It’s not easy designing and developing a spec home You have to have a vision. You also have to have confidence, cash, and cojones.
Because Dallas is hard to impress.
Getting attention for a new build today (especially from me) means a home needs to be striking, thoughtful, and flexible. It needs to be built as a forever home, with care, passion, and intelligence and set into natural surroundings. This Texas transitional hits every mark.
That’s because we have a new talent in town, and he’s one to watch. David Dahn, the owner of Dahn Custom Homes, is from Newport Beach, California. I know. How do you leave pristine beaches and excellent surfing? Well, you do it for love and a red-hot real estate market certainly helps.
When David and his husband, Adam Hochschuler, decided it was time to start a family, the plan had always been to move to Dallas. It’s Hochschuler’s hometown, and of course, it’s a great place to raise a family. So about three years ago, they flew in on a reconnaissance mission.
“The opportunity I saw then was in the luxury spec market,” Dahn said. “It capped out around $3 million. It’s very different in Newport Beach. I had been building luxury homes on Balboa Island and in Crystal Cove. There you have up to $20 million spec homes. So, I saw a hole in the Dallas market. I had the resources, the design aesthetic, and a fantastic architect, Richard Krantz, with an incredible track record. Richard designed our family home and has been my mentor for years.”
That’s the first thing that needs to stop you in your tracks. You don’t often find a designer and developer with an architect mentor. But that’s not the only thing that sets Dahn apart.
His family is in real estate. He has a seriously impressive business background, having worked with Warner Brothers and Creative Artists Agency/CAA, and he has a Master’s degree from USC in Real Estate Development. So we have a very creative business mind here. Now all he needed was a lot to develop.
Falling in Love With Bluffview
On that initial reconnaissance trip, the couple began driving around neighborhoods.
“We were going to Love Field and got lost in Bluffview,” Dahn said. “What is this amazing area, I thought? I found this incredible lot with beautiful mature oak trees and had the vision for my first spec house here.”
The deal was sealed, the move was made, and the house was completed a few months ago.
“I wanted to build an estate,” Dahn said. “When I worked on Balboa, there was no place for a yard. Here I could build a huge home on an acre lot in a secluded forest. That was appealing to me to be able to expand on what I was building before.”
Krantz did the floor plan and general layout on this Texas transitional estate, then Dahn hired More Design to bring the vision to life.
“They have this unique ability as builders to achieve an elegant and refined environment that is also livable and modern,” Dahn said. “That’s hard to pull off.”
This Texas Transitional estate was designed around the mature oak trees on the lot.
“The home is flooded with natural light,” Dahn said. “You are consistently exposed to what feels like your own private forest. This is a one-room deep house, so you get a different perspective of your natural surroundings from each room. There is a Live Oak that reveals itself in different forms depending on where you are in the house. It shelters and grounds the home to become timeless, even though it’s new.
Dahn thinks about design and construction in a different manner than most.
“I believe well-designed houses are more than just a great floorplan and quality materials,” Dahn said. They have an emotional aspect to them. This house has a particular point of view, and within that point of view is flexibility. A lot of spec builders push too hard for that flex space, and it dilutes personality. When I build a house, I build it to be a timeless, generational house. I spend more money to make that happen. It’s more important to me that it will be a home that is passed down to children.”
Dahn and his team created this Texas transitional estate to capture not only your eye but your heart through that emotional perspective and innovative design.
“We create an intimacy gradient through the architecture, the light, and the pattern that allow you to make the transitions,” he said. “That builds emotion, so you have earned where you are going.”
Each space is designed with a purpose in mind. A grand salon in the center of the house can host a large holiday party but is also warm and cozy for a smaller crowd. Dahn accomplished this through different ceiling heights. Ceiling height variation creates transition spaces and makes sure you don’t feel like you are on top of other people.
A wing of this 8,013-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bathroom Texas transitional estate is dedicated to the principal suite with an office space. Remember, flexibility is key in this home. That space could easily become a nursery or a gym. There is also a coffee bar, so you don’t have to walk to the kitchen.
Speaking of kitchens, there’s a show kitchen and a working kitchen in this home, which is a must-have, in my opinion. If 2020 taught us anything about design, it’s that open-plan is great for entertaining, but we do need our privacy, and we don’t want to have everyone watching the prep and clean up.
That flexibility continues throughout the home, most notably with a large downstairs ensuite bedroom with a separate entrance for visiting relatives or guests.
Dahn’s success stems not only from creativity, it’s also down to planning correctly and attitude.
“I believe in really modeling the house first, so I know the detail I want, and I get it right the first time. I’m there every day. I’m friends with all the subs, and I want the working environment to be fun.”
We can look forward to more exciting builds from Dahn because he is sold on Dallas. He and Hochschuler just remodeled their 1940s University Park house and are learning to see the world through new eyes, those of 18-month-old Austin. We can’t wait to see what comes next.
Meanwhile, you’d do well to nab this Texas transitional estate at 5142 Stonegate Road while you can. Allie Beth Allman & Associates agent Alex Perry has it listed for $5.79 million.