Elizabeth Taylor Drank Here: Elegance and Esteem Catty Corner from Jordan Spieth’s New Home

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5425 Royal extRusswood Acres is a gated community in the heart of Preston Hollow, about a quarter mile from that other hot gated community where Jordan Spieth and Hunter Mahan have owned the same house, The Creeks of Preston Hollow. Y’all know that Jordan just picked up Hunter’s house for about $666 a square foot, right? Dirt in The Creeks is going for at least $2 million an acre. So when you look at Russwood Acres, and it’s glitzy gated neighbor which is basically catty-corner, you can begin to absorb the value that is here. I mean, it’s practically a neighbor!GetMedia1

2Russwood Acres was developed in 1962 by Bill Smith and Harold Clark, and the goal was to be upscale and elite. Indeed, this area was the Creeks of 1962. The neighborhood had nothing but four and five bedroom ranch homes on sprawling lawns with many trees, many of which have matured majestically.

The goal of the developers was to provide quality construction with large home sites for families seeking big backyards. Many of the home sites are at least a half-acre, with the cul-de-sac lots coming in even larger. I think the smallest home is about 3400 square feet, and surely by now it has been expanded. There is no guard gate, but the entire neighborhood is cloaked by a brick wall and  there is no through traffic. Many private schools are within walking distance or just a short drive away, and the delights of Preston Royal are 1.0 mile to the east. Plus if you want to get anywhere, the Dallas North Tollway entrance will get you there lickety-split. There are 229 homes, and they do not trade often. Liza Lee, the former headmistress of The Hockaday School, lived in Russwood and still may. Many of the homes are built on pier and beam and nearly all of them have at least four bedrooms. Only a few have been torn down and rebuilt, but most have been remodeled and updated since the original build out. One reason why baby boomers are loving Russwood: those one story sprawling ranches offer plenty of downstairs bedrooms.

And now, there is a home available with some history, too. 5425 Royal Lane is a five bedroom, five full bath spread with quite an owner and guest history. It is on Royal, between the Dallas North Tollway and Inwood, but set back on a cul de sac. In fact, had Airb&b existed in the 1960’s, this home would have blown up the internet! Talk about famous guests…

“If these walls could talk,” says listing agent Margaret Ponder, “you’d hear how it once hosted the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, the King of the Zulu tribe in Africa and other notable guests. For the home’s owners, entertaining was a lifestyle.”

The owner was Dutch artist, philanthropist and World War II survivor Johanna Harvey, whose father was taken by the Nazis and sent to a work camp. She lived on three continents, survived the war and a hand grenade attack, and ultimately became close to the Hollywood acting community. From Australia she came to visit Tyler, Texas, where she fell in love and settled in Dallas. She was a generous entertainer and filled her home entertaining many social circles and even some royalty. That’s why the house is surrounded by gardens. The pool is in the shape of a shamrock to signify good luck.

Indeed, that may be the luck of the near-perfect guest flow. Guests can move with ease from the two-story entry hall into the sunken living room or the magnificent great room with soaring ceilings — that’s the other thing about Russwood: tall ceilings abound. As do outdoor entertaining spaces.

3 4 5 6 8 10 1112 13 14 15 16 17 20 master 21 master bath“Double French doors in the formals flow onto the outdoor living space, complete with outdoor cooking area,” Evelyn says. “It’s easy to picture your own parties overflowing outside to the clover-shaped waterfall pool area, summer kitchen and cabana/art studio.”

The other side of the great room, adds Ponder, is lined with bay windows overlooking a garden and large side yard, making for great views all around.

And the master suite is on the first floor! It has a large sitting area and marble fireplace, and in the master bath, there are separate his and her dressing rooms with an adjoining dry sauna and shower. Incredible etched glass detailing in the suite’s windows also remind you of the bygone 1960’s era. Fixtures are Waterford and Baccarat, which I would definitely keep through any updating.

The kitchen is fairly up-to-date with an eat-in breakfast room, farmhouse sink and pretty tile backsplash. There are views of the yard and pool, and dining room. A bonus room off the kitchen was a trend in the 1960’s– we had one in our home on Melissa, one of the finest built homes I have ever owned, they built them right back then! That room can be a guest room, teen’s room, study, extra living space, or game room. Head up the back stairs to four huge bedrooms with en suite baths, walk-in closets and more great views of the property. The home also has a three-car garage, slate roof, copper siding, cased double pane windows, pool house-quarters-studio with a full bath and wet bar.

22 guest 23 guest 24 guest 25 gardens 26 poolhouse 79
29 Royal overviewAre you ready for the price? $1,375,000 for 5,706 square feet of lovely living and .97 of an acre. That’s $240.97 a square foot. Jordan Spieth just paid $666 and you can walk over to his house!

If, of course, you can slip by the security guard!












Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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