08/23/16 5:20pm
Janelle Friedman and Ina Garten

Janelle Friedman with her “neighbor” at the author tables, Ina Garten.

Here’s a fun “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” report!  Renowned Dallas hostess (and author of a book on the subject) Janelle Friedman spent last Saturday night in the Hamptons, aka the East End (of Long Island.)  The storied setting is, by any measure,  the premier second home location on the East Coast. Friedman was a guest author at the East Hampton Library’s Authors Night, August 13, joining literary icons, international celebrities, and a host of  reading fans in a lavish fundraising book fair benefiting the East Hampton Library.

How did this come about?


08/18/16 10:41pm
Waco fixer upper

The Shotgun House was renovated on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, and is for rent on AirBnB for $325 a night. It was featured in season 3, episode 12 of the show. Photo: AirBnb

If you’re a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, then you know their renovated homes are all near Waco, Texas. It turns out several of the owners of these monuments to shiplap and style showing up on popular rental services AirBnb and VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) as celebrity-designed spaces available by the night.

The cable television stars have made their name creating rustic chic homes in this town about 95 miles south of Dallas. And people from Dallas and around the country are flocking to these homes, according to The Waco Tribune. People come to Waco in part to see the Gaines’ Magnolia Market and take part in the celebrity culture.

As the Tribune notes, “the Gaineses themselves tapped into the potent combination of Fixer Upper popularity and the convenience of online booking when they renovated a McGregor house into a bed and breakfast named the Magnolia House. Mere hours after online reservations were made available to fans in February, the Magnolia House had booked customers throughout 2016.”

At least six of the Fixer Upper houses were for rent in the Waco area, according to the Tribune, with a seventh joining that number next month. Most were listed as renting from between $200 to $350 a night.


08/17/16 1:11pm

222 Lou San Rd. Pottsboro

No corney “gone fishin’” knick-knacks here! This four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath, architect-designed home on 222 Lou San Rd. in quiet Pottsboro on Lake Texoma features sophisticated contemporary styling, an open floor plan with multiple spaces for entertaining, and floor-to-ceiling windows facing the lake, plus 3,500 square feet of deck on multiple levels affording stunning views. A total of 3,794 square feet of interior is spread between two buildings set on two acres on the south shore of the lake, with panoramic views of the waterfront and islands.

The lot is characterized by rocky outcroppings with dogwood trees where hawks nest; the buildings have been designed to showcase this magnificent natural setting.  In the main house,  four separate pavilions on two levels are connected by breezeways which can be opened or closed to the exterior by automated glass doors. (Voice to Universe:”Channeling plein air!”) 


And the interior  is just as well thought out and unique …


08/16/16 5:37pm



Spend any time in suburban Florida and you’ll see a lot of gated communities. It can seem as if the entire state lies secluded behind guard gates staffed by cheerful folks with clipboards and magic powers to allow or deny entry.

The true luxury in these communities is two-fold: privacy and amenities. Lush green space abounds and it seems that lawns and trees are always in a constant state of being trimmed and tended to. Amenities can be as simple as a community clubhouse and pool or range to a full-service country club. Even at the country club level, there are country clubs, and then there are the kind of clubs where service is delivered at an elevated level.

This brings us to The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla., a spot that has drawn everyone from Celine Dion to Michael Jordan. The area seems to have a particular lure for golfers. Jack Nicklaus designed The Bear’s Club in 1999, creating a majestic and challenging 18-hole golf course and a community over 401 acres. The community is less than two miles from the ocean and within easy striking distance of the tony shops of West Palm Beach.


08/15/16 6:41pm


The Stephens family agreed to share their story and photos of their barn apartments at North Dallas Equestrian Center to raise awareness of the Camp Rusk Foundation, a horse retirement sanctuary described below.  Here’s the tale, as told to Valerie Jarvie, along with inspiring photos of what can be done in a barn:

Curt Stephens entered the horse world on the back of a mule as a teenager on his uncle’s dairy ranch near Stephenville, Texas. You all know what I mean.

There were few horses, and being the odd man out, he always got the mule while the cousins got the horses. As you know, a mule can act like a horse at times, but at other times, not so much. This particular mule gave Curt memories of bailing off just before the mule reached a tree limb hoping to scrape Curt off his back.


Summers with cousins ended. Curt and Annabeth married. The kids grew up. A good life.

Fifty years pass. Curt retired to Florida and found a passion volunteering at Naples Equestrian Challenge, where he witnessed therapy horses connecting with humans some thought unreachable, restoring spirits and healing souls.

Derek, the oldest, calls Dad. Unknown to Curt, his oldest son had used his IBM community service time to volunteer with the Ronald McDonald summer camp for special need kids in their horse therapy program.  He later moved to North Texas, where a horse property in McKinney caught his eye.

Neither knew the other had an interest in horses. Derek simply thought it would be good for his dad to get involved.  The conversation continued.


08/11/16 3:11pm
Ground-breaking ceremony for the showhouse which will be open for tours next summer at Cinnamon Shore on Mustang Island. Photos courtesy Cinnamon Shore.

Ground-breaking ceremony for the showhouse which will be open for tours next summer at Cinnamon Shore on Mustang Island. Photos courtesy Cinnamon Shore.

Add Port Aransas  to your calendar next summer, specifically a visit to the residential living and vacation rental development, Cinnamon Shore.

The first ever Texas Monthly Magazine Charity Showhouse is now under construction in this luxe beachfront community we posted about earlier this month. The coastal living dream house will be open for tours between May and August in the spectacular setting.

It’s the third time Cinnamon Shore has been honored as the setting of a magazine-sponsored showhouse. Southern Living Magazine’s Idea House graced the development in 2009, and Coastal Living Magazine’s Showhouse followed in 2015. A charity beneficiary has yet to be announced, but the fact that it’s the very first Texas Monthly sponsored house (not to mention the beautiful setting) sounds like plenty of reason to reserve a stay in a rental unit on site next summer to me!


08/10/16 5:28pm
Stretford Layout: "B" units are the center bump while mirrored "A" unite are on the ends

Stretford Layout: “B” units are the center bump while mirrored “A” units are on the ends

Last week, Dave Perry-Miller high-rise expert Sharon Quist and I bombed over to Tyler to view the Stretford high-rise.  Yes, a 14-story residential high-rise … in Tyler!  Who’d a thunk?

Tyler’s been on the map for retirees for quite a while. It was named the first certified retirement city in Texas by the East Texas Council of Governments. It was ranked 16th in the US for cost of living in the 1999 edition of the “Places Rated Almanac” by David Savageau.  It’s also equidistant to Dallas and Shreveport depending on your need to give money to Neimans or the roulette wheel. (more…)

08/10/16 2:16pm
celina texas

Chris Hornbaker’s sustainable vineyard in Collin County, where the ranch home’s design is by Texas architect Steve Chambers, AIA. Photo: Stephanie Chambers, Chambers Architects

Celina, Texas, is an area of bucolic fields and green spaces that go on for as far as the eye can see. Back in 2003, Linda and Clark Hornbaker purchased 10 acres of open pasture in this area about 45 miles north of Dallas.

With the rolling hills and peaceful countryside, Linda saw it as the family’s “garden of Eden,” and named the land Eden Hill.

The soil was good, a limestone base with trees bordering the property, making it perfect for a vineyard. Their son, Chris Hornbaker, was an amateur vintner, making pear wine in his kitchen. The family had the bright idea to join forces and create a commercial vineyard and winery. So Linda and Clark studied viticulture and learned how to grow grapes. Chris is completing his viticulture and oenology degree. Jump to see their house and more properties in Celina!