Hey, new millionaire, is this the place to park your Jag?

A mere $975,000 buys a Dallas McMansion

March 12, 2000|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

DALLAS -- Congratulations. You've just won the lottery. You can pack up the U-Haul and move from Baltic Avenue to Park Place. Better yet, you can hire someone to do that for you. The question is, what kind of million-dollar house do you want to buy?

Because you are "New Money" and unfamiliar with the ways of the rich, you might want to take a look at the New American Home. It is promoted as the best of the best, a builder's abode and an architect's address. Each year, the National Association of Home Builders has a new version of the house to hold up as an example of how houses should be built.

This year, you're in luck. The New American Home 2000 is in your budget -- $975,000. Even though it's in Dallas, the house has been designed by someone who knows how to live in Florida -- Orlando architect Don Evans.

Behind the brick-and-stucco exterior is a 4,500-square-foot house that is probably more than double the size of your old house. It is so efficient that builders guarantee energy bills will average $200 a month for 10 years. And talk about technology -- you can control 100 light switches in the house with one flick. From almost any room, you can check out the pool and courtyard. OK, maybe it doesn't have a view of a lake or even a golf course. But it's secluded. And doesn't seclusion mean you've "made it" in the world?

But what's this? The house is only on a quarter of an acre. Wasn't that the size of your old yard?

It would be nice to have a back yard, though. Because the house backs up to an alley, architects traded that patch of nature for a concrete "oasis" courtyard. And isn't it fancy? It's got a big-screen TV facing little seats in the pool. Next to the pool is a rock wall with water trickling down.

Even if you don't have a back yard where you can throw the ball around, you could shoot some hoops on the sports court behind the garage. Oops. The court slopes too much for basketball.

With not one but two garages, you'll have plenty of room for the new Jaguar and the Land Rover. It's true that one garage doesn't lead into the house. But it doesn't rain much in Dallas. Now the missus might not be too keen on the fact that the main garage, the one that goes into the house, is so far from the kitchen. But as the rich elite, your personal chef will probably be lugging in the groceries anyway.

And what a kitchen that chef will have. It's got a side-by-side stainless-steel refrigerator by KitchenAid. Some of the houses down the block may have pricier refrigerators by Sub-Zero. But this kitchen has a Sub-Zero wine cooler.

If partygoers get out of hand, you can send them upstairs to sleep it off. There are two bedrooms, and builders said a second-floor suite that has a kitchen could accommodate the mother-in-law. Not to worry about her getting too comfy because the closets are only about 2 feet deep and won't store much of a wardrobe.

Every year, the New American Home is a challenge. The house has to be a showcase for all types of cabinetwork, appliances, flooring and other products. The lot is rarely ideal. This year, deadlines were a problem.

Also, with a committee of architects, builders, designers and even magazine editors calling the shots, not everything gets done to everyone's liking. Jim LaPiana, director of design for the Evans Group, said a number of features that were supposed to be built into this year's house weren't, such as plantation shutters to separate the entry from the kitchen and architectural features on the rock wall.

Despite the constraints, it's your lottery winnings. You're going to have to decide. Is it going to be another million-dollar mansion, perhaps one with a better view, bigger lot, home theater, four or five bedrooms, two closets in the master bedroom?

Or is it going to be the best of the best, the New American Home? Word is it's still for sale.

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