Author / Al Stevens


Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Dallas and Houston

Love is in the air in Texas as Dallas and Houston residents prepare for Valentine’s Day. With fun for all ages, singles and romantic outings for couples, these cities have no shortage of traditional and unconventional Valentine’s Day options.


It’s time to up your level of adventure this Valentine’s Day in Grapevine by taking a wine tour or Valentine’s Cruise. The Sweetheart Wine Trail is the ideal outing for wine lovers, featuring food pairings, wine and commemorative glasses on a day-long tour Feb. 10 or 11. The Valentine’s Cruise takes place on Lake Grapevine, with cruises running Feb. 9 through Feb. 17, where guests revel in comedy performances, delightful food and live music. While in Grapevine, take time to tour Darling Homes’ gorgeous community of Glade Hill where falling in love with a dream home has never been easier.

Chocolate lovers will relish the opportunity to hop on the Dallas Decadent Valentine Dreams Chocolate tour on Valentine’s Day, and adventurous souls can head to McKinney for a romantic hot air balloon ride and tour of one of Darling Homes’ fresh and sophisticated McKinney communities.

For a macabre twist on this romantic holiday, look to Moxley Manor’s Valentine’s Day Haunted House or take part in a interactive murder mystery with Keith and Margo’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on Feb. 10 for an unforgettable evening of improvisational comedy, live action mystery and gourmet dining.

Take the guess work out of planning and make a reservation for an amorous dinner at a restaurant, check out Asador, Dallas Chophouse, Cook Hall, Dallas Fish Market or MoMo’s Pasta.


Whether you’re looking for traditional Valentine’s romance, fun for the whole family or a way to celebrate unconventionally, Houston has an abundance of events.

For a romantic escape, head to one of Houston’s charming bed and breakfasts for a night or a weekend. Reserving couples massages or a spot at Paint and Sip Valentine’s Day outing on Feb. 9 in Sugar Land, where you can create a painting and enjoy champagne at Center Stage Gallery. While in Sugar Land, check out our latest , where gorgeous homes sit just southwest of Houston in incredible communities.

For an unforgettable experience, Houstonians can head out to Texas Zombie Hunt at Tank’s Paintball in Richmond and partake in dinner, movies and the zombie hunting adventure of a lifetime. For adventure without the zombies, check out Mystery Cafe Houston for a night of mystery and amusement.

Singles in the Houston area can head over to the Gite Gallery for a singles mixer featuring a dating coach and wine expert.

Food lovers will delight in a special Valentine’s Day dinner in Houston this year, with restaurants such as Backstreet Cafe, Brasserie du Parc, The Federal Grill, One Fifth Romance Languages and The Pass & Provisions dishing up special meals.

Ready to fall in love with your dream home this Valentine’s Day? No matter where you find events and restaurants you love in Houston or Dallas, Darling Homes has a home and a community to suit your needs. Take a tour around these metro areas to find your



Mardi Gras Texas Brings the Festivities to Your Neighborhood

Residents of Dallas and Houston don’t need to travel far to embrace the celebrations and traditions of Mardi Gras. From masquerades and king cake to parades and festivals, these cities put their own Texas twist and charm as they paint the streets purple, green and gold on this jubilant annual event.

Mardi Gras in Houston

The good times roll with Mardi Gras in Houston, with festivities continuing throughout the month of February.  The Saturday before Mardi Gras, which falls on Feb. 13 this year, Houstonians and visitors alike will be drawn to Downtown for a myriad of events. Mardi Gras Houston is taking the celebration to the streets with a parade and themed festivities, a celebration that Downtownfest Houston hopes to turn into an annual experience.

A little further south, Galveston is hosting its annual Mardi Gras bash, with 24 parades and host of themed events and contests spreading over two weeks.

Want to celebrate Mardi Gras, but skip the larger events? Join Brennan’s of Houston for a prix fixe menu filled with Mardi Gras-themed fare and live jazz on Feb. 13.

Mardi Gras is also coming to Town Green Park in The Woodlands with Masquerade Woodlands, an event with activities for all ages. This Feb. 24 event features a pet parade, kids zone, cajun food and jazz and zydeco music. Like the area? Make time for a tour of a Darling Homes model at The Woodlands, where multiple collections of stunning, spacious homes priced from the low $400,000s are available.

Mardi Gras in Dallas

Mardi Gras Texas Style! is returning to Dallas for the 17th year with a festival full of country music and fun at the historic State Fairgrounds on Feb. 10, with 20 musical acts taking over five stages for the day.

The Krewe de Etoile is also hosting their annual Gala Masquerade Ball, an evening filled with Mardi Gras charm that benefits charity, with a Whimsical Wonderland theme on Feb. 10. This year’s spotlight charity is CitySquare, an organization which Darling Homes Dallas contributes contributes to with its annual coat drive each winter.

On Mardi Gras, Lake Dallas will mark the occasion with its 13th annual celebration. With a parade, vendor market and mask contest, live music and a crawfish eating contest, City Park in Lake Dallas will be filled with fun for all ages. Take a break from the festivities and head over to the Darling Homes communities of Hunters Glen or Parkside at Woodlake to check out the incredible neighborhoods and gorgeous, move-in-ready homes.

The merriment continues after Mardi Gras as well, with a themed bar crawl organized by Bar Crawl Nation taking place in Uptown Dallas on Feb. 17.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!


Volunteering in Your Community

Darling Homes prides itself on not only building high-quality, elegant homes, but on fostering a sense of community within the company and neighborhoods. Every year, Darling Homes employees volunteer their time to give back to the communities they serve, and there are many incredible opportunities for volunteering around both Dallas and Houston.


No matter what area of Dallas you choose to make your home in, areas from Irving to McKinney to Frisco offer dream homes from Darling Homes and communities that are filled with volunteer opportunities and room for growth.

The City of Dallas has partnered with VolunteerNow to create the City of Dallas Volunteer Program which makes finding the optimal volunteer opportunities as easy as possible. With filters that help sort opportunities by location, interests, skills and available times, this website helps match volunteers with programs throughout the Dallas area.

The North Texas Food Bank and its partner agencies offer the chance for Dallas-area residents to get involved and help on a local level, through volunteering time, hosting canned food drives, participating in events and more.

Dallas Public Library branches also provide a variety of avenues for helping in the community, including teaching English as a Second Language classes, GED tutoring and assisting with various activities for children.


From pet adoptions to gardens and education, Volunteer Houston helps to match Houstonians with organizations in need of assistance by partnering with over 1,200 community groups each year. Darling Homes builds throughout the Houston area, and several of the communities where Darling Homes builds have volunteer work for residents within their neighborhoods.

In The Woodlands, community takes a forefront with volunteer tasks including tree planting, arts in the park, community cleanup and more. In Montgomery, where Darling Homes builds gorgeous homes at Woodforest, chances to help out at animal shelters, medical centers, educational assistance and helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are abundant, as seen on this list from Lone Star College.

The Houston Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity both have multiple locations and venues for volunteers in various areas around Houston.

Throughout Dallas and Houston, several organizations provide valuable resources for Texans in need with locations and chances to lend a hand throughout the year and across the state. The Red Cross has various regional offices and is heavily involved in helping Texans on a daily basis and after natural disasters.

Both the YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters programs allow community members in Dallas and Houston to provide mentorship and aid to young people in the communities.

Share the gift of volunteering in your community today!


Decor Refresh: Keeping Model Homes on Trend

As trends in housing change, homebuilders strive to keep models and decor up-to-date for interested homebuyers. When Darling Homes decided to update their American Classic series model in Woodforest, a community in Montgomery, they turned to Wendy Mitchell of Millennium Designs, Inc.

Mitchell works with homebuilders, like Darling Homes, to keep model homes looking fresh, trendy and ready to sell. It’s her job to go through the home with company representatives, discussing budget, paint, furniture and artwork. They decide, together, what has to go and what can stay during the updating process.

“The idea is to make it more current with what’s trending today,” Mitchell said. Mitchell said the client also focuses on specific demographics, and it’s her job to get decor to match that target audience.

After walking through the American Classic series model home and hearing the company’s desires, Mitchell compared that to what she believed needed to change, put together a presentation and agreed with the Darling Homes on what they were going to alter.

In the Woodforest model home, Mitchell said one of the biggest differences was repainting the interior.

“The walls were kind of a gold, so with trends changing that was one of the things that needed to change. It needed to be lighter and brighter,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said other key focal points were swapping artwork for more modern pieces, replacing the kitchen backsplash to a subway tile and getting new drapery in dining areas to make the rooms flow. New light fixtures were also added to certain rooms, like the dining room, to update the area.

The goal — both for the homebuilders and Mitchell, as a designer — is to make the home feel like it’s ready to live in so those who come in seeking homes can envision a life there.

“We want it to feel current and relevant,” Mitchell said. In a refresh of a model, Mitchell uses some existing elements in the home to stay on budget while changing things around. Artwork, lamps and rearrangement of accessories and furniture are good ways to change the flow of the home without having to buy all new material.

Depending on the scale of the refresh, Mitchell said the work can take anywhere from 48 hours to around 5 weeks. Projects that focus on decluttering or changing small things are fast, while more labor intensive plans take more time to plan and execute.

One way Mitchell often updates a model is by simply taking out old accessories and making sure furniture is arranged so people who want to tour can get an idea of the floor plan for their own needs.

“It’s like Christmas every time you install a model. It’s a lot of fun, very gratifying and you get to see the fruits of your labor very quickly,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said she always enjoys working with Darling Homes, and that her focus in designing, whether from scratch or a refresh, is always to get the best finished product for her client.

“We stay open-minded and listen to clients. When it comes to design, I think never say never is a good rule,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s refresh of the model at Woodforest is complete and ready for visitors to tour. The model is located at 102 Jackson Park, Montgomery, TX 77316. Interested in visiting? Call 936-447-2459 for more information on the Woodforest community or schedule a tour today.

Darling Difference

After Three Decades, Darling Homes Continues Its Legacy as a Top Dallas Homebuilder

When you think of what it takes to be a top Dallas homebuilder, what comes to mind?

For us, being the best builder for our homebuyers starts with working hard every day to create memorable living experiences in homes that stand the test of time. And after 30 years of building homes throughout Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, the passion to create those memorable homes still burns bright.

Delivering that living experience means designing and building distinctive homes in highly desirable neighborhoods. It means using the best materials to craft your dream home. Finally, it means always maintaining a superior customer experience. These are the qualities we’ve built into every home we’ve delivered since 1987.

In 1987, the Darling brothers – Bill, Bob and Steve – were quite literally creating the first building blocks of what’s become the Darling legacy. Today, we carry on that proud tradition.

We see ourselves as partners in your journey to build the perfect home.

From the moment you step inside a Darling home, the difference is evident. You’ll immediately notice the architectural authenticity of our designs. You’ll uncover the distinctive details that reveal themselves as you tour each home. You’ll feel the difference in our commitment to you and the personal building experience you embark on.

Our team of experts are here to create the memorable home you’ve always wanted, one that is timeless, expertly built and architecturally authentic. That home is a Darling.


In Dallas, Darling Homes Aims to Make a Difference

From therapeutic horseback riding to giving kids the opportunity to play team sports to coat drives during chilly winter months, Darling Homes strives to support the Dallas community every day.

The roots of this giving nature can be traced back to Bill and Priscilla Darling, who founded ManeGate Therapeutic Horsemanship, which helps children and adults with disabilities meet physical and mental goals while connecting with therapy horses. Darling Homes assists this unique and wonderful program by sponsoring annual fundraisers and having a host of current and former employees work as volunteers in the program.

At Darling Homes, year after year, programs like ManeGate play an important role in the company’s philanthropy and place in the community. A group of employees, called the Darling Cares Committee, volunteer their time throughout the year to find and contribute to worthy causes throughout Dallas.

Annually, the Darling Homes coat drive completely fulfills the needs of the Transition Resource Action Center (TRAC), a program that aids young adults who have aged out of foster care and are integrating into society. TRAC is a program under CitySquare, and CitySquare distributes the remaining coats to men, women and children in need throughout the Dallas area. Every coat collected by Darling Homes employees has been put to use keeping the people of Dallas warm.

Giving back doesn’t stop at donations for Darling Homes. In 2017, the accounting and finance departments teamed up to help stock the shelves of the Frisco Family Services Food Pantry. In December, the sales and marketing team volunteered with Dallas Life, an organization that lends support to homeless men, women and children. The volunteers from Darling Homes provided gift wrapping and snacks to families who shopped the Christmas Toy Giveaway.

With a passion for helping enrich the area, groups like Young Life Capernaum, Young Life McKinney, Project Hope and the Connemara Conservancy Fund also benefit from Darling Homes’ annual charitable initiatives.

Children in the local YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas programs receive contributions from Darling Homes for numerous sports programs for young people, including the Special Needs Champions League which provides a multi-sports league for individuals with special needs ages 7 to 25. Charitable donations also help children in the area play an entire season of an organized sport.

Darling Homes is passionate about bettering the community it serves through volunteering and charitable donations. Employees of Darling Homes continually strive to give time and money back to organizations to make a better present, and future, in the Dallas area.

Darling Difference

New Patio Collections Deliver the Darling Experience

Comfort. Elegance. Uncompromising style. These are just a few of the things you expect to find when you select a Darling home. Whether this is your first, or if you’ve been part of the Darling family for years, delivering a superior experience is always our top priority.

Our newest collection of patio homes, now offered in three of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Dallas, are continuing that legacy. These homes represent the perfect opportunity for those seeking to simplify their lifestyle while retaining the sophisticated elegance they desire.

Patio Charm at Newman Village

The Darling Homes Luxury Patio Collection at Newman Village elevates patio living to a new level of refinement with intimate home designs, open-concept spaces, extensive courtyards and covered porches and patios.

Inviting living rooms with soaring ceilings, gorgeous gourmet kitchens with expansive walk-in pantries, private master suites positioned near the rear of the home for optimal privacy, and charming hearth rooms all add allure to our Newman Village Patio designs. Optional game rooms, media rooms, secondary bedrooms, three-car garages, walk-up attic storage, and even a guest casita, may be available to personalize your home to your unique lifestyle.

These distinctive 1- to 1½-story homes include Old World, Country French and Mediterranean styles. They range in size from approximately 2,700 to 3,500 square feet and are priced from the mid-$500,000s.

Newman Village residents are served by the acclaimed Frisco Independent School District, where their mission is to know every student by name and need. Frisco was also recently named one of the 2017 best cities to raise kids in by the U.S. Council for Home Safety and Security.

Located on El Dorado Parkway just west of Dallas North Tollway in Frisco, Newman Village residents have convenient access to unique upscale dining and shopping destinations, as well as easy access to charming downtown Frisco.

Tempting Entertainment Spaces at Somerset in The Tribute

The Tribute in The Colony is a well-established master-planned community nestled on a private Lake Lewisville peninsula and offers two championship golf courses, ample outdoor activities and more. Buyers looking to downsize their home without compromising their current lifestyle, may find the perfect fit with our Sanctuary Patio Collection which is featured within the Somerset village of The Tribute.

Priced from the mid $400,000s, this sophisticated collection of home plans range from approximately 2,400 to 3,000 square feet and spotlight the striking architectural elements that Darling Homes is known for. These designs include well-planned spaces with open-concept living and dining rooms that blend beautifully with outdoor courtyards. Working gourmet kitchens with hearth rooms, 1st floor media rooms, and master bedrooms with convenient access to utility rooms make the Sanctuary Patio Collection at The Tribute-Somerset ideal.

Residents are served by Little Elm Independent School District with Prestwick STEM academy, an onsite campus delivering forward-thinking instruction with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

Just minutes from the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121, The Tribute provides easy commutes to major employment centers, downtown Dallas and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Auburn Hills at Willowcreek: A New Opportunity in McKinney

The Darling Homes Sanctuary Patio Collection is also offered in Willowcreek, the private, gated enclave of Auburn Hills. This magnificent collection includes seven home designs ranging from approximately 2,300 to 3,000 square feet, and includes inviting entryways leading to expansive living areas with spacious covered patios, ideal for entertaining or relaxing outdoors.

Priced from the high $300,000s, these homes showcase the distinctive architectural elements you’ve come to expect from Darling Homes. Open-concept living areas that blend seamlessly to outdoor areas, gourmet kitchens with hearth rooms, family rooms with fireplaces, media rooms and master bedrooms with convenient access to utility rooms, all work together to create a warm and inviting home.

Residents enjoy private community amenities like a junior Olympic lap pool, shade arbors and an outdoor grill area with lawn for social gatherings. There is also access to the Auburn Hills master-planned community amenities which includes a pool with splash pad, shade arbors, a playground, a sport court and nature paths.

Willowcreek is located in McKinney, one of Money magazine’s most livable cities. The city even took home the No. 1 ranking in 2014. Students living in Auburn Hills at Willowcreek attend the highly rated Prosper or McKinney school districts.

Surrounded by rolling hills, Willowcreek provides its residents with a relaxed lifestyle and convenient access to some of the area’s best employment corridors, thanks to the easy commutes along US Highway 380, US 75/Central Expressway, North Dallas Tollway, Sam Rayburn Tollway and George Bush Turnpike.

Incredible Area Attractions for all Three Communities

No matter which of these highly desirable communities you choose, you will enjoy convenient access to world-class sports and entertainment venues, of-the-moment shopping and delectable dining destinations. The dynamic $5 Billion Mile development, featuring The Star in Frisco, as well as Legacy West and award-winning Shops at Legacy are also nearby for endless shopping, dining and entertainment options.


Grand Central Park Offers a Tranquil Setting for a New Home in Houston

Nestled in north Houston is one of the area’s most talked about new communities, a neighborhood that offers something for everyone. Grand Central Park, home to two distinctive series of home designs from Darling Homes, offers a relaxing environment tucked away from the demands of the hectic outside world.

Wooded landscapes, sparkling lakes and miles of wooded trailways await at Grand Central Park. A planned Town Center will offer all of today’s conveniences close by, while the best in shopping, dining and entertainment are just a short drive away.

Lake Conroe – which offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating and canoeing – and WG Jones State Forest are also nearby.

For new homebuyers in Houston, Darling Homes is offering its signature patio homes and luxury patio homes at Grand Central Park.

A total of five distinct floor plans are offered in the builder’s patio home collection. Starting at approximately 2,400 square feet of living space and stretching to more than 3,000 square feet, each of the homes offers three bedrooms and up to three baths. Prices start in the high $300,000s.

Debuting in early 2018, Darling Homes’ luxury patio homes are even larger while still maintaining a lifestyle-focused design. The homes offer up to four bedrooms and four baths, along with larger living spaces and covered patios for outdoor entertaining.

Grand Central Park is conveniently bordered by I-45 and Loop 336 between the city of Conroe and The Woodlands providing excellent access to a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment venues. With more than one third of the land dedicated to a nature preserve, residents can look forward to ample green space and gorgeous views with over 10 miles of hiking and bike trails, charming hidden ponds and lakes as well as the future walkable, urban Town Center. The unique blend of distinctive home designs, exceptional community amenities and abundance of natural beauty is sure to appeal to every life and style.


Darling Difference

Darling Homes Wins Big at 2017 Houston’s Best PRISM Awards

Darling Homes continued its success at the 2017 Houston’s Best PRISM Awards, winning 11 awards for design and sales excellence including a Grand Award for top builder.

With its Grand Award win as the top volume builder of the year, Darling Homes took home the most prestigious award of the night. It was the second win in a row for Darling, which currently offers distinctive communities across the Greater Houston Area. The only other builder to accomplish back-to-back wins in the category was Taylor Morrison in 2010 and 2011.

Darling Homes also won for Volume Builder Product Design awards in the $400,000 to $500,000 category for its Grand Central Park model and in the $600,000 category for its Stillwater model. Keeley Motton was named Marketing Professional of the Year and the builder also took home Garden Home/Patio Home of the Year for its Whisper Rock at Riverstone model. Darling Homes won in six additional product categories, netting 11 overall wins and being named a finalist in 13 other categories.

Second Straight Year of Excellence
In 2016, Darling Homes also earned the grand award for top volume builder of the year and was celebrated for its unique and quality craftsmanship for best-in-product design, interior merchandising and outdoor living spaces.

The company also won for Sales Brochure of the Year and was recognized for best billboard, radio commercial and marketing campaign for its “Luxury in Bloom” Home Tour. Additional wins included special recognition for Rookie Onsite Sales Professional of the Year and Mortgage Specialist of the Year.

In all, Darling Homes garnered 15 wins and finished as a finalist in 15 other categories in 2016.

Demonstrating the Darling Difference
Now celebrating its 30th year of building distinctive homes for discerning Texas homebuyers, Darling Homes sees each home it builds as a truly personal expression of each homebuyer’s life. Darling’s building professionals take the time to personalize each home in a way that fits the unique lifestyle of each homebuyer.

From exclusive collections of incredible home designs developed by an in-house architecture team to its professionally curated Design Gallery, Darling Homes has the quality materials and designers to guide homebuyers through every step of building their dream home.

At Home

Edgestone at Legacy to Offer Upscale Living with New Amenity Center

Looking for the best in Frisco living? Discover the beauty, convenience and lifestyle that awaits with Darling Homes in Edgestone at Legacy, the new home community built around how today’s homebuyers want to live.

Explore the Amenity Center in Edgestone at Legacy
Edgestone at Legacy is a 307-acre master planned community in west Frisco that features lush landscaping, neighborhood parks, upscale amenities, hike-and-bike trails and stunning home designs by Darling Homes.

The centerpiece of Edgestone is a beautifully appointed amenity center that offers luxurious world-class activities for its residents.

This spacious facility includes a resident center perfect for hosting events, attending community classes or getting in a great workout at the state-of-the-art fitness center. Residents can relax on weekends at the resort-style infinity pool complete with cabanas, a tanning ledge and more. The amenity center’s wrap-around patio provides ample space for get-togethers including a barbecue area for cookouts, as well as a cozy conversation area nestled around an impressive outdoor fireplace.

Edgestone at Legacy’s amenities were constructed with both children and adults in mind. Along with nature paths, incredible views and a sense of serenity, there is a multitude of options for entertainment. Miles of hike and bike trails and a scenic pond provide a beautiful backdrop for the children’s play area, which is a perfect place to climb, imagine and play with neighborhood friends.

Beautiful Home Options in Edgestone at Legacy in Frisco
Priced from the low $600,000s, Darling Homes in Edgestone at Legacy offers seven stunning floor plans with traditional exteriors and charming architectural details such as breathtaking archways, show-stopping views and thoughtful transitions throughout.

The one- and two-story homes offer up to five bedrooms, 4.5 baths and up to three-car garages. Inside, the Darling touch is everywhere. These home designs were created to maximize livable areas and create an overall flow that is both functional and a delight to explore.

Each home offers its own unique set of lifestyle options, whether it’s a hearth room, game room, media room or extended covered patio. Design options are also available for the homes, which can stretch up to 4,000 square feet. Plans start at approximately 2,900 square feet and can extend to more than 4,000 square feet with select design options.

Entertainment in the City of Frisco
Edgestone at Legacy residents enjoy convenient access to Frisco’s eclectic dining scene, world-class shopping and retail centers, and one-of-a-kind entertainment venues including those planned at Frisco’s $5 Billion Mile, home of the Dallas Cowboys’ 91-acre team and corporate headquarters, The Star.

Employment Centers Near Frisco
Located a short distance from major thoroughfares, Legacy Drive, Stonebrook Parkway, the Dallas North Tollway and the Sam Rayburn Tollway, residents of Edgestone at Legacy will enjoy a quick commute to major employment hubs in Frisco, Plano and Downtown Dallas.

For more information about Darling Homes at Edgestone at Legacy in Frisco, Texas, please call 214-705-0669 or take a tour of the model home, which is located at 4189 Hazlewood Avenue, Frisco, TX 75034.