If You Build It: Building a New Home in Fort Worth

I have a confession to make. My name is MC and I am a house junkie. This is hardly a new development. In fact, my own mom pinpointed this “problem” when I was seven years old and she caught me talking about floorplans. However, this addiction reached another level recently when I found myself touring homes in my spare time – and as a mother of a four-year-old and twin two-year-olds, spare time is rare.

But, alas there I was on a Saturday in my sparse free time on the Fort Worth, TX Magazine Dream Home Tour, ooohing and ahhing over crown molding, arched walkways and built-ins designed by Flynn + Watson Architects and built by AG Custom Home Builders – two of my favorites in the biz.

The next week was when I really discovered my problem when I found myself on the Fort Worth, TX Magazine Kitchen Tour – and I don’t cook. But, that didn’t stop me from oogling over gas-ranges and granite counters. I walked through the kitchens of six different Rivercrest homes taking note of the beauty, form and function, all while putting tons of images in my idea bank to share with clients.

One of my favorite parts of being a Fort Worth Realtor is sharing advice on remodeled and new-construction homes. And, lucky me, I currently have clients building all over the area.

I’m currently working with a family building a 3,000-square-foot house in the Parks of Aledo development with Village Homes (formerly HD Homes). Upon completion, they will have a customized dream home in a beautiful, well-appointed new neighborhood zoned for highly coveted Aledo schools.

Yet another client is building a large home with the esteemed V Fine Homes in a small, gated community in west Fort Worth, called Westworth Park. Fun tidbit, this is the same neighborhood where Nolan Ryan lives – just in case you want to stop by and give him your thoughts on his recent departure from the Texas Rangers, or play a game of catch?

And perhaps what I’m most excited about is several friends and clients building in River Hills, part of the new Edwards Ranch development in 76109, that will be home to nearly 300 new Fort Worth residences. An added bonus – this new neighborhood will also be deliciously close to Fort Worth’s first Whole Foods store. I love the River Hills location and the idea of having a “new old home” with a modern floor plan, layout and amenities, but all while maintaining the look and charm of old-world classic architecture. To me, it’s the perfect marriage of the two concepts and an option my own family might consider one day.

The first step with my new-build clients is connecting them with my favorite builders and architects. It’s my way of building a dream team for their dream home.  Some of my notable picks for builders, architects and designers who are a joy to work with and whose creations I always admire:

V Fine Homes

HGC Development

Clarity Homes/Bannister & Co.

Maxben Homes

University Homes

Castor Homes

Hull Historical

Period Homes

Glendarroch Homes

N.H. Southern

Village Homes

Collison Custom Designs

Dobbins+Crow Architects

If you’re considering building a home, I recommend both of the aforementioned home tours. It’s a great way to get ideas and determine whose work and design eye is most compatible with yours. And, an added bonus – a portion of the proceeds go to charity! But please give me a call first; I’d like to tag along.


Fort Worth Dubs October “Bullying Awareness Month”

This week, I was forced to take pause as I recounted the anniversary of a very proud moment in recent Fort Worth history.

Three years ago, on October 12, 2010, at a Fort Worth City Council meeting, a young, and at that point, unknown council member by the name of Joel Burns spoke into a microphone for 13 minutes on behalf of the “It Gets Better” campaign. He started by acknowledging numerous heartbreaking stories of gay and lesbian teens who had taken their lives due to extreme bullying. Joel then went on to tell his deeply personal experience as a victim of bullying that started when he was a 13-year-old in Crowley, TX. In that moment Joel made his life an open book so that numerous other teens would understand that “it gets better”. He pleaded for struggling teens to simply “stick around” and see into the future passed the very real but momentary pain that comes with bullying. He recounted life events that he wished his 13-year-old self could see, including proposing to his now husband under a West Texas sunset. Watching the video is the only way to truly understand how powerful his message was.

In mere minutes, Joel’s speech would go viral, and in the following weeks he and/or his speech appeared on CNN, NBC’s The Today Show, Ellen, MSNBC’s The LAST WORD, and NPR’s All Things Considered just to name a few. As of today, Joel’s “It Gets Better” speech has garnered more than 2.8 million views on YouTube.  Even President Obama invited him to the White House a few months later to speak on the issue.

I knew Joel in a different arena years before he was a YouTube phenom. I guess you could say that I had a secret crush on him. He’s very tall and handsome.  Just my type. (You can’t see me, but I’m winking at my 6’3” husband right now. He can’t see me either because he’s sleeping.) Joel was also a fellow Realtor and had many listing in Fort Worth’s historic Near Southside where he lives – a neighborhood for which I also have a bit of a crush. Normally, I would have considered him a rival – he had some great listings in one of my favorite hoods. But, I couldn’t, for he was cute, smiley and always a pleasure when our paths would cross. As is usually the case, I soon found that there was more than met the surface with Joel. I found out on October 12 along with the rest of the world that he had a great passion and talent for making the world (not just our great city, but the world!) a better place. My crush would grow.

Over the past three years, Joel’s fame has skyrocketed and he has carried the ever-important issue of bullying with him along the way. This Tuesday, as a direct result of his famous speech, he proudly read a City of Fort Worth Council Proclamation naming October as Bullying Awareness Month in Fort Worth.

Both ironically and tragically, also this week, on the three-year anniversary of said speech, I read two heart-wrenching stories about recent victims of bullying – one from as nearby as Plano. A point from the Plano victim’s mom rings especially true in my mind.

The strong mother pointed out that the old saying, “sticks and stones may break bones but words can never hurt you” just isn’t true anymore. No kidding!  It is unfortunately a relic of ancient times. A time before text messages and emails. A time before biting insults and character assaults could be written, typed, displayed on a brightly shining screen and etched in a child’s brain forever.

While I find joy in the progress that has come since Joel’s speech, I also find myself sharing in the plea that my friend, FoxSports.com writer and fellow Fort Worthian, Jennifer Engel made via her Facebook page this week. In response to a story recounting the suicide of a Florida girl and the cyber bullying she endured, Jenn said this:

This hurts my heart and makes me wonder, where were the bully’s parents? Where are they now? What have we modeled for this next generation by our escalating rhetoric and meanness toward one another – strangers, friends, family?

As a parent of young children who are constantly doted on by surrounding friends and family members, I’m not yet in a place where I have to worry about bullies from a first-hand perspective. But, I am filled with fear when I look ahead and wonder what others may say to my children and how they might be hurt by others words and actions. In light of recent news stories, I am terrified by the thought of how my children’s peers may shape their self-image. I am left with only questions. What can we do as parents to ensure that our children won’t be victims? Or the bullies? How can we strengthen them so they are less susceptible to the influence of others? And, what can we do to ensure that our children are kind, empathetic humans who never intentionally cause the suffering of another human?

I don’t have the answers yet. But, maybe I will start by making them another enlightened viewer of Joel Burns’ speech.

Fort Worth Fall ArtsGoggle


Fort Worth locals flowed to the Southside on Saturday for the fall edition of ArtsGoggle, presented by Fort Worth South, Inc.  Nearly 200 artists and 50 bands packed 60 venues along Magnolia and 8th street while Near Southside businesses transformed into pop-up venues for local artists. 

In 2005, at the time of the second annual ArtsGoggle, I was listing The Lofts on Fairmount – a then-new cluster of townhomes built by Urban Dwellings. We opened two of the vacant units as galleries for the budding ArtsGoggle and very cool vendor, Buckaroo Art.  I was lucky to experience then what a cool and different event this was for Magnolia Ave and the city of Fort Worth.

This fall marked 10 years for the growing bi-annual festival, which has brought new life and a funky vibe to the evolving urban area. Growing with both the bands and attendance this go around were the transportation options, as the Molly Trolley offered free rides and the new Fort Worth B Cycle turned its wheels for half price.

If you are interested in participating as a musician, artist or vendor host for the Spring Arts Goggle you can submit here.

If you didn’t make it out for the FREE festival, it’s not too late to shop some of the vendors and support your local businesses! Below are a few picks that I love or plan to check out. What are your Near Southside Favorites?

Lulu’s Unique Shop
A mobile vintage shop, operating out of a 1969 Airstream trailer.

Words on Wheels (WoW) is a reclaimed school bus filled with hundreds of books to enjoy or take home. The coolest part? There’s no charge and you don’t even have to bring the books back. You can also donate books or simply hang out and read in the bus.

Cocanour Studio & Gallery
207 S. Jennings Ave.
Jeffrey Paul Cocanour’s latest collection consists of original paintings representing Historic Fort Worth.

Stir Crazy Baked Goods  
106 E. Daggett Ave.
Delicious cakes, cookie bars, breakfast breads, and other goodies. These baked goods are made with tried and true all natural ingredients like organic flour and locally produced butter and eggs.

801 W. Magnolia Ave.
Known as “the locals living room” this Southside coffee house, pub and eatery serves specialty craft beverages, and offers a seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Shinjuku Station
711 W Magnolia
A quaint place with a small-plate food menu approach. Love the food. Love the service. Love the bar – drinks are made from fresh fruit!

The Usual Bar 
1408 W. Magnolia Avenue

A mixology bar that uses fresh and exotic ingredients. Love this place!


Opening Night for Groundbreaking Fort Worth Bridge

Fort Worth will stand just a little taller today with another first under its belt buckle. Here at Bloom Real Estate Group, we like to say that we are like Fort Worth: traditional, yet trailblazing.  A trailblazer city once again, … Continue reading

10 Tips for Surviving Fort Worth Private School Admissions

It’s October and Summer is officially over. Fall is in noticeably in the air, and you’re supposed to be basking in the glow of another successful, injury-free summer and dropping temperatures. But, instead, many Fort Worth households are faced with climbing blood pressure as they encounter yet another foreign land in the world of parenthood: the Fort Worth private school kindergarten admissions process. For those considering private education for their children, chances are your days have started to fill with “kindergarten coffees”, school presentations and paper work galore.

Did you know that the private school enrollment per capita is higher in Fort Worth than in the state of Texas? And the private school enrollment per capita is already higher in Texas than in the United States as a whole.

While kindergarten private school admissions can be overwhelming to the parents and even competitive at some schools, it’s important to remember that with 51 private school options, ranging from 20-1,200 students, in our great city of Fort Worth, the school doesn’t just have to choose you. You have to choose the school.

There are so many considerations:  What is the best fit for your family?  A secular or religious affiliation? Alternative learning or traditional curriculums? Tradition of athletic success? A legacy of prestigious college and university acceptance? Exposure to music and arts? World languages offered?

You could fret about it for days. Or you could  take a deep breath of 73°-and-sunny-air, and keep these tips and tricks on hand while you navigate the sometimes-treacherous terrain of the Fort Worth private school kindergarten admissions process:

  1. Gather information. 30 of the aforementioned private schools are represented at the annual Tarrant County Private School Preview at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
  2. Attend campus-recruiting events and set any preconceived opinions that you may have about the schools aside.
  3. Schedule individual campus visits to take a tour, ask questions and meet important admissions personnel.
  4. Visit campus for not-so-scripted events and take your child.  Feeling comfortable on campus is a good first indicator. Fall Carnivals, football games and special events are hosted on most campuses during this time of year.
  5. Remember to evaluate school  through high school, not just elementary school levels. What is the long term vision? How is the faculty? The facilities?
  6. Keep your options open and submit an application for every school you plan to include in your decision.
  7. Do NOT choose or gravitate toward a certain school because YOUR peer group is doing so.  Your child will thrive and learn to love to learn in the school community that is most conducive to him/her.
  8. Four of the largest and oldest Fort Worth private schools share one single test or “Early Childhood Development Assessment” – Fort Worth Country Day, Trinity Valley School, All Saints Episcopal and Fort Worth Academy. If you have a preference for a certain school, choose that campus for your child’s test site.
  9. Be honest with Admissions Counselors about your child’s personality, likes and dislikes, but refrain from giving your own assessment evaluation. Refrain from “selling” your child’s strengths or “revealing” weaknesses as you see them.  Most admissions counselors have interviewed and assessed more pre kindergarten students that you have can dream of.  The results and feedback you get as a parent can be invaluable as your begin the school career.
  10. Make sure your child is well rested for the school visitation or play date. These typically last 1 – 1.5 hours, and evaluate how your child interacts with others during a series of activities.  The Wall Street Journal has great tips for preparing for this visit.
  11. Be patient! Decision notices will be sent to you and no decision will be indicated before that point.

For more information about Fort Worth private schools and the admissions process, visit some of these helpful links.

Fort Worth, TX Magazine Private School Guide

Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Private School Listings

DFW Child Private Schools Resource Directory

Council for American Private Education

Finally, if all this talk of Fort Worth private schools is stressing you out, check out the Tumblr, Reasons My Son Is Crying for an all-too-relatable humor break.