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Don Carter Sells His Ugly University Park House


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CandysDirt reports that the Dallas Mavericks’ founding owner, Don Carter, has sold his 8,100-square-foot house in University Park for $3.9 million. Here’s what she had to say about the place:

I’m sure you’ve seen this house — stunning. All stone  on a huge UP lot of 100 by 200 on a corner to boot with huge lap pool and putting green! There are six living areas, a bar room, wine cellar, two story formal foyer with split staircase, full theater, his & hers studies, out of this world finishes of marble, millwork, hardwoods, premium appliances, copper gutters, slate roof, an elevator,  2 car port cochere, circular drive and gardens. Four bedrooms, four full and two half baths. There is a gorgeous guest house over the 3 car garage, and a stone fence surrounds it all. Truly one of the most dramatic homes in UP, and Sharon Quist had the listing, Jonathan Thayer brought the buyer. The home just closed June 12 for $3,900,000 off an asking price of $4 million. No wonder this one went: had been on the market since April 16, sold in two months. What took you so long?

It is a remarkable house, so remarkable in fact that Park Cities People‘s editorial page singled it out in 2004, shortly after it had been built as a spec home and before it had officially sold, as an exemplar of ugliness:

Peacefully minding our own business last weekend while driving down University Boulevard, we suddenly found ourselves the object of an assault. The crime was visual, not physical, but it was as jarring as if we had been run into by a truck. …

The financial history of the faux baronial mansion at 4000 University that accosts its unassuming neighbors tells the tale. (Drive by to inspect for yourself. Warning: if you’re sensitive to blindingly bad architecture, wear sunglasses.)

This assessment came before Carter moved in and installed large sculptures and a towering flagpole in his front yard. The paper invited readers to submit photos of their own least favorite homes for an “Ugliest New Houses” contest. (I was the managing editor of the paper at the time, and was not unhappy when the editorial board reversed course and decided not to run such photos.)

Here are several rules of good taste that PCP suggested for new home construction. Have things gotten better or worse since 2004?

In our perfect world, they would issue citations to anyone

  • applying stone, brick, and stucco onto crazy quilt exterior patterns
  • mixing period and architectural styles, such as Norman French farmhouse on one side and Italiian medieval castle on another
  • installing fake aristocratic shields and adornments
  • or using fat, prefabricated balustrades that look like they come from a central warehouse in Poughkeepsie