Boot Ranch

I was sitting in Craig Martin’s office up at Windsong Ranch — if you haven’t seen or experienced the amazing Windsong Ranch in Prosper, then you don’t know  North Texas real estate greatness —  and he was telling me about this amazing ranch in the Hill Country just north of Fredericksburg.

Boot Ranch I asked? I love the place!

Yes, he said. We are buying it!

But I was sworn to secrecy until the deal was closed. Closed, signed and sealed it is: Terra Verder Group LLC, the devloper of Windsong Ranch, has indeed purchased the 2,000 acre Boot Ranch north of Fredericksburg. Terra Verde and financial partner Wheelock Street Capital bought the luxury vacation home golf course community from Lehman Brothers.

Boot Ranch, the brainchild of Texas golfing great Hal Sutton, opened in 2006 just in time for the Great Recession. Like so many of its brethren, Boot fell into foreclosure. But during the four years that Lehman Brothers operated it, the community slowly, steadily kept the momentum moving forward. In fact, Boot Ranch may well become a poster child success story for how a vacation home community survives a downturn.

“The previous developer opened the project at the wrong time in the market,” said Terra Verde founder Craig Martin. “Our plan is to complete the development.We like Boot Ranch because of its proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Midland-Odessa – within a 4-hour drive.”

Boot Ranch overview



Denton made Kiplinger's list of the top 10 towns you'll want to live in.

Denton made Kiplinger’s list of the top 10 towns you’ll want to live in.

I’m sure Augusta, Ga., is really nice and all, but do you really want to live there? Isn’t it a better place to visit?

That’s why Kiplinger’s broke down it’s well-known list of “cheapest cities to live in” and spawned it’s list of “cheapest cities you want to live in.”

That’s a pretty significant distinction, although several cities on the former list made it on the latter.

The cheapest places to live aren’t necessarily the best places to live. Cities with super-low living costs can suffer from high unemployment, poverty and a lack of services. So while cost of living is an important consideration in choosing where you settle down, it’s equally important to gauge the strength of the local economy and the job market.

With this in mind, we set out to identify the most inexpensive cities where you would actually want to live, based on economic health and affordability. We started with the 100 cheapest cities in the U.S., based on cost of living, and then whittled the list down to the top 10. To do so, we required that each city have below-average living costs, high household incomes relative to the cost of living, and an unemployment rate that’s below the national average. It’s not all work and no play, however. We also looked for places that offer residents access to fun, low-cost things to do. Cities with populations below 50,000 didn’t make the cut.

While the cities are diverse in make-up and location, we’re happy to report that several Texas towns made the list, including Round Rock, Temple, Denton, and Corpus Christi.



Staying true to Vacation Home Week, we had to find a phenomenal property that would make a great spot to run to should you get the itch to get out of town.

And of course, we love Boot Ranch, a gorgeous community in the Texas Hill Country with golf, scenery, and luxury accommodations.

“Here you’ll find a delicious tension between rural and refined,” writes Jeannie Ralston for The New York Times. “With the vineyards and boutique farms (lavender, olives), some people make comparisons to Napa Valley or even Provence (France). But those assessments ignore something fundamental: The Hill Country – being Texas at its finest – is like nowhere else in the world.”


Proposition 6 Results by County


The results are in, and while many agreed that Proposition 6 was the best plan available to secure the future of Texas water, it garnered 73.37 percent of the statewide vote — a considerably safe margin.  Among constitutional amendment propositions on the statewide ballot, Proposition 6 garnered more votes that Propositions 3, 5, and 8.

What’s most interesting is the county-by-county reports from the Texas Tribune. While the Texas Hill Country and West Texas will likely be those most desperate for water, Proposition 6 didn’t pass muster in several counties throughout those regions. And many areas of East Texas shunned the proposed constitutional amendment that would tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund to secure more water resources. Find out more about Proposition 6 and its provisions here.

Check out more detailed results from last night here.

Not that every vaca home has to cost this much, but when you get right down to it, would you rather pay $7.9 million for a fancy-pants second home and staff to maintain it, cater to your every whim, or would you rather just stay at, say, Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin? I love first, second and third homes but I say, reservations! 

This reminds me of those Maidenform Bra commercials I recall from my childhood: but I really DID dream they reduced the price on Paigebrook. (Yes, I actually dream about listings.) Imagine my delight when I was tootling on Allie Beth Allman’s website today, looking at Troy’s house, daydreaming about Mt. Vernon, and I saw that Paigebrook, the former ranch designed by Charles Dilbeck for Ted Dealey, a publisher of the Dallas Morning News and member of a Dallas publishing family dynasty, is now priced at $4,999,000. It has been reduced from a whopping $7,900,000. Now before you say, oh geeze Louise Candy, eight million buckeroos, go prance in your Maidenform, let me explain this is not just a house, it is a piece of art, a piece of North Texas history that was cultivated, preserved and moved like a delicate ornament. Also, the home is  11,500 square feet plus and comes with 14 plus acres in the heart of Westlake with lakes!

Now you see what I mean: at $4,999,000, this house is the bargain of the century.

PaigeBrooke is classic Dilbeck, built with rustic brick, stone, tile and wood. There are those signature Dilbeck features such as rounded chimneys, overhanging balconies, cupolas and turrets — even a bell tower. Dilbeck was an eco-friendly architect before green was vogue. He favored salvaged and recycled materials. Hence, the pinkish stone throughout this house came from an old slaughterhouse in Fort Worth, and the handhewn beams were made from original Union Terminal timbers in Fort Worth. PaigeBrooke is minutes from D/FW Airport and a brief jog from Westlake Academy. The rambling, half-timbered structure was designed by Charles Dilbeck in 1938, and is chock full of artisian handiwork and delightful surprises in almost every room — VERY Dilbeck,  who said each room in a home should have a surprise element. There are surprises, and Dallas history everywhere.

But the story gets better: Paigebrooke, named for the owners’ two daughters, was lovingly restored in 1977 after it was wrapped and moved in six pieces to its present land location – that’s right! This house was wrapped up like a delicate holiday ornament in Tyvek and moved on steel beams where it was put back together, melded, enhanced, and perfected in a beautiful, country like setting on 18 acres. You have no idea you are near civilization. As one writer described the setting: it’s an “ahhh experience”.

Anyhoo, here’s the whole story. I’m probably not supposed to tell you this, but there is a special Realtor event at Paigebrook today with a presentation by Scott Burdette, who is the DW Skelton/Brad Edgar equivalent in Tarrant County, I’m told. It’s worth the drive just to see the Aga stove! We also filmed the sizzle reel for Real Deal Dallas here. Addy is One Paigebrooke, of course, in Westlake. If you cannot make it, tune in to Daybreak with Ron Corning on April 26. He’s sending out a camera crew to get some mighty nice photos and we will tell ALL on Daybreak! *Truth be told, every home is my favorite home but this one… tops the list!




One of the most charming things about Texas is the names of it’s towns. Gun Barrel City, Cut and Shoot,  Jot’Em Down, Fate, Dimple, Dripping Springs, all in Texas. I once made my husband drive through Oatmeal, Texas, down near Austin because I loved the name of the town and wanted to own property there. What a cute address: Oatmeal, Texas. Truth be told, I took the wrong turn off 190 west, which is how I found the town. We also have a Turkey, Texas, in west Texas, which is one of only three towns in the U.S. with such a name even though the turkey is practically our national bird. 

But you may have heard:  PETA, as a gesture of goodwill toward saving the necks of the Thanksgiving bird, has asked the small town of under 500 east of Lubbock and Amarillo, to change its name to “Tofurkey”. That’s the vegan equivalent of the holiday’s traditional main course. I’ve had it. It’s awful.

The town was named after the wild turkeys found there, and it’s west Texas. So the folks were not exactly clucking to make the name change. Every year PETA finds a holiday gimmick to promote their cause, which is, of course to eliminate the needless slaughter of innocent animals for food or clothing. It’s a good cause.

“I think it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” said one very ruffled Turkey resident.

The town says that, despite PETA’s offer to prepare a vegan banquet for the entire town, they were insulted and are proud of being turkeys — I mean, Turkey.

Despite the insult to Turkeyians, this is a much better idea than what PETA cooked up laast year. The org tried to rent the notorious “Amityville Horror” house in Long Island, N.Y., to stage an exhibit called “The Amityville Slaughterhouse of Horrors.”

The exhibit was to have included “animatronic chickens with a soundtrack of whirring blades and animal screams, according to PETA Vice President Tracy Reiman.”

This year, they just insulted a small west Texas town, and saved some folks from nightmares.

PETA Asks Texas Town to Change Name to ‘Tofurkey’

If this doesn’t cement the fact that Duxiana is the best bed ever,I do not know what will. OK, kind of weird-ass here, but bear with me. Have you ever slept at someones’ house (as I did recently) and changed the sheets, only to find the mattress pad was grotesquely stained? Now I am married to an obstetrician: it takes a lot to gross me out. But I will place layers of towels over something like that, even under the sheets, then pop an Ambien. (Hint: check the mattress pad on your guest room bed. Buy a new one at Tuesday Morning for like $20 if it’s gross.) So I almost gagged when I saw that someone in Dallas is selling was selling, post removed, on Craig’s List a Tempur-pedic bed with a “heart-shaped” placenta stain for $500. To explain away the groddy stains on one side of the foam — and a huge reason why I don’t like foam beds — this is how the sellers spun it:

“Although there are some slightly noticeable afterbirth stains on one side of the mattress (see bottom picture), they have been thoroughly sanitized and are also shaped like a heart. This could be a romantic addition for anyone looking to add that extra spark to your love life. Placenta/bloodstains easily covered by your favorite linens. Whether you are looking for a good-luck charm to help with a child of your own or simply recognize the luxurious comfort of a top-quality mattress at a superb value, this mattress is sure to satisfy.”

Don’t you agree the seller deserves an award for a brilliant marketing approach? But seriously folks: who’s going to pay $500 for a bed bearing a “romantic” placenta stain. And does that mean the previous owner gave birth on the bed at home?

This is another reason why I so love the Dux beds. They have a mattress top-pad (like a pillow top that comes off) that can be cleaned and even replaced apart from the mattress. By the way, the Swedish-made mattresses last for generations. Duxianas are made with two miles of continuous steel wire to make up 4980 springs in the bed. (Most mattresses have 1000 springs.) The latex is natural rubber and well away from the top-pad, so less chance of “placenta” staining.  Synthetic foam may feel great and conform to your body, but it stains easily and you can never scrub it off without destroying it. Once I cleaned a foam mattress with Clorox and it actually dissolved.

I donated the bed, pre Craig’s List. Too bad I didn’t have the cajones to sell that mattress and spin it with something like:

“Though this mattress appears to have been gnawed by an animal, it’s really just the result of a few impassioned nights. You, too, can rev up your engines with a toss in the old sheets on this mattress because they will cover up any imperfections, completely.”

Duxiana top-pad: cleanable, replaceable