12/02/16 4:56pm
Boot Ranch

Longhorn Lake. All photos courtesy of Boot Ranch.

Lucky me (Lucky I?) was invited to be a guest at Boot Ranch in Fredericksburg this past month, to learn details of news from the 2,000-acre luxury residential development and private golf and swim club set in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. We’ve written about Boot Ranch before. On the agenda now: an introduction to the Village Homes at Metzger Park, a condominium-like option added to the array of residential offerings here; and planned Longhorn Lake amenities: a party pavilion, tree houses and jumping rocks off the spring fed lake’s shore. A road trip was in order to check out the new features. Here’s the scoop: (more…)

12/01/16 9:00am
Flat Rock Creek Ranch

All photos courtesy of TheRanchAdvisors.com.

Forget Southfork — if J.R. Ewing were for real and among us, this would be where he’d want to live. Because, no doubt, while the oil market is depressed, he would be diversified into (what else?) tech.

This cool ranch 90 miles outside of Dallas (with plenty of room for a heliport) would be just the thing for J.R.’s pad. The Hill Country-esque Glen Rose area in Northern Bosque County is scenic, a setting for exotic wildlife (Fossil Rim), and home to Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Indeed, there are dinosaur tracks on the 267-acre property known as Flat Rock Creek Ranch (physical address: 674 PR 2955) in the tiny community of Eulogy. It’s listed by Jim Brosche of The Ranch Advisors in association with Keller Williams Realty at $4.69 million.

Flat Rock Creek Ranch’s owner is a tech buff who has outfitted the four-bedroom, seven-bath Hill Country vernacular main house designed by noted architect John Lively with state-of-the-art electronics. In Preston Hollow it would be gorgeous. Set in the countryside near Glen Rose, its beauty is over the top. Even if you’re not shopping this price range, it makes for a fun house porn viewing romp. Feast your eyes: (more…)

11/30/16 9:00am


Hawaii conjures up images of sun, sand, surf, and sky-high real estate prices.  All are pretty true.  But if you’re willing to get off the beaten path, there are, dare I say, reasonably priced options.  Take the Makaha Surfside condos located on the Waianae (why-a-nigh) coast.

The west side of Oahu is more rural, away from the tourist trap of Waikiki and the bustle Honolulu. And so, offers bargains for buyers who believe paradise is about slowing down and getting away, but still like to be driving versus flying distance from a good restaurant.  It’s also where an oceanfront condo is available for $360 per square foot versus $1,600 in Diamond Head.

There are nine units available in this 1974 complex of three low-rise buildings (A, B, C) that range from $65,000 for a 361-square-foot studio ($180 per square foot) to $150,000 for a 412-square-foot one bedroom.  Obviously no mansion these, but then the prices reflect that. Also, not all units face the ocean, so the biggest consideration in price is view.


11/23/16 10:37am
Views of Waikiki exactly where you want them ... over there.

Views of Waikiki exactly where you want them … over there.

While the views above are truly million dollar, they’re not wildly more expensive than during last year’s Hawaii special edition.  Once again, I’m taking one for the team to scope out a favorite place for Texas second home buyers.  In 2015, the state reported that 2.3 percent of all Hawaiian real estate was purchased by Texans and represents 10 percent of the total mainland buyer’s market (the top slot goes to California of course … they’re closer and have tech money to spend).

For the record, the views above belong to a 1,000-square-foot studio condominium that would sell for about $1.6 million. Heart-stopping for most, oceanfront condos are in terrifically short supply on Oahu with nearly all built before 1970.  With scarcity comes demand and cost.


11/14/16 3:00pm
Alys Beach

All photos courtesy of Alys Beach

News from Alys Beach, the stunning Florida Panhandle luxury home and vacation rental community inspired by the traditional architecture of Bermuda: a new phase of custom three- and four-bedroom rowhouses is scheduled for construction with an estimated completion date of Spring 2019. The new project, called Clermont Courts, mimics the design of Caliza Courts, the first phase of rowhouses offered at Alys Beach, which sold out in two weeks when its marketing opened in 2014.

It’s no wonder, really. Located off Highway 30A in South Walton County, on a bluff overlooking the Gulf Coast, Alys Beach is unique in its gorgeous architecture, a modern rendition of the Spanish Colonial-Baroque styling found in Bermuda and Antigua. Structures in the community feature white stone walls, antique cypress wood, and private courtyards. Charming shaded walkways and bike paths connect residents to the Town Center and posh amenities spread throughout 158 landscaped acres. Residents and vacation guests enjoy 1500 feet of white sand beachfront, an uber-chic beach club, amphitheater, swimming pools and restaurants, extraordinary fitness facilities, and lush parks and nature trails.

Alys Beach

The Clermont Courts rowhouses will be the most compact of the Alys Beach residences, which also include free-standing villas and compounds valued at up to $6 million or more. Here’s a look at the plans for the custom townhouse designs, along with photos of a similar Caliza Courts home to give you a visual of what’s in the works, and the amenities in the community. (And, psst! Should you want a rowhouse that’s available now,  the home we’re using for illustration is a pre-owned property that’s now listed for sale.)    (more…)

11/02/16 2:20pm
Christy Rost

Swan’s Nest in Summer. All photos courtesy of Christy Rost.

If you follow television and radio chefs and cooking teachers, you’re likely to be familiar with Christy Rost, who hosted the Texas-based television cooking and lifestyle show Just Like Home for 12 years, and a PBS special in 2009 that has become a Thanksgiving tradition, re-airing nationally every November since. Rost and her husband, Randy, maintain a home in DallChristy Rostas where they live for much of the year, but bought a second home in Colorado in 2006, which they have renovated to applause. The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance recently honored the Rosts with the Theobald Award for historic preservation and advocacy for their outstanding remodel and preservation of Swan’s Nest, a house built in 1898 by Colorado gold baron Benjamin Stanley Revett for his bride.

Christy and Randy purchased the property in August 2006 and spent years restoring the home, preserving practical historic detail, but bringing its infrastructure up to modern standards. A registered nurse by training, Rost has authored 3 cookbooks, is a regular on the cooking TV and radio circuit, and does all her own home design. Here’s more on this lovely lady, her top-caliber mountain home renovation, the Thanksgiving show that presents highlights of the project and inspiration for holiday meals …



10/27/16 11:25am

Mandarin Oriental Atlanta on Right

One episode of Designing Women has Julia Sugarbaker boast, “I don’t like to brag, but I’ve turned a few heads in my time.” To which Mary Jo retorts, “Well, you didn’t do it with those.”  Of course they weren’t talking about the Atlanta penthouse situated atop the Mandarin Oriental hotel and condominium project, because heads would certainly turn without argument.

The unfinished shell is two full floors encompassing 9,627 square feet with four bedrooms and four full, plus three half bathrooms.  It’s listed with Karen Rodriguez of GROUP KORA, part of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.  The price is a secret … well, not a secret, but it depends what a buyer wants.  There’s a shell price. Finished out similar spec to the other units price. And a “ya want us to do what?” price.


10/17/16 2:35pm


Aspen, Colorado

All photos by Shawn O’Connor. Floor plans are courtesy of the Residences at the Little Nell.


Seven weeks ago while visiting Denver, we decided on making a quick road trip to Aspen for a night. As always, I was awestruck by the beauty of the Colorado roadways — rugged rocks, lush green forests, blue skies, scenic vistas, not a speck of litter in sight during several hours of driving. Heading over a pass near the end of our journey to Aspen, lacey white particles began falling from the sky, denser and denser as we climbed, accumulating on the ground around us. Snow! In August! In this hemisphere!

The moment brought to mind: it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming ski season— what better place to start is there than Aspen, a preeminent location in the Rockies and one of the most popular destinations for Texans seeking a top-tier mountain homes? (more…)