Coram Deo

I drive by Coram Deo regularly, just to stare at it. I’ve seen a lot of stately homes all over the world, but this one continues to fascinate me.

Coram Deo was built for Donald and Mary Catherine Huffines in 2005. Yes, the same Don Huffines who was a Texas state senator and runs Huffines Communities with his twin brother, Phillip. The Huffines named their home Coram Deo, which means “in the presence of God” in Latin.

If you are not familiar with the architectural style, it’s because we seldom see a Richardsonian Romanesque mansion today. It’s an expensive style to build, so it’s generally seen in large public buildings. The Trinity Church in Boston, The American Museum of Natural History in New York, and our own Old Red Courthouse are all excellent examples of the style named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson.

Because this is a style that offers a strong sense of stability, permanency, and individuality, it was not long before it became popular among the titans of industry in the late 1800s. The Cupples House in Saint Louis, Missouri, or the James J. Hill estate in St. Paul, Minneapolis, could well have been the inspiration for Coram Deo.

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Architectural walking tours are something we generally participate in when we travel to Europe. Learning about the culture and history of a city from a local allows for a more exciting and intimate experience. It’s also a more enriching way to learn about a place than you’d get from a travel guide or, God forbid, in a huge tour group.

Jay Cantrell

I just returned from Prague and Vienna. On a day trip to Bratislava, I took an architectural walking tour that was a highlight of the trip, and it got me thinking about Dallas. We live in an architecturally significant city. However, we seldom take the time to treat our home town with the same respect we treat other major cities of the world. Then I remembered, Jay Cantrell is trying to rectify that.

Cantrell is an architecture teacher, artist, and entrepreneur who lives in the Kirby Building. To say he is deeply passionate about Dallas architecture is putting it mildly. Cantrell is intent on changing the perception of architecture in Dallas.

Almost a year ago, just before Thanksgiving, he launched Architectural walking tours of downtown Dallas.

“I’d done a fellowship in Paris and regularly took my colleagues to tour the beautiful architecture,” Cantrell said. “I missed that and thought if I could do it in Paris, I could do architectural walking tours here.”

The seed was planted and took root on social media. He created a Facebook page for people to sign up. It was an immediate success.

“I was not expecting it to be this big,” Cantrell said. “There happened to be a reporter on the first architectural walking tour, so word got out!”

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 Modern Treehouse

When you think of the Lakewood Home Festival’s annual tour, what comes to mind? For me, I envision stately Tudors, charming Austin stone cottages, and maybe a classic Colonial. But a modern treehouse never crossed my mind — until today.

Hang on to your Stetsons, y’all. This is a modern treehouse that will blow your mind.

 Modern Treehouse

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Stone-Embellished Tudor Cottage

Hollywood Heights draws people that love to remodel, update, improve, and of course, preserve history. This stone-embellished Tudor cottage is a perfect example of that.

Here’s a little back story, in case you are reading about Hollywood Heights for the first time. This neighborhood is home to one of the largest collections of 1920s stone-embellished Tudor cottages in America. It also has Craftsman, Minimal Traditional, Monterrey, Spanish, and French Eclectic houses, and two fabulous and extremely rare Pueblo-style homes.

Stone-Embellished Tudor Cottage

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Mysterious AbodeAn enormous ivy-covered stucco wall is all you can see from the street. Behind it lies not only a secret garden but also perhaps the most mysterious abode you will ever find in Dallas.

Once inside the massive, carved wooden door, you cannot help but be delighted. A courtyard leads to the home, which is almost completely wrapped in glass. While it may seem to be a bit of a contradiction to be both transparent and mysterious, it most definitely is both.
Mysterious Abode

The house was built in 1988 by the owner of a glass manufacturing company. I can’t help but think he must have read The Secret Garden as a child and kept it in mind when constructing this mysterious abode.  The exterior stucco wall was created to provide maximum privacy. Few people have any idea of what is behind it or who lives there now.

But I’m going to tell you. And you no longer have to imagine what lies behind the wall, and what’s inside.

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Contemporary Hill Country

When I first spotted this Hill Country Contemporary design, I thought, “hmm, that’s odd, I don’t remember a new build down the street from Candy Evans!

That’s because it was built in 2008. As you scroll through these photos, you’ll see it’s a prime example of why architects are essential. Architects think long and hard about how their clients want to live in a home before they ever draw up a plan. They eschew trendy materials for classic. Rather than mow down trees, they design around them. In other words, they build timeless homes — homes that last forever.

That’s exactly what we need more of after the North Dallas tornado devastated so many homes. Plus, this one is move-in ready!

This Contemporary Hill Country home was designed by Bernbaum/Magadini Architects and built by Buford-Hawthorne. You could not ask for a better team.
Contemporary Hill Country

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North Dallas Tornado

Tyler Seguin’s property on Camilla Lane before the North Dallas tornado.

We all know by now that the North Dallas tornado has devastated Preston Hollow. And a lot of you know Dallas Star’s center Tyler Seguin’s mansion on Camellia Drive was struck. What you may not know is that it was beautifully staged by Lisa Stapp, the owner of Staged by Stapp. Along with Seguin’s home, about $55,000 worth of Stapp’s inventory of furniture and accessories were destroyed.

While it may pale in comparison to losing a house worth a couple of million, the livelihoods of those that serve in the real estate community have also been severely affected by the North Dallas tornado.

North Dallas Tornado

The home is completely destroyed after the North Dallas Tornado struck.

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Magnificent Tudor

Just in time for Halloween, we have a triple treat for you! It’s a Hollywood Heights magnificent Tudor on a triple lot. That’s right, a triple lot!

You don’t often find a house anywhere, much less Hollywood Heights, that sits on a triple lot. Most of you know by now this is my ‘hood and has been since 1990, so I know a lot about it. We have several double lots, but our last triple was gobbled up by a builder who constructed homes on either side. Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely houses, but having a home with all that land is honestly a value you can’t put a price on. And having a magnificent Tudor on three lots is my version of heaven.

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