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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time capsuleWe’ve all seen the homes that time forgot, and we’ve all seen the vintage homes that have been updated. But have you ever seen a Midcentury Modern that was an intentional time capsule?

As we’ve said before, sometimes what we find in the Wednesday WTF is a WTF because there are whips and chains in the basement. And sometimes, like this week, the WTF is in the fact that someone has done an impeccable job of preserving and restoring a listing that you’re hard pressed to see where the vintage parts of the home end and the restored elements begin.

I showed this week’s WTF pick in Palm Springs to the CandysDirt.com staff yesterday, and everyone fell in love pretty much immediately.

“OH MY GOD I LOVE IT,” Jo England said.

Karen Eubank, our resident taste doyenne, summed up her feelings in one word: “Perfection.”

Want to see what we’re talking about? Jump with me, won’t you? (more…)

Dallas Architecture Forum

Keynote speaker Leo Marmol is an expert on the Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra in Palm Springs, considered one of the most important residences of the 20th century. Photo: David Glomb

If you swoon over Frank Sinatra’s style, and you marvel over Mad Men‘s Midcentury Modern, then you won’t want to miss the next Dallas Design Symposium, presented by the Dallas Architecture Forum.

Titled Modernism, the focus of the symposium is the best of Midcentury Modern architecture and design. It will be held Oct. 4 from 2 – 5 p.m. at the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Keynote speaker Leo Marmol, FAIA, is one of the world’s leading authorities in the restoration of iconic Midcentury Modern and International Style residences, including the 1946 Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra in Palm Springs, and restorations of works by Cliff May, Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner, Minoru Yamasaki, and E. Stewart Williams. Marmol will overview his firm’s landmark restoration projects, as well as discuss how the firm integrates Midcentury design elements into their new construction and pre-fab projects, producing award-winning residences.

Dallas Architecture Forum

An interior photo of the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs. Photo: David Glomb

Also speaking at the symposium is Sidney Williams, curator of the Palm Springs Art Museum.  Her father-in-law, E. Stewart Williams, designed Frank Sinatra’s famous Twin Palms residence in Palm Springs, his first residential commission. She will share inside stories about Twin Palms, the homes of other movie stars, and the design history of the area.

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Dave Perry-Miller — his name is now on a luxury real estate boutique company. He has been honored innumerable times as one of Dallas’ top-producing agents, and is a leader in sales of million-dollar properties. With more than $800 million (wowzers!) in sales and 850 satisfied customers, the Wall Street Journal ranked him #27 in sales in the United States in 2006 and as having the most million-dollar residential sales in Texas. For 30 years, Dave has sold many of Dallas’ most significant homes, including Frank Lloyd Wright- and Phillip Johnson-designed properties. His reputation with home buyers and peers in the industry globally is stellar and growing as he recently returned from an international sales conference in Europe. He often represents multiple generations of buyers and sellers in the same family.

Though his name is on the door — Ebby Halliday bought his company in 2007 —  Dave is still an agent at heart and loves to share his passion for architecture, art and design with home buyers, sellers and even other agents. We caught up with him recently to learn just how he does it.

CD: Where are you from? 

Dave: I came down to Dallas in 1980 from Virginia when I graduated from Washington and Lee University where I studied architecture.

CD: Considering that George Washington funded that university, I imagine there was a lot of great architecture to study! Did you plan to be an architect?

Dave: (laughs). No, I’m too dyslexic for that – my buildings would probably all fall down. But I love architecture and selling real estate lets me see a lot of architecturally interesting homes.

CD: Why did you come down to Dallas and how did you get into real estate?

Dave:  I had friends down here from college and had visited the previous year. Sixty days after I’d established my residency, I got my real estate license and nearly starved to death. At one point I gave my watch as collateral for $12 worth of gas. I was four days out from my first closing. Luckily, I didn’t know any better and I sold a number of expensive homes in Lakewood right after that, including Ray Hubbard’s estate which was the most expensive home in Dallas at the time. I never looked back from there.

CD: Where is home for you in Dallas?

Dave: For the past 20 years I’ve lived in a 1930’s colonial revival cottage in Bluffview. It was designed by Henry “Coke” Knight – the same architect who designed the Museum of Fine Art in Fair Park.

CD: And you drive a… let me guess, Mercedes Benz???

Dave: It depends on where I am. I have two vintage Mercedes Convertibles that I drive when I’m visiting my homes in Palm Springs and Tucson.  I drive a Jaguar XJR here in Dallas and I have a Jeep Wagoneer that I drive when I’m in Nantucket.

CD: What’s your favorite ‘hood in Dallas and why?

Dave: Obviously I love Bluffview and I’m a huge fan of old Highland Park and old Preston Hollow, but if I were younger, I think I’d move to Kessler Park. It has such great energy and I love the restaurants and shops that are popping up there. The houses are interesting on these beautiful huge lots with old trees.

CD: What was your best/highest sale?

Dave: Besides the Hubbard estate which helped me get established, the two houses I’m the most proud of were the Frank Lloyd Wright and Phillip Johnson homes. They were in disrepair and in danger of demolition. I was able to sell them to preservationists who have restored them to their former glory and they are magnificent. I hate to think Dallas might have lost two such treasures.

CD: What was your hardest or worst sale?

Dave: Hmm. I guess I’d have to say Candy Evans’ house. It was like herding a cat to get the deal done. And she had seller’s remorse at closing! She’s always running around. I loved the house and Candy. We laughed a lot and are still friends 10 years later.

CD: How quickly have you ever turned a house?

Dave: We often find a buyer before the house even goes on the market – a few hours basically.

CD: How much did you sell last year?

Dave: Although I still sell a few properties myself each year, my associates do a lot of the leg work nowadays. I referred out over $100 million to them last year.

CD: What have you learned in 30 years of selling?

Dave: I tell my agents, “Selling is a mindset.” If I can sell multimillion dollar properties at the age of 23 while living in a $325-a-month apartment eating Ramen noodles, so can they. Customers don’t care if you have expensive houses or cars they only care about what you can do for them and how professionally you do it.

I always looked at my career as a profession, not a transaction. I was in it for the long haul so building relationships was very important to me. I enjoy people and try to bring some fun to my relationships. For example, a client of mine crashed his Porsche 10 days after he got it and was upset. I wrote him a “get well” card from my Jaguar to his Porsche which made him laugh at the situation.

I knew early on that I needed to brand myself and distinguish myself from the competition – just like we do with the houses we sell. I carved out my niche of selling architecturally interesting luxury homes right from the beginning. It fit in with my love of architecture, art and design and it fit with who I am as a person. The most successful agents I see have built businesses that reflect who they are as people as well as professionals.

Most realtors don’t get that. They don’t know how to brand themselves and it holds them back in more than one way. Not only are they not memorable, but a prospective seller will naturally wonder “if he can’t sell himself, how is he going to sell my house?”

I also tell them that if all else fails, get a dog.  I use my dog Tucker as a courier and business development program for my business. He comes to the office with me about four times a week and has helped me find new sellers. He’s very charming. OK, maybe not all dogs are as talented as Tucker, but they all will run right up to a new person and make friends without a moment’s fear or hesitation – a great skill for a salesperson.

CD: If you ever change careers for an encore you’ll…

Dave: I can’t imagine doing anything else. I can only imagine doing it somewhere else like Palm Springs. I’ve sold three homes there already without meaning to in the neighborhood where I have my second home.

CD: How many second homes are we talking about here? And were you part of the inspiration for SecondShelters?

Dave: Quite possibly, you’ll have to ask Candy! A friend of mine told me once “Dave, you can’t go anywhere for six hours without buying a house!” I have too many second homes – which wouldn’t stop me from buying another one if I fell in love with it. There’s the 1920’s Spanish Colonial in Tucson; the 1890 Victorian in southeast Arizona that used to be a B&B; my 1960 Bungalow in Palm Springs which was designed by Rick Harrison – the same architect who designed the Palm Springs airport; and my 1930’s beach cottage on Nantucket Island.  While I have them rented out most of the time, I love to visit often. Each one has furniture and decorations that suit the period and style of the house and neighborhood.

You know this home, you’ve probably almost crashed your S65 into the Porsch at the corner of Turtle Creek and Avondale as you ooohhed and aaahhed over 4001 Turtle Creek. That is the shockingly white, exquisitely redone 1920’s Mediterranean beauty with the blue-tiled roof.

And yep, it’s on the market! But NOT in MLS.

Just under 7000 square feet, built in the early 1920s, designer Susan Baten added a master and a den, turned the foyer into a music room, doubling the size of the former home. It took three and a half years to transform the place from decrepit to dynamo. As Dallas Morning News editor Christopher Wynn wrote:

 

 

Crisp white stucco walls rise to meet a crown of aqua tiles. A lion’s head fountain once again splashes in the front courtyard’s reflecting pool. Gleaming windows reveal peek-a-boo views inside a white lacquer wonderland inhabited by leggy chairs and modern art. This place stops traffic.

Now she’s on the market, (but, again, NOT in MLS) with agent to the stars Mark Godson, who splits his time betwixt Palm Springs Cali and Dallas. Mark tells me he has priced the home European style: nothing set in stone, but in the region of $4.1 million to $4.3, definitely northwards of $4 million.

Ha! Let the bidding begin!

“This is what they do in Europe,” says the dapper Brit-tongued agent. “You don’t lay out a flat boring number, you kind of let the market decide.”

In 2007, the house was a tear down listed by Eleanor Mowery Sheets, remember her? Years of disrepair had led to an interior mess: peeling paint, a hole in the kitchen ceiling, Lord knows what else. Susan Baten and her husband, Greg, intervened, because they had seen it from afar, like most people driving on Turtle Creek Blvd. And they like to take in house orphans.

“I always thought it looked worthy, it just needed a little help,” she says.

Others thought she should let it be, let CPS or the wrecking ball take over. But Wynn called Baten a “serial renovator”. She renovated a  pink stucco on University Boulevard to resemble her fave LA haunt, the Beverly Hills Hotel. She and Greg also have a vacation home in Palm Springs, which is mid-century modern mecca and going gangbusters as a second home hot spot. That’s where Baten told Wynn she is stockpiling Saarinen Womb chairs and Tulip tables, and a pair of lamps once owned by Nancy Sinatra. 

‘Course, 4001 Turtle Creek is circa 1920’s, when glam reigned supreme.

Replacing the home’s crumbling red Spanish roof with aqua tiles was at the top of Baten’s want list, wrote Wynn; Baten heard from the contractor, “we hope you like blue”; Baten told her husband, Greg: “This is going to look like the pancake house.”

Might be a good idea to keep your sunglasses on once you walk inside: the interior is dipped in Benjamin Moore’s “Decorators White.” Baten worked with Highland Park’s Veritas Developers Group to accentuate the high ceilings, a step-down living room, handsome moldings. The small, choppy rooms were reconfigured for smoother flow, and a rear addition of a sprawling den and upstairs master suite were added on. I want the recipe for those new wide-plank hardwood floors: “Chocolate Lab – not black, not brown, but chocolate Lab.”

Absolutely delicious!

Oh, the art! It doesn’t come with the house, at least not at this price, but Wynn writes that Baten measured for paintings when the house was still a construction zone, calling upon her friend and art adviser, Kenneth Craighead, co-owner of Craighead Green Gallery. Kenneth is one of the best art consultants and galleries in town and I also buy from him. As he says, Susan Baten worked the furnishings and accessories around later as background to the art. The floral photos on Plexiglas in the living room are by Sibylle Bauer. There is a large encaustic abstract by Brad Ellis in the dining room of dots. This sounds almost like the Nasher/Museum Tower relationship: Craighead “studied the piece in the room at different times of day to make sure it looked as spectacular during coffee at 7 a.m. as it did during candlelight dinner at 7 p.m.”  Dallas artisan Brad Oldham, brother of  designer Todd’s, created the dining “bird’s nest table” for Baten, and also created three smiling round faces just outside the breakfast-room window, a concrete sculpture he says was inspired by a “melodic mass of cypress tree roots” he’d seen jutting from the ground near Fair Park. Those are the “worm men”. Ask Mark if they go with the house — they are adorable!

Do check out Wynn’s piece on Baten and 4001 Turtle Creek, if you subscribe. The story of how she decorates — starting at age 21 with a chair she bought for $1 — is my cup of tea. She mixes tree-stump tables from West Elm (sprayed white) with French side chairs and palm-tree torchieres. The blue and white is, in my design book, to die for. There is nothing, nothing blue and white will not fix — no amount of depression or angst. She mixes Jonathan Adler with flea market bamboo garden furniture, everything lacquered white.

“If you stand still long enough, she’ll lacquer you,” her husband Greg warns.

Before I leave, I must tell you about one of the home’s most dramatic architectural features: the grand staircase’s wrought-iron railings, salvaged from a 1920s Pittsburgh home and signed by artisan Hyman Blum. His work is in the Louvre. Baten found them on a fluke at Nick Brock Antiques. I mean, who finds antique iron spindles for a staircase that fit? When the iron spindles arrived in buckets, there were exactly enough to reassemble the railing on site.

 

 

 

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…