High-End Amenities

Over-the-top amenities have become de rigueur among Dallas’ elite.

photograph by Stephen Karlisch

It’s a Rich Thing

Private elevators, multi-million-dollar art installations, and an indoor rain forest stocked with orchids are just some of the amenities that have become de rigueur among Dallas’ elite.


Paradise Found
John Ridings Lee’s indoor rain forest boasts citrus trees that produce limes and lemons the size of grapefruits, exotic tropical ferns, and more than 40 varieties of orchids. Located on the third level of Lee’s residence, a renovated former Southwestern Bell transfer station on Oak Lawn Avenue, the garden room is his passion:  To create skylights, 700-pound concrete squares were cut and lifted by crane out of the original roof deck and replaced by specially insulated glass, which rolls aside to permit rainfall. Custom steel casement windows were imported from England to form interior and exterior garden walls, and keep the temperatures friendly to tropical plants. Garden room built by Jeff Kemp of Andres Construction. Value: unlimited. Who can put a price on fresh oxygen?

Outrageous Oenophile
Wine cellars are must-haves in million-dollar homes these days, but this one caught our eye because of its over-the-top attention to detail and theme. Designed by Sherry Hayslip and Cole Smith, the wine tasting room and cellar form a vivid vineyard vignette, set off by one-of-a-kind hand-forged ironworks, carved wine cabinets, groined vault ceiling, and an unusual antique Italian refectory table. The dominating vine and leaf motif is accentuated by an iron chandelier crafted into a cascade of winding vines that trails out over the length of the table. On cool evenings, tastings may extend into a little garden specially designed by Paul Fields of Lambert’s. Value: so pricey that the designers and owners declined to divulge.

photograph by Ira Montgomery

Bedtime Stories
Who can sleep when there’s a multimedia digital show built into the bed? These custom-measured beds—ordered by some of the Dallas Mavericks—employ the latest in German technology. Ruf-Betten’s cinema bed, available in various colors of ultra suede, has a remote controlled screen that rises from the footboard, a projector nestled between the headboard pillows, and matching comforter and side table. Imported by Home Theater Store, a fully loaded cinema bed is priced at approximately $20,000, installed.

Cinema Bed courtesy of The Home Theater Store

Mount St. Dave
Dave Corriveau’s backyard volcano takes yard art to a new level. The co-founder of Dave & Buster’s got hooked on volcanoes on a trip to Honolulu and commissioned one for his Lake Forest residence. The 10-foot stone grotto is complete with waterfalls, tunnel, and flaming torches. We hear that the local fire department is not amused. Volcanic scene, with torches, stonework, and pool built by Platinum Series by Mark Molthan, approximately $80,000.

Volcano courtesy of Platinum Series by Mark Molthan

Social Set
Denise and Larry Wolford’s 1,300-square-foot, five-car garage converts into a party room for 125 people at the press of a button. A set of four garage doors in the back open, revealing a pool, patio, and outdoor kitchen. Completely heated and air-conditioned, temperatures are kept comfortably cool during the hottest months with strategically placed outdoor misters. Custom built by builder and landscape contractor Brad Batson, $100 per square foot, custom doors included.

photograph by Ira Montgomery

Move’n On Up
Almost every big dollar high-rise apartment now has a private elevator. But Mark Molthan’s hydraulic Baxter elevator is decked out with fine art and antiques. Paneled in Andean walnut, the elevator feels more like a private men’s club than a lift. A posh ride like this starts at $25,000.

photograph by Ira Montgomery

Big Fish
This 500-gallon freshwater aquarium was initially installed under doctor’s orders. Prescribed for relaxation purposes, the tank is set into an exterior Austin stone wall, providing views of both brightly colored aquatic life and the backyard spa. Stocked with almost 85 different species of African fish, the aquarium measures 8 feet by 3 feet and maintains a constant tropical temperature regardless of the weather. Installed and maintained by Dallas North Aquarium, the tank is priced at approximately $20,000, sans fish.

photograph by Danny Piassick













Sky High
Vernon Faulconer’s extraordinary modern art collection culminates on the top floor of his Turtle Creek residence, with a custom James Turrell light installation that’s linked to a mechanized turret on the roof, which opens to reveal the sky. Is it sculpture, or is it an illusion? Value: priceless.

photography by Ira Montgomery



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