This is huge news, and a big shot in the arm for our real estate market, especially at the higher luxury end.

A significant Dallas estate has sold and closed. Details are still pouring in, but sources tell me that the magnificent Preston Hollow mansion belonging to Lisa Blue Baron, a woman I cannot speak of more highly, sold Friday for just under $19 million.  

You know the place: it’s the Robert A.M. Stern designed palatial estate on the southwest corner of Preston Road and Deloache in the honeypot of Preston Hollow. The home is a sprawling 15,254 square feet on 8.98 acres. We first reported that the house was on the market in May of 2014, and were likely the first to do so.

Lisa had told me that deciding to sell her beloved home, which she built with her late husband, Fred Baron, who she lost to cancer in October, 2008, was a really tough decision.

“Building it was a labor of love,” she told me. “Fred loved and appreciated architecture and good art. I rely on others for good taste. Me, I could live anywhere, even in a trailer!”

The home is beyond exquisite. Her white master bedroom remains etched in the memory cells of my brain, one of my favorite rooms of all times. And yet the home, for being so large and elegant, is one of the warmest places you could ever walk into. The home has been featured in Architectural Digest:

As Baron remembers it, they were standing among the creepers and weeds, noting the derelict vegetation, the scarcity of salvageable trees and the ample evidence that the neighborhood kids had made the place their own—more than ready to retreat, in other words—when Stern started to make his case. “Bob told us, You have just got to buy this property.'”

Lisa interviewed the city’s tip top agents when she finally decided to sell, and chose Erin Mathews at Allie Beth Allman & Associates, who has hung in there for four years now while the home has been marketed, while prices have been lowered at least twice, through a few offers, and through countless showings.

What a huge coup for Erin! The buyer was brought by Gina Cerullo of Compass, who cannot comment on the sale because of an NDA she has signed. Word on the street is that the buyer may be James Dondero.

The estate was first listed at $37.5 when it debuted. The price was lowered to $33 million in 2015, then to $24.5, evidently the magic number.   

Erin Mathews’ website describes the property best. A few of my own notes: the powder rooms are definitely his and her’s, almost like powder rooms you’d find in  a country club, with large dressing rooms. The home is on a private lake, and Robert A.M. Stern also designed the George W. Bush Presidential Center because of this house. It is the only home he has designed in Texas, and one of the few in the world.The home was built on the estate of the Pollock family, whose home had a large swimming pool that was one of the first in Dallas. For years, the Pollock home was a vital social center for the local Jewish community. In light of that, Lisa and Fred always gave their home a tradition of loaning the house nearly every week for charitable events. It was also often loaded with national and local Democratic candidates and fundraisers. President Obama has stayed at the house. When Bill Clinton was president, he would jettison to the Baron estate directly after landing in Dallas. Photos of Bill and Hillary are all over the house! It is rumored that one time presidential candidate John Edwards also enjoyed hospitality at 5950 Deloache:

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Preston Hollow Estate

On the west side of Preston Hollow, in the “honey pot,” grand homes on large lots sit nestled among gentle hills and winding streets. This was once farmland, first developed in the 1930s as a separate town — Preston Hollow wasn’t annexed by Dallas until 1945.

Many of the homes built during those years were more like country estates, with horses and stables. That was because they actually were country estates: this was on the northern edges of a new and growing Dallas. One horse is still allowed per acre, and if you have an old barn on your property, you can keep it: it’s all grandfathered in.

This is one of the many things that makes Preston Hollow such an unusual part of town to call home: you are seven miles from downtown Dallas, but come home, sit on your porch, and you can feel like you are 70 miles away.

Candy has spent most of her life in Preston Hollow. Her current home is in Hillcrest Estates, another estate area where homes with large swaths of land can keep horses. She tells the story of what happened there about ten years ago.

“I went to the mailbox to get the mail, and as I shut the door and started to walk up her driveway, I thought I heard horse hooves,” she said “I knew I was imagining things.”

Then suddenly she saw two horses running — really running — across the street. She screamed at her dogs to go into the garage as she hid behind her stone mailbox post. A man was running frantically after the horses to try and catch them. The horses ran all the way west on Northaven Road, across Preston Road, almost to the Dallas North Tollway, where they stopped for a breather. At which point a couple having cocktails on Burgundy Road looked up and thought maybe the vodka was too strong: there were two sweaty horses in the backyard!

Today, besides horses, you’ll find some of the most luxurious residences of Dallas in the Preston Hollow estate area, like our Inwood National Bank House of the Week, located at 5907 Lupton Dr. Sitting on almost half an acre near Walnut Hill Lane and Preston, it exudes Southern charm and sophistication with large columns and a sweeping front porch. Arching shade trees and mature landscaping add to the effect.

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Country estate ext 1Stunning main abode, cabana, quarters, putting greens, tennis court, pool, private stone-lined waterway and even an original storm shelter. Whose home is it? Oh how my lips are sealed! When someone asks me not to reveal information they give me, keep a secret, I DO.  And so I am torn, dear readers, simply torn because this is SUCH a beautiful, sprawling, distinguished estate that has truly merged the elegance of yesteryear with today’s fingertip conveniences — so rarely found in Dallas.

But I have promised not to say who lives there.

So very many major names have been here, played here, slept here. Rather than tearing down and starting anew, these owners preserved the historic significance of a pioneering Preston Hollow home. I would love to tell you whose jammies it holds, but alas I gave my word. So zip. Mum. This home is not even in MLS.

Country estate ext 2This is what I can tell you: the beautiful estate, or a portion of it, was built in 1939 in old Preston Hollow when Preston Hollow was not even a part of Dallas. That’s right, Preston Hollow was actually its own township, just like Highland Park. In the late ’30’s, residents banded together to set up a township with Ira Deloache as one of the leaders in a move to incorporate as a tax-free city. On November 18,1939, Preston Hollow became incorporated as a township and remained independent (and tax-free) from the rest of the city, which practically ended at Mockingbird Lane. Preston Hollow was annexed by the city of Dallas on April 3 1945, for water and utility access. Recall my call to de-annex from Dallas a few years ago when I furious over property tax raises? Well if this home could talk, it would tell you what life was like in Dallas — no, scratch that — Old Preston Hollow before Northwest Highway even existed. Talk about walkable, Preston Hollow was TROT-ABLE: Eva Potter Morgan over on Ravine once told me she came home from school and rode her horses all through Preston Hollow, sometimes galloping.

But I digress from the story of this 10,000 square foot landmark estate. Nestled on almost five acres along a tributary of Bachman Creek, the English style home has had only three owners over the past 75 years.

FootbridgeHmmm maybe I can tell you who two of those are…

Several years ago the current owners embarked upon an extensive, exhausting refurbishment of the original estate led by Boerder-Snyder Architects, designer Rebecca Hughes, and contractor Mike Deaton. Original elements were restored and fluffed, including the lime stone veneer facade and the slate roof. The original 1939 structure was then seamlessly expanded while it was improved, yet all the while mindful of the principal architect’s English country intentions and integrity.

Let me tell you what you get for a price somewhere in the eight digits. The main residence consists of four large, airy bedrooms — the master alone is about 18 by 26 — , five full and two half baths. The master bath is a his and her’s with enough closet space to hold Neiman Marcus NorthPark’s couture department. There is the original living and dining rooms, a conservatory, a sun room, family room with office tucked away, loggia, chef’s dream culinary kitchen, trophy room, a morning room (we know what those are) with media, and then something very unusual and uncommon, a “common room”. A “common room” is what the English and Canadians call a shared lounge, that is connected to many private rooms and sometimes shares a bathroom.  The common room in this estate is more like the resting room at the Ritz Carlton Spa, and has an exterior entrance.

Country estate pool 1Retractable doors from the main house serve as the entrance to the magical back yard acreage experience with lush green and color, color everywhere. There is an outdoor kitchen on the way to the pool pavilion should you need nourishment. There are twin open-air pergolas near the pool pavilion, a pool and spa. There is also a large cabana room with a full service kitchen, fireplace, shower bath, and changing rooms.  I have no doubt you could create a private jogging trail in the woods if none exists. There are also, and this is highly unusual, not one but TWO putting greens. A charming footbridge crosses a Bachman Creek outlet with limestone retaining wall, which leads to a peninsula where you find the regulation-size tennis court. Tucked discreetly in this scenario is a full service laundry facility, a breezeway,  and a spacious four car garage.

Oh, and those Preston Hollow pioneers were smart whippersnappers: this home also has an underground storm shelter built in 1939 and tucked away in the original basement. If I have said it before, I’ll say it again: one of the most significantly amazing homes in Dallas, and the tops of any Most Beautiful list I might create. Listed with Ralph Randall (he gets the best dang listings) of Dave Perry Miller, an Ebby Halliday Company.Country estate pool 2

 

Kelcy Warren Estate

My sources tell me the Barrett mansion is going to set a new standard for luxury in Dallas — make that Preston Hollow. I can hardly wait!

“Nona and Richard were in not too long ago and I saw the plans for the new estate. It’s some kind of house! According to Nona, the kitchen will have a 25 foot long island with the ceiling three stories above and giant windows looking out across the lawn.”

That’s some lawn — over four acres! And I think a 25-foot long kitchen island would be divine — think of all he laundry you could fold on it, gifts to wrap.

Oh, what’s that you say? There’s a laundry room the size of my house, and likely a wrapping room. OK.

“The house will be full of malachite and marble floors – malachite columns, topped with bronze, rose quartz lines one of the bathrooms entirely, and marble everywhere in the others.”

Of course! I was not thinking linoleum, were you! But get this, here’s a new one for Dallas:

“They will have an orchestra room – I think also called the Malachite Room that will seat 100.”

Folks, this place tops the Lacerte/Warren house that is just a few blocks away. Remember that house closed June 16, 2009, one of Dallas‚Äô largest homes at 26,620 square feet that entertained scores of dignitaries and raised millions for Dallas charities. The seller‚Äôs agent was Ralph Randall of Dave Perry-Miller, an Ebby Halliday Company. The home is set on almost 9 acres of land in the honeypot of Old Preston Hollow, so a larger lot than Barrett’s. The estate was constructed circa 1991-1993 by a team including architect Cole Smith,¬† Smith/Ekblad & Associates, Sherry Hayslip-Smith, Hayslip Design Associates and Cole Smith, Jr., Crowbar Contractors.¬† It contains¬† a racquetball court, exercise room and locker rooms adjacent to a near Olympic-sized natatorium, bowling alley, wine cellar with tasting room, an Orangerie¬†conservatory overlooking interlocking Koi ponds loaded with about a million dollars worth of Koi, tennis court, baseball diamond and a private lake. So Ralph Randall now rules as the high priest of Dallas‚Äô most expensive real estate STILL. Agent to the John Muse family, he participated in the sale of the most expensive home in Highland Park when he helped John and Lyn acquire their lot at 4800 Preston Road.

Skuttlebut: 5323 Park Lane was originally listed in 2008 before the crash for $45 million.¬† According to my sources,¬† it sold for under $30 million-ish, and the buyer, Kelcy Warren,¬† asked for an outside appraisal to be dead sure he got his money’s worth.¬† He also bought some properties behind the estate, which had been occupied by the Lacerte’s parents.

The Lacerte-now-Warren home has entertained, among others,¬† Prince Edward, former President George W. and Laura Bush,¬† Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jaap van Zweden, and Caroline Rose Hunt, among others, plus feted countless Dallas charity galas and pre-galas. It has everything BUT an Orchestra Room! That’s why I love writing about celebrity homes — there’s always a new gizmo right around the corner!