Who says you can’t find highrise condo living outside the loop? Flower Mound is home to the new 16-story Lakeside Tower overlooking Lake Grapevine, where you’ll find this two-bedroom, 1,136-square-foot condominium listed for $759,900 by Rick Wegman of Ulterre Fort Worth. It’s one of only four condos left in the 48-home tower.  (more…)

Lakeside Tower

Two weeks ago we took you to the extreme west of Tarrant County, to the rich ranch lands of Aledo. So what lies in the easternmost corner of Tarrant County? Parts of Flower Mound. Residents of Dallas and Fort Worth may have a fuzzy impression of Flower Mound, perhaps recalling the area as horse country with huge gated mansions. Forbes ranks the community as the third wealthiest community in North Texas, with higher per capita household incomes than Highland Park. No wonder, then, that the luxurious new vertical homes at Lakeside Tower on Lake Grapevine are selling quickly even before one spade of dirt has been turned. (more…)

2505 Lake Rideg road grapevine ext 2

The sun is out, finally, and maybe we are all thinking about getting on the water next weekend? After all, Memorial Day is just around the corner. But the thought of all that traffic…

I have an idea.lake Grapevine

Get a home on Lake Grapevine, a second home that could someday be a first. Maybe four couples buy in, create a private fractional? That way you will be (1) 30 minutes away from a weekend full of water fun and (2) 10 minutes away from DFW. In fact, you could catch all early morning flight from now on and probably save enough on airfare to cover the HOA’s here and more — they are ONLY $350 a year for the association and another $350 a year for the boat dock.

Wait, did I say boat dock? On Lake Grapevine?

2505 Lake ridge ridge rd grapevine ext

Yes! (more…)

LakesideTower_Cutout 2

Can you picture living in a 15-story luxury high rise — concierge, doorman, stunning finish-outs, everything at your finger-tips — and then looking off your balcony to see water every day? I’m talking sailboats, paddle boarders, jet skiers, fishing and, come seven or eight, a scintillating North Texas sunset to enjoy with a glass of your favorite after work (or play) beverage.

Go ahead, pinch yourself. This will be the Miami life right here in North Texas very, very soon.

A unique new high-rise development on the North Shore of Lake Grapevine called Lakeside Tower is coming our way. The project is being developed by Realty Capital Management, sold and marketed by Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.  The Lakeside will offer beautiful water views, first-class amenities and a luxury lifestyle based on leisure lake-side living, the likes of which we have never seen in these land-locked parts. The Lakeside Tower is opening in spring 2017. But we just couldn’t wait to get the party going…


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921 Wildwood Front

Photos: Shoot2Sell

Sometimes you really do have to head to the suburbs to find a good deal. With all of the homes in Dallas and Fort Worth getting snapped up so fast, perhaps it’s a good idea to look north to Grapevine, where you can get a great family home for not a lot of money. This home, though, is just a great house, period. You don’t need a couple of kids to enjoy this three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,383-square-foot home that has the best little saltwater pool and spa.

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2224 Lakeridge Front

Yes, that’s right. I said Grapevine. Truthfully, there are tons of fabulous properties out in this Tarrant County suburb. And with incredible schools, proximity to Lake Grapevine, and tons of beautiful views, it’s a shame we don’t feature this wonderful town more.

Today we’re checking out 2224 Lakeridge Drive, a gorgeous property from gorgeous Allie Beth Allman agent Dona Robinson. This home has a traditional feel with some great contemporary updates, including a stucco exterior, fresh paint, imported stone and hardwood floors, as well as a majestically treed lot, giving this wonderful and unique home impressive drive-up appeal. It’s fresh to the market and priced at $997,500.

2224 Lakeridge Den 2224 Lakeridge Living 2

With five bedrooms, five full and two half baths over 6,119 square feet, this home is spacious without being imposing. Sporting three living areas and tons of floor-to-ceiling windows, this home was built for entertaining crowds in a way that adds drama and grace. I love the color palette, too, which has subtle variations of neutrals including a beautiful modern-style fireplace in one of the more formal living areas. There’s also a home theater and sauna, as well as a full-fledged guest suite should you trouble yourself hosting relatives come next holiday season.

2224 Lakeridge Kitchen 2 2224 Lakeridge BreakfastThere’s plenty of rustic appeal, too, which you’ll find in the kitchen and breakfast areas, which sport exposed wood beams and beautiful metal arched chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The kitchen is immense and well-appointed, too. It has commercial-grade stainless steel appliances tucked inside custom cabinetry and topped with granite and marble. And thanks to the open kitchen floorplan, you can enjoy the view of the pool from the den, the breakfast area, or even from behind the stove.

2224 Lakeridge Master 2224 Lakeridge Study

The master bedroom is a true retreat with an adjacent study that has tons of built-in cabinetry for a work-at-home workaholic. This is just the kind of set-up Candy and I need when we are struck with some late-night inspiration and have to bang out a blog post before we lose that manic bit of creativity. The views are just stunning, too, and an inspiration in themselves.

2224 Lakeridge Master Bath

The master bath has just a huge jetted tub adjacent to an immense multi-head shower. Just really frickin’ huge, folks. I am a little put off by the mirrored surround above the tub. Just feels a little too “skeevy porn star” to me. Easily replaced, and it’d look great with some tile or even some frosted glass.

2224 Lakeridge Backyard and view

Outside you’ll find a huge pool with diving board and a built-in spa, and of course, tons of views and a very private-feeling lot. If you’re wanting to get away from the city but not wanting to sacrifice on luxury, this could be the home for you and your family.

What do you think?

More developers are circumventing both builders and realtors and selling directly to the consumer to adapt to today’s credit crunch. And, it works!

Before the bust, I had heard that southwest Fort Worth was the fastest growing segment of what some call the Metroplex — this conglomeration of communities that comprise Dallas-Fort Worth. There was growth, jobs, tons of homes being built and sold out there. Everyone was fat and happy, making money.

(There are still jobs!)

Developer Gary Hazelwood must have gotten that memo, too. The man who created Chateau Du Lac at Lake Grapevine found 1000 acres west of Benbrook at Veal Ranch, with that gently rolling topography that says budding Texas Hill Country. He loved it. “If we do this right,” he said at the time, “we may have no competition.” By doing it right, Hazelwood meant high quality construction and ground amenities much like what he had created at Chateau Du Lac, 90 lots of two-plus acres each with homes starting at about $1.5 million. Think uber high standards, Vaquero-esque. (In fact, Gary told me his company, Westmont Development, built the fence around Vaquero.) The developments, the Bella’s : Bella Flora, a gated, luxurious community of one to two acre lots starting at $125,000, $750,000 ish homes of at least 4000 square feet. Then there’s Bella Ranch, a little less luxe, smaller square footage, lots starting at $49,900 with a 2300 square foot building minimum, but also gated, exclusive, the two separated by a gentle hill.

The highly rated Alda school district was a pleasant surprise.

“School districts are driving real estate purchases.” he told me. With the education draw, Hazelwood had himself a veritable Southlake on the western fringe of Fort Worth.

It was 2007. The lots in Bella Flora were selling just fine, until the financial world as we knew it fell apart. Like most developers, Hazelwood was in a bind. The way it once worked : developers bought land and prepped it for development — put in roads, sewers, all the entitlements. They sold the neatly delineated lots to builders, took their money and galloped elsewhere to do it all over again. But in 2008, the banks froze up credit. Home builders found it nearly impossible to obtain lines of credit to build spec homes. Homebuilding is now back to lows not seen since the 1960’s because in order to build a spec house, builders must put down a substantial chunk of cash on every single spec. Banks clearly want more skin in the game. As a result, home starts are subterranean.

And developers are holding the dirt.

“We switched mindset immediately,” says Hazelwood. He began selling straight to the consumer, let them buy the dirt and hire the builder, then hammer away… all standards within the Bella Ranch or Bella Flora guidelines.

In fact, more developers are using this technique — Bluegreen Communities as well as The Tribute at the Colony. For developers, like everyone else in real estate, there is no more easy sell. Consumer direct sales require more funds for marketing to consumers and more work —  no more easy-peasy builder’s lot draw.

It worked. Of 80 total lots in Bella Flora, 58 are sold. One third of younger sibling Bella Ranch is sold. That’s 46 lots in less than a year with 14 homes completed and at least 8 under construction. Even more amazing: the builders who bought lots and built spec homes in the Bellas SOLD THEM prior to completion.

Bella Flora and Bella Ranch are, in fact, one of North Texas’ biggest real estate success stories.

Most developers, said Hazelwood, are selling three lots per year max.

Still, I wondered, what was the draw to southwest Fort Worth? Where are these people coming from, I asked, and where do they work?

Alcon Labs in nearby Burleson. Note to Rick Perry: here’s another soundbite for your campaign. Alcon is adding thousands of jobs. This July, the town of Benbrook announced a partnership with Buxton Co. to develop a 1.5 million square foot open air regional shopping center in southwest Tarrant County called The Trails Town Center. The Trails will be at the southeast corner of Interstate 20 and Winscott Road.

Called a gateway to West Texas, the project should provide more than 6,250 jobs and generate $375 million in annual retail sales.

Are there any shopping centers besides this under construction in the U.S. today? Zero in 2010. New shopping center construction has ground to a halt.

A new tollway is going in on the west side of Fort Worth, there’s hospitals employing young professionals, and families are moving to the area because it’s only a ten minute commute to Fort Worth private schools. Benbrook is hot.

“People want space for their families,” says Hazelwood. “They’d rather move out a little farther to get land — two acres instead of a 50 by 150 lot — to raise their kids. They can be more self-reliant — do solar and wind power, and for a $9000 investment, drill a well: no more water bills.”(In Tarrant County, if you have one acre of land you can drill your own well. Parker County requires two acres.)

Hazelwood is seeing people moving closer to Fort Worth from Weatherford, Burleson and Granbury even as he sees Fort Worth families moving out of the city seeking pastoral peace and quiet. He’s even sold to aging Baby Boomers who want to be closer to great hospitals and their grandchildren in Fort Worth. Right now, residents pay taxes to Tarrant County only — no city taxes, though Hazelwood says there will come a day when this property will be annexed into the city.

But for now, Hazelwood has found and is building the next frontier. Southwest Fort Worth is the gateway to West Texas and the affordable good-life promise it holds. You couldn’t ask for better topography, he says: two lakes, horse stables, golf course and, not too far down the road, cattle grazing.

He’s blazing another frontier, too, at the same time, on the development front.

“We are listening to the buyer,” he says, “really listening because we want to sell these lots. The way we are doing it actually brings us in more for the long haul and connects us to our buyers.”

Hence, buy a lot from Hazelwood before September 30, he’ll cover the principle and interest for one full year.

Now that’s a deal just too good to refuse.

Calling all reality show producers: do I have a script for you! Take a  20,000 square foot Texas mansion built by an oil tycoon and his wife – I mean, ex-wife. OK, make that 19,337 square feet with 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, two half baths including one with a musical flushing toilet, two infinity pools, 6 living rooms, Moroccan media room, a guest house with three bedrooms, a caretakers home, Longhorn, cattle and horses and a barn (with full bar) to house them. There are even deer jumping (and getting stuck on) the fence plus rabbits, coyotes, snakes, critters, three mules, a horse, donkey, catfish and brim because the home is on the shores of Lake Grapevine. In fact, there are more than 450 feet of waterfront views of the lake from a 75 foot bluff, which is not only high for, but extremely rare in, Texas.

Now guess who’s living there: four forty-something, beautiful divorcees. Rent-free. While the house is on the market.

Call me a voyeur, but I always love to know the story behind every house I visit. Jacque Evans (no relation, unfortunately, she’s¬† adorable) built this as her dream home with her husband of 20 some years. No expense was spared in the building or design, and Jacque picked out every stitch of fabric, every stick of furniture, and imprinted her touch on every inch. (My favorite – her bedroom, and the black toile guest house bedroom.) The home took three years to build. After her divorce, she was awarded the home. She found herself opening up to other women in her situation. When she found out some of them had no place to live, she said, why don‚Äôt you come over and live with me ‚Äì I certainly have plenty of room.

(Note: Divorcee Diva Inn is full.)

“What is the point of having things – a big home, two swimming pools – if you can’t share it with people.

Good question: we should ask Lee Bailey!

While it’s on the market with dynamo agent Rogers Healy, Jacque shares her home: Living in the guest house is a divorcee with one daughter. Three other women ‚Ä쬆 all gorgeous, Jacque looks about 35 ‚Äì are in two of the six bedrooms. At 19,000 square feet, they are almost a football field away from Jacque’¬Ä¬ôs bedroom and spa bath. Another lives in the caretakers’ home.

‚ÄúWe are a total support system for each other — we pray, share food, clothes, try on clothes, and have fun all the time,‚Äù says Jacque. ‚ÄúWe try to laugh every day and are actually having a blast!‚Äù

But there is stress: a few weeks ago, the Divas were out (in boots and heels) in Jaque’s pasture trying to help a deer who had jumped over and gotten stuck on a fence. Deer, they learned, are pretty heavy. Jacque managed to get the poor dear unstuck and off the fence, and he ran off into the woods.

The estate is protected by an electronic gated fence, located within a gated community in Flower Mound, north-west of Dallas, close to D/FW airport. In fact, sitting on Jacque’s patio, you would never think you are anywhere near Dallas until you see a 747 taking off in the distance. Full water views right from the foyer.

“I grew up in Lakeland, Florida, “says Jacque. “When we found this property, it reminded me of that. So rare to have a home on the water just minutes from downtown Dallas.

The home sits on 10.4 acres, and because of the cattle and horse, the new owner will get a Texas agricultural exemption on 9.4 acres. The features and extras in this home run so way over, you have to see to believe: venetian plaster everywhere, stained glass windows, custom tile, the truly Moroccan media room where Jacque hangs with her new beau, a friend from college, a huge bricked-in wine cellar, geo-thermal heating, smart house wiring, two Aga stoves, a walk-in food vault (refrigerator and freezer), exercise rooms, and quality everywhere from the walnut floors to the groin vault ceilings to my favorite: a secret office off a hidden stairway located behind a bookshelf in the study. Also, a billiard room with shoe-shine chairs, and a game room.

The Bachelor my fanny: this home would be the perfect setting for Divorce Divas. Because the guys would have to be pretty darn special to drag me out of this castle, deer or no dear!

This does not look like Texas!

Hidden staircase behind the bookshelf!

The Mistress Bedroom — we don’t need a Master!