Kelli Ford will soon have a luxurious greenhouse for growing vegetables and other plants. (Photo by Nir Shafir, via Flickr)

Kelli Ford will soon have a luxurious greenhouse for growing vegetables and other plants. (Photo by Nir Shafir, via Flickr)

No matter what you’re thinking of getting your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, you’re going to have to step up your gift-giving game if you’re going to compete with Gerald J. Ford.

The namesake of SMU’s football stadium is giving his wife a 1,500-square-foot greenhouse that will be nearly 16 feet tall. We know this because the University Park City Council signed off on the present to Kelli Ford last night.

OK, technically, the council signed off on an amendment to the ordinance governing Planned Development District 32 — a.k.a. the Fords’ 6.2-acre property — that will allow the greenhouse to be erected.

According to Harry Persaud, University Park’s chief planning official, the Fords own the largest single-family lot in UP. It’s on the tax rolls for $31,198,820, and it held the No. 2 slot in the two most recent editions of D Magazine’s biennial rankings of Dallas’ most expensive homes. (Tom Hicks’ place in Preston Hollow topped both of those lists.)

The City Council saw no reason to deny Ford’s request to build a greenhouse. In fact, they had three big reasons to approve it:

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I am very curious as to why designer Kelli Ford, the gorgeous Dallas, Texas-based designer wife of banker billionaire Gerald Ford, who lives over there at 6601 Turtle Creek in the Honeypot of Highland Park, would be all so eager to showcase what lurks below the Ford household: an orgasmic 25,000-square-foot Turkish bath with a 12-person cedar sauna, an immsersion pool, a deluxe wine room and a home theater. Right there on Turtle Creek!



“It’s not really a pool to jump in and do laps, it’s a pool to relax and hang out in,” Kelli Ford told HGTV, who featured the fancy basement on a recent episode of Million Dollar Rooms.

We totally get it. Not only is the 2,000-square-foot Turkish bath space inspired by the Roman Pool at the Hearst Castle in California, one of my very fave pools in the world, it has walls covered in custom made blue and gold tile mosaics that Ford created with her cute sister and designing partner Kristen Fitzgibbons. Texas limestone covers the floors and runs up columns in the room. Intricate chandeliers were made to Ford’s specifications in Syria. In case you are wondering how they change those chandelier lightbulbs without getting wet or electrocuted, waterproof ladders were designed to be  placed in the pool to change out the bulbs.

The Ford home is a 25,791 square foot solid masonry manse built in 2006 with six bedrooms, ten full and six half baths — perfectly conforming to my ratios of two baths plus for every bedroom —  three stories, an elevator or two, and gorgeous design.

So why spill the beans now? Surely there’s no contest to keep up with Richard Malouf and his 30,000 square foot mansion with soon-to-be water park behind it on Strait Lane. Anything to do with photographer Kelly Kleins’ new book POOLS: REFLECTIONS? Or are the Fords about to put their home on the market… by chance? I doubt it but if they did, this one would sure break all sales records in Dallas…