kitchen upgrades

This is the fourth installment of an occasional column called Getting Real About Renovations. We’re looking at renovation realities for all sorts of projects, from hardwood floors and open floorplans, to master suite additions and kitchen upgrades. We’ll give you the unadulterated truth about options, costs, effort, Realtor opinion, and estimated ROI for these projects. You can read the last one about adding new insulation here.  

Kitchen renovations are a big deal on popular media—there’s hardly a home improvement show that doesn’t glorify the tearing apart and putting back together of a kitchen.

This is probably for good reason. The kitchen is the heart of the home and updating it can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a house.

But is it worth it? The headache and expense? Fully 35 percent of U.S. homeowners would rather move to another home than remodel their current home, according to the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

It depends on the reason for renovating, says Harrison Polsky, a Realtor with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Doing renovations can either do nothing for the seller, benefit the seller, or even hurt the seller—there honestly isn’t a right or wrong answer—think about how many spec homes are still on the market,” Polsky said. “When you start to speculate what buyers want, your risk increases. However, some buyers can’t see past an outdated kitchen and can’t get a construction loan to do the work.”

No matter the reason, though, the return on investment (ROI) for kitchen renovations is more than two-thirds the investment. Jump to learn more!


07/25/16 6:00am

4345 Manning LaneTexans have always been partial to Mediterranean architecture. Terra-cotta roofs, stucco walls and tile floors lend themselves beautifully to our climate and lifestyle. When we saw this gorgeous Mediterranean luxury villa at 4345 Manning Lane it reminded us of those amazing stucco Santa Barbara castles celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Will Smith call home. (more…)

Real Estate Story
07/25/16 1:49am


Right about now is when people usually start thinking about getting away from the heat with a vacation home somewhere that is cooler. Its not that we don’t love Dallas — sometimes this heat is a bear to bear. Our pool is perfect for me right about now: 88 degrees. Come August it inches up to 95 and I want to toss in ice cubes. No relief comes until the end of September so yes, a lot of us sleep with visions of vacation homes dancing in our heads.

Like Jackson Hole. Like Lake Tahoe. Like Big Sky, Montana. Like Santa Fe or Colorado.

So no shock that the top laces where Dallasites go to escape the heat are Breckenridge, Colorado; Santa Fe, New Mexico, which I have always called a bedroom community of Dallas; South Padre; Galveston and the Gulf Coast of Florida: Alys Beach, Watercolor, Seaside and Rosemary Beach. Panama City Beach sucked up 8.3 percent of all Dallas originated searches for vacation homes on Trulia. This comes from a special report by the folks at Trulia, who checked into which vacation home hot spots are becoming more popular for second homes.”

Texas is climbing as a popular destination for people in colder climates seeking warm weather, while we are escaping to cooler climes including, believe it or not, McCall, Idaho. One of the top ten most popular vaca home spots in the nation is Hallettsville, Texas, a rural stretch in Lavaca County between San Antonio and Houston. The whole story about Hallettsville — who knew? —and the most popular vaca destinations from Dallas is over on our sweet sister blog,

Meantime: where do you have (or dream of having) a vacation home?


07/23/16 9:55am

Saturday Eight HundredEveryone loves the M Streets. The neighborhood is centrally located, kid- friendly, and quiet, with one of the nicest collection of 1920s and ‘30s cottages in Dallas. Our Saturday Eight Hundred is a charming M Street cottage at 6250 McCommas Boulevard and it’s not just adorable, it’s also huge.


07/23/16 12:44am

3908 Monticello

Unhappily, Monticello is one of the few Fort Worth neighborhoods where tear downs happen more than we would like. Still, one often encounters the odd 1990’s vintage “Junior League Georgian” looming like a giant over quaint originals.

Such as 3908 Monticello, which epitomizes everything we love about about this west side enclave. This 1933 Tudor charmer is a sweet survivor sandwiched between two newer builds. Never mind that. She is gently loved and judiciously revamped, and every effort has been made to beautify and respect the period of the house while carving out every square inch of living space.

A charming brick walkway winds towards the arched front door. The peaked roof, garnished by comely variegated slate completes the curb appealing impression. You just want to head inside… (more…)

07/23/16 12:32am

Hey Bobcat

We have had many, many sightings of bobcats and coyotes in our neighborhood, and I have personally seen the coyotes hanging out in two vacant lots like they were having a cocktail party. I have videoed them. My husband even saw some near City Councilman Lee Kleinman’s home a few evenings ago. Neighbors have lost countless cats and small dogs. I now go out with our 50 lb. Doodle at night to keep her safe, and am considering a CHL just to protect my pets.

Because we came home from vacation to find this note on our door.

I need to call the folks who dropped it off and thank them. We happened to be in Lake Tahoe, staying at a home in Northstar. On Mondays you are asked to put the garbage out on the street for trash pick up. But in Tahoe, I was acutely aware of the really big critters who plague homeowners there: bears.



07/22/16 3:52pm

midtown rendering

While some people still haven’t gotten over the name of the development slated for the decaying Valley View Mall campus near the Dallas Galleria, Midtown is definitely getting closer to becoming a reality now that the city of Dallas has given the developer, Scott Beck, a deadline to get the wrecking ball swinging. To further that transition from idea to fruition, AIA Dallas’ Young Professionals group is hosting an Architecture on Tap event to discuss the sprawling development.

The event, which will feature representatives from OMNIPLAN, the firm that designed Dallas Midtown, as well as Jessica Clements of Studio Outside, North Dallas neighborhood representative Sid Miller, Hammond Perot of the City of Dallas Office of Economic Development, and City of Dallas Planning and Urban Design guru Peer Chako.

Jump for more!


07/22/16 2:32pm

701 S. Clinton Front

Winnetka Heights is a real treasure of a neighborhood, one of the largest and oldest historical districts in Dallas — it was established in 1910. Driving or walking through its tree-lined streets in North Oak Cliff, the architecture shines. Prairie and Craftsman houses dominate the area.

Our Friday Five Hundred stands out with its color, character, and conveniences. Located at 701 S. Clinton Ave., this Craftsman has been painstakingly updated with modern amenities, but still retains the charmed feel you can only get in a historic house. It’s got five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and 2,958 square feet on two stories, built in 1930. Vintage features, like the wide front porch and coffered ceilings in the formal dining room, marry beautifully with updated features, like the backyard hot tub under a pergola and open concept kitchen.