09/16/15 11:18am

Bunk 1

Like many mundane things that have been made “cool” these days (from Haute Dogs to Lobster Mac & Cheese), it’s now possible (as Candy wrote)  to have cool bunk beds. I don’t know about you, but if I had the ceiling height, it would be soooo fun to have half the set pictured above in my bedroom. Every night I’d be thinking, “Hmmm, do I want to sleep up or down tonight?”

… and then I could post naughty “pin-up” pics to the underside of the upper bed like when I was younger. (OK, perhaps I’ve grown up at least that much since then … but not much.)

Alder and Tweed is run by sisters Lynsey and Heather Humphrey who come by their design chops naturally with parents who founded the largest lighting company you’ve never heard of.   Their firm specializes in creating memorable interiors (translation: house porn) for big-time vacation homes. Many of their clients fall out of the pages of Fortune and People. Their work results in the kinds of interiors most of us slobber over in hopes of finding some trinket we can use in our more modest homes. The Utah-based sister-designers get around with projects and offices in California, Mexico, and of course Utah.


09/08/15 4:51pm
Boot Ranch 20
If you’ve imagined yourself on the links, by the pool, or gazing out into the endless vistas of Boot Ranch, now is the perfect time to make that daydream a reality.
For the month of September, Boot Ranch is offering special purchase incentives on select estate homesites and luxury overlook cabins. Considering how hot the Hill Country is right now, this might be the deal you’ve been waiting for to buy your little slice of heaven in one of the most sought-after second home locations in the state.
  • Estate homesites included in this special property release range from 2 to 18 acres, many with building locations strategically located to maximize the beauty of the hill country.
  • Overlook Cabins on half-acre homesites along the Palo Alto Creek accommodating personally selected homes from 1,800 to 4,000 square feet, with architectural plans included for your custom configurations.
You and your family can own an amazing Overlook Cabin at Boot Ranch!

You and your family can own an amazing Overlook Cabin at Boot Ranch!


09/04/15 3:38pm
Soap star Sean Kanan asked Dallas designer Kathy Fielder to create a vibrant, personalized space.

Soap star Sean Kanan asked Dallas designer Kathy Fielder to create a vibrant, personalized space.

When you envision the interiors of your second home, you might gravitate toward relaxing color schemes and open spaces with comfortable furniture. It should be a space for relaxing and letting go. A space for enjoyment, not practicality.

Not everyone has the talent to create that kind of space, nor the time. That’s why Sean Kanan, a renowned daytime TV star, enlisted Dallas-based veteran designer Kathy Fielder to create the perfect environment for his vacation home in Palm Springs.

“The combinations that Kathy put together echo my taste,” Kanan said. “She utilized a combination of  bold patterns with solids all within a neutral palette that I love.”

Photo Jan 31, 6 30 04 AM

But how do you achieve that look without succumbing to design ennui? We asked Kathy for a few tips on designing the perfect spaces for your vacation home.


08/20/15 3:33pm

Boot Ranch 17

I was sitting in Craig Martin’s office up at Windsong Ranch — if you haven’t seen or experienced the amazing Windsong Ranch in Prosper, then you don’t know  North Texas real estate greatness —  and he was telling me about this amazing ranch in the Hill Country just north of Fredericksburg.

Boot Ranch I asked? I love the place!

Yes, he said. We are buying it!

But I was sworn to secrecy until the deal was closed. Closed, signed and sealed it is: Terra Verder Group LLC, the devloper of Windsong Ranch, has indeed purchased the 2,000 acre Boot Ranch north of Fredericksburg. Terra Verde and financial partner Wheelock Street Capital bought the luxury vacation home golf course community from Lehman Brothers.

Boot Ranch, the brainchild of Texas golfing great Hal Sutton, opened in 2006 just in time for the Great Recession. Like so many of its brethren, Boot fell into foreclosure. But during the four years that Lehman Brothers operated it, the community slowly, steadily kept the momentum moving forward. In fact, Boot Ranch may well become a poster child success story for how a vacation home community survives a downturn.

“The previous developer opened the project at the wrong time in the market,” said Terra Verde founder Craig Martin. “Our plan is to complete the development.We like Boot Ranch because of its proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Midland-Odessa – within a 4-hour drive.”

Read more about this amazing acquisition on CandysDirt.com!

07/27/15 3:56pm

Riad Pic 1

Morocco can be quite reasonably-priced for Western residents, and the city of Marrakech is as good a place as any to have a second home. I just returned from my first international mission for CandysDirt.com, scoping out the real estate scene in Marrakech. (OK, so I embellish. I’d already planned a vacation and did some investigating on the local real estate)

Marrakech is an interesting place, and Morocco is a bit of a mix with everyone who was anyone having invaded over the past 1,000 years. There were the native Berbers, then came the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Turks and most recently the Spanish and French who only left in the 1950s (the French left their language).

There is a certain faded Moorish charm peering out between the third-world chic of everyday Marrakech. I admit being fearful of Marrakech being like “tip-y” Egypt, where everyone, including airport security, wanted a tip (because my bag miraculously appeared on the other end of the X-Ray machine – true story). It’s not. Aside from the souk merchants and their hard sell haggling, it was pretty stress-free for a first-world resident visiting a third-world country.

But nor is it the Marrakech of the over-romanticized 1940s Casablanca film (Sam played it again in a different city for a start), nor the swinging 1960’s “Marrakech Express” of Yves Saint Laurent’s jet set hippy crowd.

Minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, built 1190AD

Minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, built 1190AD

No, the Marrakech of today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also seeing a building boom resulting from King Mohammed IV’s goal of doubling tourism by 2020. Building boom? Yes, Marrakech has more cranes than Dallas these days, albeit shorter ones (the city is not tall). I would hazard a guess that the old city is all two and three stories with no building taller than four stories (unless it’s a mosque minaret).

Much of the building consists of new hotels, golf courses and second homes for foreigners. Morocco, it seems, is turning into a North African Scottsdale or Boca Raton for aging Europeans. But it’s not all new…

If you’re looking for a second or third shelter, there are two types of homes available in Marrakech for differing buyers.


07/22/15 1:41pm
There's nothing quite like a Texas lake house. This one, at 1901 Park St. in Azle, is located close to Fort Worth. All photos: Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty

There’s nothing quite like a Texas lake house. This one, at 1901 Park St. in Azle, is located close to Fort Worth. All photos: Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

Lakeshore living is at its finest in the Lone Star State, where these five lake house will surprise you with their views, amenities, and luxury. Take a look at a couple of our favorites places for relaxing this summer, thanks to Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.

Elegant Exclusive on Eagle Mountain Lake

Texas Lake House

Texas Lake House

1901 Park St., Azle

Listed by John Zimmerman for $2.099 million

Just northwest of Fort Worth is Eagle Mountain Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in North Texas, spanning 8,694 acres. This house has gorgeous views, and the 2.77-acre property is heavily treed with an engineered sea wall and extensive drainage system. The drive-up to the house features street lights from famed Avenue Foch in Paris. The exterior of the home is limestone, cut, polished, and imported from Syria, and solid, double-hung wood Anderson windows create unmasked views of the property while offering the highest energy efficiency. There’s even a boat dock with a lift for two boats. Designed by William Beck and custom built by prize-winning builder Landon Banks, this 5,918-square-foot house has a gourmet kitchen with commercial-grade appliances and a cozy sitting area with a fireplace. All four bedrooms are ensuite, and there are marble, limestone, and designer details throughout.


07/03/15 2:35pm


Sometimes we want to get away, but the thought of travel is just too much. Packing up everything, getting the kids ready, and climbing in the car or in a plane for hours is enough to keep us at home, ensconced in air conditioning and watching the latest releases on Netflix.

But what if you could enjoy a lake house that was just 15 minutes from downtown Fort Worth? What if there was a property big enough to host you and your extended family without feeling cramped and uncomfortable? What if you could enjoy all the best things about lake living without the drive?



We’ve found just the thing! Go check out this hip pocket listing from Williams Trew over on CandysDirt.com, as it is the absolute perfect spot for a low-key family Fourth of July getaway that feels private.


06/29/15 4:03pm
All photos: Leah Shafer

Cedar shake shingles for siding is a classic look for cottages all over Cape Cod. They are left unpainted and turn from light tan to a weathered gray over time. Clapboard siding is also commonly seen on Cape Cod cottages. All photos: Leah Shafer

Cape Cod has historic roots in American history, one of the earliest places the Pilgrims settled, later becoming a thriving fishing, whaling, and trading area.

But the romantic mythos of the Cape took off during John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, much of which was based out of the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. JFK gave his acceptance speech there after winning the 1960 election, and returned frequently during his presidency. The Kennedy’s Camelot and Cape Cod are inextricably linked in the American imagination.

Today, the year-round population of 220,000 swells during summer months, when many thousands flock to Cape Cod for relaxation and resorts. It stretches from Provincetown in the northeast to Woods Hole in the southwest, and each of the 15 towns has its own individual character and hallmarks.

The sunset at low tide from our vacation house near Oster in Cape Cod.

The sunset at low tide from our vacation house near Orleans in Cape Cod. Stunning.

Cape Cod still maintains a charming, maritime feel, with almost 560 miles of wide, sandy coastline (including the gorgeous Cape Cod National Seashore), and house after house with weathered cedar shake shingle siding and colorful flowers that thrive in the temperate summer climate.

I just returned from a week’s vacation in Cape Cod, where we stayed in a classic shingle-style Cape beach house near Orleans on the inner bay. My fiancé’s family has vacationed there since the 1970s, and I joined them last year for the first time. As someone who spent her childhood summers in Galveston, Cape Cod was an enchanting experience, from windy afternoons walking by the seagrass along the shoreline to driving along winding roads with lush vegetation. The whole week we were there, the temperature never rose above 71 degrees.

Candy just wrote about the Cape for Grand Vie Magazine (read it here), and we both are delighted with the region and intrigued by the real estate market there. As Realtor Paul Grover of Robert Paul Properties in Osterville told her, 68 percent of his buyers were from Boston and its suburbs in 2013, and lots are empty-nesters.

But contrary to popular belief, Cape Cod is not just a haven for the rich and famous. As I discovered, there’s a range of housing available, with many beauties available for under $400,000 (I photographed 14 houses I’d consider classic Cape Cod cottage style that you can see throughout this post).