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Decorating a second home can present some unique challenges, says Jason Lenox of Anteks.

Now that you have your sought-after weekend retreat on Cedar Creek Lake, what are you going to put in it? Bought a home away from home in Boot Ranch? What do you hang on the walls? Acquired a ski home in Aspen? What is your design inspiration?

Decorating a second home is a huge challenge, especially for those who want a place that feels comfortable and easy without all the fuss of shopping for just the right arm chair, carpet, dining set, linens …  Eeeeeesh. Seems overwhelming, right?

If that sounds familiar, you’ll want to read on to get some sage advice from veteran vacation home interior designer Jason Lenox. Not only does he own two successful home decor stores — Anteks Home in the Dallas Design District and Anteks Curated in the Plaza at Preston Center — but he designs warm, sophisticated, rustic interiors for vacation homes near and far.

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Vistas Abound on Legendary Round Top Drive

In the last installment, we saw what $20 million would buy on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Let’s head for the sky with the top three priciest residential listings in the $30+ million club. This trio represents the perfect combination of vacant land, condo and estate. One even has a teeny-tiny Dallas connection (not to me – unfortunately!).

Our first property is up in the hills …

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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!

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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?

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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.

 

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).

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In the middle of this Texas Summer heat, who wouldn’t want to be out on a lake? At the 505 Ranch on Cedar Creek Lake, the water levels are up and it’s time for activities out on the water!

If you love lake living that’s close to Dallas, perhaps it’s time to consider a home at 505 Ranch? Jump to find out why it’s a great location for a quick getaway.

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504 Spiller Front

If we were to stare into Maleficent’s mirror and ask it to tell us “What home in Austin is the coolest of all?” it would make up some weird rhyme to tell us all about this absolutely rad structure in Westlake Hills. Designed by architect John Watson, a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright, the “Grotto Dome” house might be the coolest house in all of Central Texas. And you can quote me on that.

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504 Spiller Deck

It’s an escape in the city, a home tucked into a ravine with a narrow little creek that runs beneath it. Jump to see more photos of what could be either an amazing second home, a vacation home, or a primary residence that’s cool enough to feel like a vacation. We don’t care what you call it, really, as long as you invite us over to sip cocktails and play pool by the pool in the grotto.

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Greenbrier Sporting Club: 7000 sft, 5 bedrooms, wine cellar, billiards room, pool, hot tub, grill, bocce ball court, apartment: $5.995.

It was about this time last year that Kyle Crews, Juli Harrison, and Doris Jacobs all of Allie Beth Allman, and I hopped a plane to Charlestown, West Virginia to visit the one of the most beautiful, breath-taking and affordable vacation home spots in the nation: the Greenbrier Sporting Club.

Why I am telling you this story now? First of all, it’s the beginning of the vacation home season, and we should all be there, dry and happy and out of the rain. We are going back in a few weeks.

Secondly, I am sick of the rain. I know we need it, but this is getting ridiculous. Does Mother Nature know nothing but feast or famine? The only good news is that we may be able to sell some of this water to parched places in West Texas.

Then, the owner of the Greenbrier, Jim Justice, is running for governor of West Virginia in a self-funded campaign. The self-made billionaire was in Dallas last fall at an event benefiting Arlington Hall at Lee Park, visiting with some local owners – – there are a handful of folks in Dallas who own vacation homes at the Greenbrier, and more are interested. The Sporting Club will get even more interesting if Justice wins the governors race —

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Jim Justice with Allie Beth & Pierce Allman, Judy Pittman, Dave Perry-Miller

Justice’s wealth easily trumps Rockefeller’s. The 64-year-old built a $1.7 billion fortune in coal and agriculture, and has painted himself a job creator who bought and restored The Greenbrier historic resort.

The values are unprecedented. When you see the resort, one of the oldest and largest in the country, and experience the magnificent homes and mountain home-sites that surround it, you will fall in love and seriously consider making your second home at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Mountain mama, take me home.

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I come ready to hike!

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