There is not another house in Dallas that demonstrates “Old Highland Park” like 4441 Belfort Pl. Even the address is stately.
From the dramatic drive-up on one of Highland Park’s toniest streets, the home greets you with beautiful architectural detail — that fleur surrounding the oval window above the doorway. There is a second story, a New Orleans-style balcony, arches and windows. There is a tile roof.
The yard is lush with rich, mature landscaping, the kind one achieves from years of careful, loving tending. Located on one of the few, rare, front-to-back lots in Highland Park, the 0.87 of an acre grounds are more like that of an estate you would find in Old Preston Hollow. In fact, the yard is so perfect it was once published on the cover of the New York Times Magazine.
To say the home is a showplace is an understatement. Current owners took a home built in 1940 and updated it thoughtfully, soundly, retaining the charm and architectural detailing that, try as you might, spend as you might, you cannot replicate in new home construction.
The updating timeline is significant and shows the incredible love this home has received. In 1998, shortly after it was purchased from hair accessory designer Eve Reid, the first backhouse renovation was made to enclose what had been an open-air pavilion. In 2002, the kitchen was torn out and gutted, as were the "red room" (library), the powder room, and the guest bathroom. At this time, an office was also added.
In 2004, the children’s rooms upstairs got new baths.
In 2007, the home was re-wired with all new electrical to bring electronics into the 21st century. In 2010, the master bedroom’s Mistress bath was gutted, an exercise room was added, and the downstairs laundry was gutted to create a new downstairs bed, bath and new laundry room.
In 2010, a generator was added to the home. In 2012, the backhouse cabinets, bar and grill area were redone.
Then 2014 saw new kitchen counters, only to be replaced again a year later along with fresh new paint on the kitchen cabinets, appliance replacements, and new book cases in the great room. With the exception of the 2012 backhouse work on the bar and grill area, all work was done by Dallas builder George Lewis, and the family never left the house through one renovation.
According to a 2010 article on this home and its owners, the home was purchased because it had a wonderful spot for a Christmas tree.
The two-story, five-bedroom home boasts 9,045 square feet, and the house has everything (including the spot for the tree!), but yet, it doesn’t feel Citizen Kane huge.
For example, the entrance: rather than walk into a huge, cavernous hallway with side stairway sweeping upwards — that’s what, 90 percent of homes in the Park Cities, right? — this home beckons you with a rich, dark-stained hardwood-floored entryway, a staircase and landing upstairs, and a stop at a charming sitting area that overlooks the lush front yard. It’s like the receiving room.
From there it’s onward to the great room, aptly named. Here are slate floors, an 11-foot beamed ceiling, enormously tall paned windows, new bookcases, and two walls of views of the grounds. Next the flow takes you through the 9-foot ceilinged library complete with wet bar, then to the remodeled kitchen: high end appliances such as the Dacor double oven, a sprawling SubZero, cooktop and dishwashers. The kitchen is connected by small vestibule to the the front dining room, enormous at 15 by 20 feet, and a wine cellar. Of course you can swing back full circle toward the foyer through a wet bar with seating along the way, past the front formal powder room.
If you are getting the feeling that this home has almost a perfect flow for entertaining, you are correct. I don’t think there is a charitable organization in town who has not had a party at 4441 Belfort:
"The floor plan is designed with spacious living and dining areas and ample room for the charity and arts events that they host,” Lewis (the builder) says. "Many Dallas chairwomen have found that this is the perfect location for benefits and galas."
And if you have been in this house for five minutes, you remember the family room: a room of curved glass 17 feet high flanking the kitchen but bringing the incredible yard seemingly right into the house. Here is another staircase to the second floor, and access to the back of the house: a sun room, another powder room, a guest bedroom with en suite bath, and a utility room that is as large as the kitchen with more professional refrigeration and a center island work space.
The second story is accessible from the front and back stairway, and has a division of sorts whereby the master wing consumes the eastern portion of the upper home, and can be extremely private or accessible to the other rooms. The master has a charming corner fireplace, views of the pool and rear yard, two sitting rooms, separate his and her bathrooms and closets. The master connects to the other bedrooms via a walkway across the Family Room, with it’s open-to-the-ceiling views.
The secondary bedrooms on this floor number three, two with sitting area ante rooms, all with en suite baths. There is also a large study upstairs with magnificent window views of the front, and that charming balcony shared with one of the bedroom suites.
The backyard, with the exception of the Tolleson estate on Hunters Glen, is probably one of the largest in Highland Park. It extends back all the way to Rheims Place, with an array of features that turn the home into a 24/7 recreational center: a putting green, an exercise room, a sport court, a pool cabana (with wet bar and another half-bath), and an outdoor living area with a fireplace and built-in grill.
4441 Belfort also offers ample storage space, a large porte-cochere that provides easy, quick access to the kitchen, and an enclosed one-car garage.
"Spending a day at this house is a compelling argument to give to charity," Lewis says.
Which is why millions have been raised in this home. Spending five minutes in the home, even for a quick walk-through, elevates the spirits through the architectural charm, the incredible light, the interior design sensibilities of Nancy Wilkinson of Low Country French Interiors and Design Girls Susan Palma and Muffin Lemak.
After all, when you chose a house for the perfect placement of the holiday tree, it does wonders for spreading Southern hospitality in every direction… and in fact, all throughout the neighborhood. This home is not in the MLS. It is listed exclusively with Susan Baldwin and Faisal Halum at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty for $7.5 million.
A version of this story originally was published on CandysDirt.com.