Connie Williamson has been in the Antiques business for years. I first met her when she had a showroom in the Dallas Design District, where I would meander in just to bask in the beauty of her crystal baubles and richly polished wood wardrobes.
She has bought antiques all over the world from her vast travels. Let me put it this way: the private airline people all know her. She has also amassed some of the most beautiful collectibles from local Dallas estates, and sold them to her discerning clientele. While her focus is 18th- and 19th-century Fine French antique (Louis XV and Louis XVI), she also has Italian antiques which she mixes in cleverly with a few contemporary pieces.
A few years ago, Connie took her antiques to her beautiful Lake Forest home to enjoy. It was a temporary move, but like most of us who have worked from home, she found she loved it. Clients could come to her home, if they needed to, or they could order on line. Connie was years ahead of her time. About the time she moved home for comfort and convenience, the online design world exploded.
Now Connie is selling her Lake Forest row home, and it is a treasure trove of rare and stunning antiques, from Napoleon-era Empire chairs to 18th-century wood doors from France she is cleverly using — as only Connie can — as a window cover. Of course the antiques and chandeliers are not included in her home price: $750,000 for 7311 Park Lake Drive. But they are all for sale!
The home is located in the The Parks, a higher-end neighborhood within Lake Forest. 7311 Park Lake was built by Bellaire Custom homes, with a higher quality finish-out (double crown moldings, outlets masked in four-inch baseboard), and from the impeccably spotless interiors I asked Connie if she has really lived in the home.
“Of course I live here,” she laughed. “But it’s just me, so there’s very little wear and tear.”
Very little indeed: Connie doesn’t even have a washer and dryer. I don’t think she has opened the cabinets in her laundry room since she bought the home from Bellaire in 2002. But that just leaves it in better condition for the next owners.
You enter the home through a beautiful, antique wood door into a grand foyer. To the right is a large formal dining room, and straight ahead is the great room. To the left is the formal powder room. The dining room chandelier came from an older Highland Park home (Connie cannot say whose it was) and the chandelier has the original, over sized prisms. It was also once on display at the Hastens store over on Oak Lawn.
The formal powder room has a stunning wall sconce with the fattest French crystals I have seen. Connie tells me that brass and gold fixtures are on their way back in vogue.
The family/great room is enormous, and that chandelier is pure Baccarat from Sorrento, Italy. The kitchen is like a verdigris jewel box with the rare, thick green granite that covers the counters and backsplash. Appliances are luxe-level stainless and the cabinets are custom. There is a roomy breakfast room overlooking the courtyard.
Completing this floor is the laundry room with a deep sink, opening to the two-car garage. Connie also has a pleasant, sunny little courtyard in the middle of her home, right off the Great room. Then, of course, a plethora of antiques line the master bedroom, which also has garden views and a lovely en suite bath with closets.
Up the sweeping staircase that graces the foyer is a general-purpose landing and room, two bedrooms with baths, and a nook office carved out of one corner. The bedrooms here are enormous, one qualifying as a secondary master suite with massive closets. There is extra floored attic space that you just walk right into.The upstairs is carpeted save for the baths. Again, the bathrooms are so pristine, I don’t think these upstairs fixtures have been used since 2002.
As for Lake Forest, Connie can barely bring herself to leave it. It’s a wonderful community to live in for those who have multiple homes or travel frequently. There are gates and security, but more important, there are wonderful park areas for dog walking and jogging trails. Located off Forest Lane, the area has 68 acres of grounds filled with creeks, lakes, waterfalls, and trees. There is a canine park, a swim pavilion, tennis court and picnic areas. The homes are planned on rounded cul-de-sacs for ample guest parking.
“It can be very social or secluded, whatever your preference,” she says. “From our Orson Welles clone of an officer to as many wine tastings as you care to join, Lake Forest is an event-rich community of camaraderie and friendship. Why in the world would Connie ever leave this 2,882-square-foot palace with three full baths and one powder?
“Only to move to Florida,” she says. “And we’re still not 100% sure on that.” I cannot blame her — Naples and the Gulf coast of Florida is one of the most beautiful areas anywhere. But we’d sure like Connie Williamson back in Dallas if she gets homesick for 7311 Park Lake Drive… or the entire Lake Forest community.
This one-of-a-kind Lake Forest home is listed with Ebby Halliday’s Melissa Watt from the Preston Center office, a very savvy agent who gets listings the old-fashioned way: by selling them.