Basking in the metaphorical Marlboro-hazed afterglow of the recent Exxxotica confab, I remembered there’s another penthouse stripped down to its skivvies and waiting to be dressed up. This time it’s the Vendome’s 12,370-square-foot penthouse 20 D/E/F being marketed by Dallas high-rise pioneer herself Judy Pittman.
No, I didn’t slip a decimal point, it is twelve-thousand, three hundred and seventy square feet. Lay those square feet out in a single line, it would be 2.34 MILES LONG. As if that weren’t enough, there are nine parking spaces (perfect for Airbnb guests). As you face Vendome, it’s basically the whole left end of the 2-story mansard roof.
And I never thought I’d type these words, but at $3.73-million, it may just be considered a bargain! That’s $301 a square foot. Figure another $200-ish a foot to outfit it into the most swish pad in Dallas. In the end, you’ve got a massive and massively personalized home that’s still kinda a bargain.
Especially when compared with some other more tumbledown 4,000-6,000 square foot “cottage” penthouses floating around Dallas you’d probably gut anyway. After all, if you’ve got this kinda change in your sofa, you’re going to want to put your imperator on the place, right? Heck, I know I do and my imperator is stamped in Glidden!
Note: I actually saw a 2-person chapel 10-feet from the master bed in one penthouse recently. This prompted me to ask what happened in that room that forgiveness was needed so quickly.
Buyers wanting a little privacy are in luck. There may be three units on the 20th floor – another owner-occupied 12-thousand footer and a third, 5,086 square foot maisonette – but with your own elevator bank, none of them will be sending pesky servants over for a cup of sugar. At least not in the normal way …
The penthouses of the Vendome have a little “secret.” In addition to killer views and massive sizes, they also share what has to be the world’s longest widow’s walk encircling the entire building. All the penthouses have access through multiple sets of French doors. It’s a continuous ribbon balcony, and while there are gates between the units, they’re only thigh-high and hardly fortified with razor wire. I’m not sure I’d use it as a jogging track, but with the French-inspired architecture, one might go out for an evening stroll in spats or a parasol and bustle. There is no category for World’s Longest Widow’s Walk in the Guinness Book, so it’s ripe for a listing!
The Vendome was built in 2002 on the site of 3525 Turtle Creek’s mini-golf course. I bet you’re wondering how come, 13 years later, this sky mansion is still a shell? Well, turns out the owner (an unmarried man) purchased it from the Vendome developer (all you gold diggers get in line in back of me). He always thought he’d get back to kitting it out as his primary residence. But after a decade of paying HOAs and property taxes, his life just isn’t circling back to this Dallas penthouse as planned. So it’s time to let it go. Oh, before you read this next bit, get out your cell phones and dial 9-1 … ready? … over the years, he’s paid an estimated $1.5 mil in property taxes and HOA dues … 1.
Lux agents like Judy Pittman of her eponymous agency, Sharon Quist from Dave Perry Miller, Victoria Barr with Ebby and the ever wonderful Sue Krider from Allie Beth Allman all tell me the same thing. At this stratosphere, shells need visionary buyers. Just like the rest of us, a blank slate can be intimidating. Even if a home is in gut-able condition, just seeing the drywall and the basic flow of a space is much easier to wrap your head around than wide-open spaces.
I must admit it took me a few minutes to get my bearings when I visited the shell with Pittman’s assistant Lauren Champlin. First you’re drawn to the seemingly wonky floors that look like dry reflecting pools – and then the lightbulb goes on – they’re raised floors so owners have complete control over where their plumbing and electricity go. I’m told Vendome and The Mansion Residences are the only two high-rises to offer this very expensive, though invisible, amenity.
Another cool feature of this penthouse are the window placements. Sure there are a lot of them bringing in amazing 180-degree views of Dallas at its finest. But in between the windows there are these really cool angled niches that when properly lit would create a Nasher-worthy sculpture gallery encircling the perimeter. Another option might elicit Gloria Upson to note, “Books are awfully decorative, don’t you think?”
At 12-grand-ish of square-footage, there are any number of living spaces available. In this penthouse they’re 24’ high. In these spaces, with mesmerizing views, you don’t need a TV. What’s also interesting to note is that in a smaller space, the inward-leaning outer walls might feel cramped, but in spaces this large, they bring the rooms into a more human-scale while maintaining the grandeur and drama of the diagonal. They also bring in more of the sky. Imagine stretching out on a sofa at night gazing out at the stars.
Yeah, this is what I’m talking about! The view is a slow-moving kaleidoscope as day turns to night and as the City of Dallas’ skyline changes as the years pass. Penthouse owners at the Vendome all have front-row seats.
I bet you’re wondering about the Master bedroom and bath? Well, here’s my idea. This is another double-height space (obviously) that I’d turn into the Master. The ground floor would be the bedroom itself with the bed facing towards the windows. The second floor would be floor-to-ceiling glass walls with sheer privacy curtains (motorized natch!) that would house a master bath (or two). Imagine a glass shower and a giant bathtub almost suspended in the air facing out to the city? I might also place the vanities up against the glass too. Imagine mirrors integrated with the glass wall that would also seem to hang in the air. Closets? Well darlin’, it’s 12,370 square feet, there’s space for a small Neiman’s.
This Vendome mega-penthouse is for those buyers visionary enough to let loose a trusted architect and designer to confect dreams out of these concrete bones. Oh, and savvy enough to invite me over to see the end result. 🙂
Remember: Do you have an HOA story to tell? A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors? How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting? Shoot Jon an email. Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)! email@example.com