Find a Taste of the Hill Country on this Custom Country Estate with 21 Acres |

Take a moment and marvel at a slice of the Texas Hill Country in the gorgeous custom estate on 21 acres at 661 Driftwood Ranch Trail.

Located in the gated community of Driftwood Ranch on the Brazos, this remarkable property sits on the headwaters of Lake Granbury. That’s just 12 miles south of Weatherford and 45 minutes southwest of Fort Worth.

With a 3,589-square-foot house and 2,500-square-foot shop and a four-stall horse barn, this is a gentleman’s ranch with luxury amenities and a serene atmosphere. Austin stone and cedar clad the house, and those materials accent the interior, as well.



In fifteen more days Andy Beal will have owned the Hicks Crespi Estate, aka Walnut Place, for a whole year. My how time flies. This was the biggest real estate transaction in Dallas last year, and in the state until the sale of the Waggoner Ranch in Vernon, Texas. Of course, Waggoner is practically its own community, Walnut Place is  huge, historic Dallas estate that sits in the middle of the moneyed Preston Hollow honeypot. A former U.S. President’s property is adjacent. Rumor is that Beal, who is very close to President-elect Donald Trump, wants to sell or subdivide the Hicks Crespi Estate because he also snapped up the $34 million estate of the late Trammell Crow in Highland Park.

Recall this home was originally priced for sale, not in MLS, for $130,000,000. When Allie Beth Allman got the listing from Doug Newby, she popped it into MSL and lowered the asking price to $100,000,000. The sales price was undisclosed, but rumored to be in the $61,000,000 range.

Beal takes the cake for swooping up the most expensive Dallas real estate in 2016. If President Trump ever comes to Dallas, likely he will be staying with Beal at the Crespi/Walnut Place. Had Hillary Clinton won, she would likely have stayed with Lisa (Baron) Blue at the Baron estate, on the market for $28,500,000.4500-Preston-Rd-ext (more…)

1750 Trace Bela Ct ext

Last week, about 7,000 real estate execs were in North Texas for the Urban Land Institute’s fall conference, a very big industry deal. Top of the talk was why so many corporations were moving to Texas.

“We decided this was a great place — it’s got all the right stuff,” David Arena, head of global real estate for JPMorgan Chase said. “When you come to Dallas, you cannot help but be impressed by the quality and caliber of the people here.”

And the caliber of the homes. There is no home that exudes value and high-caliber living more beautifully than 1750 Trace Bella Court. I mean, this home would make the most die-hard, out-of-stater move here in a nanosecond!

When I first heard about this home I was like, “Yes, another pretty street name and another tricked-up Westlake house. How many columns will it have? (Shall we take a bet?)”

Then I drove out to to see it with my own eyes: One of the most unusual homes in Westlake. Full metal roof. Smooth stone exterior with an Austin feel. Sit back and enjoy this tour. Because this is truly one for the records!

Luxe Tour | 1750 Trace Bella from Ebby Halliday, Realtors on Vimeo.



Is the McMansion dead? To find out why “McMansion” is a pejorative in the architecture world, check out this hilarious Tumblr blog, McMansion Hell. (Image: McMansion Hell)

Recently, Trulia analyzed data from 2006 to 2016 for the 100 largest metros, seeking to understand the new home premium.  They dubbed recently built (2001-2007) 3,000- to 5,000-square-foot homes as McMansions and compared them to homes outside that age and square footage range.

It’s worth noting that for all the tiny house rage, average home sizes are at historic highs (after a short-lived retreat during the recession). There was a tiny decline in the first half of 2016 (from 2,658 to 2,616 square feet) that’s being attributed to a shift towards more entry-level housing. This partly explains why Trulia defined McMansions as being as much as double the national average in size.Trulia McMansion 1


Using highly selective data from Trulia, news outlets trumpeted the death of the McMansion. The Chicago Tribune blared, “The day of the McMansion has come and gone” complete with misty-eyed millionaires having to take a loss on their McMansion (because they’d bought another one). Meanwhile CNBC hailed, “’Death of the ‘McMansion’: Era of Huge Homes Is Over.” Even The Dallas Morning News reprinted a Bloomberg article titled, “Once a booming real estate trend, McMansions now a bad investment.”

These outlets (and many more) pinned their ideas on Trulia’s research that seemed to show that, much like new cars losing value the minute they’re driven off the lot, so too did new homes.  Or did they?


Lake Tahoe

I left Dallas last Thursday morning, a beautiful, hot, sunny day, to land in Reno, Nevada for a long weekend of R&R with my family. My son lives in Silicon Valley and Lake Tahoe is about a four-hour drive for them.

We arrived before noon, the western fam arrived at about 5 due to a shut-down on Interstate 80. We put the phones away, got the baby to bed, and were just settling down for a relaxing dinner. My son (who checks his phone probably more often than I do) said, “there has been a police shooting in Dallas.”

And thus it began.

DPD Memorial Squad Cars HQ (more…)


We’ve been blogging about it for weeks now, and I have to give credit where credit is due: Steve Brown at The Dallas Morning News was first to publish that Andy Beal was interested in buying Walnut Place, the former Crespi Estate on Walnut Hill Lane that was listed by Allie Beth Allman and David Nichols for $100 million. I had heard Beal was going back and forth between Walnut Place and the beautiful Crow mansion at 4500 Preston Road. We know the Hicks are getting close to finding a new home in Dallas, and Allie Beth Allman tells me the 35,275-square-foot (67,689 including terraces) estate closed officially this morning when papers were signed. And Beal paid for the home in cash. She will not disclose the sales price, nor comment on my incessant questions about the Crow estate or sales price, but she did tell me that Andy Beal bought all of the estate, all 25.25 acres, and he plans to keep it intact.

“He doesn’t plan to split it,” she told me.

Bravo Andy Beal!

Allie Beth Allman is an amazing agent, and I had to ask her, how does she feel after pulling off the largest sale in Texas history — actually, in Texas and Oklahoma and probably in the whole southwest U.S. history?

“I don’t feel any different,” she said. “I went to back to work immediately. I had an agent calling me during the closing about another property.”

And while she could not divulge what the final selling price was, she did say that both parties were thrilled.

“The Hicks are thrilled, the buyers are thrilled,” said Allie Beth. “And you know I’m not happy if it’s not that way at every single closing, regardless of the sales price. We are talking about someone’s home and they should not just be happy but be thrilled with the entire process.”

If they are not, she says, then I haven’t done my job. And Allie Beth Allman ALWAYS does her job.

As for the Crow estate, she has a listing agreement and it is on the market and available for $46 million.  It was off the market for the holidays, she told me.

I have to laugh at those who said, and some who actually wrote, that this estate would never sell. It took David and Allie Beth only 9 months to sell a $100 million property.


Until the Waggoner Ranch closes, this is the largest real estate sale in Texas history, and certainly will be the largest in Dallas history for years to come. The last largest sale in Dallas history was 5323 Park Lane, when Kelcy Warren bought the nine plus acre estate of Joyce and Larry Lacerte, designed and built by Cole Smith, decorated by Sherry Hayslip, and listed with Ralph Randall at Ebby Halliday. 5323 Park Lane was originally listed in 2008 for $45 million, then lowered to just under $40 million as the nation’s real estate bubble went bust. According to my sources, it sold for about $29 million-ish, and sharp Kelsey even asked for an outside appraisal. His buyer’s agent was Rosie Waters of Allie Beth Allman and Associates, who is married to football legend Charlie Waters, who works (or worked at the time) for Mr. Warren.

Dallas real estate — I LOVE IT! Jump for the story on Walnut Place, complete with photos, that we ran back in March of this year.Hicks Main House- Foyer and Grand Stairway (more…)

IHOTW 830 Kessler Woods Trail

I don’t know about you, but this cold yuck just gave me yet another excuse to bake and cook, well, yes, eat drink. I need to find some homes for diet inspiration! Homes that make me want to jump and move and burn fat!

What? Homes as diet inspiration? Yes, actually. Beach homes are the perfect way to whittle down to a bikini-worthy waist. Gazing at those clear blue waters and sand, you drop the Kettle Chips toote suite and become a Breatharian, like Michelle Pfieffer. Hopefully, the physique will follow.

Thighs too flabby? Go look at ski homes, and all the steps you get to walk up with those heavy ski boots dragging resistance on your feet. Do this preferably on your ipad while doing a few wall squats simultaneously. Homes with a lot of stairs just seem to pop out exquisitely chiseled quads in the owners from the moment you close.

830 Kessler Woods Trail front porchWhich is why I love (fresh to the market) 830 Kessler Woods Trail. Sleek, sophisticated, modernist, this is a total Breatharian home. You know the area: 30 stunning residences in a gated residential development of highly sophisticated architecture inspired by the work of revered mid century masters Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler. Surprise surprise, only three lots are left here, and two of those have homes going up. Dallas Realtor extraordinaire David Griffin lives in Kessler Woods, was one of the area’s very first evangelists.

The homes at Kessler Woods are nestled on a real hill — not the “Pill Hill” that the area around Methodist is sometimes called — but a cliff at the edge of one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, Kessler Park. There are dramatic views of downtown Dallas and also of a beautifully landscaped center park. A small creek winds through the property amongst towering cedar and live oak trees. Lot sizes range from 7500 square feet to one-half acre, priced from $180,000 to $200,000.

Really, Kessler Woods is about as close as you can get to living in Austin when living in Dallas. And staying fit.

So Patrick Hammer, of Hammer & Partners,  designed this creek-side home, built in 2006, with expansive walls of commercial-grade windows just pulling that outdoors in. Pull pull pull! There are wide-plank oak hardwoods, floating stairs to bound up, formals including a soaring 2-story living room, dining room and open glorious kitchen. There is also a must-have in this part of town: a screened-in porch that totally extends your entertainment area or gives you a chance to rest with a glass of wine (150 cal max) to let your heart rate down. There are entertainment decks, more steps, and a jetted pool. I am in love with the master suite with fireplace, which is quickly becoming a standard necessity given our schitzo climate, and a beautiful spa master bath. There are four bedrooms, three and a half baths, plus a media and an exercise room YES ALL THAT! in 3631 square feet.

Best of all,  you can grab this home for a wee bit more than one million: $1,025,000. You just know the folks at Inwood Mortgage will make that happen like of piece of cake with zero calories!