Graduating from the Harvard Business School with a Master of Business Administration in 1973, George W. Bush was just a regular businessman working in the oil industry and living outside of Dallas in the posh Preston Hollow neighborhood with his wife and twin daughters during the early 1990s. Recognized occasionally by his neighbors as the son of President George H. Bush, by others as the co-owner of the Texas Rangers and by locals simply from jogging in the area, shuttling his daughters to and from school or the occasional trip to Slider and Blues for pizza, everything changed for the young Bush—even his beautiful ranch-style home—when he was elected as the Governor of Texas in 1995.
Leaving his home for the Governor’s mansion until 2000, Bush made an even bigger move in 2001 when he followed in his father’s footsteps to become the 43rd President of the United States and moved his family to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After two terms marked by the September 11 terrorist attacks, the War on Terror, Hurricane Katrina and a “Great Recession,” Bush was more than ready to return to his former Preston Hollow neighborhood, only this time to a bigger house with far more privacy and land.
Located at 10141 Daria Place in the southeastern section known as “the honey pot” of Dallas’ prestigious Preston Hollow community, George and Laura purchased the 8,500 square foot estate in 2008 for approximately $3 million with the help of George’s longtime friend and accountant, Robert McCleskey. Built in 1959 on just over an acre of land, the property is underpriced for the area with most lots averaging around $3 million alone thanks to billionaire neighbors like Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks, actor Luke Wilson, oilman T. Boone Pickens and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. In fact, Hicks was thrilled to learn the former Texas Rangers co-owner was moving back to the neighborhood. “If he moves next door, we’d love it,” Hicks said. “The Secret Service would make the neighborhood safer!”
Updated and renovated prior to George and Laura moving in, the one-story brick home sits on a quiet cul-de-sac and has four bedrooms and four and a half baths in addition to a gallery, library, marble bath and a stunning limestone fireplace. Other features of the home include a wet bar, cabana, a detached garage and storage building as well as a guest cottage that sits apart from the main house and measures 896 square feet. Yet, not even the grand amenities and the excitement of high profile neighbors are enough to make up for the home’s modesty compared to the Bush’s 1,600 acre Crawford estate.
Officially named Prairie Chapel Ranch but affectionately known as the Western White House during Bush’s presidency from 2001 to 2009, the exquisite Central Texas estate is located seven miles from the small town of Crawford, Texas and about 25 miles west of Waco. Spending years dreaming of building the perfect getaway, the couple purchased the vast ranch in 1999 under their Lone Star Trust for $1.3 million and immediately hired David Heymann, the associate professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, to bring their dreams to life while remaining true to their beloved Texas landscape.
Completed just after Bush entered the White House in 2001, Prairie Chapel Ranch met each one of the Bush’s needs as a single-story limestone house situated in a rise between a grove of live oaks and cedar elms. Boasting three bedrooms and a two-suite guesthouse, the home is filled with natural stone that has a striking color scheme as well as plenty of windows that double as doors to allow the Texas breeze and plenty of natural light indoors. Thrilled by the design and details like the 10-foot wide porch that surrounds the house, the former President said, “We wanted to see and enjoy the beauty as much as possible.”
Keeping the landscape at the forefront throughout the entire home, the open-concept floor plan includes a kitchen and dining room area on the east side as well as a combination living and family room used for entertaining family and friends. A wall of glass doors makes the porch accessible from any room with the extended roof ensuring everything and everyone stays dry during even the harshest of Texas downpours. Added amenities include a breezeway where the former President likes to paint in the afternoons, an outdoor swimming pool for the grandkids, a guest house built from an 18th century English frame barn found in upstate New York and a spacious detached garage. Complete with three miles of land on Rainey Creek, seven canyons, a 90-acre tree farm and a man-made lake that extends over 11 acres, the house even supports green living with a geothermal system that efficiently heats and cools the home in addition to heating the outdoor swimming pool.
While George and Laura spend the majority of their time in their modest Dallas home, the couple definitely likes to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life at their Crawford getaway where they enjoy entertaining their daughters and extended family with the comforts and peace of home. Needless to say, after spending eight years running the United States of America, the former President definitely deserves a little rest and relaxation however he chooses, don’t you agree?