Estate Puts Downton Abbey to Shame at a Price Reduced by Almost $5 Million!

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This is one of my most treasured homes in Dallas. It could be so because I am friends with the people who first built it in 1996, and I watched it go up step by very careful, lovingly placed step. It sits on a luscious piece of land that the original owner searched high and low to find, and when she did find it was thrilled. Hence the estate is named, “Dans Bois Crete,” or translated into English, “In Wood Ridge”. The home is located on that elegant stretch of “wooded ridge” on Inwood Road just south of Walnut Hill, not too far from the estates of Kelcy Warren, Roger Staubach, and Windle and Shirley Turley.

Dynamo agent Christy Berry, of Briggs Freeman Sothebys, first told me about this listing, invited me for a look/see, I said oh yes, I know the people who first built 9806 Inwood. It was glorious then, a true record-setter of building perfection. They first called it Idylwood Hill, which is still the name of the subdivision. My friends built the home with every detail imaginable, then settled back and enjoyed it, from the wonderful gourmet chef’s kitchen to the downstairs movie theater with a full-service ticket booth plus candy and popcorn concession stand. At 14,139-square-feet, the very French mansion sits on 5.3-acres tucked inside formidable black iron gates at 9806 Inwood Road.

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Yet it’s so private, from the road, you cannot see much at all.

And if I thought my friend’s design sensibilities were fantastic, as they are, I can only swoon over what the new owner has added to this estate. It truly leaves you breathless!

Berry will not reveal the owner’s name. However, the Wall Street Journal, who featured the home in a “Mansion” section (paywall) over a year ago, spilled the beans that the owners are Erich and Audrey Spangenberg, founders of patent-assertion legal firm IPNav. According to its website, IPNav has won more than $610 million in patent monetization. Whatever, they apparently own homes all over the world, travel a great deal and Audrey has the most exquisite taste I’ve ever seen: she did most of the extensive re-design herself for more than a year and a half after they bought the home in 2007.

The home has six glorious bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three half baths. Very dramatic: the Spangenbergs applied gold leaf, which is on the ceilings of the entry hall and dining rooms. I am talking 24 karat gold leaf. You have never seen anything like it! There is a Baccarat chandelier, and that private theater is paneled in blue velvet. (Yep, just like the movie, Blue Velvet.) There are Venetian plastered hallways, and in fact I think every wall is Venetian plaster, coffered ceilings, marble and wood floors and of course security cameras throughout the home. The main part of the mansion includes arched glass French doors, a gaming room with an adjacent bar, a cherry wood-paneled library of imported Honduras Mahogany, a master retreat with attached screened-in porch, the first I had ever seen in Dallas. I do recall those screens were retractable, I believe. There are numerous sitting rooms and studies. The outdoors, designed by renown landscape designer Harold Leidner, includes an outdoor kitchen with a full fryer. You could live in this outside oasis. There is also a guest suite and a beautiful home office for the Mistress of the Manor.

The WSJ says Mr. and Mrs. Spangenberg purchased the property in 2007 for $7.68 million, which I think is incorrect. I think it was more.  They imported many of the materials from Europe including the front-door handles, which are from Lithuania.

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I think my personal favorite part of this estate is the wood-paneled entrance to a hidden stairway right off the foyer leading to a 2,200-bottle wine cellar. Downstairs, too is that theater complete with luxury seating, sound proofing and a full concession bar. There is even a fun ticket counter! As the original owner told me, she loves movies and always wanted to have a movie theater in her home! I so agree — though builders tell me they are “out”, I still think a home theater or media room is the ultimate luxury!

The mansion has a long, winding drive up with a creek that runs through the lot. Atop the ridge is the home featuring a pool, incredible terrace and sweeping lawns on the vast acreage. There is even a maze garden designed by renown landscape designer Harold Leidner. The circular drive in front of the home features a cascading Italian fountain flanked by four small fire pits studded with fire torches, all created by the current owner..

Perhaps the most amazing thing about “Dans Bois Crete” is the dramatic westward view from the home come sunset. The torches are ablaze and the Texas sun is setting, spinning off marvelous glints of orange and yellow as the sun descends. Looking westward over the flickering torches, this home evokes images of a Bavarian castle.

Originally listed for $19.5 million, Christy has this pup on the special sale shelf. How special is that price? Try $14,999,000. A huge reduction, and a very fair price to pay for almost 15,000 square feet on 5.3 acres. Fair indeed. Shall we start a collection? NO NEED TO! WE HAVE INWOOD BANK! I cannot imagine any other bank in town that would LOVE to have this stunning little estate under its wing… can you?

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