Dara usually gets the coffee ice cream when she takes her daughter Ila to The Parlour. But this hot early Fall afternoon she decided to share in the cookies and cream deliciousness.

Originally from Massachusetts, Dara Shain moved to Chapel Hill in 1994, to be closer to her brother. After an assortment of jobs from burrito maker to vet assistant, she soon found a sweet spot (that lasted for 15 years) as an INDY WEEK ad rep.


Helping local businesses broaden their impact within the community was what compelled Dara, and creating long-lasting relationships with her clients is the same thing that keeps her motivated now. From showing houses to match-making people with new neighborhoods, Dara thrives on deadlines and details and had thought about a real estate career long before she reconnected with RED co-owner Chloë Seymore. Serendipity led to just the right timing for Dara to transition from advertising to real estate and join Chloë’s side in late 2016.

Dara now enjoys living in south Durham with Ila, her husband Matt, and their cat (note: she’s not a cat person) Lovey-Mei, an exotic short-hair who loves Durham as much as the rest of the family. Since she also loves car rides, they occasionally take her downtown where she’s a huge hit at Ila’s favorite shop Everyday Magic.


Matt is the nursery and greenhouse manager for the North Carolina Botanical Garden and a musician who has managed to pass down those musical genes to Ila as well. The family loves Girls Rock NC, an organization that works to empower young people through creative expression, helping to build more confident and engaged members of the community. Ila has played the bass and drums in addition to singing and writing music which is pretty darn impressive for a ten year old. Smart, athletic, kind and incredibly vivacious (just like Dara), you can often find these two eating ice cream by the bull or enjoying sweets at some of their other Durham faves like Rose’s, Locopops, Bean Traders, and Monuts.

The Assemblage Studio