A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Home & Garden

How the Editors of D Home Chose the Most Charming Homes In Dallas

| 3 months ago

Each year for the past 12, D’s sister publication, D Home, has crowned the 10 Most Beautiful Houses in Dallas. It’s a fun, admittedly subjective, and ultimately challenging assignment—to whittle down the list to just two handfuls of properties in a city teeming with feature-worthy homes.

Following the completion of last year’s list, we made the decision to take a break from beautiful and instead recognize the most charming houses within the city limits. We simply needed a change of pace and figured readers did, too. And while we never could have predicted what lie ahead, our choice now seems oddly prescient: Charming feels wholesome and reassuring in pandemic times when not much else does.

It felt good to be driving around looking at adorable homes in late March, as the world was falling into the grips of COVID-19. Frankly, it felt good to be out of the house doing anything. There are worse ways to spend a crisp, sunny spring day than getting lost in the winding, hilly streets of Lakewood, or cruising Kessler Park with the windows down, a safe social distance from anyone.

Every year, people ask how we find the houses we include. The answer, to people’s surprise, is the old-fashioned way: we get in our cars and drive. Putting this year’s list together was our hardest task to date, and I’m not just talking about the logistics of awkward stares from driveway happy hour attendees as we circled the block for the third time, or avoiding kids riding bikes in the midst of what should’ve been a school day.

Poring over our finalists was like choosing between children. Charming is emotional. There were heated disagreements. We finally settled on 10 honorees, though the list of also-rans is far longer. You can see our picks in the July issue of D, or it’s online today. Take a look at the finalists, and let us know what you think.

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Doing Good

Dallas: The City of Random Acts of Kindness, Pt. 12

| 4 months ago

Though Dallas Maids has been a thriving cleaning service for 16 years, its future looked grim when the shelter-in-place order took effect. Residential cleaning services were deemed essential businesses, but the company’s owner, Greg Shepard, knew that many of his regular customers wouldn’t feel comfortable having someone visit their homes.

Though cancelations rolled in “like an avalanche,” says Shepard, he and his team were touched when many customers insisted on paying anyway to support the small business. Others kept their appointments and added generous tips.

“[Our customers have] shown that the worst of times brings out the best in people,” says Shepard. “I want to pay this generosity forward by providing our local area first responders with free home cleanings [to lessen] their stress.”

Dallas Maids’ First Responders Fatigue Relief fund provides complimentary home cleaning services for the first responders working to fight COVID-19. The fund also ensures that the company’s professional cleaners receive their regular pay. Customers can choose to donate their scheduled cleanings to first responders by continuing to pay their regular rates. Non-customers can help, too: donate here, share the link with friends, and let first responders know about the opportunity.

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Home & Garden

The Joy and Insanity of Preserving a Teardown

| 7 months ago

I suppose it’s first world sentimentality to be sad about teardowns. After all, it’s about money. Yet I always feel sad when I pass a freshly bulldozed house and see the empty lot that remains. Even if I have driven past the house a thousand times, once it is erased, I forget what it looked like. For the life of me, I can’t remember what was there. The only thing I recognize is a feeling of sadness.

Some neighborhoods have more teardowns than others: the Park Cities, the M Streets, East Dallas, Preston Hollow—places of privilege (or privilege at one time), older homes of fading splendor. Most are not the work of important architects. Almost always, if they are old, they will be erased at some point. These are houses that in other parts of the country would be preserved because they have architectural merit or, in some way, character. They are originals, not formulaic, derivative of certain styles but unique rather than punched-out replicas that repeat and repeat as they do in newer parts of the city. But in Dallas, we like new things. I like new things! We put a premium on convenience. Old houses are inconvenient.

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Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller Sued Over Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Her House

| 2 years ago

In January, Emanuela Tebaldi and her children filed suit against Laura Miller and her husband, Steve Wolens, seeking damages as a result of an accident that occurred in the couples’ house. It’s an odd deal.

In 2016 Tebaldi was dating Gary Wolens, Steve’s brother. They traveled from London, where Tebaldi lives, and stayed at the Miller-Wolens house in Preston Hollow. They all had dinner together in the main house, and then Tebaldi and Gary repaired to a bedroom above a detached garage. From the suit:

Unknown to Plaintiff Tebaldi, Defendants, Steve Wolens and/or Laura Miller had left their car running in the garage of their home below the bedroom where Plaintiff Tebaldi was sleeping. The next morning, July 12, 2016, Plaintiff Tebaldi had not awoken and had missed her dental appointment. Defendant Steve Wolens asked the housekeeper to check on Mr. Gary Wolens and Plaintiff Tebaldi, and she found them in the bedroom above the garage unconscious and unresponsive. Plaintiff Tebaldi was not breathing and an ambulance was called. Plaintiff Tebaldi was transported to Dallas Presbyterian Hospital where she was admitted for carbon monoxide poisoning. Plaintiff Tebaldi suffered serious injuries as a result of prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide. When medical professionals concluded that it was medically safe for Plaintiff Tebaldi to travel, she was transported back to the United Kingdom by air ambulance where Plaintiff Tebaldi was hospitalized to continue her treatment and care.

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Home & Garden

Jenna Bush Hager Talks Tex-Mex, Dallas Design, and the Importance of Preservation

| 3 years ago

It’s easy to feel like you know Jenna Bush Hager, especially if you live in Dallas. One half of the White House’s inaugural First Twins, Bush Hager and her family regularly popped up in our living rooms for years. In the post-Bush era, her family can occasionally be seen on SMU’s campus (particularly at Moody Coliseum), where her father’s presidential library resides. And now that she’s an NBC News correspondent, Bush Hager makes even more regular appearances in our living rooms. (If you missed the clip of her adorable daughters crashing her guest host gig with Kathie Lee Gifford, set aside some time to be charmed today.)

A quick phone chat with the Dallas native affirmed the authenticity of her warm, gregarious personality. Just a few minutes after wrapping a segment on The Today Show, Bush Hager hopped on a call to give her earnest thoughts on the Park Cities, the incredible Dallas design scene, and her love of Tex-Mex ahead of her April 11 speaking engagement at Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s Distinguished Speaker Luncheon.

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Dallas History

Kidd Springs’ Secret Garden

| 3 years ago

About 20 years ago, Cynthia Mulcahy was walking through Kidd Springs Park in Oak Cliff when she noticed two stone carvings. The conceptual artist had spent her honeymoon in Japan, visiting the temples and gardens of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nagasaki, and she recognized the carvings as Buddhist garden steles, or funeral statuaries. But what were they doing here, and why were there no markers? More than a decade later, an artist grant from the city allowed Mulcahy to delve into the mystery. She spent a year researching the history of Kidd Springs Park in the City Hall archives, combing through the leather-bound, marbled pages of Park Board minutes. What she discovered was remarkable.

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Home & Garden

Nine Lessons Learned While Finding the Most Beautiful Homes in Dallas

| 3 years ago

For a decade now, D Home has taken it upon ourselves to shed light on the 10 most aesthetically-pleasing dwellings in Dallas. (It’s a tall order, but somebody had to do it.) Now, with the addition of our latest installment, we’ve given the honor of “10 Most Beautiful” to 100 stunning—and very different—homes.

To celebrate, we’re giving you, dear reader, a chance to pick the cream of the pretty crop over on our 10 Most Beautiful Homes in Dallas Competition. You can look at lovely houses, click on them, and have your voice heard. It’ll be fun! After all, isn’t the only title at 750 North St. Paul that gets to dive into the booming real estate market.

For even more “10 Most Beautiful” fun, we compiled a few lessons learned from our years on the road.

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Real Estate

I Researched the Best Dallas Neighborhoods and You’ll Never Believe What Happened

| 3 years ago

When my wife and I first moved to Dallas 13 years ago, the directive to our real estate agent was simple: we want old, we want trees, we want easy access to DFW Airport (where my wife was going to work), we don’t want to spend a lot of money, and we never want to move again. Oh, and we’ve got one week to look.

The real estate agent took us to one neighborhood, Oak Cliff. We looked at three houses on Saturday; we made an offer on the third home, a 1924 bungalow, the following day. It was a for-sale-by-owner, so things got dicey for a minute when the artsy owner insisted on moving into the guest house for a month or two after we closed, but ultimately we didn’t care. We had old, we had trees, and we were never going to move again.

Thirteen years later, we have to use an upholstery clip remover to jimmy the front door so that it will lock because the foundation has shifted. The window blinds have started to fall apart on the living room window where rain leaks in, which in the big scheme of things doesn’t matter so much because we rarely sit in the living room due to the gale-force winds that blow through the original single-pane pulley windows. The rear screen door resembles a bear attack after the neighborhood stray cats decided to use it to sharpen their claws. And yet, our house has nearly doubled in value.

So when the editorial team was researching the city’s best neighborhoods for our Great Places to Live feature, I was sorely tempted.

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Housing Market

We Want Your House Hunting Stories

| 3 years ago

Do you want to be famous in a local magazine-y, non-nightly news kinda way? Cool, keep reading.

In the past year: Did you search for dream home then ultimately decide to renovate your current home? OR, are you an empty nester who recently downsized? OR, did you visit dozens of houses before finally scoring your place? OR, do you have a totally average house hunting story that is reflective of today’s market? Wow. Awesome. Keep reading.

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