07/25/16 5:59pm

CityMAP main graphic 1

If you missed part one, click here.  Overall, the documents and scenarios CityMAP put together are logical and straight-forward.  Most call for the submersion of key highways surrounding Dallas’ core aiding in traffic flow and neighborhood revitalization.

One calls for the rerouting of I-30 to the distant south and one calls for the removal of a portion of I-45 and US-75.  I’m all for the submersion and covering of these highways.  I’m faaaaaar from convinced on these other two.

Are you HIGH?

What happens to 45/75 traffic when it's partially removed. Everything scatters before returning to the highway.

What happens to 45/75 traffic when it’s partially removed. Everything scatters before returning to the highway.


07/25/16 5:39pm
The image that turns beachfront dreams into nightmares

The image that turns beachfront dreams into nightmares

With Darby in the rear-view mirror, it seemed an appropriate time to remind readers that second homes aren’t all worry-free fabulousness.  If you can’t bear the thought of seeing this picture aimed at your vacation paradise, renting may be the way to go.

Second home living is almost always wonderful, but you have to understand what Mother Nature can toss your way … be that hurricane, earthquake, forest fire, blizzard, flood, tornado or even a volcano. I say this because many popular vacation home locales are in more precarious areas than our main homes … because often these precarious settings are also beautiful.


Find out more on SecondShelters.com.

07/25/16 4:25pm

6820 Garlinghouse Front

To some buyers, 6820 Garlinghouse looks like too much work. It’s a 1985-built ranch in Far North Dallas that is in original condition, according to Ashli Clements of Minnette Murray Properties, a boutique real estate group under Coldwell banker residential brokerage.

“It has really good bones and the floor plan works well for today’s families,” she said. “It’s totally livable right now. The seller lived in home for four years and didn’t change a thing. The breakfast nook is actually beautiful, with that gorgeous ceiling.”

6820 Garlinghouse Breakfast

But today’s buyers seem to be lacking in vision and inspiration, because at 2,565 square feet, this home is priced just right for the renovation-minded. This four-bedroom, three-bath home inside the Dallas city limits but with Plano ISD schools is being marketed for just $350,000 — a steal! Plus, buyers will receive a $10,000 allowance toward upgrades, making those Pinterest boards you’ve been carefully curating for your dream house even closer to tangible reality.


07/25/16 10:46am


061516 WT Sales Center (11) - Courtesy of Windrose Tower

“The bedroom communities of Dallas have matured.”

This is pretty unprecedented: the Windrose Tower at Legacy West, the first new luxury high rise condominium to be built north of LBJ in years, reached the one-quarter sold phase after the sales center opened four weeks ago on June 10.

I mean, dang.

“The neighborhood is totally selling it,” says Al Coker, Al Coker & Associates, the real estate sales firm marketing the Legacy highrise. He is referring to the $3.2 billion dollar, 255 acre Legacy West development at the northern tip of Plano, which is, as we all gleefully know, home to the new North American headquarters of Toyota and FedEx Office as well as the regional headquarters for JP Morgan Chase and Liberty Mutual. More than 15,000 employees zipping around this once prairie make it one of the largest new job centers in the state.

“This is the most walkable neighborhood in Dallas (North Texas),” says Al. “The draw is really the neighborhood, where everything you need and want is right there. And with all the jobs pouring into Plano/Frisco, it’s convenient to work as well.”

Who is buying? Al says mostly downsizing empty nesters from Plano, North Dallas and Frisco tiring of home maintenance, but he is also seeing a LOT of 40 year olds. Two couples, one from Hong Kong, another from Taiwan, have bought units as second homes.

“These people have raised their kids, or their kids are in college, and their jobs are a mile away,” says Al. “The bedroom communities of Dallas have matured.”



kitchen upgrades

This is the fourth installment of an occasional column called Getting Real About Renovations. We’re looking at renovation realities for all sorts of projects, from hardwood floors and open floorplans, to master suite additions and kitchen upgrades. We’ll give you the unadulterated truth about options, costs, effort, Realtor opinion, and estimated ROI for these projects. You can read the last one about adding new insulation here.  

Kitchen renovations are a big deal on popular media—there’s hardly a home improvement show that doesn’t glorify the tearing apart and putting back together of a kitchen.

This is probably for good reason. The kitchen is the heart of the home and updating it can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a house.

But is it worth it? The headache and expense? Fully 35 percent of U.S. homeowners would rather move to another home than remodel their current home, according to the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

It depends on the reason for renovating, says Harrison Polsky, a Realtor with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Doing renovations can either do nothing for the seller, benefit the seller, or even hurt the seller—there honestly isn’t a right or wrong answer—think about how many spec homes are still on the market,” Polsky said. “When you start to speculate what buyers want, your risk increases. However, some buyers can’t see past an outdated kitchen and can’t get a construction loan to do the work.”

No matter the reason, though, the return on investment (ROI) for kitchen renovations is more than two-thirds the investment. Jump to learn more!


07/25/16 6:00am

4345 Manning LaneTexans have always been partial to Mediterranean architecture. Terra-cotta roofs, stucco walls and tile floors lend themselves beautifully to our climate and lifestyle. When we saw this gorgeous Mediterranean luxury villa at 4345 Manning Lane it reminded us of those amazing stucco Santa Barbara castles celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Will Smith call home. (more…)

Real Estate Story
07/25/16 1:49am


Right about now is when people usually start thinking about getting away from the heat with a vacation home somewhere that is cooler. Its not that we don’t love Dallas — sometimes this heat is a bear to bear. Our pool is perfect for me right about now: 88 degrees. Come August it inches up to 95 and I want to toss in ice cubes. No relief comes until the end of September so yes, a lot of us sleep with visions of vacation homes dancing in our heads.

Like Jackson Hole. Like Lake Tahoe. Like Big Sky, Montana. Like Santa Fe or Colorado.

So no shock that the top laces where Dallasites go to escape the heat are Breckenridge, Colorado; Santa Fe, New Mexico, which I have always called a bedroom community of Dallas; South Padre; Galveston and the Gulf Coast of Florida: Alys Beach, Watercolor, Seaside and Rosemary Beach. Panama City Beach sucked up 8.3 percent of all Dallas originated searches for vacation homes on Trulia. This comes from a special report by the folks at Trulia, who checked into which vacation home hot spots are becoming more popular for second homes.”

Texas is climbing as a popular destination for people in colder climates seeking warm weather, while we are escaping to cooler climes including, believe it or not, McCall, Idaho. One of the top ten most popular vaca home spots in the nation is Hallettsville, Texas, a rural stretch in Lavaca County between San Antonio and Houston. The whole story about Hallettsville — who knew? —and the most popular vaca destinations from Dallas is over on our sweet sister blog, SecondShelters.com

Meantime: where do you have (or dream of having) a vacation home?


07/23/16 9:55am

Saturday Eight HundredEveryone loves the M Streets. The neighborhood is centrally located, kid- friendly, and quiet, with one of the nicest collection of 1920s and ‘30s cottages in Dallas. Our Saturday Eight Hundred is a charming M Street cottage at 6250 McCommas Boulevard and it’s not just adorable, it’s also huge.