Last March I came across a 1920s chateau for sale on Tokalon Drive. As a lifelong lover of European palaces, Tudor cottages and fairy tales, I was immediately obsessed. I have to think, How many castles are for sale in Dallas? So: can I convince my bosses to let me write about it?
Turns out, it didn’t take much persuading, and I started this all-important search. Word of my article spread, and soon my colleagues were pinging my inbox daily with palaces and castles all over North Texas. Then – in a now infamous incident in the D office—I spilled a large cup of tea on my laptop. The computer died, IT gave me “best practices” for drinking hot liquids at my desk, and my castle research was left in shambles.
I got a replacement computer and soon got busy with other stories; however, I have not forgotten my palace passion project. Unfortunately, the Tokalon house sold for $2.5 million, but I found another castle (with a moat!) to feature in Hot Property. And after some pressure from editor Christine Allison, I was finally able to finish the story last month. With the support (and contributions) of all my colleagues once again, I’ve rounded up 16 lavish homes across the region and judged them on their castle qualities: Did they have whimsical facades or grand ballrooms? ? Were there dungeons? The stables and turrets were a coup. Only on July 15, we clicked “publish”.
While my castle story was undoubtedly irreverent and silly (although I a m adding “castle correspondent” to my resume), it speaks to a bigger reputation here in North Texas: Dallas people love luxury. Whether it’s oohing and ahhing over the city’s most charming homes or enviously ogling the posh mansions of Dallas’ latest transplants, we can’t resist lavish homes.
Keeks owner Kristen Donnell knows this all too well. When she opened her first handbag resale boutique in the Collin Creek Mall in 2010, her business “grew” until she started selling vintage Louis Vuitton bags. “We were shocked when it flew off the shelves,” she told Kimber Westphall last month. “That’s when we realized high-end luxury was the way to go.”
Donnell now keeps an inventory of 4,000 designer handbags, from fashion houses like Christian Louboutin and Givenchy, in her Plano store.
There are many reasons, some cynical, some historical, and many personal, for Dallas’ love of luxury. Some might call it snobbery, but celebrity hairstylist Kevin Charles might disagree with you.
For stylist Diamond Mahone, it’s because she wants her clients to be unique. “I prefer my clients not to be into the same things as a lot of people,” she said. D last month. Mahone prefers “hunting and finding” small brands. She’s not the only one. When Market remodeled its Highland Park Village store in early 2020, it allowed brands and designers to launch pop-up stores and try their hand at a physical store.
“We’re really focused on providing a space for these new, up-and-coming designers, a place where they can come and test out the Dallas market, to really get to know their client on a one-to-one basis,” Keenan Walker, Creative Director of Market, told me earlier this year. This new model has certainly been a success: four of the seven brands that appeared on Market have since opened permanent storefronts in Dallas. Whether you agree or not, in Dallas, luxury sells.
This is just a preview of what we were up to last month. As for what’s next, we’re looking forward to the Best of Big D (learn more and buy tickets for the August 4 party here), meet an Etsy designer whose jewelry promotes mental health awareness, and explore several new shops and salons. Do you have a story idea? Email me at [email protected].
Catherine Wendlandt is an associate online editor for Magazine D‘s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…