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From My Perspective

The Best Birthday Song, Ever

For many Americans, Fourth of July celebrations go hand in hand with our brilliant “Star-Spangled Banner,” particularly when it comes to fireworks displays. There’s nothing like a grand show, filling our skies with colorful lights, punctuated by that rousing song and bombastic explosions of sound.

Part of that tradition dates to July 4, 1777, the year after the Declaration of Independence was signed. There was a magnificent celebration in Philadelphia, then our nation’s capital. It saw 13 cannons being fired from ships dressed in red, white and blue; a spirited band performance; bells ringing throughout the city; and a grand exhibition of fireworks that night. “Every thing was conducted with the greatest order and decorum,” reported the Virginia Gazette, “and the face of joy and gladness was universal.”

But, interestingly enough, “The Star-Spangled Banner” wasn’t written until much later. Amateur poet Francis Scott Key penned it as a poem first, after witnessing a violent siege on Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, and seeing our flag still flying over it the next morning. His first glorious verse:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight

O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Key’s poem was eventually set to music — a popular English drinking tune, in fact — and in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared that it should be played at all official events. Fifteen years later, in 1931, the poem that became a song became our national anthem.

This weekend, and next Wednesday — July 4 — there will be fireworks displays all over North Texas, from Fort Worth to Dallas, Fair Park to Plano, and everywhere in between. As you look to the sky and see those rockets’ red glares, remember the historic events that set all this in motion.

Happy birthday, America. At 242 years old, you’ve never looked better.

_____________

ROBBIE BRIGGS, President and CEO

As seen in the Wall Street Journal’s Mansion section. 

B magazine

What is your furniture saying about you?

They’re not ‘just things,’ as some will try and tell you. Your home furnishings telegraph all kinds of messages and meanings — and not just to those who come to visit. The journalist LEE CULLUM does some translating.

Dining Room Furniture, Home for sale

THE LOOK: 308 Kings Lake Drive, McKinney, Texas (click image to see the home)

“Things contain people.” So said Dallas-born novelist Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey. They also contain ideas, memories, places.

For Hailey, it was all of those when she furnished The English Room at her house in Los Angeles. In it, she put pieces that she and her husband, Oliver Hailey, a playwright, had collected from shops in Rudgwick, West Sussex, for Eames House, a treasure of the 16th century that they bought and renovated. (The kitchen was redone thanks to her phenomenally successful first book, A Woman of Independent Means.) Generously apportioned and with radiant roses in front and back, Eames House was down the street from the pub and the Anglican church. There were bedrooms for everybody: Hailey and her husband; their daughters Kendall and Brooke; his mother, Hallie Mae; and his brother Thomas, stricken with polio as a child but who, from a wheelchair, lavished attention on politics and chess.

“When they first came to Rudgwick,” recalled Mr. Tilley, who sometimes drove the Haileys to theaters in London, “they were so full of life, every one of them.” Hallie Mae lived in the room in L.A. that later would recall Eames House, and now guests enjoy the fold-out bed and the ambience of antiques stores, where the Haileys found a drop-leaf dining table and six chairs — their first purchase — and a chaise longue called a duchess chair, Hailey’s favorite, now in her L.A. living room. Though Eames House has a half-timbered Tudor façade, the family’s taste, Hailey tells me, “ran to Bloomsbury, inspired by Charleston, the farmhouse in East Sussex where Virginia Woolf’s artist sister, Vanessa Bell, lived with, among others, the painter Duncan Grant.”

Dining Room Furniture, Home for sale

THE LOOK: 5131 Shadywood Lane, Dallas, Texas (click image to see the home)

 It is not unusual to find special parts of oneself via another country. Interior designer Emily Summers, in her own Dallas house, has resonated with the elegant restraint of Germany’s Bauhaus modernism and, in her courtyards, with the gardens of Japan. Her styles of furniture, she says, range “from the ’40s to the ’80s.”

Paula Lambert of the Mozzarella Company has infused her new home with the colors and light that I associate with Italy, where she learned to make cheese. A spectacular coffee table, however, began in London at the restaurant NOPI, where Lambert was having dinner. She peeked beneath the tablecloth, admired very much what she saw and sent a photo back to her interior designer, Dan Nelson of Vision Design. Without telling her, Nelson drew a replica as a coffee table and had it built in Dallas.

For biblical scholar Marjorie Currey and her husband, Fred, it’s the Middle East and their enduring hope for its three great religions of the book: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. A magnificent archway leading from the entrance hall to the living room is inscribed thus: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” On the other side is this from the Koran: “There is one God. His name is Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” Everything in both rooms has been selected to support the idea of cultural convergence.

Then there is Garrett Boone, co-founder of the Container Store and now chairman of TreeHouse, the Dallas and Plano home-improvement stores that are highly focused on green living. The Dallas Morning News featured Boone’s own Walking Table, an irregular slab of wood mounted on slender wood legs with feet moving ahead, filled with purpose, and his Jonah Bed, with its partial canopy inspired by the rib of a fish he found somewhere, hugging the shore. Both of these exuberant creations of his — made in his own woodshop across town — grace the Turtle Creek condominium he shares with his wife, Cecilia.

Furniture style, Dining Room Furniture, Home for sale

THE LOOK: 3821 Beverly Drive, Highland Park, Texas (click image to see the home)

And what could be more inviting than dining in the round, at a table that envelops a group and encourages intimate conversation? Bonnie Wheeler, director of medieval studies at Southern Methodist University, once had a long, splendid groaning board of “diamond mahogany and rosewood French Art Deco,” she explains, with “multiple leaves that could be extended to 22 feet — enough space to have dinners for whole classes of students, but also cozy enough for just a few friends when brought down to its basic size.” All this she traded to a round mahogany table, large enough to seat 12, worthy of King Arthur and his knights, though it’s from the much more recent 18th century.

Gail Thomas, a founding fellow of The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and the former CEO of The Trinity Trust Foundation, now the Trinity Park Conservancy, and her husband, Bob, a lawyer, have explored plenty of urgent issues at their dark circular table, hand-painted at the center with rich and glorious color. She found it at AOI Home, formerly Art of Old India, in the Dallas Design District years ago and around it has led full and fluent conversations — “soulful conversation,” Thomas would say — ever since.

So, things — especially those that bear witness to our most closely held moments, to our love — do contain people, places, ideas and memories. Our home furnishings testify to our enthusiasms, our emotions, to the quality of our intellect and the lasting impact of our lives.

___________________________

LEE CULLUM, a Dallas native and Southern Methodist University graduate, is an award-winning journalist and the host of CEO, a series of interviews with business leaders, on KERA. She is a contributor to The Dallas Morning News.

 

 

From My Perspective

That Boom You Hear

robbie briggs, briggs freeman, wall street journal

“Dallas And Austin Lead The Surging South.”

That’s the unforgettable headline of Forbes’ latest ‘Best Cities For Jobs’ report, its annual ranking of more than 70 of America’s largest metropolitan areas.

For the second consecutive year, Dallas is at the top of the list, driven in considerable part by our area’s astounding growth in jobs since 2006: almost 26 percent. What’s more, says Forbes, “Dallas has logged double-digit percentage job growth since 2012 in almost every major economic sector we measured, from information to construction, energy, finance, and professional and business services.”

It is worth noting that Forbes includes Plano and Irving in its definition of Dallas. The key to the whole area’s success, it says, is that “it’s a great value proposition, with affordable housing, a favorable regulatory climate, low taxes and an increasing array of cultural amenities beyond the Dallas Cowboys.”

Our brokerage opened in Dallas in 1960, when the population was less than 700,000. It’s almost double that now — and in 2017 it went up by another 2.02 percent, the highest of the 10 largest areas on the Forbes list. The number of jobs went up even higher: a solid 2.8 percent.

Austin is second in the ranking. Its jobs are up, too — the biggest jump being in professional and business services. Following Texas’ capital city are Nashville, San Jose (Silicon Valley), Charlotte and Orlando.

The clear standout, though, is Dallas. Says Forbes: “Perhaps nothing proves this more than the large number of companies that have either moved whole hog to the Big D or sited significant operations there in recent years, including the likes of Toyota’s North American headquarters and Jacobs Engineering, both from Southern California, as well as Jamba Juice, Pei Wei and JetSuite. Many more have announced major expansions there, including Boeing, OKI Data and Louis Vuitton.”

This is all good news for North Texas, which continues to show consistent growth in many categories. “Simply put,” Forbes says, “this Energizer bunny just doesn’t stop.”

Big D is booming, all right — in more ways than one.

_____________

ROBBIE BRIGGS, President and CEO

As seen in the Wall Street Journal’s Mansion section. 

Business

A Year of Significant Sales by North Texas’ Luxury Brokerage [VIDEO]

Video / All properties sold in 2017 by Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty agents. 

The expert agents of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty  — more than 500 in all, in 10 offices across North Texas — propelled the firm to exceptional successes in 2017.

Per recent data from North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty sold more homes across Dallas and Fort Worth in 2017 than any other firm for properties priced more than $550,000 and more than $1 million.

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Beauty, Dallas, Preston Hollow

Know Your Architecture | Mid-Century Modern

Know-Your-Architecture-Mid-Century-Modern-Briggs-Freeman-Sotheby's-luxury-real-estate

From whence it came:

The Mid-Century Modern movement in America was an adaptation of two austere, straight-lined architectural movements in Europe: the International and Bauhaus styles. American mid-century architecture, which spanned roughly from the late 1930s to the ’70s, is warmer and more organic, often with wood elements — beams, columns, walls — where the Europeans employed concrete and steel.

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Beauty

Heard It Through the Grapevine: 11 Wonderful Wine Rooms

Photos / Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

Attention all wine lovers! We know that you’ve been dreaming of the day when you have a luxury wine room in the comfort of your own home. Who wouldn’t want to retreat into a personal Napa or Loire Valley after a long week at the office? Whether you’re looking to save space, put your wine collection on display, or archive your most valuable bottles, that cellar you’ve been dreaming about is calling your name. Answer the call and raise your glass to these outstanding wine rooms in these North Texas homes — all currently listed by Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Beauty

From House to Home: Wallpaper Trends

 

Photos / Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

If you’re wondering how to make your house feel more like your home, we have the perfect solution for you. Why not try something new and style your home with wallpaper! Embrace the patterns and the colors that suit your home and your own personal taste to project your personality onto your home. Continue Reading…

Dallas, Preston Hollow

Summer’s Best Back Yards in North Texas

6123 Mimosa Lane, Preston Hollow, Briggs Freeman Sotheby's luxury homes for sale in Dallas-back yard

6123 Mimosa Lane | Photos / Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

Pools and patios, indeed. But do you know about the hottest new amenities in the coolest back yards? From pergolas to fire pits, leisure on the lawn has never been more extravagant, and these days outdoor living is as luxurious as the indoor. Want the best back yard on the block? Here are this season’s al fresco must-haves.

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Top 5 Neighborhoods for Your Next Move in North Texas

Photos / Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

The Elegant Life: Park Cities

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Your neighbors are leaders in society, business and politics — plus executives, influencers, pro athletes and generations of families — in these sophisticated cities. The quintessential American neighborhood, Highland Park was created to be a respite from the stresses of early 19th-century life. Rich in history and legacy, University Park is home to SMU, considered the “Ivy of the South” and a great place for kids to attend summer camps and athletic events. Located just a few miles from downtown Dallas, homes in the Park Cities range from quaint cottages to large estates — all located within blocks of great local and global shopping in unique neighborhood centers.

Explore all that the elegant life has to offer and find your perfect spot in the Park Cities: 

Highland Park    /     University Park 

The Elevated Life: Uptown/Downtown Dallas

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These areas are alive with young professionals, smart-sizers, artists and CEOs — and anyone who loves the high-energy buzz of a city. This is the heart of Dallas’ music, cultural, event and art scenes, from the five-acre Klyde Warren Park to the renowned Arts District. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love the award-winning restaurants and hip bars. Catch a ride on the historic McKinney Avenue trolleys and discover incredible local shops and luxury retailers. Here, it’s all about luxury high-rises, smart live/work spaces, sophisticated mid-rises and convenient townhomes — home to people from all walks of life.

Explore the elevated life and find your perfect spot in Uptown/Downtown. 

The Energetic Life: The North

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It’s one of the most desirable areas in the United States: safe, sophisticated and perfect for executives, professionals, young families and smart-sizers. There are award-winning schools, bustling city centers and vibrant green spaces — all within a booming business scene. Discover Plano, home to major corporations and boasting parks, ball fields and recognized schools, plus a wide array of shopping, dining and community organizations for every lifestyle. Frisco is home to professional soccer and the vibrant Frisco Square, filled with shops, restaurants and entertainment. Just 25 minutes from DFW and Love Field airports, homes in The North are spacious and gracious — in architectural styles from traditional to tomorrow.

Explore the energetic life and find your perfect spot in The North: 

Plano     /     Frisco     /      McKinney

The Easy Life: Lakewood

There is an unmistakable vibe to Lakewood: Foodies, hipsters, yuppies, artists, grandparents and kiddos happily mix and mingle in this community known for outdoor activities and community support. Money magazine called it one of the top 10 best big-city neighborhoods in America and noted its beautiful setting on the rolling hills next to White Rock Lake. Lakewood is a community that embraces nature, with that sparkling lake and its 15 miles of trails and many tributaries serving as a giant playground to those who live and visit here. Many of the neighborhoods’ iconic homes were built in the 1920s — mixed today with architecturally sensitive charmers and the occasional cool contemporary.

Explore the easy life and find your perfect spot in Lakewood.

The Educated Life: Southlake

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Just minutes from downtown Dallas, Southlake is known for its exemplary public schools and its Friday-night lights. It’s a place where the whole town comes together in the fall to cheer on the Carroll High School Dragons football team, which has won the state championship multiple times. Ranked among the best neighborhoods for families with children by The Dallas Morning News, here you can hike, bike or fish at one of nearly 20 local parks — or you can take the kids to nearby Milwaukee Joe’s Gourmet Ice Cream in the Southlake Town Square for a cone. From year-round golf to sophisticated shopping, Southlake is also a popular executive-relocation town, just minutes from DFW Airport and with easy access to all things Dallas. There is a home here for everyone, especially if you like new construction and custom-built traditional homes.

Explore the educated life and find your perfect spot in Southlake.

 

Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty is a luxury brokerage headquartered in North Texas. Its award-winning agents, serving clients from offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, Southlake, Lakewood, Uptown, The North and The Ballpark, achieved a record-breaking sales volume of $3.2 billion in 2016. Independently owned and operated by president and CEO Robbie Briggs, the firm specializes in the purchase and sale of significant properties, from historic and contemporary to waterfront, ranch and land. The company’s deep-rooted connections, superior marketing resources and global strategies, as part of the $95 billion Sotheby’s International Realty network, bring the extraordinary to every client.

Open Houses

Spring Open House Tour: Sunday, April 23

Photo / Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

There’s no better day to find your perfect place to call home. This Sunday, April 23, you’re invited to experience more than 200 of the most extraordinary homes across North Texas on the Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty Spring Open House Tour.  “We do this tour twice each year so people can get a taste of each neighborhood,”says Robbie Briggs, president and CEO. “People are moving from the Park Cities to Uptown, Uptown to Lakewood, Plano to Fort Worth, and everywhere in between.”

Bold design, smart style, quality construction, and desirable neighborhoods—the annual Spring Open House Tour is your chance to go inside the most beautiful homes currently listed throughout the Metroplex. From cool contemporaries in school-centered communities to luxury high-rises with spectacular views, homes in every neighborhood, style and price point are opening doors for potential buyers looking to make the most of their home-shopping strategy.

 

See the open-house schedule—plus high-quality photos, videos, 3D tours and more—for all homes on tour: briggsfreeman.com/springtour.

 

President and CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty with offices in Dallas, Fort Worth Cultural District, Fort Worth-Mira Vista, Uptown, Lakewood, Southlake, The North, Ranch and Land East, Ranch and Land West, and The Ballpark. For all listings—and to explore the top neighborhoods in North Texas, visit briggsfreeman.com.