PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas January February 2022

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FOR ASHES B I n 2014, when Robby and Christy Berry bought their mid-century modern house in Preston Hollow, it was surrounded by seven or eight massive oak trees. "It was just so, so pretty," remembers Christy, a real estate broker with Compass. Robby, a banker with Citi Private Bank, was smitten as soon as he stepped inside. "It had an open California floor plan and windows toward the backyard, and there was a greenhouse — it was just great," he says. The greenhouse, a vaulted beauty in steel and glass, had been added by a previous owner, an orchid enthusiast who relocated it from an old estate in Farmers Branch. He'd also dug a wine cellar beneath it, accessed by a winding iron staircase. The Berrys CHRISTY AND ROBBY BERRY SURVIVED A TORNADO THAT DESTROYED THEIR PRESTON HOLLOW HOUSE THREE YEARS AGO. HERE'S THEIR REMARKABLE STORY, AND A LOOK AT THE SPLENDID HOUSE THAT AROSE. weren't sure what to do with the greenhouse at first; for a while, they had rocking chairs in there so they could sit and watch egrets and other birds that frequented the backyard. They loved the greenhouse so much they eventually turned it into a dining room, and Christy furnished the space with a dining table large enough to host the entire family, including their five grown children. On the evening of October 20, 2019, two of their sons and a daughter joined them for an early dinner in the greenhouse, along with a son's girlfriend; afterwards, everyone gathered around the TV to watch the game. Shortly after 9 pm — sometime during the second half when the Dallas Cowboys were trouncing the Philadelphia Eagles — the house lost power. As the Berrys searched in darkness for flashlights and candles, they had no idea that minutes earlier, a tornado had touched down miles away near Walnut Hill Lane and I-35, and was tracking east directly toward them, destroying schools, houses, and shopping centers in its path. Suddenly, rain began to pelt the house, and lightning crackled furiously. With each flash — and there were hundreds — Christy glimpsed a sickening, hazy green sky. "The air felt like it was being sucked out of the house," she says, and the windows were starting to buckle from the pressure. Christy screamed for the kids to run for safety into the wine cellar, just as two electrical transformers were ripped from their poles in the alley and hurled through the greenhouse roof, missing them by seconds. Robby, who was recovering BY REBECCA SHERMAN. PHOTOGRAPHY LISA PETROLE. RENOVATIONS ROSEWOOD CUSTOM BUILDERS, WRENOVATOR. INTERIOR DESIGN SEES DESIGN. EAuTY

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