadow. It’s a hub of artists and venues and great local dives. It has downtown views, is close to North Oak Cliff, and next door to the Trinity River. It has mass transit and is fantastic for someone who wants to simplify, and perhaps live car free.

The Beat Unit 406 Living Dining

And this unit inside the popular Buzz Lofts is a great place to start your urban lifestyle. It has an open, convertible floorplan that is either a large one-bedroom unit or a cozy two-bedroom apartment with a spacious single bath. Unit 406 at 1111 Akard St. has a gorgeous view of downtown Dallas, too, and is listed for lease by Virginia Cook Realtor Chad Barker for $1,325 a month.

Considering the sleek, Euro-style kitchen with island, and convenient garage-door opening to the balcony, these condos often feel like they would be more at home in Denmark than in Dallas, and still, with our mild spring and fall, I would have that roll-up door open early and often to soak up the urban vibes.

The Beat Unit 406 Kitchen

The bamboo floors are a boon for anyone who wants cool, low-maintenance floors that aren’t quite as freezing cold as polished concrete but still feel a little edgy. There’s a huge utility area and closet — 12 feet of space! — which is rare for an urban loft. You have more than 980 square feet of space to move around and customize, and considering the separate bedroom accommodations, you could easily make this home a great place for hosting a few friends by using the second bedroom area as a living or dining room, and perhaps even put a large farm table next to the roll-up door, which you could open when the weather suits you for a lovely dining experience.

The Beat Unit 406 Second Bed or Living THe Beat Unit 406 Master Partition The Beat Unit 406 Master Creepy Sconces The Beat Unit 406 Bath

Now, the only nit I’m going to pick isn’t even a big deal, because those creepy human-looking wall sconces in the master? They’ll be gone by the time you move in. So it’s a non issue! Still, are they not super weird voodoo doll looking things? I would not be able to sleep with those at my bedside!

So come for the culture, stay for the views, and viva la Cedars!

The Beat Unit 406 Downtown View

2125 Highwood Front

I really do like this little house in the San Juan Heights area of Casa View Haven. It’s a three bedroom, two bath post-war traditional in an up-and-coming area of East Dallas. There’s a lot of community involvement, and lots of young families moving in. This is a great house for a middle-class couple with two young kids to make their own.

2125 Highwood Dining

But — and this is my only hang-up about this property — is $185,000 a realistic price for this home? It seems somewhat aspirational considering the comps in the area are priced at least $20,000 less than this home, often more. Now, if 2125 Highwood Drive was on the other side of Peavy Road, I could see it going for about that price. But it’s not.

2125 Highwood Family

Still, it’s a cute home with a lot of good updates, including fresh exterior paint and landscaping, refinished hardwoods, super cute kitchen cabinets, and stainless steel appliances. There’s almost 1,600 square feet of space, too, but there’s no separate utility or laundry area.

2125 Highwood Kitchen

There’s a detached two-car garage and an enormous backyard, too. You’ll have to add a gate or some fencing, though, to contain the little ones.

2125 Highwood Bath
What do you think is a fair price for this house?

2125 Highwood Backyard

2125 Highwood Front

I really do like this little house in the San Juan Heights area of Casa View Haven. It’s a three bedroom, two bath post-war traditional in an up-and-coming area of East Dallas. There’s a lot of community involvement, and lots of young families moving in. This is a great house for a middle-class couple with two young kids to make their own.

2125 Highwood Dining

But — and this is my only hang-up about this property — is $185,000 a realistic price for this home? It seems somewhat aspirational considering the comps in the area are priced at least $20,000 less than this home, often more. Now, if 2125 Highwood Drive was on the other side of Peavy Road, I could see it going for about that price. But it’s not.

2125 Highwood Family

Still, it’s a cute home with a lot of good updates, including fresh exterior paint and landscaping, refinished hardwoods, super cute kitchen cabinets, and stainless steel appliances. There’s almost 1,600 square feet of space, too, but there’s no separate utility or laundry area.

2125 Highwood Kitchen

There’s a detached two-car garage and an enormous backyard, too. You’ll have to add a gate or some fencing, though, to contain the little ones.

2125 Highwood Bath
What do you think is a fair price for this house?

2125 Highwood Backyard

A Major Name in Dallas Real Estate Has Left Us: Vance C. Miller, R.I.P.

Three generations of Millers Vance MillerLocal real estate mogul,  major Republican donor and Dallas philanthropist Vance C. Miller died early Saturday morning after suffering a heart attack at the age of 79. I had just seen his lovely wife, Tincy, at a luncheon Thursday at the 11th Annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award where I was the guest of Kyle Crews and the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton.

Mr. Miller was chairman and chief executive officer of the Henry S. Miller Company, a name that veteran Dallas Realtors know as well as the word “contract”. Mr. Miller’s grandfather, Henry S., launched the company in 1914, growing it from a one-man show to one of the largest commercial and residential businesses in the nation. Among some of the Dallas properties owned by HSM: Prestonwood Country Club,  Signature Athletic Club, Preston Royal, Preston Trails and until 2009, Highland Park Village. The companies that spawned from Henry S. Miller Sr.’s lone office have dealt in billions of dollars in residential and commercial real estate deals over the years, and launched many stellar real estate careers. In commercial, there’s (among others) Roger Staubach, Herb Weitzman, Wayne Swearingen, and Ken Hughes to name a few. In residential, there’s hundreds, including Virginia Cook.

I had the pleasure of flying to Costa Rica in June of 2008 courtesy of Fort Worth-based Hillwood, when the market was white hot, on the Perot’s G450 to check out 13 prime beachfront lots in Peninsula Papagayo, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It’s about an hour’s drive from Liberia and the airport that Ollie North built. On board were Ellen TerryDave Perry-Miller and Virginia Cook. Over Nicaragua, I asked Virginia how she got her start in residential real estate. She explained that she worked for Henry S. Miller, Sr., and he was looking for someone to start a residential brokerage services division to help find houses for the families of the CEO’s and employees who were moving to Dallas. The Henry S. Miller Company was busy finding commercial space for new companies, property management, developing shopping centers and office buildings, but they wanted a division to handle the home sales and capture that business. In 1971 the company was the first to offer specialized real estate services in Dallas with Virginia Cook at the helm. By 1996, it was the second largest residential real estate firm in Texas, after Ebby Halliday. We bought a home in 1983 using a fine Henry S. Miller agent, Virginia Johnson. In 2001, Henry S. Miller sold the residential real estate division to Coldwell Banker Residential. Virginia Cook had left to start her own firm a year before. After the sale, many former HSM agents flocked to Virginia Cook.

Vance C. Miller became President of HSM in 1970 and led the company’s expansion throughout the 1970s and 1980s.  In 1984, the company merged with another major firm to form the nation’s third largest real estate services firm. Mr. Miller was born in Dallas in 1933, son of the late Henry S. Miller, Jr. and Juanita Miller. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor’s in business administration in 1954. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Geraldine “Tincy” Miller; two sons Vaughn Miller and Greg Miller, and one daughter Cynthia Vance-Abrams. He and his family top the mile-high list of generosity and philanthropy in Dallas.  At Thursday’s luncheon, Mrs. Miller was recognized for providing one of the four scholarships given to four outstanding graduate students.

It’s My Mansion: Need a Well-Rounded Home? Check Out This Dome-icile!

Dome Home Front

I love quirky houses! If a home has character, a neat feature, or some really defining characteristic, I love it!

While it’s no Bio-Dome, this concrete-shell house has two bedrooms, two baths, and 2,100 square feet. You’ll love the secluded location, but you’ll have to learn to live with few windows in this home. I love the upstairs loft, though.

Dome Home Living

Perhaps you’ve driven by the Monolithic Institute on I-35 on your way to Austin and thought, “Gee, I wonder what it’s like inside one of those domes …” Well, this is it! The house, which is at 3592 County Road 338, is marketed by Debbie Hudnall of Virginia Cook Realtors.

Dome Home Kitchen

It’s incredibly affordable, too, at $125,000, but you’d need to do a lot of renovating. Of course, you’d also have to live in the Collin County suburb of Melissa, which is too far away from Dallas for me, but maybe that’s your kind of thing.

So, do you think you could live in a dome?

It's My Mansion: Need a Well-Rounded Home? Check Out This Dome-icile!

Dome Home Front

I love quirky houses! If a home has character, a neat feature, or some really defining characteristic, I love it!

While it’s no Bio-Dome, this concrete-shell house has two bedrooms, two baths, and 2,100 square feet. You’ll love the secluded location, but you’ll have to learn to live with few windows in this home. I love the upstairs loft, though.

Dome Home Living

Perhaps you’ve driven by the Monolithic Institute on I-35 on your way to Austin and thought, “Gee, I wonder what it’s like inside one of those domes …” Well, this is it! The house, which is at 3592 County Road 338, is marketed by Debbie Hudnall of Virginia Cook Realtors.

Dome Home Kitchen

It’s incredibly affordable, too, at $125,000, but you’d need to do a lot of renovating. Of course, you’d also have to live in the Collin County suburb of Melissa, which is too far away from Dallas for me, but maybe that’s your kind of thing.

So, do you think you could live in a dome?

Realtors ask me to come see their homes HOURLY. Darling Maria Centeno with Virginia Cook has been trying to get me over to 5515 Morningside Drive now for ages. And you know what? When Maria talks, I listen and will forever more. This home would have been worth a drive in from — Timbuktu! I don’t know when I’ve seen such an amazing combination of historic Tudor charm on the outside with a totally modern Milly home on the inside! Not to mention you are on a fabulous block in the M Streets, hello, coveted Greenland Hills. The home has been restored and rebuilt with great attention to detail, almost as if the exterior were the shell and the inside is all just brand spanking new.

But still looks old, traditional, charming.

“See these walls?” says Maria? “They are packed with foam. No cool air is escaping these pups come August in Texas.”

The 3012 square foot home home was actually gutted, the exterior brick and stone remaining while the walls were filled with that foam insulation, then the house finished on the inside like a brand new house because guess what, it IS a brand new house. It features an open floor plan with those restored (original) white oak hardwood floors, a stunning kitchen with a sleek and extra-large eat-in island, stainless appliances, granite counter and oodles of storage. Great deck out back in hardi-board, .17 of an acre, one car garage (could be a playhouse) with gated driveway entry.

And here’s something else you won’t find in the hood: a downstairs master with spa shower bath. The master has a friggin’ sitting room! Huge closets. Charming sun room. Honestly, from the front with all the sun windows you will think it’s 1928, the year it was born.

Not!

So master and formals down, two large bedrooms and baths and a center landing/gameroom upstairs with great attic storage to boot. I snapped photos of all the insulation in this house — more than in many homes built today!

Drawbacks: wonder if the one car garage is a turn-off? I have a solution? Sell one car and TAKE DART: this home is worth it! Asking $625,000. Wowsers.