Walking through the grand entrance of 9006 Douglas Avenue is like stepping into a fairytale. There are very few homes that merit the use of the word “palace” and this is one of them. This home has been referred to as “The Mansion” for years. That in no way prepares you for what you will experience once you cross the threshold. So, we’re re-christening this palatial Mediterranean resort-style home as the “Dallas Palace.”Think about the image of Belle descending that iconic staircase in Beauty and the Beast, and you may have a visual, except our Dallas Palace has not just one, but two sweeping black marble staircases, rising from the 75-foot long grand arcade entry. The contrast takes drama to an entirely new level. Don’t worry, Belle — after your dramatic descent down the staircase, there’s an elevator to whisk you back upstairs.
The three-story Dallas Palace was built in 1985, and at the time was the largest spec home in America. There have only been three owners besides builder John Needham. Needham had an ambitious dream of building the most incredible house in the world and felt he’d accomplished his dream with the help of architect Fred Wynn. At the time, it was also the most expensive spec home ever built.
Needham sold it to Oilman Jerry McCutchin and his wife, Sharon. The next owners, Jerry Rogers and Jodie Shelton, allowed the 18,288-square-foot home to be used as a location for Mark Cuban’s reality television show, The Benefactor.
Now, we have a bit of evidence that another famous Dallas resident was keen to move in. As we were digging through mountains of research we unearthed this piece from a 2009 Haute Magazine article on Realtor Marilyn Hoffman:
… cosmetics queen Mary Kay Ash, who dropped $4 million for a house on Douglas under construction by builder John Needham.
“It is the most expensive spec home ever sold in Dallas.” Marilyn says. “Mary Kay plans to move in April and has been to Europe to buy some of the furnishings,” Marilyn says.
Intriguing! We think the deal went south and that’s how Mary Kay ended up down the street in her fabulous pink mansion. After all, there are were not two most expensive spec homes in Dallas at that time, on the same street. So, if you know something, please comment below!
As palatial as this home was in 2005 when the present owners purchased it, the changes they made completely redefined luxury living in Dallas. Although the 65 columns, soaring arches, and cabinets twice as tall as an average man were all existing, just about everything else you can imagine has been replaced, updated, improved, or completely remodeled.
There is 24-karat gold-plated hardware throughout the house. The dome over the piano has been embellished with more 24-karat gold, and it’s just the right foil for the brilliant white walls. One of the most thoughtful changes was the extensive use of white. The floors are white marble, and the owners had the walls and cabinetry in the public spaces painted a brilliant white, which showcases the stunning architecture magnificently.
The home has eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, three powder baths, a game room, two dining areas, and the grandest screening room we’ve ever seen with a sound system that surpasses anything you’ll find in a commercial theater. There is also a music loggia on the mezzanine level and two opera balconies.
The present owners created a private garden area off of the two-story, 3,500-square-foot master bedroom suite, complete with a screened gazebo. That master has a separate living room and a full theater-sized screen that descends from the ceiling for those times you don’t want to head up to the home theater. The spiral staircase leads to another enormous private living area.
One of the most stunning features of the Dallas Palace is the two-story library modeled after the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore estate in North Carolina. The incredible handmade, inlaid desk took six craftsmen over six months to create. Rumor has it there is only one other in existence, belonging to Vladimir Putin!
]In addition to the main home, there is an 800-square-foot guest cottage on the property along with a full-sized sports court, cabana, and snack bar. The enormous 65-foot pool, replete with water features, was inspired by the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. A 40-foot balcony on the top level of the home provides a breathtaking view of the lush grounds.
The beauty of the Dallas Palace lies not just in the majestic architecture and thoughtful updates, but also in the way it was constructed. Total privacy was created for every member of the household yet in a way that makes you still feel connected.
As the seller told me, “The expansiveness does not intimidate you. There is still a feeling of being close to your family despite the scale.”
That is an enormous architectural accomplishment. It’s always hard to bear in mind when you are looking at a house of this scale that it is first and foremost, a home.