A few years ago some savvy brokers figured out that, rather than pay astronomical prices for luxury print advertising in local glossy magazines, they could take their dollars and create their own magazines. This way they could offer ads to every one of their agents at affordable, wholesale prices, create a beautiful product they had 100% control of, and mail it to the wealthiest households in Dallas. The venture was so successful all the top brokers in Dallas — Ebby, Dave Perry-Miller, Allie Beth Allman, and Briggs Freeman — now have their own coffee-table worthy publications.

I contribute to some of them. The fall/winter 2016 issue of Ebby’s Grand Vie: Luxury in Living, is out and being read in more than 60,000 homes across Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s about the equivalent of the total net circulation of our local city magazines. Of course, magazines are touched more than once and I see Grand Vie in homes and offices everywhere, both east and west. East is Dallas and northern properties, west is Fort Worth and the delectable offerings of Williams Trew Real Estate.

My specialty, of course, is vacation home properties and I am currently be smitten with Lake Tahoe. I get crushes on vacation home communities all the time, from Calistoga Ranch in California’s wine country to the Bahamas and Costa Rica.

But Tahoe! Jump for the full version of my Tahoe report that runs in this month’s Grand Vie. The issue also has fabulous fall decorating tips from our very own Shay Geyer of IBB Fine Furnishings. Then jump over to to see some of the stunning homes of Martis Camp, the vacation home playground of Silicon Valley. Oh oh the places we will go!

Tahoe beach (more…)


So full, in fact, that lake authorities are actually — get this — draining off excess water. Can you feature it? The last few years boats were stuck, stowed, land-locked, because the lakes of North Texas just couldn’t keep them afloat. But that’s why you just have to be patient with Mother Nature in Texas. (She knows what she’s doing!) This may be the best time ever to buy that lake home, and The 505 Ranch Club on Cedar Creek Lake is only about an hour’s drive from Dallas. Development is really cooking out there, and the 505 Ranch Club is ready to help you have the most carefree summer weekends and vacations possible.

We have the whole story over on, where we will be bringing you more Texas lake stories. Meantime, recall the auction of that $15 million dollar Timber Creek Ranch at Lake Cypress Springs I told you about? The property sold on Monday… details about all of this and much more on our vacation home blog,


Snowy Drakes Island Maine

They’ve been getting a lot of snow in southern Maine. Coastal York County was hardest hit in southern Maine, with the quaint village of York (where we get Salt Water Taffy) getting smacked with 21 inches, Kennebunkport got 18 inches, Kittery suffered 17 inches, Ogunquit 17 inches, Saco got 13 inches, Kennebunk got 11.2 inches, Biddeford 12.7 inches, Limington wimped out at 3.5 inches and Hollis got 3.3 inches. And hear how those ocean breezes sound in winter! This is our pathway to the beach in summer — not now!

Banner photo

Been thinking of getting a Lake Tahoe vacation home? You and everyone else and their grandfather, says Reno resident Georgia Fisher. Heck, even HGTV built their 2014 Dream Home in Truckee, Calif., which is just a hop and skip away from Lake Tahoe.

Of course, It’s a getaway for wealthy Californians and pretty much all of Nevada, so demand for Lake Tahoe properties is high — and the prices are getting higher. Find out more about how you can find your Lake Tahoe dream home on today.


Air BNB Daniel Ave


The University Park City Council is considering limiting short-term rentals in single-family neighborhoods, says the one and only Dan Koller of Park Cities People. Interesting topic to see at the end of a City Council agenda, and one that might address the growing trend of unregulated room rentals from websites such as Airbnb.

The staff report filed by assistant city manager Robbie Corder categorizes a short-term rental as typically less than seven days and is associated with a vacation, business trip, or special event. As it is written, University Park’s comprehensive zoning ordinance doesn’t address these types of rentals, “therefore, property owners have the ability to rent property for any length of time,” Corder said.

From the report:

Staff has been contacted by residents expressing concerns with properties that lease on a short-term basis. These residents have requested the City Council consider regulations to specifically address short-term rentals in single-family zoned districts. Staff believes there are currently no regulations in place that would allow successful enforcement against short-term rentals; consequently, an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance will be necessary if the Council desires to regulate short-term rentals in single-family districts.

From a quick search of for the 75205 zip code, I found two rentals in University Park, including the one above on Daniel Avenue, which has 17 guest reviews from people who’ve rented the one-bedroom, one-bath apartment. There’s another rental available just north of the George Bush Presidential Center on Dyer Street, with only one review for the private bed and bath. In Highland Park there’s a guesthouse on Abbott Avenue with two bedrooms and one bath that has 94 reviews as well.

Honestly, this sounds a lot like the Uber/Yellow Cab fiasco that Dallas City Hall just addressed. On the one hand is a app-enabled, unregulated website and on the other are hotels that pay taxes and fees out the nose. The council approved staff’s recommendation to refer the issue to the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee, so it will be a while before we hear the end of this.

Do you think short-term rentals should be regulated?


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.

429 Sun Valley extIf you left at eight, you’d be in the water by now and still wallowing in luxury. Less than an hour drive from Dallas on the shores of Cedar Creek Lake, the third largest body of water in Texas, 429 Sun Valley comes with a double lot totaling approximately 3.07 acres in the 505 Cedar Creek development, Mabank, Texas.  One of three new high end second home developments out that way, there is Beacon Hill, the 505 and Long Cove on the southern tip of the lake. This home is 5,500 square feet of fun constructed by Dallas builder Jim Reilly of Reilly Homes, Inc. Dallas interior designer Adrienne Sams duded up the interiors. The 505 Ranch Club boasts everything from lake fun, of course, to horse back riding and polo to skeet shooting, an ATV course to stocked fishing ponds and a campground with teepees. This is a concierge-type community where you can enjoy second home living without a full-time caretaker to take care of the mess.

429 Sun Valley foyerThe house holds plenty of kids, best friends and easily sleeps 16. There are four bedrooms, four full baths plus one-half bath in an open floor plan. You will never  worry about your floors with hand-scraped hardwoods everywhere: the dining room and family room combine clerestory and transom windows, creating a massive wall of glass overlooking the lake.  A stunning vaulted ceiling with exposed wood trusses and a handsome wood-burning, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace center the family room.  There is a bar with a Sub-Zero mini-fridge and this is so smart: a locked liquor closet complete with an emergency exit button.

429 Sun Valley LR 429 Cedar Creel Lake LR2The kitchen has everything you will need to attractively cook for and clean up after a crowd: granite countertops, punched tin backsplash, a generous center island with vegetable sink and seating.  There are commercial-grade appliances include two GE Profile dishwashers flanking the main sink, Wolf double ovens, a six-burner gas cook top with griddle for morning flapjacks and a warming drawer. Before you leave, tuck all food into the  Thermador refrigerator/freezer and two Sub-Zero refrigerator drawers.

429 Sun Valley kit 429 Sun Valley porches 429 Sun Valley porchThere are two mud rooms, what you need with wet feet scurrying in and out 24/7. The master bedroom is a true retreat with a fireplace, soaking tub, dual sinks, separate shower and walk-in closets. I am in love with the river rock backspash and tub surround. Also down and great for the in-laws: a guest suite with corner bunk beds and full bath.

Head upstairs for two bedrooms: one a secondary guest bedroom, one a bunk room with paneled walls and ceiling. Up here is also a secondary living room and a game/media room with mini-fridge.

The home captures breathtaking views of the lake and the 505’s lush trees, while a finely-meshed screened-in porch keeps the critters at bay. You also get a porch with fire pit and covered patio. Of course, there is a dual-level dock, tree house, zip line, trampoline and double swing — so much to do!

429 Sun Valley master 429 Sun Valley master bath 429 Sun Valley bedroom 429 Sun Valley bunk room 429 Sun Valley media gameWhen you get ready to lock and leave, this house is built with second-home security and cost savings in mind: there are tankless water heaters and Iceynee foam insulation. You are in Kaufman County so load up the gun safe. Security cameras are placed throughout the property and can be monitored from an iPhone or iPad when you are back in Dallas. But if you are like most folks who buy at Cedar Creek, you may end up monitoring the Dallas home more than this one. Asking $1,995,000. Happy Fourth!429 Sun Valley dock

Rangers Fans After World Series



(Photo: The Dallas Morning News)

Today’s the home opener for your Texas Rangers. We go as a family every year, but I have to tell you — I hate the drive. I hate driving to Arlington. Interstate 30 is always a parking lot from Arlington to Grand Prairie, sometimes even to Hampton Road. Driving to and from sporting events is a huge nightmare.

Until mass transit to Arlington makes the trip to see our favorite baseball franchise less headache-inducing, perhaps the hubby and I should consider buying a townhome within walking distance to Rangers Ballpark?

Check out a few great options for second homes that are close to clutch in Arlington, Texas, at Second Shelters!