Though she is no longer a reporter at CBS 11 covering City Hall, Sarah Dodd Kunkle kind of stays in our hearts as the darling news anchor she once was when she met and fell in love with hubby David Kunkle, then Dallas’ police chief.
Actually, Sarah and I first met because of housing. I was editing DallasDirt for D Magazine, and she was putting her Midway Hollow home on the market just as she and David were falling in love. She wanted me to write about that house, and I did. The girl has amazing taste in homes and an eye for spotting quality dirt, both residential and commercial.
Now Sarah has her own communications & consulting firm, Dodd Communications, of which she is president. She works with some of the highest profile developers in town and is getting a strong reputation as the go-to gal if you want to get City Hall on your side of a development.
But now, it’s time for a move. Sarah and David Kunkle are listing the 9 year old Tudor home they have enjoyed in Greenway Hills, at 5538 Ridgedale. Though the home is practically brand-new, it was built with painstaking care to meld perfectly into the heart of Greenland Hills. Tudors, Tudors and more Tudors.
“The M Streets has the largest collection of Tudors in the U.S.,” David told me when I popped in to see their personal paradise. The area is a conservation district David credits Angela Hunt for creating. He loves the character of the homes, ranging from the original 1920’s charmers to striking new construction but all, every one of them, are in line with the original standard form the neighborhood is famous for: tidy Tudors that do not overpower lots or encroach.
New homes must be built with a one-story appearance in the front. No McMansions out here, no way, no sir. Lots of about .18 an acre are running $250,000 to $300,000 for dirt lot and one of these days, mark my word: a home is going to break the one million dollar record for this hot ‘hood.
You want walkable? 5538 Ridgedale is less than a mile from the Katy trail, and once you come home here, you park your car for the night. You are less than a block from the best of Greenville Avenue:
“I can be at Terrelli’s in five minutes for dinner, ” says Sarah. “Once we get home, we walk everywhere.”
Breeze into the Kunkle/Dodd home through a covered brick porch that beckons a rocker. Like most homes in the M Streets conservation district, the lot is elevated and runs about 50 by 140. Gleaming hand-scraped hardwood floors throughout, the Craftsman feel is everywhere with arched doorways, all fringed with Sarah’s good taste. Eight years ago Sarah embarked on a total renovation of an already new home (this was the home David had shared briefly with his previous wife) with double crown molding, solid wood doors and four inch baseboards. That’s when she put in her special touches. Check out the lighting — Minka chandelier in the foyer, and Schonbeck crystal that sparkles like diamond earrings in the powder room and master bath. To the left of the entry is the formal living room, which could also be a dining room as it connects to the kitchen. Straight ahead is the Great room, anchored with a fireplace, with French door access to the covered back patio, outdoor fireplace and gardens. The kitchen looks as if a crumb has not touched it since the day the customized granite was installed: oceans of counters including a handy center island, Thermador gas stove, oven and warming drawer. Here the flooring changes from hardwood to stained concrete for easy maintenance. The silk Duponi drapes stay with the house. Also on this floor: a large guest room with private bath that doubles as the powder room.
About that powder bath: the sink is a Mother-of-Pearl hand crafted custom sink on a mahogany base. There are matching Minka wall sconces. The shower is fully tiled and private for guests.
“We have used this bedroom at times as our master,” said Sarah. “It was just fun to try living downstairs!”
Oh young love! But up the stairs is the real magic of this home: three bedrooms, including a knocked out master with spa bath and laundry room. However, David turned one entire bedroom into an extra closet for his bride.
“He gave me an entire WALL for my shoes,” says Sarah, with a smile. “This is my “Sex in the City” closet!”
Indeed, there it is: a wall of slanted shelves for Sarah’s shoes, Choos and red-soled Louboutins, topped with a row of David’s police hats given to him while he was Chief of the Dallas PD. The hats are from around the world — the Soviet Union, Holland, Thailand, even Great Britain. To the other side of the room are racks and racks of clothes. Of course, this room could easily be another bedroom, study or nursery. It has a closet, and connects to the massive master bath with deep soaking tub.
“I go through so many bath salts the folks at the store think I’m running a spa,” says Sarah.
She is, in that tub! There is also an oversized shower, commode room, and more stunning granite counters including a make-up station.
The master bedroom, which also connects to the bath, is huge with energy-efficient windows overlooking the gardens below, a stepped-up ceiling, and a sitting area. Oh and lest I forget, the master bedroom has a huge walk-in closet. You know my saying: you can never be too thin, too rich, or have too many closets. This one is also filled with Sarah’s clothes, but she has given David a corner.
Completing the upstairs is another bedroom, now in use as an office with built-in shelving, and the laundry room, which includes a laundry sink and folding counters. The home is 2505 square feet, but jam packs more useable living space into those than I have seen in eons. That the former police chief chose the area as his private home speaks volumes to the neighborhood’s safety: people are always out walking, running, pushing baby strollers. There is an extended neighborhood patrol.
The area also has a youthful vibe. Loaded with young professionals who prefer living among homes of character with rich history, the M Street and Greenland Hills is currently one of the hottest hoods in Dallas real estate.
“I love inner city living,” says David, an avid runner. “We are surrounded by 92 year old homes, yet our home fits in perfectly, while offering all the modern conveniences.”
He also loves the history.
“Some of the sidewalks around here are stamped 1927, the year this neighborhood was first developed,” says David.
Tudor charm, history and a Sex in the City closet: it doesn’t get any better than this for $750,000. The home is listed with Wayne Garcia at Dave Perry-Miller.
Where is the fun couple going next? Stay tuned, stay very tuned!