Look high, look low, you will not know this house exists. But exist it does, like a Limestone Castle nestled in the heart of Bluffview. Hiding behind private automatic gates, this home is an amazing feat of architecture and style. It holds cabinetry and woodwork I have never seen the likes of. It’s also another one of those “are we really in Dallas, Dorothy?” homes. Or moments. Once you turn down that cobbled brick circular driveway and step up the stone steps leading to the front door, you feel more like you are in Beverly Hills. Or Santa Barbara.
First of all, if I were to ask you to guess the age of this home, I know you would not be able to guess it. Ha! Maybe we should have a contest. Like a woman with perfect genes, HGH injections or a great plastic surgeon, this home belies its age. It was built in 1993, but with such taste and style it looks like a contemporary 2014 creation.
Of course, 1993 was not that long ago. The home was commissioned in 1993 by a west coast builder who is rumored to have built Gene Hackman’s estate in Pebble Beach and had experience building castles in Europe. The exterior is 100% limestone, which wraps into the interiors as well and is used in all molding trim, baseboard and ceiling. Every square inch of wall is Venetian plaster. Though the walls are not made of stone, they appear to be. Further, this is not just your average Venetian plaster.
“It’s Venetian plaster on a metal lathe,” says Coldwell Banker Residential Previews International agent Barbara Heady. ” It’s all one-half inch plaster.”
The solidness of each wall gives a secure ambiance that I don’t feel in every home, even the multimillion dollar trophies. It’s like being in a very beautiful cave. But there is never a cold shoulder, probably because wood — French oak and teak wood –is brought into every room so artfully. Even the mechanical closet has a beautifully carved door. Heavy French oak and teak wood doors are throughout, leaving the clear glass as a window to the exteriors.
You enter into a stunning foyer through clear glass frameless doors that serve their purpose here and everywhere they are used: to bring the outdoors of this rugged, heavily wooded, .90 acre lot into the home seamlessly. The foyer opens to the living and dining areas, which are all open (by more of those fantastic-ly huge frameless windows and doors) to the long back loggia overlooking the pool. More on that loggia — one of the best I’ve seen. This behemoth room is another example of the thoughtfulness that came with the original forward-thinking design: open spaces, not the choppy rooms of most late 1980’s and early 1990’s homes. In fact, it is the flow of the great rooms that belies this property’s age so well. Abutting the entrance are alcoves outfitted with custom-built limestone-fronted cabinets, stone, of course being a theme we see throughout this home.
The master is accessed down a drift of steps, a secluded, romantic suite that encompasses the entire northern wing of the home. There is a separate entrance/exit to the pool by circular stones, all very private, and the continuation of the Venetian plaster story. In the huge master spa bath, whitewashed French oak and teak wood continues the stone aura and is almost mystical — is it stone or driftwood? Like other portions of the home, doorways are arched to provide interest and the castle-like feel. A huge antique mirror, likely from India, is molded into a wall. There are built-in shelves, crannies, and the continuation of the stone-front drawers and cabinets. The closet space is so large, I think you could almost create an additional room back here.
Back through the living area is the kitchen, loaded with top of the line appliances and beautiful granite counters. This is the room where the limestone-front cabinets make their best debut. If you are sick of white, whitewashed, enamel or dark wood kitchen cabinets, stop right here and experience solid limestone cabinet and drawer fronts! The breakfast room has an eye-level fireplace (because we wouldn’t want to tax the eyes to look downward), one of five fireplaces in the home. There is an entire wall of frameless glass overlooking the backyard. Quite striking, this window makes the demarcation between the exteriors and the interiors invisible as you dine.
This room holds another example of the incredible attention to detail that was organically built into the home: 8626 Lakemont is equipped with a Vantage home automation system and a six-figure lighting system. In the breakfast room, tiny ceiling pin lights are situated precisely above each place setting.
Let me tell you something else about this home — it is not, repeat not, your typical curved debutant staircase in the front foyer. The stairs are handsomely tucked into a hall nook to the right of the foyer, with a charming powder room and a huge subterranean media room that could double as a storm cellar. The media room walls are covered in fabric and sound proofed. There is a wine room , too, and a large three-car garage with epoxy flooring. The third bay has immense storage and could easily be used as a caterers kitchen or extra dog/crafts room.
Up the stairs are two en suite bedrooms and a study. The hallway is a charming groin vault where two barrel vaulted ceilings intersect. Each bedroom is private with open baths to take advantage of the sunlight that flows into each room. At the very top of the stairs is the study which does not have a solid door but rather an intricately hand-forged iron gate. The study overlooks the garden and flowing fountain through more frameless glass. It’s like being in a tree house. Up here, too, is a second laundry room.
This is a 4766 square foot home that seems much larger. The utility costs are minimal, given the exquisite construction and proliferance of stone. The grounds are, of course, stunning, and no neighboring homes are visible from the back yard.
But perhaps my favorite part of this home, besides the unusually beautiful woods and use of stone, is the huge loggia which can create another whole living space — screen or glass it. I love the way the rectangular pool is situated to it and the home. Standing at the very end of the pool, the eye is drawn to the exterior fireplace from the farthest point. The pool is also visible from nearly every window in the house, creating a water tranquility that makes it almost impossible, impossible to believe that this home is in the heart of Dallas, Texas. Seems much more like Santa Barbara. Or La Jolla.
The listing price is $2, 750,000. and it is marketed with dynamo Barbara Heady at Coldwell Banker Residential Previews International Park Cities (972.333.4039) No broker babble here when I tell you this home is unique — it even has a doll house replica, Calicommissioned by a past owner who fancied having tunnels for his grandchildren. How very, very California!