My husband learned a long time ago the fastest way to my heart is with dirt — real estate, that is, preferably a beach house, an acre or two in Preston Hollow, a downtown condo, and a ranch in the country. Who wants Lady Godivas? I want her palace.
Herewith, then, is a roundup of the five-ish most romantic homes currently on the market in Dallas.
1. Tim Headington’s penthouse at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton
It makes my head spin just thinking about it: 5,500 square feet of exterior patios — three terraces — afford the most romantic views of the city. Inside is 8,400 square feet filled with two kitchens, four bedrooms with full baths, two powder rooms, billiard room with purple pool table (kinky!), theater, and library.
This pad is fit for celebrity-style entertaining, with three wine refrigerators — for red, white and champagne — and two wet bars. The museum-quality art is not included in the asking price, which has been reduced to $9,950,000 from $14 million.
The condo takes up the entire 21st floor, with two private elevators and vestibule hallway. A service elevator brings up whatever your heart desires/orders.
2. The M Mansion
M could be for “mmm” or for Mascolo, the name of the family who built this home way up in Far North Dallas off Frankford Road, located in the North Dallas Forty. The story is that Flora and Guy Mascolo, founders of Toni & Guy salons, built the M Mansion as their dream house, pouring love into every nook and cranny.
Built by Ventura Custom Homes, the chateau-inspired estate took seven years to complete, and it has been a wedding venue for many happy couples. For the $12 million price tag you get 3.29 wooded acres with a secret garden, fenced soccer field, and stone waterfall pool with hidden grotto. Inside there are nine bedrooms, nine baths, offices and wine cellar. Plus there’s an outdoor pizza oven and patio oasis with multiple gardens.
3. Mount Vernon
Your Valentine’s dollar may have to stretch pretty far to cover the mortgage on this $24 million mansion on Lawther Drive that overlooks White Rock Lake. Built by oilman H.L Hunt in 1924, it qualifies as the most historic mansion in Dallas.
Owner Teresa Amend told me that when she was dating her husband, John, now a hugely successful commercial real estate tyke, she told him she loved Mount Vernon, and he vowed to buy her the home someday. Which he did in February 2000 — as a Valentine’s gift, perhaps? — from the Hunt estate.
On its 10 acres are a 10,700-square-foot house, magnificent guesthouse, bowling alley, storage concourse for collectible autos, tennis courts and the first-ever swimming pool in Dallas.
4. T. Boone Pickens’ estate and Laura and Tom Leppert’s home in Preston Hollow (tie)
Never mind the fact that T. Boone and his second wife, Madeleine, are splitting. They remodeled 9434 Alva Court to the max back in 2005 after buying it from Janie and Cappy McGarr. (Janie is the daughter of the late Dallas mayor Annette Strauss.)
The grounds — with pool and cabana — are just shy of one acre, smack in the heart of Alva Court. The home is 8,215 square feet of soft French flawless, with three bedrooms (including the original master down), four full baths and several half baths. Custom-designed iron and glass entry doors lead to the second master bedroom upstairs, with a bathroom so big you can fit an office in it, including a closet larger than most starter homes.
This one will set you back $7 million.
As for the Leppert’s house, almost across the street, it’s a little larger — 10,800 square feet — with six bedrooms, six baths, twin offices (how romantic), guestroom wing and huge kitchen. It has a slate roof, stone exterior, electric gate, circular driveway and beautiful landscaping. This one will only set you back $5,695,000. Best of all, think of all the canoodling in that zany upstairs media room.
5. The Hicks Crespi Estate
Now, $135 million may be a bit out of the budget for most guys, but think of the value here. Where else would you get a girl 25 acres in the center of Preston Hollow to build an equestrian center for up to 25 horses? That plus 42,500 square feet of main house, guest house, pool house and theater, plus pool, tennis courts and gardens with private walkways.
Buy the Hicks Crespi Estate, and you’ve basically bought yourself a private love island right in the heart of Dallas.