Durham Street to be overtaken by a drop-off/pick-up student valet service

Durham Street to be overtaken by a drop-off/pick-up student valet service

On February 25th the Caruth Hills Homeplace Neighborhood Association held an update meeting on the proposed school to be built on land HPISD acquired from the Northway Christian Church on Northwest Highway across from Sparkman- Hillcrest (talk about the circle of life). The new school is the result of a $361.4 million bond proposal passed last November that also includes rebuilding and refurbishment of other HPISD schools.

HPISD is an interesting bunch who take pride in probably exactly what you’d expect. For example, string together these puzzle pieces …


Photo from votemcgough.com

Photo from votemcgough.com

Did Dallas City Council candidate Adam McGough buy a condo in Highland Park just for the chance to send his kids to Highland Park ISD?

McGough, a former chief of staff for Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and current candidate for District 10 city council seat, says yes, but it’s not like that. Highland Park ISD officials, however, have announced they’re looking in to the whys and wheretofors of the whole situation, and just about every media outlet in Dallas is drilling down on the housing situation of the McGough family. (more…)

5801 Hillcrest Front

If you’re looking for high-end residential leasing in the Park Cities, just go ahead and dial up the Dave Perry-Miller offices, because it seems like they have curbed the market! Seriously, just about every single lease I’ve found in Highland Park and University Park is listed with a Dave Perry-Miller associate. (more…)


We were so bummed when the Armstrong-Bradfield Preschool Association’s annual Homes for the Holidays Home Tour was shut down due to the ridiculous weather from Icemaggedon on Dec. 6. It was the first time in the tour’s 15-year history that it was canceled.

There were some AMAZING homes slated for the 2013 tour, including D’Andra Simmons’ gorgeous contemporary in Highland Park, which we profiled. It is just phenomenal, and does an excellent job of showing off an incredible collection befitting world travellers.

“We want to thank all of the home owners and the preparation they did to make their beautiful homes ready for the tour,” said home tour chairs Suzi Ellis and Claudia Williams.


However, despite the difficult decision Ellis and Williams made to cancel the tour, the fundraiser was still a resounding success. ABPA managed to raise $78,000 to principals Skip Moran and Chris Brunner of Armstrong and Bradfield elementaries.

“It was really hard to decide not to hold the tour given all the work that had gone into being ready – especially from the home owners who were so willing to offer up their homes,” said co-chairs Ellis and Williams. “We couldn’t believe that in the same week the temperatures went from 70 degrees to sleet and freezing rain.”


Still, the gift will be appreciated by the Highland Park elementary schools. ABPA has managed to raise more than $400,000 for Armstrong and Bradfield since its inception in 1998.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to gift $78,000 to our elementary schools given the extreme weather situation we faced this year,” said ABPA president Tracy Wallingford.  “We look forward to a sleet-free home tour in 2014, and hope everyone will come out once again and enjoy our community’s beautiful homes, while helping support our schools.”


We’re looking forward to it, too!

Woodrow Wilson High School

Thanks to a Facebook page started by former State Rep. Allen Vaught, meetings with Dallas ISD trustee Mike Morath, and a growing groundswell of support, talk is picking up about Woodrow Wilson High School and it’s feeder campuses splintering from Dallas ISD to form their own school district.

It’s an interesting idea, one that would either create a sort of charter school district inside DISD, or secede from the district forever, depending on whom you’re asking. The complaints are as diverse as the proposed solution, but many families inside Lakewood are just fed up with the slow-moving bureaucracy at 3700 Ross Ave, one that Vaught wants to ditch completely.

Should this actually come to fruition, what would happen to the home values inside the Woodrow attendance boundaries and Lakewood as a whole? And what about homes surrounding the area?

6427 Lakewood ext

“My personal opinion is that when Lakewood becomes it’s own entity, the children are the ones who will benefit,” said Scott Carlson, a Realtor who specializes in Lakewood real estate and East Dallas. “Absolutely property values in Lakewood will be protected and become stronger.”

Nancy Johnson, also an expert in Lakewood-area real estate and is the listing agent for 10 Nonesuch Road, agrees.

“I think it would have a positive affect,” Johnson said. “Of course many details would need answering but DISD has such a bad rap that I think localizing and separating from all the negativity would hopefully have some of the great affects the Park Cities have enjoyed.”

Lakewood Elementary

Of course, Park Cities home values have always held strong, thanks to the solid schools, and recently values have taken a turn upward. But there have been some side-effects. Increased density and over-crowded schools are growing problems for Highland Park ISD. As more people seek to live inside a higher-performing school district, builders tear down single-family homes to build duplexes and four-plexes, increasing the burden on campuses to make room for more children. It’s a double-edged sword, for sure.

And let’s not forget that with higher property values often comes higher taxes.

“As you are aware, Texas does not have a state income tax. Never the less, we make up for that in our property taxes — mostly the school part of the tax,” Carlson said. “It’s a ton of money and therefore brings a lot of problems.”

But would White Rock ISD, or Lakewood ISD, or whatever we’re calling this proposed school district, become financially independent? Or would Lakewood property tax dollars still end up in DISD coffers? It’s something that has to be thought out carefully. If the school district becomes financially independent, and results in skyrocketing property values and property taxes, then the district will likely become targeted for redistribution according to the state’s “Robin Hood” laws.

Still, Carlson feels that the district already has a great amount of autonomy and support from the community.


(Photo: Jenifer McNeil Baker)

“My thoughts are that Lakewood already operates on it’s own. What the parents and community has done for the Lakewood school district is extraordinary. A lot of families are moving to Lakewood primarily for the Lakewood school district,” Carlson said. As for support, there’s already a groundswell of that, thanks to the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA and their fundraising efforts.

“The upcoming Lakewood Home Festival, which is the weekend of the Nov. 8, shows how strong and financially viable Lakewood is,” Carlson said. “This being the oldest home tour in Dallas has set the standard for many other home tours. The focus and vision of the parents combined with their love for their children and community, grounded in the beauty of White Rock Lake and nature, is what has made Lakewood one of the BEST neighborhoods in America.”

And that is definitely catching on.

Arcady Front Inwood LogoWe couldn’t be happier for Tayler Carson Sandvick, a Dallas stylist to the truly creme de la creme, as she is set to star in Million Dollar Shoppers, a new Lifetime Network show. According to Theresa Gubbins with CultureMap and the inimitable society blogger Cynthia Smoot, Sandvick, who is a sought-after personal shopper in Dallas with a background in couture, will partner with the quirky Gregg Asher for the show. I’m definitely DVRing the premiere episode on Oct. 10, right after Project Runway!

Sandvick, who has even been approached by a fan while filling up her car at a gas station, is just overwhelmed by the support she’s received from the show so far. “Honestly, it’s amazing,” she said.

Arcady Living

It’s a sign that Sandvick’s career is taking off that she’s selling her Highland Park home at 4537 Arcady Avenue. She’s moving to New York to grow her career, and therefore selling this home that she’s poured so much of herself into. Inspired by some of the historic architecture of New York City, Sandvick tried to incorporate the things she loves about Manhattan, including the vibrant fashion scene, into this house.

This home is gorgeous inside and out, and has some fantastic touches that anyone with good taste can appreciate. There are three bedrooms, two and a half baths, more than 2,800 square feet, and a cozy guest quarters above the two-car garage.

Arcady Family

Listed with Dave Perry-Miller agent/virtuoso Christine McKenny for almost $1.3 million, you can be sure that this house is priced right given the location and updates. It’s described by McKenny as “Parisian Chic Minimalist” and is full of wonderful fixtures and finishes. I love the antique-style faucets in the kitchen and baths, the Carrerra marble counters and backsplashes, updated commercial grade appliances, and the beautiful ebony hand-scraped hardwoods.

Arcady Kitchen

So, why “Parisian Chic”? Well, check out all of the French doors.

“I wanted it to be cool and open,” Sandvick said, noting that with all of the windows, this house is tremendously well lit during the day without the help of electricity.

Sandvick Asher FDNEWSWe agree that this home is bursting with natural light, making all of the beautiful finishes and designer paint really pop. And I bet that if you’re an expert negotiator you can find a way to score some of Sandvick’s incredible furniture, which has a great mix of antiques and new pieces. Appliances, some outdoor furniture, and outdoor refrigerator will stay with the home. Other than the gray velvet draperies, everything else is for sale!

“Of course, we’re going to have to downsize,” Sandvick said with a laugh. Of course, New York City real estate is priced at a premium, so she’ll definitely sacrifice square footage for location. That’s not a problem, she said.

“I would love to have a home that’s not necessarily physically large, but has the best of everything,” Sandvick added.

Arcady Master Arcady Master  Bath

Well, if you want size and  the best of everything, this home is for you. This home is just perfect for a jet-setter, considering the very low-maintenance landscaping in both front and back of the home. You’ll love the patio for entertaining, too, which is just off the family room and kitchen. It’s really just a beautiful home and definitely a million-dollar listing worthy of a Million Dollar Shopper!

Arcady backyard Does this look like the home for you? When it’s time to buy your million dollar listing, find out how to finance it from the professionals at Inwood Mortgage and Inwood National Bank.