It is almost impossible to describe what it feels like to actually visit Walnut Place, the former Crespi Estate, as it was christened by owners Thomas O. and Cinda Hicks. But we were fortunate indeed to tour the 35,275 square foot (67,689 including terraces) estate for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The most expensive home in Dallas is now on the market with both Allie Beth Allman and David Nichols of the brokerage bearing Allie Beth’s name. The home had previously been marketed by Doug Newby, who’s methodology had been to keep it highly exclusive and restrictive — few Dallas area agents were actually ever inside the home. That could be because Doug thought the buyer would come from outside of Dallas. He did have the estate plastered on every private jet publication out there. Until now, it has not been in the MLS.
Last Thursday, the extraordinary Preston Hollow estate was opened to the agents of Allie Beth Allman to tour for the very first time. Everyone was absolutely breathless. The drive-up as you turn into the graceful private gates at 10000 Hollow Way is more like driving through the French countryside to a fabulous chateaux deep in the heart of the forest. You are on 25.25 acres but you are seconds from the Dallas North Tollway entrance and about a seven minute drive to downtown Dallas with minimum traffic. Office in Preston Center and you could even walk –it’s 4 miles!
The drive splits, forking to the right and left. The two circles culminate in the entrance to the crushed limestone auto courtyard. It is here the original Crespi Estate, designed by Maurice Fatio, was situated on the rambling acreage for the best possible siting: the drive pulls you into another world of pastoral escape, all of which is viewable from the estate. The estate overlooks a forest of trees and a creek which runs through the property. There are meadows and trails, a year-round pond, a helipad with a lighted landing pad that is covered with grass when not in use to maintain the natural aesthetic. There are two courtyards lined with 16 magnolia trees each, a greenhouse, formal rose garden, lighted tennis court, and a 1500 foot deep well was drilled on the property and that water is then purified to water the estate grounds.
You enter the estate though an ornamental steel front door. You will enter into the original Crespi estate that was built in 1938. The addition, completed by John Sebastian, flows completely seamlessly from the original mansion to the new. I’m told the Hicks did not just add more limestone to their exterior renovation, they went to the actual quarry in Indiana that had supplied the original limestone back in the 1930’s. They re-opened it and excavated stone from the same terra for the absolute utmost chance of a perfect match. Stones, as you know, can be like fabrics and no two are ever 100% alike. A Corian technique of light sandblasting was used to match the new Indiana limestone to the old original, perhaps remove the “newness”.
The home is amazingly balanced and perfectly symmetrical. It begins with the marble floored gallery hall running the girth of the main house. (more…)