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Local attorney Susan Mead, featured in today's New York Times

Dallas lawyer Susan Mead’s addiction to rehabbing old houses gets the feature treatment in The New York Times' Great Homes section today, but not for houses she’s redone in Dallas.

Before attending SMU Law School, Mead caught the renovation bug after tackling several ramshackle farmhouses in New England. In 30 years, Mead has redone a dozen houses, half of those in Dallas -- including stately homes on Swiss Avenue, Preston Hollow and State-Thomas. She currently lives in a Dallas apartment.

Now a partner at Jackson Walker who specializes in land use and zoning law, Mead has had a big impact on Dallas: She was involved in creating Dallas’ Intown Housing Program and Downtown Tax Increment Financing Districts. She’s also an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects.

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An art student before she went to law school, Mead told The Times she likes to find houses with potential for architectural interest and as canvases for her collection of folk and fine art.

The Times takes a look at Mead’s four vacation homes: a 3,500-square-foot house in Akumal, Mexico, on the Caribbean coast; a 4,000-square-foot, seven-level house in San Miguel de Allende in Central Mexico; a house that clings to a cliff on the Pacific coast of Mexico, near Puerto Angel; and the tiny 1693 whaling cottage in Sag Harbor, bought to spend time near her daughter, Katya Jestin, a lawyer in New York.

The accompanying slide show features Mead’s colorful house in San Miguel de Allende, which she calls “the best reflection of her personality.” Let’s just say we have house envy. --Glenna Whitley

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