Power Houses

A celebrity home tour of Dallas' rich, famous--and all too often tasteless--movers and fakers

The well-known Channel 8 anchorman owns one of those nouveau riche, grossly overgrown monstrosities in formerly quaint Preston Hollow where houses used to be somewhat in proportion to lot size. That whole area between Preston and Hillcrest roads--south of Royal Lane, north of Northwest Highway--looks exactly like what it is: rich people who really want to (and deserve to) live in Plano, but can't stand the drive.

(Star guide insider note: Tracy turns 54 on Father's Day!)
Rowlett's house at 6738 Waggoner Drive (16) was built in 1990, and if you didn't have the house number memorized, you'd never be able to distinguish it from virtually every other house on the block. It's brick. It's big--5,531 square feet--though you can't tell it from the street. It tries to be cute--there are big planters out front, a decorative wreath on the door, and one of those seasonal banners (this one is spring flowers) flapping crisply out front. And, considering what he could have gotten up in Plano for his $626,820, we'd say it's overpriced.

Unlike Rowlett's cookie-cutter house you see Cowboy jersey number 22's house at 15001 Winnwood Rd. (17) once and you don't forget it. It's big and bold and clearly the signature piece on this prestigious Addison street. Of course, we really don't understand why Emmitt Smith, with his money, would want to build a showcase a block south of horridly congested Belt Line Road--especially when his 9,967-square-foot house is literally packed into less than an acre (he has no backyard).

Smith has an electronic driveway gate, as you can imagine, and we actually saw it work one day last week when a young, smiling woman in a downright humble Toyota Corolla was given the go-ahead into Emmittland.

Smith has nice landscaping taste--a babbling brook with flowers and rocks and mature trees out front. He also has a magnificently rich-looking wooden staircase inside the front door. And his architect did nice things with floor-to-ceiling glass windows across the front of the house.

It's a modern jewel with a value of $1.68 million.

This is hands-down the most disappointing house on the star-guide tour. Talk about an odd fit--2339 Aberdeen Bend (18) looks like the home of a somewhat successful hosiery salesman, not the flashiest, sassiest Dallas Cowboy who parades floor-length mink coats and diamond earrings before grand juries. We are talking suburban hell--far North Carrollton at Hebron Parkway and Marsh Lane, where it seems 10 degrees hotter and 20 degrees more boring than most anyplace else in the Metroplex.

Irvin's 1984 house is a $208,120, nondescript brick residence of a mere 2,629 square feet. It has a pool but nothing else of note. It also has a solitary, albeit rather large, pear tree in the boring front yard--a tree that was bashed up in one of our big rainstorms recently, and which Irvin has been very concerned about, according to his neighbors.

When Irvin was busted for drugs recently, he put a sign up in his front yard, neighbors say, asking people to respect his privacy. He was especially concerned about being gone during the day when his family was alone in the house. (Star guide insider note: Somebody promptly stole the sign, and Irvin hasn't replaced it.)

Security is simple, Michael--don't move. We guarantee you that most touristas will take one look at the Carrollton house and think they're in the wrong place.

Let's get the football players out of the way here. The Cowboys like these north Alaskan territories--Sanders is way up in Plano, and while it's certainly a long haul just to motor by one guy's house, in this case it is absolutely worth it.

Never mind Sanders' house--a pillared, tennis-courted fortress thing--which is on the rolls for $1.9 million, was built in 1994 for a previous owner, and is located at 5600 Preakness Lane (19).

What's fascinating is the neighborhood. This is precisely what all those Tracy Rowletts in Preston Hollow want, but aren't willing to drive for--because the Willow Bend Polo Estates, which used to be a private polo club, is the most dazzling, most grotesque display of cash you can find anywhere in North Texas.

The Willow Bend development is an enormous, impossible-to-navigate maze of million-dollar homes--and one of the many themes (it's like Disneyland where you pick your country and/or architecture) appears to be Houses for People with a Tara Fetish. The houses are so huge, so garish, and springing up so fast--acres and acres of them--that you wonder if it's all a giant scam by some smooth-talkin' con man who took the $600 million and split for Tahiti before everyone realized there was no indoor plumbing in these mansions.

The biggest question you have driving through here is how in the world our culture produced enough tasteless yet immensely rich people in America, let alone Dallas, to live here. It's a great book.

For something different, let's go to the "barrio" or the "hood," as Garcia and Price the politicians will refer to it 15 times in an interview.

Too bad it's neither--though it makes for great baby-kissing-type politics.
East Fifth Street in Oak Cliff is, as far as I know, one of the only streets in all Oak Cliff that faces a beautiful park with a large water feature. Lake Cliff Park, bordered on the west and north by Zang and Colorado boulevards respectively, would rank right up there with White Rock Lake, actually, if the city would spend a little time and money on landscaping and maintenance. Fat chance.

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