How Can a $21.8 Million, 20,000-Square-Foot Dallas Home Have Zero Bedrooms?

By now you’ve no doubt noticed that we’ve published the July issue of D Magazine, which includes our biennial examination of the 100 Most Expensive Homes in Dallas. We used Dallas Central Appraisal District valuations, meaning every Dallas County home was ranked, though only houses in the Park Cities or Dallas proper were worth enough to make the cut.

Online our list is sortable by a number of statistics. Those who’ve played around with this tool may have discovered an oddity: eight of the listed homes have no official bedrooms, according to DCAD records. For example: Ed Cox’s nearly 20,000-square-foot house (No. 7 on the list) has 4 fireplaces and 6 bathrooms, but no bedrooms.

Here at D World Headquarters we discussed among ourselves why this might be. Sure, it could be that DCAD’s information is just wrong, but it was more fun to speculate about alternatives. Perhaps the interior of Cox’s home consists merely of a series of cavernous sitting rooms, libraries, conservatories, dens, dungeons, and man-caves, and he prefers to sleep in a Barcalounger instead of a bed. Or maybe DCAD adheres to some arcane definition requiring any officially tallied bedroom to feature double egress, not merely single.

Whatever the case, I called DCAD to find out. What I discovered might shock or dismay you.

Though probably not. Basically, local appraisers don’t care how many bedrooms you’ve got, according to DCAD spokeswoman Cheryl Jordan. Fireplaces, kitchens, bathrooms, and even wet bars – they all contribute to the value of a home. The number of bedrooms does not. Only square footage counts, since it doesn’t take much to make a room into a bedroom. Plopping down a bed usually gets the job done.

So DCAD never even attempted to track the number of bedrooms in homes until “the last four or five years,” Jordan says. Why’d they start? Because it was information that people in the real estate business were interested in knowing. Which suggests that the number of bedrooms may have some importance, and therefore some effect on values?

Regardless, the bedroom numbers that you can find on many DCAD records are based either on 1) Being told by the homeowner or 2) Looking at blueprints of newly built or renovated homes. Which calls into question the accuracy of that particular statistic. But if they (and we) say someplace has got 6 wet bars, well then, you can take that to the bank.

In the meanwhile, Mr. Cox, if you’d like to email or call me with the correct number of bedrooms (or invite me over to chill out in one of your man-caves), I’ll be happy to correct our records and forward the information to the proper authorities.

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