Often when I write about second homes, I’m writing about areas to consider. This time I’m dictating exactly which second home you must purchase. I’m doing this because it’s one thing to impress your friends by owning a second home, but it’s a complete mic drop to add that it’s a Frank Lloyd Wright prairie style home.
Known as the F.B. Henderson home, this property is situated on roughly one-half acre in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst at 301 S. Kenilworth Avenue. It was built in 1901 during Wright’s brief partnership with Henry Webster Tomlinson and is almost a mirror to Wright’s Hickox house in Kankakee, Illinois. I like this one better because it’s much closer to Chicago. The home has 5,500 square feet with six bedrooms and four bathrooms. It’s been on and off the market for a couple of years (with a rental period in the middle) and is currently listed with Marilyn Fisher with L.W. Realty for $1.1 million, though she’s quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying, “The price may come down.”
I have been on pins and needles waiting out this auction, bugging Robbie Briggs and Laura Brady at Concierge Actions all day yesterday. At about eight p.m. Friday night Robbie Briggs emailed me that “It was a fascinating process, and it appears to be successful.” Saturday morning I heard from Laura Brady who said — “we haven’t released details to anyone… the high bidder has formally requested confidentiality about their name and the high bid amount.” Which means the house did sell, we just don’t know for how much and who it sold to.
Great news! Briggs pulled off a near dang miracle!
Refresher: the 48,000-square-foot Hickory Creek mansion, known as Champ d’Or, which translates to “Fields of Gold,” was put up for auction by Concierge Auctions out of New York Friday, March 30 with a minimum reserve bid of $10.3 million. Champ d’Or cost about $46 million, took five years to build, and has been sitting on the market for umpteen years. Last market listing was $35 million and at least five local brokers have attempted to shed the house spending at least a half million to do so. The Denton County mansion was last appraised for tax purposes at $9.72 million, according to the Denton County Appraisal District. Champ d’Or was modeled after Vaux-le-Vicomte chateau in Paris.
Reading between the lines, I’m wondering if there was a confidentiality clause signed.
I asked a veteran local real estate auction expert (who asked to remain confidential) to speculate on a couple of scenarios and tell me what HE THOUGHT went down. Speculation here, folks. What if, I asked, they didn’t meet the reserve yesterday? Let’s say they stalled out at 7 million, he said, you know everyone is staring at each other, they just thank everyone for participating and end the auction. They may take the top bidders aside, say hey we didn’t make the reserve, what are you interested in putting into this property? In other words, private negotiations begin.
“Pending contract” could mean they are still trying to work out a contract, they didn’t make the reserve and are still negotiating. “Sale pending” may have indicated they made the reserve.
Now let’s say it sold at auction, met the reserve, bingo. Typically, there are no contingencies. If they negotiated privately, the buyer may have said I want to bring in my own inspectors, etc., which any realtor knows just opens up the door for guess what: more negotiations.
The sprawling estate was drawing widespread interest from buyers across the U.S. and internationally, Laura Brady, vice president of marketing for Concierge Auctions, told the Dallas Morning News’s James Ragland. I know that, because even people from Japan who had seen it on my blog were emailing me about it. A refundable $250,000 cashier’s check was required to register, the number of bidders was confidential. James asked Laura some great questions:
Potential buyers were expressing interest in pursuing “the property for residential purposes, which is how it’s used now,” as well as possibly using it for a business headquarters, she said. Brady said developers also had designs on the property, which is about 40 miles north of Dallas.
We are going to feature very select hotels here on SecondShelters, because more hotels are becoming second homes, some offering CondoHotel deals as well as residences. Two weeks ago, I was in New York City, where I have had my share of negative hotel experiences. Hint: you smell Febreeze, there’s a reason. But I finally found the most perfect hotel in New York City if you want to be in the middle of Times Square and simply walk across the street to a theater. I’m talking 46th Street just a bit east of Broadway. Location with a capital L but also, once inside, a complete peaceful oasis from the NYC jungle with a huge Texas plus to make Dallasites feel right at home: interior furnishings by our very own Cantoni.(more…)
Several of my friends have ditched Park Cities/Preston Hollow for The Peninsula — why? Check out this listing by Janice Parson at 9217 Peninsula Drive — on the market for $675,000 — and not even built yet! (The price includes the house completed at 2700 square feet.) A mid century modern flair, the builder is waiting for a buyer to snag this 82 by 160 lot. Janice also has another home coming up in the area for $299,000. So no duh — this area is scenic, pastoral, and like living in a second home year ’round!
It’s also got some history. Ebby Halliday is not the only person having a centurion birthday this year — the White Rock Lake dam was completed a century ago and more than 20 lake user groups are planning celebratory events that begin March 19 and lead up to June 26 — the date the dam was completed. Perfectly befitting, the honorary centennial chairwoman of the Dam Celebration is our own Dallas real estate icon Ebby Halliday, who of course turns 100 March 9. Like, Wednesday!
Over her 100 year lifeline, White Rock Lake has gone through many changes, from being a city water source, to a popular sporting destination, to a perennial party scene for teenagers and even weddings. The park department and advocacy groups — like Jeannie Terelli — have all pitched in to clean up the lake and park, which has only helped maintain and raise the values of the properties.
Because who wouldn’t want to live within walking distance of this gorgeous body of water? Living in The Peninsula is like a year-round vacation spot. People who buy here brag all the time that it’s like having a vacation house at the lake —but it’s only 10 minutes from downtown Dallas.
HISTORY: The Peninsula was established in 1927 as second and vacation homes built originally as charming lake cottages for folks who lived in “faraway” Dallas.
Population: 280 homes
Zip Code: 75218
Home styles: Cottages, ranches, a few newer Mediterranean’s, and a growing influx of newly built mid century-modern homes. Look for houses by Cliff Welch, Gary Cunningham, Jerry Stark and Case Study Homes’ Doug Hildinger. It’s hopping: Chase Corker, an architect who does a lot of homes in Forest Hills and East Dallas, owns a number of properties in the neighborhood and is building a new home for a client.
Average home price: $275,000 to $350,000 for a small cottage; $700,000-plus nets you a larger interior home with a lake view. Be prepared to pay more for a home with a front or backyard views of the lake or park. Cash buyers, not too much wiggle room here.
Average home size: 800 square feet to 4,500 square feet. Most houses are in the 1,400- to 2,000-square-foot range.
Lot value: Prices vary; a 50-by-130 can sell for $200,000 to $250,000 depending on lake proximity. See why builders love it?
Average lot size: 60-by-135, though some are 60-by-200. There are also some half-acre lots that owners have stitched together.
What They Won’t Tell You: People love what restaurateur Jeannie Terilli and musician Erykah Badu have known for years—life in The Peninsula is like living in a perpetual vacation zone. You get cottages, architecturally significant, or eclectic nestled on the banks of White Rock Lake. There’s sailing, running, sports, even horseback riding!
The Dirt – Who Lives There: Agents say there is a quiet influx of Park Cities and Lakewood empty-nesters happening, but the area still has plenty of families. The strong neighborhood association tamps down crime, and many residents work out of their homes, watching each other’s properties. Kind of elegant crunch: an organic gas station with an organic taco restaurant called The Green Spot opened on the corner of Buckner and Northcliff — they recycle grease!. There is also a huge Farmers Market for organic veggies at least once a month. Wholesome Foods Bakery, which started in Lake Highlands, a yummy gluten-free baker, just opened up in the same center: amazing breads and desserts. Thriving. Jena Johnson and Pauline O’Hare’s Good 2Go Taco just opened at Peavy and Garland Road.
Scuttlebut: Like a selective pre-school, getting into the neighborhood can be tough. Agents maintain lists of interested buyers, but people generally stay put. This is one place where you might benefit by knocking on doors and asking, “are you interested in selling your home?” Just don’t be surprised when folks say, um, not really.
Would I Live There? In a heartbeat. In fact, several of my friends ditched the Park Cities for The Peninsula.
Oh my, now Jupiter Island is lovely, and I could tan myself into some basal cells on that private beach, but this is the place Elin should make Tiger pony up for her and the kids: the Cooke House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Virginia Beach, VA. See, everyone dreams of having perfect homes. And everyone who has ever built a home since the dawn of time has gone over-budget and square footage. The rich today and 50 years ago are no different from you and I in that regard except that they can, ah, afford them!
In the early 1950’s, Maude and Andrew Cooke had a dream: live in a house designed by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Mrs. Cooke wrote Mr. Wright in 1951: “Dear Mr. Wright, Will you please help us get the beautiful house we have dreamed of for so long?”
A rendering was not up until 1953, which means a lot of planning and research must have been going on. Plans were delivered in 1957. Construction was begun in 1959, two weeks before Wright’s death. The home is a hemicycle design of soft yellow brick built into a sand dune. An arcing wall of windows faces south to soak up light and heat and look over Crystal Lake, a deep-water lake that feeds into Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. A copper, cantilevered roof tops the home, which follows the shape of a question mark. The 70 foot long Great Room still has Wright’s originally designed furniture, cypress beams, a heated Cherokee red concrete floor, and huge hearth cleaved into the masonry. Typical of Wright’s linear design, a long wing off of one side holds four bedrooms three bathrooms. After Wright’s death, the home was completed six years after its design. The total square footage is about 3000.
The house was completed in 1960, and it was completely Wright’s rendering save for the pool surrounding the patio, rightfully thought to be a hazard to the couple’s three young children. Besides, they wanted to see the lake.
Here’s a shocker: the Cook’s original building budget of $40,000 had grown to over four times that amount; they actually asked Wright’s firm for a smaller re-vision of the home, but ended up building the larger, original design. Great lesson: the Cooke family lived in their dream house for 23 years and loved every minute of it.
In 1983, Maude sold the home — it must have killed her, my mother also sold our family home in the mid 1980’s — to a Daniel and Jane Duhl. The house needed TLC, and this couple dug right it. The restoration was stunning and received an award for preservation from the AIA of Hampton Roads. They undertook a green construction with passive solar design. Since air conditioning was not standard in fifties era homes (nor in Wright’s — can you feel him rolling in his grave?), the Duhls added two central air conditioning systems, ostensibly to protect the house from damage of heat and humidity. A/C preserves homes and helps them last longer.
This time, a A 14 foot swim spa was installed in a terrace overlooking Crystal Lake. In order to accommodate the mechanisms needed to operate the swim spa, a large underground bunker was built into the dune above the lake. This included a sauna and an exercise room. Also at lakeside are two docks; one floating for launching small boats and a larger dock which can accommodate two large yachts.
I mean, it doesn’t get much better than this:$4,513,783 including half a million for Wrights’ artistic value, and $150,000 for his furniture, which is a steal. STEAL.