Design Lessons From the Most Expensive House in the U.S.

Crespi House - Entrance

The most expensive house in the U.S. is currently the Crespi/Hicks estate on #5555 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas, Texas. Currently valued at $ 135 million USD,  it’s a 29,000 square foot home built on a 25-acre lot owned by Tom and Cinda Hicks. This couple spent almost a decade and nearly $ 100 million renovating and also enlarging the original home, which was built in 1939 by wealthy cotton trader and Italian count Pio Crespi for him and his wife Florence, who died in 1968 and 1999 respectively.

1)      Location matters – The house is a mere 8 minutes from downtown Dallas in an upscale location. When it comes to real estate, buying a teardown in the best part of town is still a better investment than buying the best house in the worst part of town. Invest in a property that is safe to walk home to and is relatively crime-free. It will be totally worth your peace of mind – even if you have to pay a little extra – for a home in a good neighborhood and it will appreciate better over time.

2)      Trends come and go while style is eternal – The main house was designed by Swiss architect Maurice Fatio, then the most famous and highly regarded architect back then. Being a man of timeless vision, he designed a house that hardly needed improving. In fact, when the current owners hired architect Peter Marino to add a guest house and pool house, he simply expanded on Fatio’s original design and used the exact same materials that Fatio did 60 years before and left the original paint, fixtures and furniture in the main house untouched. It just goes to show that when you build a classic, you don’t have to worry about trends.

3)      The right improvements will increase your home’s resale value – Maurice Fatio built the Crespi/Hicks house with quality, proportion and refinement. He did not cut corners, nor did he go for grandiose statements. While his homes were mostly for the wealthy, they were built not only with elegance but also function in mind. Although his homes were big, nothing was superfluous or went to waste. Spend your renovation dollars on improvements that will give you the greatest return (and which you’ll be using a lot) and avoid scrimping on quality especially your kitchen, bathrooms and flooring.

4)      Homes need to keep up with the times – The Crespi/Hicks house was equipped with central heating and air-conditioning, which is pretty useful given Dallas’ hot Summers. At the time, these conveniences were considered cutting edge. As times (and the pace of life) changes, many modern conveniences that were considered luxuries are now standard and many devices that were once thought to be far-fetched are slowly becoming mainstream. Homes are becoming “smarter” and more energy efficient. Various appliances can now be accessed (or controlled) remotely, making your home easier to monitor and/or secure. Keep abreast of home improvement trends to discover things that can make your life easier and safer.

Crespi Estate - Front Lawn

Crespi/Hicks Estate - Front Lawn

Crespi House - Interiors

Crespi/Hicks House - Interior

 

 

 

 

Crespi House - Bar

Crespi/Hicks House - Bar

 

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