This 1936-built Mediterranean at 4324 Versailles Ave in Highland Park’s lauded French streets could be someone’s dream project, seeing through an architecturally significant home’s renovation for modern use. In fact, the plans are already drawn up by architect Chad Dorsey of Moore Design. This two-story, 6,464 square-foot home on .390-acre lot is listed for $3.3 million by Mark Godson of the Britannia Group with Compass Real Estate Texas.

For years, the sellers down the street on Turtle Creek Blvd. would go past the unique two-story home with a low-pitched Spanish tile roof, admiring what great bones and beauty this 30’s-era estate had. It was built by Dallas architect Fonzie E. Robinson, who designed and built prominent estates on Beverly Drive, Arcady Avenue, and Edmondson Avenue in Highland Park.

When the Versailles estate went on the market last year, the husband and wife team snatched it up. They’d done a stunning job fixing up their 1938-built home, a white stucco Mediterranean with an eye-popping blue roof, and saw an opportunity to give this older home a facelift. They spent six months drawing up plans with architect Chad Dorsey, but ultimately decided they as empty nesters didn’t need a 6,000-plus-square-foot home.

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For under $2 million you can own a piece of Rancho Mirage history! This exquisite modern sits on the 15th green of Tamarisk Country Club and just received a $100,000 price reduction, making it the best priced property on the course! And it’s a custom design by one of the 80s most renowned interior designers, Kalef Alaton.

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Lyn Williams is ebullient. Even with her jam-packed schedule, she was able to fit me in for a few minutes to share about a huge change in her career of 16 years — joining Mark Godson and Catherine Thorpe-Lambert at Compass’ Britannia Group.

As you’ve read here on CandysDirt.com, Godson and Thorpe-Lambert have launched their new group with one of the fastest growing real estate brokerages in the nation. The brand reflects the “Town and Country,” upscale energy of the pair, which is equally embraced by Williams.

“Mark, with his energy, is an incredible person,” Williams said. “I’ve been thinking about my future, and when Mark asked me if I wanted to join him with the Britannia Group, there was no hesitation.”

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Britannia GroupWhen two Brits get together — each with impressive track records in the real estate market — you can rest assured that their combined market knowledge is a powerful force.

That is very much the case now that Mark Godson and Catherine Thorpe-Lambert have joined forces with Compass Real Estate to form The Britannia Group, combining their decades of experience with what they felt was Compass’ unparalleled Realtor support system.

“We each bring different things, different strengths, and together we are an encyclopedia of knowledge,” Godson said. “I know Dallas and I know the Park Cities  customers like the palm of my hand.”

“I’m up in Argyle, which is semi-rural, and I think people tend to move out here for a little bit more land, a little bit more space, and obviously it’s completely different from the high rises and the close quarters in Highland Park,” said Thorpe-Lambert. “But it’s a really exciting time in Argyle because, in addition to our famous estate and horse properties, we now do have several new subdivisions being developed.”

Together, The Britannia Group is focusing attention on what they call the “Town and Country” properties — properties in uptown, downtown, Turtle Creek and Park Cities, but also those estates and horse properties in Argyle and semi-rural Denton County.

In addition to a network that stretches from the U.K. to Palm Springs, the two agents cumulatively have years of design and remodeling experience as well, which means they can help sellers with every aspect of selling a home, including staging and marketing.

Originally from London, Godson is licensed in both California and in Dallas, where he’s had seven years and 26 years of experience, respectively. He’s worked with some of the top brokerage firms in Dallas, and has sold some of the best, and priciest,  dirt in the Park Cities: two mansions on Rheims Place, including the Worthington Estate, and one on University Boulevard he sold to a prominent Dallas family the first day he listed it. He has sold several homes in Greenway Parks, Uptown, Preston Hollow and even downtown Dallas.

He’s lived in the U.S. for almost 30 years, primarily in Palm Springs and Newport Beach, California, and in Dallas. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design from Chelsea School of Art, is a Grade II UK-approved remodeler in England, and the recipient of several awards, including a Restoration Award.

“My background is in interior design and restoration and that’s what got me to the U.S. many, many years ago,” Godson said. “I was brought in to consult on an estate in Highland Park.”

“I’ve done some amazing houses in the Park Cities — taken older homes and painstakingly and lovingly restored them. A lot of them are still standing, which is kind of cool that what we did probably kept them from being bulldozed down. Homes are the historical footprints of a society.”

Godson said that the duo’s background in restoration has been most attractive to sellers, too.

“I think also my knowledge of restoration and reviving older homes makes me a more in-demand agent. We’ve got a fantastic 1930s Spanish house coming up sometime this year which is incredible, by the way — that’s been restored to the max,” he says. ”I think that’s why owners choose to use us, because they know that we understand restoration. I think that gives them a better feel, our knowing what goes into restoring a home both from a pricing perspective as well as purchase. Because in England we don’t tear down houses, we restore them.”

That mutual love of restoration and real estate actually brought the two agents together in the first place.

“So my background is in restoration, and I used to buy a house, redo it, and then sell it. And that’s how we met — I built a house, and Catherine bought it,” he added.

Thorpe-Lambert has three decades of experience buying, selling, and renovating homes in Park Cities, Lakewood, Argyle, Bartonville, and even along the coast of Maine.  She decided to become a Realtor, and then partner with Godson.

Born in England, she was trained as a podiatrist, graduating from the University of Huddersfield, School of Podiatry. The U.S. has been home for almost 30 years now, and Thorpe-Lambert currently lives in Argyle with her family.

A lifetime equestrian who rides through Grand Prix Dressage, she is also well versed in what horse owners (or potential horse owners) are looking for when they desire equestrian-friendly properties.

“Well that’s primarily why I moved out there, because I’ve been around horses my entire life, and have ridden for years and years,” Thorpe-Lambert told us. “For a while, I owned my own boarding, training, and dressage facility.  And I did training as well. And with its sandy loam soil, Argyle was the perfect place to call home for my family and my horses.”

Sandy loam soil? Godson and Thorpe-Lambert know their inventory from the dirt up, quite literally. Both believe potential clients will see the combined British force as an asset when it comes to buying and selling homes.

“We have a great history together, we work well together, we bring a lot of knowledge to the table,” Godson said. “That’s why we’re the Britannia Group.”

Each partner has worked with numerous brokerages over the years, so why choose Compass for their new partnership? (more…)

Photos by Shoot2Sell

As I told you two weeks ago, the Mary Kay home is on the market and listed with precious Karen Luter of Allie Beth Allman. Fox 4 is doing a story on it this Wednesday, and I’ve even had calla about it from Japan. Of course, it is no longer owned by the late Mary Kay Ash and in fact, the blonde cosmetics tycoon had moved out of the house during her later years and back into her home at 7246 Lupton, pictured below. Meantime, guess who jazzed up the interiors on Douglas? None other than designer-with-a-real-estate-license Mark Godson, who has staged the Palomar Residences as well as a new listing with Debbie Ingram you shall soon be drooling over. I still cannot believe the listing price is only $3.3 for this pink palace. Swear it should be the home of the Mayor of Dallas — as long as he pays the mortage! By the way: I am having lunch with the descendants of the home’s architect, Fred Wynn, tomorrow. They tell me the house was built as a spec house. Get ready for more delicious details on Valentines Day!

OK, I am grabbing all the credit for this one. Stopped by the Palomar Residences tonight where marketing director Adam Hignite tells me has has closed 5 more units since we last spoke in July, and has 6 under contract, this out of 53 units left. And Allie Beth Allman agent plus Palm Springs designer extraordinaire Mark Godson has decked out two Palomar units in design splendor — on display tonight and photos forthcoming. (Get ready to have your socks knocked off!) But here’s what tickled me pink: recall how I have this crazy marketing idea that sellers ought to let buyers “try before they buy” homes or condos, particularly condos if they are coming from a home and have not lived in multi-family for years.

Just like trying on jeans to see how your butt looks in them.

Well, tonight Adam told me he has launched my idea not once but thrice: three potential buyers have spent the night in the Palomar units they fancied to try them out for the weekend.

Out of the three, two bought the units. That’s right, two sales. I want to tell you this was done without a NICKEL of print advertising, on a tight marketing budget.

Try before you buy — it works! Patent pending…

Cary Grant’s home in Palm Springs, California is on the market for $2,995,000, and I think I am in love. In fact, I think the best cure for any depression might be a second home in Palm Springs. (It’s almost like having a fling!) Yes, I know it’s hotter than hell, and by that I mean hotter than Dallas, in summer. There is no ocean super near by, and I’ve always wanted to be on the water. But Palm Springs is second home Hollywood at it’s finest because this is where all the stars had second, and in some cases, third, homes! There is an area in Palm Springs called The Movie Colony Neighborhood, a fun little ‘hood, all within walking distance of downtown — again, reality check here: you won’t be walking in August without an ice water IV attached to you. The Movie Colony is a neighborhood in Palm Springs, California, named after the many famous movie stars who owned homes there between the 1930’s & 1960’s: Cary Grant, Dinah Shore, Jack Benny, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presly and Al Jolson. TMC is located in central Palm Springs, and is comprised of approximately 170 homes and a few hotels, many of them under restoration.

Now I am going to tell you something about Palm Springs: the real estate there, not the temperature, is getting hot. Honestly, I would likely have given an ovary to be there last week.¬† Here’s the deal: lots of PS homes got caught in the California bubble boom, and then prices went kerplop. Famed Dallas Real Estate broker Dave Perry-Miller has a home in Palm Springs. Mark Godson, who sells in Dallas, tells me he is living out there now and selling real estate and the prices are so cheap it’s like going to a darn warehouse sale. Half price in many cases, says Mark, for lovely mid-century modern homes. Here are a few.

But you have to gaze at this, Cary Grant’s home. He hid out here for 20 years, this beautiful, neo 1927 six bedroom/five and a half bath¬†home with 6,000 square feet and pure views of the San Jacinto Mountains. The historical style spread features hardwood and paver floors throughout, as well as French doors and cathedral ceilings. There is just too much wonderful going on here: A replica of a 19th Century Spanish Farmhouse, the home is a two story (rare in this ranch-crazed town) with six bedrooms, five and a half baths, 5 zoned HVAC areas, 6000 square feet on 1.54 acres with lush expansive lawns, guest wing designed by that architect of Hollywood’s Golden Years,¬† Wallace Neff; a studio, walled and gated property and driveways, original tiles and many original architectural details precisely preserved. The sun-filled great room is 40 feet long, the living room soars, and the upstairs master has fireplace and balconies plus built in dressing room. Saline pool, and mountain views are everywhere.

I am loving me some Palm Springs right about now, how about you?