If she brings a buyer, Lynda Piepgras will donate 5 percent of her commission from the sale of this gorgeous Robert Elliott custom home to the Highland Park Education Foundation as part of a new charitable campaign.

Realtors are famous for their generosity, and they are constantly looking for new ways to lift up the communities they serve. And though commission donation programs are nothing new, we’re absolutely impressed with Lynda Piepgras’ idea to help meet the needs of school districts by contributing a percentage of sales. In fact, Piepgras is launching a program that will commit 5 percent of her commission to the school district in which the home resides. 

“I really wanted to give back to the great neighborhoods I work in, and this is just a no brainer,” Piepgras said. “It’s easy and supports education, our kids, and our teachers.”


Photo: Dallas ReStore

All photos: Dallas ReStore

If you’re DIY aficionado or planning a home renovation project on a budget, then you’ve got to be jazzed about the Feb. 21 grand opening of the newest Habitat for Humanity ReStore Resale Outlet in DFW. The store will be located in Lake Highlands at the southeast corner of Skillman Street and Abrams Road in the space formerly occupied by Big Lots, which closed last year.

This location is the eleventh in the DFW area, all of which are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers selling new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at steep discounts (like 20 to 70 percent off retail prices). Each store is operated by local Habitat chapters, and proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity homebuilding efforts around the world.

The range of items at a ReStore is always surprising and it varies tremendously by location: I’ve seen everything from front doors to front-loading washing machines. And for the creatively inclined, this place is a mecca. The Dallas area ReStore knows what’s up: they’ve got their own Pinterest page with 25 boards featuring everything from Dallas ReStore sales and fab finds to inspiration for specific rooms around the house and upcycling ideas. I’ve already repinned a thrift store lamp makeover, projects using pallets, and a DIY furniture re-do from their pages. Jump to read more!


Lakewood RE/MAX realtors collected 45 bicycles for Wilkinson Center. Photo courtesy of Ken Lampton.

As part of a holiday philanthropy project, two Lakewood RE/MAX agents organized a drive this month to collect children’s bicycles for The Wilkinson Center.

Barbara Reeves and Lee Dirickson, realtors at RE/MAX DFW Associates, collected 45 bicycles, helmets, and bike locks from other Lakewood RE/MAX agents and their business associates, and a Wilkinson representative picked them up last week.

“We are so grateful for the large donation of bikes and helmets from RE/MAX DFW Associates,” said Melanie Myers, President of The Wilkinson Center, which is a leading poverty rescue and prevention agency for the working poor, serving over 14,000 people annually, mainly in East and Southeast Dallas. “This donation will bring joy to the families served by Wilkinson Center and reflects the true spirit of the holidays.”

The Wilkinson Center will distribute the donated bicycles to qualified low-income families so their children can have a brighter Christmas.

“I’ve lived in this area and been in the real estate business for 40 years, and have known about the Wilkinson Center for years,” said Reeves. “I think everybody remembers their first bike and how you learned to ride it, that little stroke of independence and you turned around and mom or dad wasn’t holding on and you were just flying on your own.”

The Lakewood office of RE/MAX DFW Associates serves Lakewood, the M Streets, Lake Highlands, and other East Dallas neighborhoods.



Photo courtesy of Travis Swan via a Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Travis Swan via a Creative Commons license

Gather up your new and gently used coats and blankets for adults and kids because it’s time for the annual coat and blanket drive by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Dallas/Park Cities office.

Collected items will go to the Dallas ISD Coat Closet and the Oak Lawn Community Outreach Center Clothes Closet for families in need and for the homeless.

The drive runs from Monday, Dec. 8 to Saturday, Dec. 13. Drop-off times are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Home pick-up is also available by calling 214-521-0044.

New and gently used coats for adults and children as well as blankets will be accepted at the Coldwell Banker Dallas/Park Cities office located at 7001 Preston Road, Suite 125, located at the corner of Preston and Hyer Street.

“Each year, thousands of adults and children go without proper coats to keep them warm, and our employees and sales associates vowed this year that they wanted to make a difference,” said Keith Head, managing broker of the Dallas/Park Cities office. “So if you have a coat that no longer fits or that your family doesn’t use anymore, or if you have spare blankets that you can donate, it’s an easy way to help someone in need this holiday season.”

The need for coats and blankets is very real for many North Texas families this year. In Dallas County alone, 18.8 percent of people were living below the federal poverty level, according to Healthy North Texas, and the largest percentage of those were children. For a family of four, that means an annual income of $23,850.

Additionally, Texas is one of five states that accounts for more than half of the homeless population in the United States, with almost 30,000 homeless counted in 2013, according to the Texas Homeless Network. For these people, your donation of a warm coat or blanket can make a lifesaving difference.


Olson Hill Giveback Homes

Jacy Olson and Carrie Hill have joined the team behind Giveback Homes.

Y’all know about Olson and Hill, the two dynamic brunettes who are an amazing team at Nathan Grace. These two women have been friends for a very long time, and are using that bond to help build a business that lasts.

Jacy Olson and Carrie Hill have lived in the Lake Highlands area and are big supporters of the community, so when they found out there was a way they could do what they do best — help sellers and buyers — and improve the lives of the less fortunate through Giveback Homes, they jumped on board!


Dan Piassick NFNL 7011

(Photo: 3500 Beverly Drive by Dan Piassick)

The four homes selected for the 2013 New Friends New Life Holiday Home Tour were unveiled Oct. 3, and boy, are they stunners! These amazing mansions will be featured on the nonprofit’s annual fundraiser on Sunday, Dec. 8, and you do not want to miss out!

This year’s tour spans the Park Cities and Preston Hollow, including two homes on Highland Park’s famed Beverly Drive. New Friends New Life helps women reclaim their lives from the sex industry, become self-sufficient, and rescues trafficked teen girls and sexually exploited women and their children. The tour, now in its 14th year, is the organization’s chief fundraiser.

“On behalf of the women and children we serve, we are grateful for the Home Tour chairs, homeowners, sponsors, volunteers and participants for supporting this event,” said NFNL director Katie Pedigo. “Women’s lives are transformed and families are restored because of community support which is displayed through the Holiday Home Tour.”

Dan Piassick NFNL 6926


(Photo: 3501 Lindenwood Ave. by Dan Piassick)

Chaired by Tanya Wiggains, this year’s Holiday Home Tour will not disappoint. Patrons can walk through and admire the homes of honorary home tour chair Gina Ginsburg and her husband Scott at 3500 Beverly Drive, Jan and Jeffrey Rich at 3827 Beverly Drive, founder of Hard Night| Good Morning skincare line D’Andra Simmons at 3501 Lindenwood Ave., and Anne and Steve Stodghill at 10401 Lennox.

Dan Piassick NFNL 6790


(Photo: 10401 Lennox Lane by Dan Piassick)

The homes will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. General admission tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Tickets are available at select Tom Thumb stores on November 4, by visiting www.newfriendsnewlife.org or by phone 214-965-0935.

We’ll have a few pairs of tickets to give away here at CandysDirt.com as the home tour draws closer, too. Stay tuned!


Jackie Andolph

Seeing the submissions from our Paws Cause ticket giveaway has been so much fun! I love how much you guys love your pups! Interestingly enough, we didn’t receive one cat entry, so I can only assume CandysDirt.com readers are mostly dog people.

Back to business: We had a hard time choosing a winner for our ticket giveaway, so we decided to devote some space to our runner-up, Jackie Andolph, who sent in this fabulous picture of her pups Callie and Dude. Callie, a fawn puggle, and Dude, a black pug, enjoy hanging out on their balcony, which Jackie says has views of downtown.

Stay tuned tomorrow as we announce the winner of our “Paws Cause Goes Hollywoof” ticket giveaway. If you are looking to support the SPCA, you can still purchase tickets to the annual gala or donate. Find out more on the SPCA of Dallas website.

Hopefully you’re digging through your archives, trying to find the cutest photo of Felix or Fido that could win two tickets to the March 3 Paws Cause benefit. If you need some inspiration, here are a few great examples of pets staging homes.

Cat With Lazer Eyes

This tabby was resting comfortably until a Realtor decided to take his picture. Then he turned on his lazers. Still, it’s a totally acceptable entry, even though we’re getting the stink eye from this cat.

Wraggles Stages Manhattan

This guy, named “Wraggles,” was featured in The New York Times for crying out loud. A dog with personality can help win over buyers, especially in the toughest market in the U.S. He is adorable. I would buy from him any day.

Dog Staging a Home


This guy, lazing next to the column, is totally selling this place. It’s not the vaulted ceilings or the immaculate master bedroom — it’s this dog who owns the place.


Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 8.56.11 AM

If this isn’t “man’s best friend” personified, well, you need new glasses. Literally sleeping at the foot of your bed is this adorable guy. He’s totally classing up this joint!

Cat Hiding in storage


Of course, we couldn’t finish this list without the surprise cat. She’s just hanging out in a cubby, waiting for you to pass by while surveying the craft room, and BAM! She’s on top of you like an agent at their first open house.

Now you have plenty of ideas, so get snapping! Send us your entry by Feb. 22 to jo@candysdirt.com! For more information on entering check out this post.