Wrought Iron design
$135 Million Dallas Palace Is America’s New Most Expensive Home For Sale
While rumors swirled Friday about the alleged sale of a $117 million home in Woodside, Calif., another abode far from the center of the tech universe quietly began attracting attention as the new most expensive home for sale in the United States.
The Crespi-Hicks Estate, which is being quietly shopped off of the Multiple Listing Services, wants a staggering $135 million. The best part: it’s not located in San Francisco, or even New York City. America’s new most expensive home for sale is in Dallas, Texas.
The Dallas estate sits behind wrought iron gates in the ultra elite Mayflower Estates neighborhood. Spanning 25 acres, the compound boasts roughly 42,500 square feet of living space including a five-story main house, a two-story guest house and a three-story pool house. It’s owned by Thomas and Cinda Hicks, former Forbes 400 listmakers whose personal net worth swelled as large as $1.4 billion in 2008.Tom Hicks is the former chairman of private equity firm Hicks and current chairman of Hicks Holdings. He is also the former owner of several professional sports teams including the Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers, and Liverpool Soccer Club.
The Crespi-Hicks Estate, commissioned by Italian Count Pio Crespi, was the last residential creation of architect Maurice Fatio before his death in 1943. When the Hicks purchased the property 16 years ago, they enlisted architect Peter Marino to restore it. The process reportedly took nearly a decade and as much as $100 million.
Among the home’s outrageous amenities are a a library paneled in 19th-century Italian walnut and burl, a main kitchen tiled in 10th-century Dutch Delft manganese tiles, a mirrored art-deco bar room, and an exercise room. The pool house boasts an outdoor living room and kitchen, an indoor catering kitchen, a massive game room, and a home theater spanning an entire floor. The grounds encompass two guest houses, a tennis court, several greenhouses, a tree house, rose and vegetable gardens, and a second hidden driveway entrance onto the property.
“In this home, one experiences an awe-inspiring majesty along with a gentle warmth and intimacy. The formal rooms have accommodated throngs of guests and received United States Presidents and international dignitaries,” writes Douglas Newby, the real estate agent representing the property, adding that the home is “warm and fun.”
According to Dallas real estate blogger Candy Evans, land in Mayflower Estates commands a lofty $2 million per acre, accounting for $50 million of the asking price; the buildings are valued at $85 million. Mayflower Estates is home to Dallas’ richest and most powerful residents, including former President George W. Bush who is rumored to have moved here to be close to the Hicks family. The home is minutes from downtown Dallas.
It’s not necessarily surprising that the opulent spread has come to market now — and toting such a stratospheric price tag. Billionaires have been plunking down extravagant sums for trophy homes the country over since 2011, injecting would-be sellers with confidence to try their hands at turning a hefty home sale profit. Since the beginning of January alone, two confirmed record-breaking sales have transpired: a $27 million Miami, Fla. penthouse purchase (the area’s highest price ever paid for an apartment) and a $75 million Malibu, Calif. beach house purchase (the city’s most expensive sale ever). And if the blogosphere is indeed correct and a Woodside, Calif. house fetched $117.5 million, then the country even has a new most expensive home sale.
At $135 million, the mega mansion’s asking price tops the $125 million Fleur de Lys estate in Los Angeles, which has been the single most expensive home publicly listed for sale since Miami’s Casa Casuarina reduced its price tag to $100 million in November. Other uber expensive listings include the $100 million CitySpire penthouse in New York City, two additional $95 million apartments in New York, and the $95 million Beverly House in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Traditionally-built with a countryside outlook
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There is a large garage with planning permission for further development which will include two double garages and an apartment above.
The house has a stunning entrance hall with hardwood parquet flooring throughout and a feature oak staircase with handmade wrought-iron balustrade.
The lounge has a fireplace built in limestone and granite with a limestone-flagged hearth incorporating a wood-burning stove. There is open-plan access through into the kitchen/dining/family room.
This feature room which occupies the full width of the property has hardwood parquet flooring throughout.
The dining area is dual aspect and has ample space for large table and chairs.
The kitchen is fitted with a range of modern cabinets with matching fascias and hardwood surfaces, a black four-oven range cooker with granite and stone surround beneath an oak lintel with brickwork above. An oak door opens into the pantry.
There is a conservatory with full-height window to the rear overlooking the garden and countryside beyond.
On the first floor is a spacious landing providing an extravagant approach to the bedrooms and bathroom. A feature stained-glass window has an oak surround.
Bedroom one has sliding doors to the rear which open on to a balcony, which has far-reaching views over the garden towards the surrounding countryside. There is also an en-suite shower room.
Bedroom two has an en-suite shower room and there are two further bedrooms.
The family bathroom has a free-standing double-ended bath, wash hand basin and wc all in white, plus a ceramic tiled floor.
The attic room has roof-set window to the rear and eaves storage throughout. Plumbing has been facilitated for an en suite.
Outside is an area laid to chippings providing off-road parking for two cars. A granite and stone wall with timber gate to side opens into the front garden which has areas laid to lawn and chippings together with paving.
The rear garden is laid to lawn and overlooks the surrounding South Hams countryside. At the end of the garden is a stone-built summerhouse with French windows.
Beyoncé rumored to be interested in Houston property
by Dan X. McGraw
A 25,000-square foot Houston home is attracting numerous suitors, possibly including Beyoncé. The Piney Point Village home, which is owned by Douglas R. Johnson and his ex-wife Melanie Johnson, was original priced for $19 million. In an effort to sell the home, the couple has slashed more than $13 million off the price over the past three years.
The home is currently on the market for $5.9 million. The reduced price is helping to attract prospective buyers, mainly people in the oil and gas industry, Alberto Alaniz, the owner of Prime Texas Properties, said. He said a wealthy oilman was flying his private jet into Houston to check out the property next week.
Alaniz said his agency has sent the real estate listing to Beyoncé. He said she was rumored to be interested in the property for her mother, Tina Knowles.
While the price is steep, it isn’t hard to see why Beyoncé or anyone else might be interested in the property.
Inside the 25,000-square foot mansion, you’ll find 16 bathrooms, six bedrooms and two suites. The Houston mansion also packs two Jacuzzis and a pool with a private entrance.
On the third floor, the home has a game room and theater room. It also has a “hobby room with a large climate-controlled cedar closet” that could be used from everything from wine to cigars.
The home also has former Enron executive Ken Lay’s desk and wrought iron from the Art and Humanities building in Argentina.
Oddly enough, the home is a bit of bargain for a multi-million home. Its reduced price would make it $250 per square foot, much lower than similarly priced and sized homes.
HK’s favorite dining room
Shanghai restaurants are almost as ubiquitous as Cantonese ones in Hong Kong and with good reason, too. Its hearty combination of simple ingredients never fails to satisfy and is particularly enticing during these chilly winter days.
The only complaints, if we are picky, are that the same dishes keep reappearing. And, as in many local eateries, the more deliciously authentic the cuisine, the more the setting is bound to be a hole in the wall.
The Dining Room aims to change the bad rap that Shanghai food sometimes receives with a fresh take on both decor and menu. Situated in the brand spanking new Hysan Place, it is an airy 146-seat casual and contemporary venue that resembles a French bistro.
The entrance is decked out like a gourmet grocery store, with fresh fruit and vegetables spilling out from wooden crates. This is the theme throughout the restaurant, which extends the texture of the boxes into hardwood flooring and furniture.
Wrapping around a semi-open dim sum and cold prep kitchen, the dining area is infused with natural light from floor to ceiling windows.
Open shelves stocked with products used for menu items give the restaurant a neighborhood store ambience. A dado height brass rail with sheer drapes below add to the bistro feel, along with bric-a-brac, such as brass tea kettles and a wrought iron coat rack topped by a clock and weather vane.
Classic Phoenix bicycles manufactured in Shanghai are fun props, and I loved that there is a range of seating: counter-height tables with bar stools, communal wooden benches, sofas with low tables and white marble tables with cafe chairs.
The menu reflects the breeziness of the decor, with a number of new items created by executive chef Tony Huang. An alumnus of Shanghai New Asia Catering School, he is a specialist in dim sum and a former protege of Ge Xian’e – considered one of China’s best dim sum masters.
Our first taste of dim sum began with the soft and crispy bun with minced pork, bamboo shoots and Shanghai eggplant. I was very pleasantly surprised by the succulent eggplant, which was an excellent combination of sweet and savory. Served in a paper pocket, the flaky, very crunchy bun was a perfect envelope for its stuffing.
Next came a cold appetizer of candied whole mini pumpkin with lily bulbs. It was beautifully presented, with a gentle lily bulb taste that lingered on the palette and was just sweet enough to be refreshing.
My favorite was tofu with hairy crab cream. It was so silky and rich, I practically licked the plate clean. And it was a great way to enjoy hairy crab without doing any of the messy work.
Rice in soup with seafood in Shanghai style was a good choice for those who can’t decide between soup and more substantial fare. Each kernel was left whole, and the broth’s aromatic chicken flavor enhanced the generous assortment of shrimp, clams and squid.
Wok-fried shrimp with caramelized longjing tea leaves was equally delicious. The crisp leaves reminded me of deep-fried basil – only more fragrant, if that is possible. And the river shrimp was super fresh and lightly sauteed to retain its firmness.
Huang’s dim sum dexterity did not disappoint when it came to dessert, either.
I adored his crispy rice dumplings with pomelo, which was dusted with white sesame seeds and a melt-in-the-mouth filling of sweet pomelo. Artfully presented in mason jars, chilled puddings were available in jasmine, almond milk and mango, with the last being my personal pick to end things on a high note.
Two different approaches to four-season living
The 129-year-old Connaught School building on Napier St. into four condo units known as Duke Lofts. Two of the residences will be built in the original school building and will have two or three bedrooms, original wood staircases and original tin high ceilings. The other two units will be three-level residences and will be built in an addition.
All four residences will have a private courtyard, a garage plus surface parking and the old school yard will be landscaped using brick pillars and iron rod fencing.
Interior finishes will include two-storey entry foyers, natural or engineered hardwood in the kitchen, living, dining area and den, choice of porcelain or tile in the foyer, bathrooms and laundry room. Kitchens will feature granite or quartz counter tops and stainless steel appliances. Each suite will have individual climate control system with high efficiency furnaces.
The other project under construction is Dwell, a new build by Devonleigh Homes. Located on the corner of Sixth St. and High St., Dwelll is in close proximity to the shopping areas on the west side of town and only a few blocks away from Collingwood’s heritage main street.
The new grand mansion style condominium building is three storeys and will include an elevator, says Devonleigh marketing manager Jim Funston.
Owners of the top-floor units will enjoy views of the ski slopes at Blue Mountain and the private Osler Bluff ski club, says Funston.
Dwell is the final phase of Devonleigh’s 280-home Creekside development and will form the cornerstone of the development. It will feature brick piers and wrought iron fences and irrigated lawns “to set the tone of the neighbourhood,” says Funston.
Dwell is aimed at empty nesters and families who want to be close to skiing at Blue Mountain and the area’s golf courses and beaches.