Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman finally sold his Hillcrest Estates home Oct. 28, after two agents and almost three years of marketing and just hours before Elite Auctions was set to auction the home with no reserve.

As so often happens with auctions, a buyer came forward at the last minute and signed on the dotted line.

“Everyone is very happy,” says Elite Auctions Marketing Director Alicia Chmielewski. “This was a pre-auction offer, which means the auction actually never took place. When we take on a property to sell, we won’t take it unless we feel we can get a reasonable price for the sellers.”

And they did. The final sales price was … (more…)

Comes word from Elite Auctions Marketing Director Alicia Chmielewski that the no-reserve auction for Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman’s home in Hillcrest Estates has been canceled. The no-reserve auction was to take place at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 28.  We are told that a pre-auction offer has been accepted by the sellers, Kleinman and his wife, Dr. Lisa Umholtz.

In fact, the home now shows pending sale status in MLS.

The price on the contract is confidential. All we know is “the price was acceptable to the buyer and seller.” (more…)

The 7,154-square-foot Hillcrest Estates home of Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman and his wife, Dr. Lisa Umholtz, is still slated for auction this Saturday, September 28, 11:00 a.m. with no minimum reserve price at 11322 East Ricks Circle, Dallas, with Elite Auctions.

The final preview is scheduled for Friday (this afternoon) from 1-4pm, and registration begins bright and early Saturday morning at 9:00am.

Elite Auctions is the luxury home auction company whose signs you may be seeing more frequently around DFW. Elite successfully auctioned off the Vaquero properties of Vanessa Swarovski, then later Mark Texeira, and the Highland Park home of Michael Young, among many others.

But Saturday, it’s all about North Dallas and a pristine enclave that some call Preston Hollow, which is really more Preston Royal, the official neighborhood name being Hillcrest Estates. Comprised of about 90 minimum one-acre home spreads, a few select homes along East and West Ricks Circle, Wander Lane and Belmead, actually boast larger than acre lots.

The Kleinman home is one of them. And a week ago, I learned that the home’s unique contemporary design actually inspired the Kleinman’s daughter to a career in architecture.


Built in 1993 by AIA Fellow Gregory S. Ibanez, the five-bedroom, six-full, two-half-bathroom home was also a fixture on the Raymond Nasher Tour of Homes back in 1996, as well as the Northaven Tour of Homes. The home was first listed with Kyle Rovinsky of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate for $4,567,890, then lowered to $3.95 million.

Ultimately the home’s price came down to $3.795, first with Rovinsky, then with Allie Beth Allman and Christine McKenny. The home is now listed by Cliff Freeman of eXp Realty.

Though it is being sold without reserve, the asking price is $3.5 million.

“The asking price is a good guide for what it would take to buy this house, prior to auction,” says Elite Marketing Director Alicia Chmielewski.


This 7,154-square-foot Hillcrest Estates home of Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman and his wife, Dr. Lisa Umholtz, is going to auction with no minimum bid on Sept. 28 with Elite Auctions, and CandysDirt.com is offering you a chance to preview it tomorrow.

Join Candy’sDirt for an exclusive Open House event from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 at 11322 E. Ricks Circle, Dallas. Scroll down to RSVP to see one of the greenest homes in Dallas.

“Hopeful buyers now have the chance to name-their-own-price at our upcoming, no reserve, auction at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 28,” says Elite Marketing Director Alicia Chmielewski.

This could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own almost two acres of the most the most private, park-like setting in Dallas.


Downing horse1

Are you looking to build a home to fill with love? This looks like another one acre lot for sale off Ricks Circle in Hillcrest Estates, an area many refer to as Preston Hollow, even though technically it is not.

But this is no ordinary lot. And it is no ordinary sale. Rather than list it, the family is selling by open bid. The cost? Probably around $1.5 million, based on the lot size (.93 acre) and recent sales in the neighborhood. And, of course, the bids.The house has been removed, there are two large trees, and the open space gives buyers design freedom within the ‘hood’s relatively easy deed restrictions.

The lot housed a loving family for years, cradled their laughter, tears and progress.

Oh, and that’s the other stipulation: the Downing family will make their former family home available ONLY to people who will buy it, build on it, and love it as much as they did. (more…)

11323ERicksCir146H-930x398.jpgexterior long shotRemember that song from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Won’t you be, won’t you be, won’t you be my neighbor? Well go ahead, swoop up this place at 11323 East Ricks Circle and you WILL be my neighbor. Be forewarned: I will be knocking on your door 24/7 expecting champagne, wine, and fun. Because this house is like being at Summer Camp 24/7, 365 days of the year.

But it would be the classiest summer camp you have ever seen. If you want everything in your home all on one floor, shop no more.  11323 East Ricks Circle was built in 1963, and is thus a perfect specimen of (later) mid century design upgraded to 2014 standards.

Wait, you know, don’t you, that homes from the 60’s are very hot right now. Agents tell me they cannot keep them in inventory. (more…)

6520 Northaven rearI literally have my head stuck in a computer all day, when I’m not out looking for House Porn. So when I was alerted to this report on Channel 8 about a neighbor’s home being raided by the FBI, a couple DEA agents (just helping), and the IRS, I was all over it. As was the media, calling this area Preston Hollow. It is not Preston Hollow, dear friends, it is Hillcrest Estates. But I know Preston Hollow raises more eyebrows for the media so I will keep quiet, but folks, betwixt us, it’s really not Preston Hollow.

I knew immediately which home it was before I even saw the report because that’s where Diane Johnston and I used to build haunted houses on Halloween when she and Daryl lived there. Yes, right in that big 2.273 acre yard.

Well, now the owner of the home may be visiting a different house.

6520 Northaven raid1 6520 Northaven raid 2 6520 Northaven raid 3 6520 Northaven raid 4       photos from WFAA-TV

It isn’t every day that you see a swarm of Feds hauling papers and stuff out of a three million dollar plus home. I am so full of questions: do they wear blue booties to protect the floors? Are they allowed to use the bathroom and if so, only the powder? (What happens if one of the FBI guys or gals, not to be sexist of course, and it could totally be the IRS guys & gals too, makes a mess in there, you know — do they send someone back to clean the potty?) Who is the guy in the front door holding a Sprite and if it is not the owner, where did he get it? One guy was holding two Ozarka bottles of course, it’s really hot, but did they come from the homeowner? Do they get to take a swim in the pool? I mean, the Feds come in and raid your house, do you offer them drinks? Coffee? Water? (Wine? White or red?) Cheese and crackers? Make tuna sandwiches?

I’m sure the house was in great shape, too, because it is on the market, listed with Marsha Finney of Ebby Halliday. Great little write up in CultureMap. 7364 square feet, five bedrooms, five and a half baths, four car garage, game room, wine tasting room, media room, playroom, pool & pool house, 4 car garage, safe room. The lake features a fountain and waterfall. Original asking back June 26 was $3,999,000 now at $3,700,000. That’s a nice little twist to your listing — “sorry we cannot show it right now, the Feds are there raiding the house. No biggie. Can you come at five when they are finished? Yeah, text me.” Talk about tortious interference!

Get this: the house has an option contract on it. Someone wants to buy it.

6520 Northaven foyer 6520 Northaven LR 6520 Northaven LR2So here is what I know about this house. When we moved here, it was owned by a darling 6520 Northaven studycouple named Carl and Nell Taylor, who I know read this blog as do Diane and Daryl — hi guys! The home was built in 1955 and is an original Dilbeck. Diane totally redid the house and did a bang-up job in 2003. The Dilbeck bones were great but some of the finishes had to go, like the cork in Daryl’s study. Now it actually resembles the Dallas Country Club more than Dilbeck. The home overlooks a shimmering lake and sits on a prize corner; the Johnstons created an entertaining oasis on the lower level and build a gorgeous cabana on the eastern edge of the property. Daryl mowed that lawn himself on a riding mower. Alas, they sold the property because, I think, they always wanted to put a gate on the front drive for privacy — can you blame them? But our deed restrictions forbid fences and gates across the front of our yards, with a few exceptions, and preclude gates. And Diane and Daryl, they do everything by the rules.

6520 Northaven kit 6520 Northaven kit 2 6520 Northaven master 6520 Northaven girlsSo the home was bought next by a couple named Good who lived there about two years before the house went into foreclosure. It stayed in foreclosure for about three years while various tenants came in and “castle kept” the place. Finally, the market picked up and the current owners bought it, Tanya and Jeremy Wiggains, just this January.

6520 Northaven bar 6520 Northaven media 6520 Northaven poolNeighbors say they were very young, younger than most in this hood, and have two young 6520 Northaven lakechildren. Don’t get me wrong, this is not heaven’s waiting room by a longshot, but most of the folks who move here are in their 40’s, mid thirties definitely a rarity. Jeremy Wiggains is 38. The Wiggains must have gotten a great deal on the house, buying it from the bank, Sb&T Assets. Neighbors also said the couple poured buckets of money into the house to spruce it up, as we can see from the photos.

So last week apparently, according to Channel 8 WFAA-TV, Jeremy Wiggains filed for bankruptcy protection. So sad. WFAA-TV says he claims to owe $50 million but only has $1 million left to his name. KXAS had a little more insight: Wiggains is the owner of a high-end, Internet-based car dealership that recently shut its doors because of bankruptcy. That would be Straight Line Automotive, located way on the western end of Northaven in the 2700 block. The company filed for bankruptcy in mid-July, says NBC 5 who also said some of the folks they called on the creditor’s list say they bought fancy cars month ago but have yet to receive title. That sentiment seems to run on the internet as well. The list of creditors detailed in Wiggains’ bankruptcy filing is three pages long and includes banks, car dealerships, auto detailers, audio companies and more.

So there you have it. One of the more interesting real estate stories of the season, I’ll say. I am dying to find out what the etiquette is for showing the Feds around an open house. Sounds like poor Jeremy Wiggains has a lot on his plate right now, so I won’t ask him, but thanks to the hot real estate market, he should be able to unload his home for a pretty good price. Maybe that will make a dimple in the $50 million he says he owes — ouch! Hillcrest Estates is pretty hot, even if it’s not Preston Hollow.



11323 Ricks Circle extI do not even know where to begin with this estate. This is a house I have known for years, watched evolve and grow up. I feel like I carpooled this house and now I am watching her get her PhD with tears in my eyes!

First of all, if you want everything all on one floor, shop no more. 11323 East Ricks Circle was built in 1963, with definite mid century lines and bones. The home was more than well cared for by the original family, and subsequent buyers remodeled with an almost bottomless budget: designer name-dropping kitchen, master bath with the most spacious custom his and her master closet I have seen, plus private patio. All wood casement windows on the back face and take full advantage of the spacious property. So you get a really solid, updated 5510 square foot one-story delight with four bedrooms, four and a half baths, formals, family room and game room. A few steps down here and there for fun, but this is a house that will save your knees.

Acreage? Try a whopping 1.5 with so many huge trees you will be raking yourself silly come fall.

Golf? You’ve got a putting green just like the one over at Lee Travino’s house, maybe better.

Pool? This one has a water slide without the controversy!

Tennis? The home has your very own lighted regulation court, which is great because I want to take up tennis again and will be your frequent guest! Also, as I discovered in our old home with a tennis court, a regulation sized court holds 25 Ducky Bob round tables easily with room for a band!


Man cave or guest house, your choice, spacious and not even within shouting distance of the house, and has full pool access. Ladies, this means your man can freaking FALL ASLEEP out there if you play your cards right, get my drift? (Hint: make them leave behind the beer fridge. You’re welcome)

11323 Ricks Circle ext.jpg CU 11323 Ricks Circle LR 11323 Ricks Circle kit 11323 Rick Circle playroom 11323 Rick Circle DRTo call this area Preston Hollow is a stretch but then, show me a Realtor who doesn’t stretch and I’ll show you an impotent agent with a sore back who has never made a sale. The area is called Hillcrest Estates, just east and slightly north of Preston Hollow, on a secured private cul de sac with fishing lakes. There is one lake, in fact, almost across the street from this home. Across Northaven, in fact. This is one of the best-kept secret neighborhoods in Dallas and I know it well. Homes fly off the shelves, and the one acre lots are being snapped up and covered with beautiful, stunning homes by builders such as Tatum Brown/Mark Danuser, Mark Molthan Platinum Series Homes, Joe Kain, Mickey Munir/Shariff Munir, Susan Newell and ArtHouse. The nasty-pants neighborhood association is long gone, and one acre lots, pure dirt mind you, are now fetching about $1.2 or $1.3. The neighborhood-run security patrol is one of the best in the city, if not THEE best. And it costs less than $1000 per year.11323 Ricks Cricle Master 11323 Ricks Circle Master bath 11323 Ricks circle pool 11323 Ricks Circle guest 11323 Ricks Circle tennis

Now wait, here is the best news: This home is listed at $2,500,000. Freaking peanuts because wait, oh just wait ’till I tell you what’s right next door: Amy and Darren Kozelsky’s $9.75 million white, light and bright Lionel Morrison contemporary.

You know what my mom used to say: never buy the most expensive home on the block. Leave that to the neighbors!6645 Northaven-1