I was with some local Dallas real estate experts yesterday who told me something shocking: in some parts of town, square footage over 6500 square feet IS BEING DISCOUNTED for appraisal purposes. Shocking, shocking news. Let’s say you have an 8500 square foot house: anything over 6500 square feet — 2000 square feet — is now being appraised at one-third the full value, equivalent to storage space. Why? Because increasingly, big houses are being seen as a burden for taxes, utilities, maintenance and repair. Now I’m sure this does not apply to Beverly Drive or Meadowbrook, where the Barretts are building that 26,000 square foot mansion. But it applies to homes in suburban areas and north of LBJ. Any wonder why it is so hard to unload some of those gorgeous but enormous mansions in Preston Trails? Or Flower Mound?

What’s even worse: those 12,000 square foot homes. Sources tell me those monsters are just going to have to take a price tumble before anyone wants to buy them. It’s a totally new world!

“Smaller looking better” sure makes the folks at places like One Arts, The Azure and The Residences at the Ritz Carlton happy. In fact, the Ritz has turned one of its model units into a laboratory for downsizing. Surprise, surprise: Ann Sutherland says you can still keep your big pieces of furniture, even big art! And wait ’till you see how they’ve made every inch of this unit “smart space”:

According to my good friend John Burgdorf at NorthTexasLuxury.com, this mammoth beast is under construction at 9807 Meadowbrook Drive in Old Preston Hollow. (As I told John, PH, not Park Cities. But when you live outside of Dallas, all our “communities” meld together.) Funny thing, I was at a party right next door to this spread this weekend and did not see it — it is on a huge lot, 4.3 acres, and well-hidden. The Barretts are nearby in a 61 year old, 7000 plus square foot home on Chatham Hill Road. Under construction a whopping 26,063 sq. feet of total living space.  The 2 1/2 story home includes 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, and 8 fireplaces.  The estate is owned by renowned art collectors Richard and Nona Barrett, who we guess will line all 26,000 square feet with wonderful art.  The appraisal value for this year is $10,959,520.  The Barretts are already paying $62,000 for the priviledge of living on Chatham Hill Road. And that, my dear readers, is just a drop in the bucket…