Ruth Wariner’s powerful new memoir The Sound of Gravel is not your average coming-of-age story.Read More
You love them even when you love to hate them. Yes, lists — the best this or that or some other thingamajigs — are popular among our online audience, and it’s hard to imagine there ever being a time when that won’t be the case.
Here were the most popular “best” lists on DMagazine.com during the past year:Read More
I keep trying to ignore the Aldredge House controversy, because I guess I keep thinking it will just go away. In addition, people whose opinions I like and respect have come down on opposing sides of the issue.
As I understand it, the deal is that the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance, a fairly well-heeled group of individuals, owns a fantastic, well-preserved old house on Swiss Avenue. To support its mission, the Society has turned day-to-day management of the space over to a special events company, which makes it available for weddings, parties, etc., much to the chagrin of surrounding neighbors.Read More
We’re used to it, because this is where we live, where seemingly everyone has a brick house. But Gaile Robinson addresses the matter in the Star-Telegram:
The reason is simply geography and geology. As any gardener knows, our soil is loaded with clay, which is not great for gardening but is excellent for brickmaking. There is a large vein of clay that stretches across the United States from Central Texas, across Oklahoma and Arkansas, and up into Virginia and Maryland.
It has, in varying degrees, the right combination of clay, sand and silt for brickmaking. Within the belt is an ideal band called the Wilcox formation that has no iron in it, making it even better for brickmaking. It runs from San Antonio up to Arkansas. North Texas sits smack in the middle of the mother lode of brickmaking clay.
Most of it is under what the brick manufacturers call “overburden,” a very distressing term for trees, grass and other attractive organic matter.
Once the overburden is scraped off, the clay is removed in a strip-mining fashion that leaves very large terraced pits. Often the clay plays out and the pits are filled, making lakes. Some clay reserves are still producing, though, even after 100 years of mining.
Let’s talk a moment about the elasticity of “neighborhood.” Sometimes the word is used to refer to an entire quadrant of a city, while some people wouldn’t dare call someone from three streets over a “neighbor.” It means pretty much whatever we want it to mean. That’s either useful or frustrating, depending on your outlook, or whether you’re off your meds.
I was talking about this with a fellow from North Texas Real Estate Information Systems — the company that keeps track of regional home sales data — a few months back. NTREIS relies heavily on the self-reporting of individual agents. He noted how inconsistent Dallas-area agents are in their use of the “subdivision” field when logging information about a property. One agent might dutifully type “Bent Tree North #3” while another reports a house on the same block is simply in “Bent Tree.”
This results in it being exceedingly difficult to track trends at a level as specific as a “neighborhood,” whatever that word means.
Anyway, read on to find out about our new neighborhood guides.Read More
It’s a great time to be selling a house in Dallas, in that demand is so great that you can make some serious bank on your investment. But what then? As Bloomberg notes today:
Last year, Rick Smith put his family’s house in suburban Dallas on the market, hoping to find a new home close to better schools and the city’s downtown. Selling the old house was a snap; buying a new one wasn’t. In January the family moved to a town home in a rental community, and quickly found they weren’t the only family forced into renting. “If you drive around our community, you’ll see moving boxes stacked up in the garages,” he said. “No one wants to unpack, because they think they’ll be moving again soon.”
Welcome to Dallas in 2015, a city whose bustling economy is attracting new residents at a rapid pace—and making it increasingly difficult to buy a house. New listings get multiple offers in mere days, said Steve Habgood, president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors. Homeowners are increasingly reluctant to sell lest they wind up in Smith’s situation. “People are saying, ‘Great, I can get a premium on the price I paid, but where am I going to live once I sell?'” said Habgood. “The options are pretty limited.”
It’s become a vicious cycle.
In the past year, it has been our privilege to bring our readers another slate of thoughtful and engaging stories about the people, institutions, and places that make Dallas and North Texas a special place. These were the most popular narratives on our website:Read More
Rudolph Bush of the Morning News notes that this morning Mayor Mike Rawlings honored the preservationist, whom we recognized as one of the Dallas 40 in our September anniversary issue:Read More
When reading John Bloom’s July 1987 story, “Misty Crest: On the Frontier of the New American Dream,” what struck me was how strange it was to have a neighborhood in southwest Arlington written up as a hot new development. A-Town seems like an aging former starlet past her prime, while everybody now goes gaga for her much-younger counterparts in Collin County.
Bloom pokes fun at the absurdity of navigating among subdivisions with “Glades” and “Glens,” “Villages” and “Creeks” in their names — regardless whether there are any actual glades or glens or villages or multiple creeks in the vicinity. At the time, one of the homes he ventured out to look at had an asking price of $96,850, about the median for Dallas-Fort Worth at the time. Twenty-seven years later, houses in the same neighborhood are going for somewhat more, but generally sticking pretty close to today’s median.
I asked Bloom what spurred him to write this piece, which we are honoring as one of the 40 greatest stories ever published in D Magazine. He responded:Read More
Tim Rogers spent nine tireless years in pursuit of the story of the Biggins family, stopping only to eat, drink, sleep, brag about his children, anger his wife, win a free tuxedo, take vacation, drink, write National Magazine Award-winning work, and quit his job in favor of a cushier gig one row of desks over.
In 2004, the short-lived reality TV show Renovate My Family built the Bigginses a house. You can read what happened to them in the aftermath of this good fortune — the headline is a bit of a spoiler — in the August issue of D Magazine. You can also watch the above time-lapse video that compresses the building of the Biggins home, which was done in a week, down to a mere 30 seconds.Read More
The 4000 block of Miramar Avenue looks pretty normal — if “normal” can ever appropriately be used to describe a row of homes in Highland Park. It sits just off Lakeside Drive, with easy access to sickeningly picturesque Lakeside Park and Exall Lake. It’s a block away from Beverly Drive and Dallas Country Club as well.
The homes are a mix of traditional and modern designs, most valued in the $3 million-$4 million range. On the corner, technically on Lakeside, sits the 60th most expensive home in Dallas. At 4004 Miramar, you’ll find one of D Home‘s 10 Most Beautiful Homes in Dallas for 2014. Across from that, at 4005, is a fairly unremarkable (by Highland Park standards) that’s valued at more than $3.1 million, with $2.5 million of that assessed for the land alone.
That lot looked very different 50 years ago.Read More
If you know me — either IRL or on various social media — you know I recently had a problem with an owl. If you don’t, then you can read about it here. The video you see here is courtesy of my friend Bob’s girlfriend, who noticed an owl mean-mugging her and, while recording, captured an attack on an unsuspecting jogger. (Just hang with it for a sec.) Also, you may have seen this video (language alert) of a man using a Swiffer to get an owl out of his home making its way around the internet recently. This is how these things start! It’s like, haha, what a funny situation and then, boom, we’re all huddled together in a giant nest watching a buddy being fed to a bunch of owlets. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU.Read More
By now you’ve likely pored over our Best Suburbs rankings, wherein we’ve given you a bunch of factors by which you can compare 63 North Texas towns, plus Dallas. You may have also taken our “Which Dallas Suburb Is Right For You?” quiz.
So what we’d like to know now is which of the factors we’ve used to evaluate the quality of these various municipalities weighs most heavily for you when you’re deciding where you should live.Read More
I do not envy anyone looking to buy a home in Dallas in the near future. A recent report from the real estate website Redfin.com says that, in March, 14.4% of homes in Dallas sold within three days of hitting the market. That’s up 1.5% compared to last year.
What’s more, in February, 38.8% of homes sold within two weeks. That’s up from what was already a fast-moving market in February 2013, when that rate was 31.9%. Our continued population growth, and housing inventory that’s down 19.5% since last year have a lot to do with it.
Prospective buyers must prepare for war.Read More