Cowboy culture, oil wells, the grit and glimmer of a modern metropolis – this is Oklahoma City. And for those looking to buy a home in “The Sooner State,” we are taking a closer look at just how far a million dollars will go. What we find may surprise you. (more…)

All photos courtesy Russell Ross

All photos courtesy Russell Ross

When Russell Ross took on his first interior design job, his bosses only let him make 50 percent of the design decisions and the pay was zero, but he was hooked.

Turns out it was an addition to his family’s home in Oklahoma and his parents were in charge, so getting about half his design ideas implemented was pretty great for a pre-teen.

“I’ve always had interest in design since I helped my dad build an addition on to our house,” Ross said. “I was only 10 or 11, but was fascinated by building, designing, and selecting finishes. I remember a couple of evenings sitting down with my mom and dad looking at drapery fabrics, light fixtures, wallpapers, wood stain colors, and carpet samples and my dad asked me my opinion.”

Russell Ross

Fast-forward to 2015 and you’ll find Ross bringing his calm presence and analytical mind to interior design projects all over Texas and around the United States. His West Village firm, Russell Ross Design, rebranded last year from the name Intuitive Design, and he is tackling design projects that include the revitalization of two 1980’s homes, designing a fitness center with an affluent retired football player in Southlake, and working on a new construction house in Vaquero Club in Westlake, with elements like a floating walnut staircase, a powder room with a lighted floor, and dramatic two-story fireplace.

“I think we are known best for being able to listen to each individual client, and marry their tastes and needs with our creativity and unique style, to give them the homes of their dreams,” he said. “Our intent is to create one-of-a-kind looks for each client.” Jump to read all about his designs and see pics!

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Alleged Thief Stan "Dan" Tucker also goes by Tim Allen.

Alleged Thief Stan “Dan” Tucker also goes by Tim Allen.

We sounded the alarm about Stan “Dan” Tucker, a middle-aged man who is targeting open houses and owner-marketed properties. He comes in and heads straight for the medicine cabinet, stealing prescription medication while touring homes. Realtor Lydia Player tipped us off that this guy has been all over North Texas and Oklahoma, touring homes and snatching things from people’s bathrooms and bedrooms.

“His mode of operation is to pose as a potential home buyer. He claims to be looking for a property for his son, or himself or something like that. Currently it looks like he is targeting homes that are for sale by owner. Security is a major issue when selling a home without an agent and he is proof. Letting a stranger in your home is risky business for a homeowner.

Based on the calls and emails I’ve gotten, he has robbed homes from Waco to Stillwater, Oklahoma. This slippery snake is good at what he does and seems to always avoid getting caught in the act. Yesterday, I got a call from a homeowner in Lake Highlands where he did his usual routine.”

But who is this guy? And why is he stealing?

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downtown fort worth at sunset, texas

Trulia’s Chief Economist, Jed Kolko, isn’t necessarily infalliable, but he does have an interesting perspective more often than not. His views on the broader economy are often spot-on, though, which really puzzles me on his recent forecast for 2014 that says increases in home values will slow next year, and that many of the markets posting big increases in 2013 will grow stale.

But don’t write off North Texas entirely, as Fort Worth made Kolko’s list of places to watch for 2014. Why didn’t Dallas, Austin, Houston, or even San Antonio make the list, but Tulsa, Okla., does? Kolko explains (emphasis added):

Why are so many of the high-profile markets of 2013 missing from our list? We ruled out markets that were more than a little overvalued according to our latestBubble Watch, which eliminated most metros in Texas and coastal California. We also struck markets with a large foreclosure inventory (thanks for the data, RealtyTrac), like most of Florida. Our 10 markets to watch, therefore, should have strong activity in 2014 with few headwinds.

Interesting… I don’t know if many sellers in Dallas would consider the market overvalued, but considering what’s for sale and how brisk the market is moving, I’d say the increases in overall value would be more of a correction from being previously undervalued.

Still, Kolko had a list of trends to watch that rings true with what we’ve been saying for the past few months. Chief among them is that buying a house will become more and more unaffordable for Americans. Kolko also prognosticated that the home-buying process would become “less frenzied,” that 2013 will be the year of the repeat homebuyer, and how much prices slow will be more important than when they slow and where. Finally, Kolko says that renters will turn more to urban apartments than any other option — good news for the people who’ve constructed all those swanky buildings in Uptown and converted buildings in the downtown area.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!