Category: Real Estate

House of the Month – 4218 Arcady Avenue

(Courtesy photos: Allie Beth Allman & Associates)

This stately Highland Park house was built by Tatum Brown Custom Homes in 2015. Stone and wood floors accent the 12-room abode, which includes five bedrooms, as well as a gentlemen’s library and bar. The family room and kitchen overlook a spacious backyard, which boasts both open and covered terraces ideal for entertaining. Interior features include a built-in wine cooler, an elevator, multiple staircases, and an attached 3-car garage. Classic plaster detailing with stone accents gives the estate an air of sophistication.

Appetite for Destruction

Leveling of historical homes continues with Trammell Crow Estate teardown. (Courtesy photo)

Andy Beal, Dallas billionaire, banker, and economic advisor to President Donald Trump, has razed the 1912 C.D. Hill-designed Trammell Crow estate on Preston Road he purchased less than a year ago.

DFW Pre-Demolition and Estate Sales posted the news on Facebook Jan. 16 with details about property that will be sold off piecemeal before the teardown. The house was torn down Feb. 13.

The Park Cities boast a number of historic homes designed by world-famous architects — a number that is rapidly decreasing as a generation of homeowners who share a distaste for “used homes,” a new vernacular for homes that already exist and which other people may have already lived in, move in to the neighborhood with cash to spend on teardowns and custom building.

David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas, says inflated property values are feeding this mentality.

From Black Box to Information Onslaught


For every generation before us that dreamed of one day purchasing a home, the process was opaque and incredibly complicated. Buyers sought out real estate agents not just for their charm and hand-holding through the process, but because those agents were the only ones who knew which homes were actually on the market. Short of slowly driving block-by-block through your dream neighborhood and writing down addresses with For Sale signs in the front yard, choosing a real estate agent was the only way to ensure that you could even find a home to buy.

I don’t have to tell you that this is clearly no longer the case. With the advent of companies like Zillow and other online real estate databases, today’s consumers have access to nearly as much information as those very same agents. Just 10 years after its founding, Zillow says that nearly nine out of 10 homebuyers now use the Internet when searching for a home. And we’re not just talking about Millennials here. 71 percent of those over the age of 65 search for their next home online. And that figure skyrockets up to 90 percent for those between 18 and 35.

Gateway Up for Grabs

The vacant land near the convergence of Armstrong Avenue, Lakeside Drive, and Oak Lawn Avenue where it becomes Preston Road is on the market. (Photo courtesy Allie Beth Allman)

One of the last undeveloped tracts of land in the Park Cities is drawing intense interest, according to representatives from Allie Beth Allman and Associates.

The 1.17-acre triangular plot bordered by Lakeside Drive, Armstrong Avenue, and Oak Lawn Avenue is being marketed as the “Gates of Highland Park.” While the land has been for sale since mid-fall, tall wooden signs erected just before New Year’s have generated increased attention.

“I can’t think of another location that would be more desirable,” former Highland Park mayor William D. White Jr. said.

In 1906, real estate developer John Armstrong purchased a large amount of land just north of Dallas for $276 an acre. The city’s population had more than doubled following the turn of the century, and was fast approaching 100,000. Armstrong saw enormous potential in the area he dubbed “Highland Park,” so named because it sat on high terrain overlooking downtown.

Balanced Market Brings Opportunities for Buyers, Sellers


While active home listings in Preston Hollow and the Park Cities dipped in the fourth quarter, 2016 brought greater housing inventory overall, creating opportunities for buyers as well as sellers.

New listings may not be likely to go under contract instantly in a wave of multiple offers like they would a few years ago, but home prices remain strong and sellers who have done quality renovations are still rewarded, according to Shell Stegall, senior vice president and broker with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, who has spent 25 years in real estate.

“It’s not quite so chaotic now,” she said. “It’s becoming a little more balanced between the power of buyers and sellers.”

Active listings in 2016 averaged 22 percent higher than in 2015, according to data from North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.

Matte Black is the New Black


I have been on a roll lately attending design conferences and meeting with product vendors from around the globe to stay on top of industry trends. One of the sexiest design elements making a huge statement in home and hospitality interiors is amatte black finish. Because this is a high-end finish, it can also become a prominent design feature.

The trend has also made a significant impact not just in intereiors, but also in the automobile industry and fashion. Matte black is even more luxurious when combined with another matte finish or contrast metal finish, such as satin gold, or with a classic white for a powerful pop of pure luxury.

The Art of an Estate Sale

Photos courtesy of Help Me Ronda

Drive through Preston Hollow or the Park Cities any weekend and you are likely to stumble upon an estate sale, but you may not know what goes into the process behind the scenes.

A garage sale might be run by a homeowner looking to get rid of some things and make a few dollars, but an estate sales involve liquidating the entire contents of a house. This can require a specialist’s help.

Many owners brings in property liquidators to oversee the entire process, from organizing the event to staging the contents and pricing them based on their research and expertise. These professionals earn commission on the sales.

Preserving Park Cities Structural History


Charles Dilbeck is a household name; it is a name associated with a number of houses in the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and Dallas. Dilbeck designed more than 600 homes in Dallas, but that number has shrunk, since houses in Dallas don’t tend to survive too many owners.

One Preston Hollow resident is looking to make her Dilbeck-designed home stick around for the long haul, and has filed a request with the Dallas City Hall Landmark Commission for consideration of a historic overlay district. The commission voted to consider homeowner Nancy Shutt’s case in August. Shutt declined to comment on the request.

In its consideration of Shutt’s house, the commission will determine if the building meets the necessary criteria for historic overlay and work with her to establish why the structure should become a landmark.

Housing Market Cooling Off This Quarter

North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, Inc.

The North Texas housing market is showing signs of cooling down. The latest North Texas Real Estate Information Systems statistics show that the median September home price in the Park Cities was down 17 percent compared to June. Despite a double-digit drop, the $1.2 million median price is still 5 percent higher than it was in September 2015.

The median home price in Preston Hollow climbed 19 percent to $952,000 over the third quarter. However, houses in Preston Hollow are taking longer to sell, as is the case in the Park Cities. According to some local real estate experts, these trends are not necessarily a bad thing.

“This is a much more healthy and balanced market,” said Virginia Cook realtor Lori Sparks. “It’s still an awesome time for sellers, but we couldn’t have continued on that pace forever. It would have been impossible.”