You may recall that I told you, last year, about the Screenfest we have had on our porch ever since we screened it in with retractable screens by KJ Custom Screens. Teresa Staggs, who owns KJ Custom Screens & Outdoor Living, the premier North Texas distributor and installer of the world’s top exterior motorized screens, personally installed them. The screens gave us a whole new wonderful living space. KJ Custom Screens & Outdoor Living contracts with the top luxury home builders in North Texas, installing amazing retractable screens into the bones of a patio that creates true year-round living in the great outdoors. Many builders choose to install the screens during the building process. We know demand for outdoor living areas that are comfortable year-round tops most luxury homebuyer’s lists.

I just never realized how much screens could contribute to keeping a patio warm, and protected. Not warm just in the winter, but in a super chilly spring.

Case in point: we had Supper Club at our home Saturday, and needed to have at least six outside to eat. Turns out the outside tables were in hotter demand than those inside: people naturally love dining al fresco, and KJ’s retractable screens make it all the more do-able. 

This is the time for outdoor living

4225 Ranier Court has and outdoor oasis (photos: Tourmax)

It’s March and that means we get to enjoy outdoor living! Hopefully no more soggy afternoons or need for winter coats.  These next few months are what make North Texas a fantastic place to live. Trees start turning green.  Grass and weeds start growing.  Swimming pools get warmer and you can almost smell the burgers and brats sizzling on the grill.


outdoor living

The tasteful Kenneth Pressley estate at 1708 Byron Nelson Pkwy. in Colleyville is a golf course property with incredible views. All photos: Ebby Halliday Realtors

Even on the hottest summer day, North Texans have an evening when outdoor living is enjoyable. This is especially true if you’re lucky enough to have a home with superb outdoor spaces.

We’ve found five outstanding Ebby Halliday properties on the market now that elevate outdoor living to an art. You’ll find everything from infinity-edge swimming pools and cool cabanas, to gourmet outdoor kitchens and cozy fireplaces. They have everything you need and want to make the most of outdoor living.

“These five properties represent some of the finest homes in our extensive portfolio, both in terms of outside amenities and quality of the properties,” said Randall Graham, vice president and director of marketing for Ebby Halliday Realtors. “One of the reasons these homeowners chose to list with us is Ebby Halliday Realtors has wide-ranging experience marketing and selling these kind of luxury properties and letting buyers know about the amazing features they offer.”


luxury outdoor living

The Texas Transitional-style estate at 1750 Trace Bell Ct. in Westlake is one of many homes listed by Ebby Halliday Realtors with stunning outdoor spaces. All photos: Ebby Halliday Realtors

Luxury outdoor living is a huge trend in the North Texas housing market — homeowners want to make the most of every square inch of their property, and that means outside spaces that wow. After all, we get on average 232 sunny days a year and should be able to enjoy it properly.

We’ve spotted six Dallas-Fort Worth houses on the market now that offer the very best of outdoor living. These properties offer luxe features that range from a saltwater swimming pool and lazy river, to full patio kitchens with high-end appliances and beautiful masonry stonework.

“We’re seeing growing demand in the luxury real estate market for properties that allow homeowners to live life to the fullest, both indoors and out,” said Randall Graham, vice president and director of marketing for Ebby Halliday Realtors. “When the inside of a home features high-end amenities and finish-outs, the outdoor area should be an extension of that look and feel, creating a welcoming atmosphere and a natural space for effortless entertaining.”



2016 homebuilding trends

“Barnitecture” is one of the big 2016 homebuilding trends, with elements like rough-hewn ceiling beams mixed with more contemporary elements. This home is by LRO Residential. Photo: Shoot2Sell Photography

The 2015 real estate market in Dallas-Fort Worth went down in the books as the best in three decades, and year-end housing construction numbers placed Dallas as one of the country’s top building markets.

North Texas is headquarters to some enormously talented (and busy!) builders. We’ve asked the best and brightest among them to tell us their predictions for 2016 homebuilding trends. They’ve also given us some gorgeous photos that illustrate how those trends are showing up in their work. You won’t want to miss this!


There are about 79 million millennials in the U.S., and their purchasing power is estimated to be $170 billion per year. This powerful demographic, born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, now represents the largest group of homebuyers at 32 percent, taking over from Generation X.

But when it comes to millennial homebuyer behavior, it can be difficult to distinguish fact vs. fiction. We looked at information from a recent Pardee Homes and BUILDER survey, information from, and the National Association of Realtors to cut through the noise.

millennial homebuyers

Photo: National Association of Realtors

We know that millennial homebuying behavior is different than older generations, like texting vs. calling when contacting their Realtors and extensive use of real estate apps to do their research (be sure to check out our blog post, 6 Ways Millennials Are Changing Real Estate Business for Everyone, to get the full breakdown.)

But what are the specific preferences of this new breed of homebuyer? Read on for 5 unexpected facts about millennial homebuyers and what they want in their home.


outdoor living

All photos: Devin Miller

Transforming backyards into additional living spaces is a growing trend in North Texas. Even the hottest summer day turns into a pleasant evening, and the other three seasons are mild.

Upgrading outdoor living spaces can range in investment. A higher-end renovation and finish-out could include utilizing a professional designer and contractor to implement adding structures like cabanas, swimming pools, built-in kitchens, and covered patios. A DIY project could include updates to existing structures and surfaces that homeowners can implement themselves.

We talked to Nicole Arnold, who owns a full-service Dallas interior design firm, Nicole Arnold Interiors, recognized as a Dallas Top 10 Design firm and a Best of Houzz in 2014 and 2015 for customer satisfaction.

Nicole Arnold

Nicole Arnold

She’s worked with many homeowners to create cool, comfortable outdoor living spaces that work with the rest of their home’s design.

“In a lot of cases, these outdoor retreats are visible from a main living area inside your home—therefore, make sure they look on par with the rest of your home, and, ideally, a natural extension of your interior style,” Arnold said. “Of course there’s a wide spectrum of upgrades and accouterments available to personalize your particular space, make it aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and functional.”

Read on to see her top 5 tips for accentuating an outdoor living space, regardless of the scope of your project.


5543_Edlen_VickiWhite.1-1I don’t know about you, but last week’s cold weather and L-Tryptophan surge has made me quite lazy. I needed a triple Expresso to get going today, and when I got word of this new Old Preston Hollow manse about to go live on the market, I got it.

First of all, LOCATION! 5543 Edlen is in the honeypot, as we call it, that super elite parcel of woods, trees and creeks where the likes of Kelcy Warren, Mark Cuban and Trevor Pearlman have squatted. Oh yes, the $135 million Crespi estate of Thomas O. Hicks is up the street. This is the part of town where folks buy up a two million dollar estate and level it for a new one without blinking an eye.

This pup is 9,000 square feet of well-designed living with no less than five living areas, and 2000 square feet of covered exteriors — so your outdoor living area is basically bigger than most houses. I LOVE the myriad of bathrooms — including three powder rooms. (Dallas is finally catching up to LA in the sense of two bathrooms for every bedrooms, or a bath for every member of the household, including the pets!) Priced at $3,650,000, which is BELOW DCAD value. (Wow!) Here’s another WOW: When it hits MLS tomorrow, this estate will be listed by Vicki White of Keller Williams Elite, that KW office in Preston Center located right next to Sevys, which has undergone a dramatic change — more on that later!

The home is an embodiment of perfection. Built in 2005, it is a mere 9 years old. You need this for the holidays: knocked out huge master closets, his and her’s, with 16 separate hanging spaces in her huge dressing room/closet. His has custom mahogany cabinets with 15 custom tie drawers and shoe shelving for 70 pairs of shoes! That’s a lot of ties and shoes, even for a guy! Each of the five fireplaces are custom-made and unique. Almost everything in this home was custom-made, from the gas front porch lamps to the door hardware.

This is also the best house for entertaining ever. Two of the downstairs living rooms open to the fabulous back-yard “living room.” The game room upstairs has French doors that open to another huge outdoor living area, overlooking the back yard which is truly a resort. It was designed by landscape genius Harold Leidner, need I say more? The pool has 12 water features which are stunning at night when they are spraying over each other. Of course, with the hefty .62 acreage, there is a lot of grassy yard on both sides of the pool. While the home may be located on the “smaller lots” end of Edlen, .62 is really quite enough for the pool paradise and plenty of yard for dogs and kids.

Actually, this block is one of the best-kept secrets of living in the estate area: your lot is huge but doesn’t cost you the arm, leg and first-born child to pay the taxes on those behemoth lots one block away. But you are still nestled in the best part of the Hollow.

Work from home? There is a great home office with custom shelving and computer station. From the desk, you gaze out over the front courtyard and grounds from beautiful arched French doors — what better inspiration as you increase your portfolio’s value? Visitors are greeted by stunning arched iron front doors open to a grand 25 by 19 foot foyer with 25′ ceilings and iron and crystal light fixture, and every deb’s dream of a curved stairway. (There is an additional stairway in the rear of the house.) The kitchen has 21′ ceilings with a overlook landing. I really do not know how anyone survives the holidays without these: two dishwashers, Sub Zero fridge and freezer, and huge commercial Viking stove surrounding an 8×5 foot center island with separate sink.

In all there are five oversized bedrooms with large closets and each has a private bath. And yes, as I said, three powder baths. A builder put much thoughtful planning and poured some serious cash into this estate. I say, grab it while it’s hot… before it even hits the market!