Want incredible Christmas lights like Highland Park Village? Hire a professional. (Photos: Sarah Beauregard)

Want incredible Christmas lights like Highland Park Village? Hire a professional. (Photos: Sarah Beauregard)

The cool weather has set in, Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday season is upon us. That means it’s time to pull out your festive sweaters, create your party menus, and make a plan for your holiday lights. Of course the exquisite Highland Park Village lights come to mind as we think about our city’s most stunning holiday display. That’s why we chatted with Christmas Light Company, who annually installs the Village’s lights, and many of our city’s grandest displays — the Galleria, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and the Hilton Anatole — to learn the ins-and-outs of Christmas light installations.

“Right now LED Lights are popular,” General Manager of Christmas Light Company, Antonio Garcia says. “They use 90 percent less power.”

He explains that it’s important you hire a professional company that knows the difference between LED and incandescent lights, because to the eye, the lights look the same.

As far as hiring contractors is concerned, Garcia suggests you do your research before letting someone install your lights.

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harold-leidner---9806-inwood-road_front-entry

Realtors know it, builders know it, sellers know it, and you can be sure buyers pay attention to it, too. Curb appeal is an essential component to selling a house. Whether viewing a house online via photos, or driving through a neighborhood, the first impression is made from the street and with the landscaping.

Of course, our friends over at Harold Leidner Landscape Architects certainly know this well. They deal in curb appeal by designing and creating some of the most distinctive properties in the Dallas area. As an example, here are a few of their projects that are on the market now and certainly have the “Wow!” factor upon arrival. 

Jump for some fabulous examples of perfectly executed curb appeal!

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Photo: Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

Photo: Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

In the midst of a sweltering hot Texas summer, we’re dreaming about a lounging by the beach with a margarita in hand, and a cool breeze. But since we’re quite a few hours away from the ocean, a luxurious pool will have to suffice. After speaking to Lance Dickinson with Harold Leidner Landscape Architects, it’s obvious that not all pools are created equal.

From technology that enables you to heat the pool to your liking from anywhere, to haute finishes that make you feel like you’re at an exclusive resort, there’s no reason why your pool shouldn’t be your mini getaway. With a little bit of guidance from the proper experts, you can easily turn your pool into your sanctuary.

Here are some current pool trends from Harold Leidner Landscape Architects you want to know about:

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Photo: Capital Distributing

Photo: Capital Distributing

When it comes to outside dining, there’s nothing quite as clever as an outdoor kitchen. If you have the space, and you live in the South — where the sun shines most days — an outside kitchen is worth the investment.

“Almost without exception, every custom home or remodel we work on today, the owner or builder either includes or plans for a future outdoor kitchen; at a minimum, [he plans for] a nice outdoor living space,” says Mike Davis, President of Capital Distributing.

In agreement with Davis, here are a few things to consider before building an outdoor living space:

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candys dirt_dallas outdoor post
This weekend’s NCAA Final Four is in Arlington, and this major sporting event will bring some national focus and many visitors to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Since many of these fans and members of the media may be from colder climates, and since spring has officially sprung here in Dallas, we wanted to suggest some outside destinations to consider in between games, or in case (heaven forbid!) their team loses early. Hopefully the weather will provide some opportunity to sneak out.
For these suggestions, we sought out the talented staff at Harold Leidner Landscape Architects  and asked them to provide a list of places they would suggest or that they might take their friends in family when they visit. Here are a few of the sites they suggested:

1809 Provine Front

This home is truly a labor of love, and it shows! This amazing Tuscan-style estate in McKinney took three years for the owner, an artist, to design and build. It has so many gorgeous and warm, intimate rooms to fall head-over-heels for, and trust me, this home is romance with a foundation and walls.

From the lush landscaping that surrounds the 4 acre lot, to the finishes and tile work, you’ll be transported to an Italian countryside with this 7,600-square-foot masterpiece. It has five bedrooms, four and a half baths, and some incredible touches you don’t often see outside of luxury resorts.

1809 Provine Courtyard

This property in Provine Farms Estates is marketed by Patton International Properties Realtor Myla Patton for $1.75 million. To me, considering some of the amenities this lovely home offers, it seems like an absolute steal! Considering the three-car garage, as well as the stocked pond, gorgeous outdoor spaces, and picturesque courtyard, 1809 Provine would be an excellent bed and breakfast. It certainly has enough visual interest throughout to be a magnet for honeymooners.

1809 Provine Living

I love the exposed and painted beams, the plaster walls, and the incredible stone work in the kitchen, which has painted cabinets and high-end stainless appliances as well as a cool stainless steel island counter top and a painted wrought iron pot rack. Most people would be put off by the many different materials and patterns on the floor in this home, but to me it just makes it feel more like an artist’s haven — a muse, or source of inspiration.

1809 Provine Kitchen

You know where you won’t lack inspiration, though? The master bedroom. This is absolute romance, with exposed beams in the ceiling, a two-sided fireplace, and amazing views of the property. In the master bath you’ll find one of the sexiest tubs I’ve ever seen. It’s a sunken tub encased in glass mosaic tile. Imagine having a soak in that gorgeous thing, right next to a fire … just incredible!

1809 Provine Master 1809 Provine Master bath

If you’re looking for resort-worthy amenities, all you have to do is go outside to the patio and outdoor kitchen, where you’ll find a pool that has both a beach entry as well as a swim-up bar and a water feature. Pure romance!

Where would you fall in love with this home?

1809 Provine Patio and Pool 1809 Provine Pond 1809 Provine Fire Pit

2001 N. Buckner Front

Everyone in East Dallas knows about the “Underground House.” But maybe it’s time to re-brand this White Rock Lake-area landmark? That’s what Keller Williams Elite agent Vicki White thinks. Now priced at $870,000 (down from $1 million), this Frank L. Moreland-designed earth-sheltered home at 2001 (as in 2001: A Space Odyssey) N. Buckner is an absolute steal!

This home is a fantastic “green” home, and thanks to the before-its-time design and solar panel array on the roof, it only costs an average of $200 a month to power this 23-year-old, 4,561-square-foot home. Not only that, it would cost almost twice its listing price to build a home of this caliber today.

2001 N. Buckner Living

So, what’s turning people off?

“Several people have been tempted, however at the original price buyers did not want to take on updating the bathrooms. The bedrooms are small, but almost none of the interior walls are load bearing so the house could be easily reconfigured,” Vicki said. “It is built sort of like a circus tent, load bearing around the perimeter of the house and two center concrete supports.  The living room is almost 2,000 square feet, so many possibilities.”

If this wasn’t out of my price range, I would totally jump at the chance to buy this home. It just makes financial sense, as Vicki explained: “With this reduction, a buyer could spend $100,000 in updates and still not be at our original price. I really feel this would have sold if it had updated baths and perhaps some reconfiguration of  bedrooms.  Kitchen has already been done and is lovely.”

2001 N. Buckner Kitchen

Vicki is right — there is so much potential in this home. I really, really love it, especially the almost 2 acre lot. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a sort of earthship thing going on here? Add on a cool greenhouse, maybe a water collection system, a chicken coop, and see how close you can get to self-sufficiency right in the heart of East Dallas!

2001 N. Buckner Roof

“This house is great for someone wanting ultimate privacy and seclusion, or a ‘prepper’ that feels there could be a time he needs to hunker down in a safe place, or a totally ‘green’ type person that would never use a plastic grocery sack, or someone paranoid of tornados, etc.,” Vicki said. “It is so very peaceful on the side of the house that is open and looks out at heavy wooded area, the banks of a creek.”

I’m sure this fantastic landmark will find the perfect buyer soon!

2001 Buckner

2001 N. Buckner Front

Everyone in East Dallas knows about the “Underground House.” But maybe it’s time to re-brand this White Rock Lake-area landmark? That’s what Keller Williams Elite agent Vicki White thinks. Now priced at $870,000 (down from $1 million), this Frank L. Moreland-designed earth-sheltered home at 2001 (as in 2001: A Space Odyssey) N. Buckner is an absolute steal!

This home is a fantastic “green” home, and thanks to the before-its-time design and solar panel array on the roof, it only costs an average of $200 a month to power this 23-year-old, 4,561-square-foot home. Not only that, it would cost almost twice its listing price to build a home of this caliber today.

2001 N. Buckner Living

So, what’s turning people off?

“Several people have been tempted, however at the original price buyers did not want to take on updating the bathrooms. The bedrooms are small, but almost none of the interior walls are load bearing so the house could be easily reconfigured,” Vicki said. “It is built sort of like a circus tent, load bearing around the perimeter of the house and two center concrete supports.  The living room is almost 2,000 square feet, so many possibilities.”

If this wasn’t out of my price range, I would totally jump at the chance to buy this home. It just makes financial sense, as Vicki explained: “With this reduction, a buyer could spend $100,000 in updates and still not be at our original price. I really feel this would have sold if it had updated baths and perhaps some reconfiguration of  bedrooms.  Kitchen has already been done and is lovely.”

2001 N. Buckner Kitchen

Vicki is right — there is so much potential in this home. I really, really love it, especially the almost 2 acre lot. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a sort of earthship thing going on here? Add on a cool greenhouse, maybe a water collection system, a chicken coop, and see how close you can get to self-sufficiency right in the heart of East Dallas!

2001 N. Buckner Roof

“This house is great for someone wanting ultimate privacy and seclusion, or a ‘prepper’ that feels there could be a time he needs to hunker down in a safe place, or a totally ‘green’ type person that would never use a plastic grocery sack, or someone paranoid of tornados, etc.,” Vicki said. “It is so very peaceful on the side of the house that is open and looks out at heavy wooded area, the banks of a creek.”

I’m sure this fantastic landmark will find the perfect buyer soon!

2001 Buckner