By Donovan Westover
For years, I have observed my friend restore the castle exterior and grounds at Chateau Des Grotteaux with such precision, that when I heard he was selling his super iconic Lakewood home, I did a spit take with my morning commute bourbon. Most drivers-by are familiar with the French Normandy style home’s turret and slate roof poking above the stone wall, while ducking below the tree canopy along Gaston Avenue. The 1928 house, being constructed by builder Edwin Cox, was intended as a speculative residence for the Pasadena neighborhood which boasted “Pasadena Perfect Homes.” However, the house was purchased prior to completion by R.L.Thornton after seeing it advertised in a State Fair of Texas brochure. Thornton brought in Dallas’ only landscape architect at the time to lay the footing for the grounds. There is lots of history associated with the “House of the Cave” including the cave itself, which went to White Rock Lake, and as folklore has it, was used to transport liquor during prohibition.
My friend who owns the castle (the King, going forward) avoided future exterior maintenance by sheathing exposed wood with protective metal, replacing windows with custom steel replicates, installing copper gutters and roofline accessories, and replacing the shingles with slate. The historic residence is sealed tight, which is the most daunting goal of any historic property.
The grounds have been completely restored and renovated including the swimming pool, which is now a heated saltwater oasis amongst so much (real concrete) statuary that you feel like you are in Greece in 345 A.D. Flagstone walkways traverse bridges, around fish ponds, and into multiple outdoor seating vignettes including a truly one-of-a-kind secret garden that was a sight to behold during construction. The King does not cut corners.
Other exterior features include watering systems to efficiently keep up the landscape, as well as a mosquito misting system to keep the culicidae away from the extremely lush environment. This is a necessity considering the number of ponds, fountains and lengthy water rills running around the grounds. It is surreal being on the grounds enveloped by trickling water and LOTS of green. It is super fun getting bombed at the pool.
A King’s ransom was spent on the exterior and grounds alone, and the interior spaces are beautifully proportionate and accentuated, and all include breathtaking views of the grounds. The house is ripe for visionary interior updates and the completed exteriors will take the right buyer years ahead on the “Perfect Pasadena Project House.”
Chateau Des Grotteaux is listed for $2.89 million by DeCarla Anderson, Realtor and broker with Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate. Give DeCarla a call to take a look at this most distinctive Dallas castle, and bring your crown.