Did you know that Farmers Branch will actually pay you to tear down a home and rebuild?

When you are building a home, an extra $30,000 comes in handy, right? Very handy. That could cover carpet, extra landscaping, or your new decked-out refrigerator.

And $30,000 is about how much the City of Farmers Branch will pay — yes, I said PAY —  homeowners who buy the city’s aged housing stock, tear it down, and build anew through the city’s unique Demo/Rebuild program. The city offers a cash grant that is based on the value of the home you tear down; the grant edges higher for less expensive homes). Farmers Branch will also offer a discount on property taxes for a certain length of time, depending on how much the difference is between the two homes’ property tax appraisal. It’s really a taxpayer’s dream: an incentive program that actually puts taxpayer dollars back into the hands — and homes — of taxpayers. (more…)

The Trammell Crow home in Highland Park was in that family for more than 50 years. Now it's time for new owners to enjoy the 10,000-square-foot house. Photo: courtesy of Dallas Morning News.

The Trammell Crow home in Highland Park was in that family for more than 50 years. Billionaire Andy Beal purchased it last year and is planning to tear down this historic home built in 1912.

Apparently nothing is sacred. We are absolutely crushed to find out that the Trammell Crow estate — one of the most splendid historic homes in Highland Park — is slated to be torn down by Andy Beal, the billionaire who purchased it just last year. If you’ll remember, Beal purchased this C.D. Hill-designed home as well as Walnut Place (the Crespi Hicks estate) last year, and just re-listed the larger Walnut Place with Allie Beth Allman.

We were shocked to see an advertisement for a pre-demolition sale of interior fixtures from the Trammell Crow Estate on a Highland Park garage sale group:


4109 Live Oak

It’s a sad day for preservationists, as the red brick traditional at 4901 Live Oak that was once the center of a fierce neighborhood zoning debate comes down. We knew this day was coming, but we still felt unprepared for the carnage we witnessed.

This is one of those situations where we have to look at the lesser of two evils: Would it not have been better for the neighborhood that this old, stately home with so much history be transformed into a wedding venue than being razed for another generic multi-family development?

We’ve reached out to Preservation Dallas for comment. More to come.

Valley View Mall courtesy of Aerial Photography

I drove by Valley View Mall again the other day, and cannot wait for Dallas developer Scott Beck to get his show on the road for this place. Been trying to get in touch with him for an update but alas, Candace Carlisle at the Dallas Business Journal caught up with him FIRST and snagged an exclusive interview. Great interview: Candace works her behind off. Scott told her plans are still on to  redevelop Valley View Mall into Midtown Dallas, the huge 430 acre live/work/play community  he told us all about back in 2012.

Alas, time has passed, property and building costs have all gone up, and Beck has had to “re-imagine” the new Valley View aka Midtown. (Maybe no gondola rides to the Galleria — I don’t know, Candace did not ask him about that. Sad.)



10777 Strait Lane extWell, kind of. I didn’t have time to get you the background dirt circa early ’80s on the breathtaking Oats home at the southwest corner of Strait and Royal — you know, this week’s $19.5 million Monday Morning Millionaire. I was busy getting ready to head to San Francisco for Connect.

Thankfully, Alan Peppard took the ball and ran with it. So I will let him bring you the details on how John Post, son of insurance honcho Troy Post, bought the original home on the lot for $3 million and then tore it down. In fact, I remember when this home was torn down as I drove by it nearly every day (carpool). I knew the home was huge (19,000 square feet) and that it was torn down by the buyer almost as soon as he bought it. We were just incredulous! Tear downs were reserved back then for really messed up homes.

Dallas was sure a blast in the ’80s.

Also, Alan says “nearby Strait Lane neighbors include Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki and their baby daughter; Margot and Ross Perot; and Kentucky Derby-winning horse breeders Lisa and Kenny Troutt.” Yes, but let’s not forget Mehrdad Moayedi, who just snapped up Phil Romano’s house and is doing a ton of work on it even as we speak.


Kim Armstrong's office in Little Forest Hills was once the dilapidated home of a hoarder. Instead of tearing it down, Armstrong painstakingly renovated the cottage.

Kim Armstrong’s office in Little Forest Hills was once the dilapidated home of a hoarder. Instead of tearing it down, Armstrong painstakingly renovated the cottage.

By Kim Armstrong
Interior Designer, Kim Armstrong Interior Design

As an interior designer I’m a huge proponent of renovations versus tear downs. I’m not only a renovator for my own home and office, but some of my favorite design projects come from renovations and not new builds. This is a topic that is close to my heart, so if you are considering what to do with your home, and if you feel that your home can’t meet the needs of your current lifestyle, I say don’t give up on it so quickly. Your home can become the comfortable charmer you desire. The option to renovate can provide far greater benefits than you ever imagined.


Brick removed, walls smoothed for stucco?

Rear second story addition

Can you remodel a ranch and make it a liveable, sellable home?

So there is this house on Northaven. I called the builder a few weeks ago and he told me he buys homes like this 1950’s ranch and rather than tear down the whole house, he preserves as much as he can and remodels it. Looks like they are even adding a second story in the back. We’ll be tracking the progress here on CandysDirt.com.

But here’s the deal: do these homes sell? Here is one a few doors down listed by my friend Trey Bounds with Allie Beth Allman. $1,250,000. Reduced from $1,742,850 I kid you not. It’s been on the market since 12/2008 with that RIDICULOUS PRICE TAG and been through more agents (OK, three) than Tiger Woods has had mistresses. I feel like doing a cheer here because if anyone can sell it, Trey can, and he has it priced sensibly. But this little angel started out life as a 1950’s ranch and maybe, like most of us girls, she’s just a ranch girl at heart no matter how much stucco and crap they glop on her.

6147 Northaven

So what’s the deal? Did the Real Estate bust kill off the scraper mentality? Is it better to maintain as much original (um, old) structure as possible to be green and most pointedly, are these homes marketable?

6147 Northaven 7/03/2006

Is Dallas Real Estate hopping like it’s 2006? I have an SOS request from a reader who needs a lot in the Park Cities to build a home. They are willing to pay up to $600,000 for a nice lot — maybe more for a corner? (Maybe less for being near the Tollway?) If you know of anyone with a great lot or Money Pit who needs to sell and net about this much, shoot me an email and I’ll forward it onto the builder.