Orchard Flower

Empty nesters today have a far, far different housing story than their parents’ tale. Right-sizing options are all over the map: get a smaller home, get a bigger home, sell the family homestead, keep your city place as efficient as possible. Empty nesters are building a huge custom home next door to me. And I recently heard of a couple who built a 10,000-square-foot retirement home at age 90, with only one bedroom, in Idaho as a retirement villa. When they were building, they had one request of their builder: just finish it before we die.

In fact, many empty nesters build vacation homes to become full-time homes after retirement. No matter what they want, empty nesters will find a host of right-sizing perfection in Flower Mound’s new Orchard Flower neighborhood, a gated community built for the active adult 55-plus lifestyle with snazzy style but comfort as an inherent design.

Grenadier Homes, the folks who are sprucing up Midway Hollow and other Dallas communities with their innovative one-story floor plans and easy living/universal designs, will premiere two luxury patio home models in the Orchard Flower community this week, Thursday, May 19, from 4pm until 7pm, at 1955 Virburnum Drive, Flower Mound, TX (75028).

1951 Virburnum model home


Real Estate Story
Downsizing expert

Photo: Senior Focused Relocations

“Bigger is better” may be the motto of many house hunters, but a sizable number of people want to downsize with their next home purchase.

With a smaller house comes less space, and culling all the “stuff” is a big challenge. This is often particularly true for empty nesters and seniors, who have a lifetime of possessions from themselves and even kids. Who wants to throw out precious memories?

But getting rid of a lot of the stuff is the reality for downsizing, and there’s professional help available to categorize, sort, and help people deal with emotional ties to possessions.

Brooke Evans is just that person, working with seniors moving into assisted living, as well as people of all ages looking to live in a smaller footprint. She is the managing director of Senior Focused Relocations, a Dallas-based company that has done around 2,500 moves since it opened in 2005.

“We help seniors with the downsizing and organization process, thinking through going from their house they’ve often been in for 30 or 40 years, to something smaller,” Evans said. “We call is ‘right-sizing,’ which means adjusting to the space requirements they’ll have, what fits the frame of life they’re actually in. Most people aren’t using the majority of their house.”

While her expertise is with seniors, the advice and understanding she offers works for anyone looking to downsize and plan out the new space. Evans talks about not being owned by one’s possessions, figuring out priorities, and embracing living in a smaller home with fewer possessions. She calls it liberating.

“There is a movement toward more of a minimalist approach and a lot of people are embracing the idea of moving [into smaller homes],” she said. “We are interested in figuring out what to cull, what items brings joy—there’s no one-size-fits-all for getting rid of your items. It’s a process.”


Left: This outdated shower/tub unit was rarely used and presented a fall hazard. Right: Bruce Graf updated the bathroom with trendy tile and frameless glass, which is now wheelchair accessible. (Photo: Graf Developments)

Left: This outdated shower/tub unit was rarely used and presented a fall hazard. Right: Bruce Graf updated the bathroom with trendy tile and frameless glass, which is now wheelchair accessible. (Photo: Graf Developments)

“For most folks, their home is the biggest investment they own,” said Bruce Graf, a home remodeler with more than 30 years of experience in working with multiple generations of families.

Graf has helped families remodel a house to accommodate growth, and then returned years later to adapt their home to special health needs so they can continue aging-in-place within that same residence filled with lots of memories.


In a word, ahhhhhh! This updated Lakewood stone Mediterranean sits on a DEEP 237 foot lush lot that you will never get out of your mind. The home was built in 1939, ergo the charm and character of a by-gone era, but renovated with a deft touch by a very talented owner. You get arched doorways, tiled floors, wood and moldings. You also get 3714 square feet, four bedrooms, two and a half baths, large, elegant formals, a gorgeous kitchen with custom cabinetry, center island, and breakfast room with not one but TWO wine coolers (stay-at-home Mommy’s dee-light!) plus Butler’s pantry. You will have so much space, you won’t know what to do with it. Three large bedrooms are all up & can be accessed by the GORGEOUS center hall staircase or  working elevator. Then there is the guest house– wowzers. 1300+ square feet that holds the 4th bedroom, a music room, study, 2 full baths, a balcony and 3 car garage. Be sure to tell your appraiser not to miss the third bonus house: a tree house! This home is perfect for a burgeoning family or empty nesters with tired knees. And wait until you see the Master suite: private bath with old-fashioned soaking tub, plus great walk-in with built-ins galore. And look at the design: every room in this house is ready for a magazine photo shoot 24/7.  Priced very well at $899,000 and listed with Nancy Johnson over at Dave Perry-Miller & Associates. Fairly new to market so run — but do stop at the stop signs!

The listing agent will die when I tell you this secret: these people want to sell this house. Bigtime. Turns out, they are beginning a new fun life with their second home which just happens to be a sailboat. So this 2938 square foot Munger Place mama has been reduced from $459,000 to $395,000 and the sellers are totally serious. SERIOUS. The prairie-style home was built in 1925 but recently updated and rewired. You get three bedrooms, three and a half baths, two of those bedrooms being master suites. This would be a perfect home for a young family with one child or empty nesters who may have an elderly parent plop in for several months. I love hand scraped hardwoods more than just about anything, and this house has them everywhere. The kitchen may be labeled “gourmet”: granite countertops and sub zero, good enough for me. Then there are three living areas and a sunroom/ study off one of the masters. (Call it the Master’s Master!) An upstairs loft has the half bath and makes a great media or gameroom. Updated wiring. The garage has an unfinished bonus room, and an electric gate on the driveway for security. Not much yard, like less than a quarter acre, but check out the great wood deck and that hot tub. What a way to relax after a hard week at the office! 5944 Bryan Parkway is listed with April McGowan, Keller Williams Urban, Dallas.

Oh. My. God. This stunning Bluffview architectural gem at 4214 Shorecrest probably won’t last through the weekend. In fact, I predict it will be gone by Friday. The property actually rests upon a Bluffview bluff on .97 acres. So unlike almost any other neighborhood in Dallas, with the exception of Kessler, you get a view. Built in 1939, Victor Sidy, Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, planned and oversaw the remodel. The size is perfect — not too large, not too small, and the home does not swallow the whole dang lot like so many of these behemoths. I think this would make a perfect empty nester home, and I know for a fact that Bluffview is where many empty nesters are heading. You get 3407 square feet, three bedrooms, study, three full baths and a stunning pool. Floors are concrete, marble and wood. The owners are well know Dallas journalist and attorney Courtney Dreslin Sinelli and her darling husband, Jeff Sinelli, founder, CEO and CVO (that’s Chief Vibe Officer) of Which Wich. So in a way, this is a home that “sand-wishes” built. Courtney tells me her home boasts the best patio in Dallas and treetop views from every single window. I say buy it with the furnishings and work some big fat gift certificates to Which Wich. The home is gorgeous and only asking $1, 849,000 with Sandy Petruska at Briggs Freeman…

Oh I have a treat for you this beautiful Monday morning. It’s called 4641 Beverly Drive and this home is smoother than your morning latte. You know who could live here? Tory Burch. Stop whatever you are doing and look at these interiors. I’m supposed to keep this package around a million, I confess the home is listed at $1,225,000. But when you see it, I swear you will just go sell a child for the extra $225,000.

Which reminds me: I talked to an old friend yesterday who told me that if she had it to do all over again, she would NOT have had children. Shocking.

This elegant 1930’s Georgian manor in Highland Park is the perfect size at 3534 square feet. If I were a wagering woman with a crystal ball, I’d say it has an empty nester family in it’s future. In fact, West Highland Park is one of the hottest areas sought out by empty nesters — both WHP and Bluffview. Great lots (this one is 154 by 77), proximity, security, trees. This pup has 3 bedrooms, 2.1 baths, an elevator (smart smart smart), screened in porch plus a gorgeous pool with spa, seats and water features. There is a separate guest quarters and a two car garage — you know kids these days, they come home sometimes and stay a heck of a long time! Interiors by Dallas designer to the rich and famous James McInroe, and the home was featured in F!D Luxe, the design magazine of the Dallas Morning News. Here’s the slide show of it.

From the grand entrance to the near perfect flow, the home is classic, contemporary, and infused with natural light. I don’t think I’ve seen a home that is more move-in ready!

Marketed by Ashley Tacker Rupp, the Ben Jones Group, Allie Beth Allman and Company.

Look at the design details in this master bath!

Recall our tither about staging a home for sale with our furry friends — to do or not to do, and do we take them to the Dry Bar first? Well, here we see two little peek-a-boo angels who seem to be enhancing these photos. I’m becoming more convinced that I want my dogs in the graphics when I decide to sell my home. And Kristian Peterson agrees!

Wait. Do you think these angels were saying they had to go potty? BTW this is a great town home listing at 4356 Wsetside Drive in West Highland Park at the  Mews Townhomes. Over-sized front entry garden with flagstone patio, back garden with walled water fountain, the cozy interior includes hardwood floors,wood-burning fireplace and ten foot ceilings. Do not have to tell you how secure and wonderfully convenient WHP is to everything, one reason why it is so popular with Baby Boomers, empty nesters and young ones.