The fireplace at 13809 Green Elm Road is a direct vent — so there’s no chimney for Santa to come down.

How does he do it?

How is Santa not only able to deliver toys to all the good little girls and boys of the world, but how does he manage to get down the chimney? I have so many questions for Santa. Does he have a favorite type of fireplace?  What about a direct-vent fireplace? How does he handle homes with no fireplace?

Reviewing the homes of Tarrant County Tuesday from 2018, I wanted to share some of the vast options that jolly old St. Nick will have in a few short weeks.

While a tall flue , the actual fire box might be a tight squeeze for St. Nick at 312 Verna Trail


Christmas is right around the corner, and you can certainly tell here in North Texas. The trees are decorated, holiday music is playing on the radio, and eggnog lattes are back at your favorite coffee shop. With Santa’s visit just a few short weeks away, we are highlighting our favorite Dallas-area apartments with fireplaces and chimneys for Santa to use. Don’t worry — all these chimneys are big enough for Santa to fit without feeling claustrophobic. Some even have rooftop pools and balconies for Santa’s reindeer to play in while they are waiting for the jolly old elf to finish delivering presents.


Mickey Munir

All photos: Dan Piassick

When Mickey Munir built the luxury home at 14929 Havenshire Pl. in Addison 17 years ago, it was intended to be a model home to showcase his capabilities as a custom builder and architect. He is the founder and CEO of Sharif Munir Uncustomary Custom Homes and many of the houses in this neighborhood were built by him.

Every aspect of the home is grand, and in its two years as a model, Munir estimates he sold ten to 15 build-to-suits after clients saw it. But at the end of that time, Munir and his wife Michele decided to call it home, and have been here ever since.

They’ve been happily splitting their time between this house and one on Lake Texoma. But their kids are grown and this house rarely gets visitors (unlike the Lake Texoma house), so it’s time to sell.

Mickey Munir

The entryway foyer and grand staircase

This is a 7,400-square-foot luxury home in the exclusive Bellbrook Estates, sitting on half an acre with four bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and two half bathrooms. There’s also a 12-person formal dining area, dramatic entry foyer with grand staircase, geothermal heating and cooling, gourmet indoor kitchen, outdoor kitchen, 40-foot lap pool with a sunken conversation pool at one end, a private master courtyard with spa and fireplace, and so much more.

“It’s loaded with so many features, every trick in the book you could put in it in 1998, and it has all been updated to current standards,” Munir said. “It’s got a lot of great technology, like an AMX home automation system, Lutron lighting system, an eight-seat theater with a new projector, screen, and speakers.”

The home belongs entirely to Michele, a point he wanted to emphasize: “We’ve lived through four recessions. This protects her in case the sky falls on me.”

The house is contemporary with a blend of neoclassical and Biedermeier architectural styles, built for company.

“It’s designed for adults with grown children, an entertaining house,” he said. “This house was out-of-the-box in 1998—everybody wanted a French or Mediterranean house—and this was purposeful. Nancy Dubick of Dallas Design Groups, Interiors personally did the interior work in collaboration with us.”

This home is listed for $2.45 million by Grady Yates with Sharif & Munir Ventures, Inc.


oak cliff income propertyIf the idea of having someone else help pay your mortgage is appealing, then consider the up-down duplex in North Oak Cliff at 1216 Kings Hwy.

Listed for $375,000 by Kathy Hewitt and Steve Habgood with the Hewitt Habgood Group of Dave Perry-Miller Intown, this duplex has two 2-1 units. Both are currently rented out to solid, long-term tenants on month-to-month leases, but they are priced under market value. Habgood said the market rate for these units could bring in as much as $3,000 per month. For a property listed under $400K, that would likely cover the entire note, and then some!

The current owner has purchased the property 16 years ago, and lived in the upstairs unit for nine years, Habgood said. The Craftsman home was built in 1923, and he has done a lot of restoration work. He replaced the concrete footers and headers in front, put in new brick support beams, insulated all the exterior walls and attic, added a two-car detached garage, and added new electrical and HVAC to both units. He also sanded and repainted the exterior with Tex-Cote paint, a thicker paint with special reflective pigments that can lower surface temperatures significantly, meaning lower heating and cooling bills.

Let’s take a look inside this Craftsman duplex and check out its potential as an income property.


Durham Builders

These photos are of the Durham Builders home at 6924 Santa Barbara Dr., one of three modern houses now available in the new Santa Barbara development. Photos: MetroplexHD

East Dallas has a new modern enclave near White Rock Lake, with three houses built, and four more planned.

The Santa Barbara development, near Mockingbird Lane and W. Lawther Drive, creates a style that fuses native Texas materials with California-style architecture. The result is marvelous, something that’s being called “this-century modern.”

“When we were doing the original modeling, we were doing was more Midcentury Modern [style], but I felt  a Texas modern house would go better with the community,” said builder Miles Durham of Durham Builders. “It seems like the people around the lake and in Lakewood are open to this type and style of house.”

Durham’s father, Robert Durham, is the architect for the Santa Barbara development.

“He has modernist influences, and Frank Lloyd Wright,” Miles said. “He does all of the floorplan layouts and all of the elevations, I do all the finish selections and more. We’ve done a lot of houses and we work well together.”Durham Builders

The Santa Barbara houses are priced between $810K and $825K, and are around 3,200 square feet with four or five bedrooms. The designs include an abundance of large windows, open floorplans, fireplaces clad in Carrera Marble and wood, designer tile, concrete floors, and chef’s kitchens with high-end KitchenAid stainless steel appliances and Silestone quartz countertops.

“It’s extremely affordable by Lakewood standards, and that was important to us,” Miles said.

The photos throughout this post are of the home at 6924 Santa Barbara Dr. listed by Jennifer Baldwin with Clay Stapp + Co. for $810,000. It is a 5-4 with two living areas and 3,137 square feet.

10235 Strait LaneThis is curious. On January 14, 2014 Allie Beth Allman listed the stupendous Neiman Marcus Showcase House which we all remember so very well  when it was built in 1996. 10,930 square feet of sheer perfection with five bedrooms, six full and three half baths, five fireplaces which are working overtime today I’m sure, rich library, media room, exercise room, guest suite, staff quarters with a kitchen, rear loggia with one of those five fireplaces. Everywhere you look there are acres of gorgeous, tasteful marbles, limestone, oak, maple, mahogany, stucco, red tile. In fact, this home really made most of these finish-out materials so hotly coveted once they were unveiled in the 1998 Neiman Marcus Showcase home. Of course the home is located on one-plus wooded acre. The asking price is, or rather was, $5,950,000.

Maybe it’s a hip pocket?

But now the listing has been cancelled. Which is curious because it is owned by Toni Brinker, who is engaged to T. Boone Pickens, and the game-plan we all thought was for them to move into his home on Alva Court. 10235 Strait Lane is where Toni lived with Norman Brinker, NOT 9410 Alva Court as I had mistakenly thought. Anyhow, wonder if now the lovebirds might be making THIS their new pad?

Or perhaps a second home… for guests?



Paigebrooke Fireplace 2You know how some folks make fun of those who build build huge homes with multiple fireplaces? Why do you need multiple fireplaces in Dallas, they jeer, it never gets cold here.

Yeah, right, and we never are without heat, are we?

There’s a reason for fireplaces, and the folks in these homes know that too well. They are warm and cozy right about now WITHOUT HEAT whether in their living room, family room, kitchen, trophy room, breakfast room, master bath taking a bath (you could heat the water over the fireplace, of course) hot tub (assuming somehow you could get that hot and bubbly without juice, maybe through a gas heater) or outdoor patio.  Why? Because these homes have a minimum of 8 fireplaces, and a few have nine — Mount Vernon over by White Rock Lake, and Paigebrook, my favorite home in the world out in Westlake. By contrast, Champs D’Or, which sold at auction last year, only had 7 fireplaces in 36,630 square feet of living space. Clearly, 7 is not enough but that did include a fireplace in one of the powder rooms, which guests would have appreciated during the Icepocalypse.

Perhaps that’s why it took so long to sell Champs — not ENOUGH fireplaces!

In California, you can no longer even build a fireplace, at least not in a new home, though I am sure the Silicon Valley elite find ways around this.

So here we go: to keep you warm today in case you are one of the 20,000 still waiting for juice to kick on your heat. Homes across the area with 8 or 9 fireplaces to keep you toasty, from Fort Worth to Flower Mound (lots of fireplaces up there) to Dalworthington Gardens in Arlington.

Read fast, before the natural light goes down…

Mt Vernon fireplace4409 West Lawther drive, aka Mt. Vernon, has nine fireplaces. See here how you could hang in the family room, read by the fire and even shoot pool if you lived here. This is, of course, the famous home of firsts in Dallas built by H.L. Hunt on the shores of White Rock Lake.

Mt Vernon ext

Now asking $19,000,000 (reduced from $29,000,000) this home has 10,511 square feet and enough fireplaces to survive any heat loss in the formals, master bedroom, and outside patio. The only thing I’d worry about is the cars in the 16-car auto concours and I cannot recall seeing a fireplace in the bowling alley. Ah well, that’s why there’s antifreeze!

5504 St Andrews extSt Andrews fireplaceNext on our list is an amazing house in Plano at 5504 St. Andrews Court, reduced from $5,875,000 to $4,950,000. How have I not seen this place before? Listed by Cindy O’ Gorman (of course, she has the BEST listings!) this pup has 8 fireplaces in 13,001 square feet.  Six bedrooms, six full and three half baths. It is, Cindy says, a masterpiece in European design, exquisite workmanship, and state of the art technology. It is tucked onto a private cul-de-sac lot with panoramic greenbelt & lake views from most rooms. There’s a wine cellar, elevator (oops that won’t work without juice), art galleries, and both upper & lower level sun decks that won’t do us any good today, will they? The walls are custom plastered walls, the floors are wood, limestone, & marble flooring, the kitchen is commercial to-die-for, and the outdoor living area has a saltwater pool, full kitchen and of course a fireplace. Note to owners: move that ceramic vase, get you some firewood!

Watagua fireplaceThen there is Watauga in Bluffview, off Midway. I have been meaning to write up this home for quite some time, it is one of my “O” homes! Giving it a once-over here because I have toured it and there is too much to cover. Suffice it to say: 13,713 square feet, six bedrooms, six full and three half baths, and eight fireplaces including one in the fabulous exterior kitchen pavilion. See here, take a bath by this fireplace and you will be all warm and toasty. It’s $7,500,000.

I really cannot wait to show you this home. Hint: it was built by a radio news personality. Stay tuned… don’t touch that dial…

More to come, must make this quick lest the Blogging Gods get irate… and I need more hot coffee…



Herman Cain might like this weeks’ $200k sale: it’s all about the master. 1519 Beaumont Street in The Cedars features a sauna off the master that I would love to try out right about now. It also has a unique master bedroom platform configuration that I just do not understand, but maybe that is because I am old. Is this “platform” supposed to add spice to your sex life? As in, drumroll, presenting the bed! Is is guaranteed to keep husbands from straying?  Or is it a great place to film, ah how can I say this discretely, “videos”? Maybe you add curtains around the bed, how dramatic! Me, I think I’d just trip after too many glasses of bubbly seeking a potty lickety-split. 

The 2871 square foot condo was built in 2000 boasts 12 and 14 foot tall ceilings, three fireplaces, a huge master with one of those fireplaces, that sauna off the master bath, two showers, spacious closets, ceiling fans, kitchen with stainless appliance including a Viking dishwasher, a wall of glass block in the breakfast area, a large library-study with walls of 12 foot high bookcases, two living areas, three bedrooms and three separate entrances. Perfect work/live environment in a fun, funky part of town east of I 30 near Old City Park. Super pretty during the holidays, but check this out: Owner will consider owner financing for a qualified buyer. Asking $239,500, listed with Ronald Maddran of Virginia Cook.

This Master just doesn't "do it" for me, you?