Trying to slip one by me, eh?

When Modern Luxury Dallas market president Blake Stephenson and her husband, Tom, decided to market their Turtle Creek home, they chose Compass agent Annalee Aston, once a fierce sales leader at MLD. But they kept the listing off-market, not to dip their toe in the sales waters, but to control the onslaught of buyers. After all, this artfully designed modern masterpiece, sited on iconic Turtle Creek Drive, had been home to many a publishing party and social event, and was well known to every mover and shaker in town.

They didn’t even tell their favorite real estate editor about it!

“Our street is privately owned, so we really didn’t want the traffic from those interested,” explains Blake.

Seriously private, too: Heidi Dillon and Real Housewife Stephanie Hollman are both neighbors. Which is why this treasure hasn’t even touched MLS yet. And honestly, it probably won’t. Someone will snag it by the time you read this sentence.


Coram Deo

I drive by Coram Deo regularly, just to stare at it. I’ve seen a lot of stately homes all over the world, but this one continues to fascinate me.

Coram Deo was built for Donald and Mary Catherine Huffines in 2005. Yes, the same Don Huffines who was a Texas state senator and runs Huffines Communities with his twin brother, Phillip. The Huffines named their home Coram Deo, which means “in the presence of God” in Latin.

If you are not familiar with the architectural style, it’s because we seldom see a Richardsonian Romanesque mansion today. It’s an expensive style to build, so it’s generally seen in large public buildings. The Trinity Church in Boston, The American Museum of Natural History in New York, and our own Old Red Courthouse are all excellent examples of the style named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson.

Because this is a style that offers a strong sense of stability, permanency, and individuality, it was not long before it became popular among the titans of industry in the late 1800s. The Cupples House in Saint Louis, Missouri, or the James J. Hill estate in St. Paul, Minneapolis, could well have been the inspiration for Coram Deo.


There are two distinct stories here. First, the fantastic French provincial home nestled on 1.6 acres on Inwood Road now on the market for under $3 million. But the juicier story is the thousands of rare grapes growing in the backyard, a crop that is the only active, professionally-managed vineyard in the city of Dallas.

Yes, the home listed for $2.995 million by Cassie Bledsoe of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate has an active working vineyard from which the beloved local wine, Inwood Estates Vineyards wine, was established.

The home at 8123 Inwood Road has five bedrooms, four full baths, one-half bath, and 5,165 square feet.

The French provincial home is a prize in of itself with five bedrooms, four full baths, one-half bath, and 5,165 square feet. Sitting on 1.6 beautifully treed acres, the 1950-home provides plenty of privacy with its 10’ wrought-iron and wood fence and two electric driveway gates. External wood shutters and twin Bevolo gaslight lamps flank the thick front door that has a caged peephole, as if you were entering a castle or 1920s speakeasy. (more…)

Mysterious AbodeAn enormous ivy-covered stucco wall is all you can see from the street. Behind it lies not only a secret garden but also perhaps the most mysterious abode you will ever find in Dallas.

Once inside the massive, carved wooden door, you cannot help but be delighted. A courtyard leads to the home, which is almost completely wrapped in glass. While it may seem to be a bit of a contradiction to be both transparent and mysterious, it most definitely is both.
Mysterious Abode

The house was built in 1988 by the owner of a glass manufacturing company. I can’t help but think he must have read The Secret Garden as a child and kept it in mind when constructing this mysterious abode.  The exterior stucco wall was created to provide maximum privacy. Few people have any idea of what is behind it or who lives there now.

But I’m going to tell you. And you no longer have to imagine what lies behind the wall, and what’s inside.


timeless contemporary

When Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Realtor Lee Lee Gioia laid eyes on this timeless contemporary house the first time,  she entered through the back door.

“I immediately thought, this is no ordinary house,” she said, “it has to be a Bodron + Fruit!”

When the plans were produced, her instincts were correct. It doesn’t matter which door you come through, you can always tell a Bodron + Fruit design, and they always stand the test of time.

If you’ve ever wondered why you hire an architect, this timeless contemporary is a great example. Architects know what materials don’t age. They understand siting, proportion, massing, and volume — and they get it right. Although this home was built in 2004, it looks like it was finished last week.
timeless contemporary


In the not-too-distant future, I will write a book on how homes heal and nests nurture. I have many friends who, stung from later-life divorces, have found salvation in new home renovation — contracted out or even built with their own hands. There is nothing as fulfilling as ripping apart an old bathroom or kitchen, with several great whacks of the sledgehammer. The rooms — worn down, out-of-style, dysfunctional — turn out to be a lot like their former marriages. Re-creating a beautiful new space in the old structure gives them purpose, passion and a new lease, not to mention the self-satisfaction that comes when the project is complete. You move in and finally relax with a glass of wine and (hopefully) a new romantic interest.

But a house doesn’t have to be divorce therapy to nurture. It can also house a new beginning that comes through, say, a dual adoption and marriage.

For Dr. Jennifer Denning, 6918 Pasadena was the home she bought to raise her adopted daughter, to give her a storybook life.

She is the sixth owner of the Tudor-style home, whose primary owners lived in the tidy house for almost 30 years. Built in 1923, the home was first owned by Bernard and Jane B. Shields, Bernard being employed by WM Simpson & Sons. The home went to market from 1948 to 1950; it was sold and remodeled. Originally a three-bedroom one-story structure, subsequent owners knocked out walls and added a second story with dormers and tall ceilings, bathrooms, and more rooms in 2005.

But oh my, this story is about so much more than a home.

“If Norman Rockwell were a single working mom, this is the house he’d buy,” says Jennifer.


Victory ParkWhen Ashton Theiss tagged us on Instagram this week to show us her new listing — a loft-style townhome in Victory Park — we may have asked for more deets tout de suite. Because this currently-a-hip-pocket home is what happens when Industrial Chic and Modern design styles fall in love and have a loft baby.

Basically, 2935 Magnolia Hill Court is three stories of Dallas views and luxury living, all contained in 4,800 square feet of living space, and a 2,000 square foot private rooftop that overlooks downtown Dallas and Victory Park.

And if you have Mavs and Stars season tickets, this is the home for you — it’s a block and a half from the American Airlines Center. Like running? It has Katy Trail access. Like to golf? There’s a putting green in the private backyard. 

And we don’t know if it’s registered to you yet, but we haven’t even gotten to the inside of the house. 

“This property is truly one-of-a-kind,” Theiss said of the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home.

To really do it justice, you have to look at what each floor offers. though. 


Ash CreekJeremiah Hobbs with United Realty shared his latest Ash Creek Estates listing recently, and we immediately asked for more details. The 14-year-old Modern has been on the market a little more than a week, and between the gorgeous lot, the beautiful home, and the Casa Linda amenities, it’s a home that is attracting a lot of attention.

It’s rare, Hobbs said, that a home such as 562 Ash Creek Drive comes available in the area, which is adjacent to Casa Linda. And this home has so much going for it, with enough unique features that someone is going to want to snap up in a hurry.

For instance, he said, “the unique design.”

“It includes a 30-foot-long koi pond that flows through the house,” he said. “Large glass windows provide an abundance of natural light and tranquil views.” (more…)