A Dallas ISD student watches for his teacher to come to his house, as part of Stand for Children-Dallas' work with the district to facilitate home visits. Stand Dallas is one of the 1,100 plus education organizations that will benefit from today's North Texas Day of Giving. (Photo by Bethany Erickson)

A Dallas ISD student watches for his teacher to come to his house, as part of Stand for Children-Dallas’ work with the district to facilitate home visits. Stand Dallas is one of the 1,100 plus education organizations that will benefit from today’s North Texas Day of Giving. (Photo by Bethany Erickson)

Today, as Leah mentioned, is North Texas Giving Day.  Yesterday we talked about some home-related organizations taking part and today I’d like to highlight some ways you can contribute to the educations of area children. There are more than 1,100 opportunities to help North Texas scholars, but these are some great charities and schools that impact Dallas students every day.

First, Project Transformation – which provides mentorship and tutoring (as well as a safe place for kids to go after school) throughout Dallas and beyond. Donations of $25 and above qualify for bonus funds.

Stand for Children-Dallas is leading a Home Visit Project in 50 Dallas ISD schools with over 525 teachers and staff members participating, including my kiddo’s school (we had a home visit from his kindergarten teacher last night). Every $25 helps pay for another home visit. These home visits are designed to be positive visits that give the child’s teacher and parents a chance to talk one-on-one about their shared goals for the child.

And then there is Reading Partners. I will be starting my second year of tutoring with this organization soon, and I have personally watched children start out not loving reading, behind at least a grade level (often more) in reading – but by the end of the year, demanding book recommendations and reading confidently with their peers. The statistics regarding reading at grade level by third grade are alarming – but your $25 can help train more people like me (and you, ahem), as well as buy books and supplies.

The Dallas Education Foundation,  the independent fundraising organization for Dallas ISD, is raising funds for “Backpack for Books”  – which will serve 600 pre-K classrooms with two backpacks filled with reading materials that families can use to work with their children at home. Each student will have the chance to take home a backpack twice during the school year.

The Concilio works to increase parent involvement in their children’s education through their  PASE program, which teaches parents how to become more actively engaged in their child’s education. The group also frequently addresses community health issues as well.

And check your local schools – some also have fundraising going today through their independent fundraising groups (for instance, Thomas Jefferson High and Booker T. Washington). Is your school raising money through North Texas Giving Day today? Post a link in the comments!

Best real estate markets 2016

Nearly a decade after the housing crisis that sent the U.S. economy into freefall, housing is most certainly back—just look at our DFW market. Citing U.S. Census Bureau data, the New York Times recently reported that sales of new single-family homes nationwide were higher this past July than in nearly 10 years.

Nationwide, a company that tracks the health of U.S. real estate, reported at the end of quarter two that “the overall U.S. housing market is sustainable,” adding that “few regional housing markets are vulnerable to a housing downturn.”

In a new study, financial services site WalletHub compared 300 U.S. cities across 16 key metrics to help prospective home buyers find the most attractive real-estate markets. Their data set ranges from “median home-price appreciation” to “housing affordability” to “job growth.”

North Texas cities scored big: Frisco, McKinney, Richardson, Allen, and Plano made their top-ten list of best real estate markets nationwide in 2016. Denton, Carrollton, Fort Worth, Irving, Grand Prairie, and Dallas scored in the top 50.

So what made DFW cities score so high?

“North Texas cities have healthy and sustainable real estate markets,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Very few homes have negative equity, home appreciation in the past seven years has continued to increase, and foreclosure rates are extremely low. In addition to having a healthy real estate market, these cities are affordable with low maintenance costs and cost of living. Not to mention, the economic environment in North Texas is thriving, boasting some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country (under 3 percent across the board).”

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Richard Drummond Davis

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the last one here).

Richard Drummond Davis

Richard Drummond Davis

Dallas architect Richard Drummond Davis is Dallas born, creating some of the most lavish and beautiful luxury homes today in North Texas (he’s the architect behind our most recent Luxe Tour).

His undergraduate degrees, a BS in architectural studies and a liberal arts degree, at from the University of Texas at Austin. While earning his Masters degree in architecture at Princeton, Davis studied with Michael Graves, a member of the “White Five,” formerly a follower of Le Corbusier who turned post modern and invented a new style of architecture, totally and recognizably his own.

But post modern was not to be his path. Seeking to express his own ideas, he returned to Dallas to start his own firm, Richard Drummond Davis Architect. Today, Davis is masterful at listening to his clients and creating their dreams, while respecting the power and beauty of historical architectural forms.

CandysDirt.comWhat keeps you in architecture? What motivates you?

Richard Drummond Davis: I love the challenge of the client who wants something unique or the unusual site which demands something unique. Getting into the design challenge is an adrenaline high.

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One reason people fall out of housing

One reason people fall out of housing

Day by day, many Dallasites inch closer to a financial abyss.  Sometimes it’s self-inflicted, but oftentimes it’s not.  Many who find themselves without a roof simply had a series of misfortunes that were beyond their means or ability to handle. If anyone doubts this, the statistics on the numbers of people who work full time and yet don’t know where their next meal will come from or don’t have enough money to pay an unexpected $500 expense are alarming.  Hand-in-glove with this are the shocking (and increasing) numbers of people for whom rent consumes an outsize amount of their wages. Living paycheck-to-paycheck has become a dream for those living a paycheck or two behind.  Despite reports of the economic recovery, it’s not reached those most vulnerable.

Dallas, with its housing boom, is hardly immune, with rising rents exacerbating what was likely already a tenuous hold on tenancy. The final shove, out onto the streets, is a place infinitely more difficult to escape from than you imagine.

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historic downtown dallas buildings

The Butler Brothers Buildings is one of 11 historic downtown buildings where you can live the loft life in Dallas.

This is the second installment in a two-part series looking at loft living in historic downtown Dallas buildings. You can read the first post here

Dallas has a rich history in downtown, with many beautiful structures from the early 1900s. We’re looking at 11 of those buildings, which have been converted, usually after years of abandonment, into hip urban loft living.

Moving to the urban core is part of experiencing a ‘walkable city’ trend, particularly among Millennials, who value the live, work, play lifestyle, says Ashley D. Stanley*, owner of Ashley’s Apartments. Stanley is a long-time downtown loft dweller with her young son, an expert on the area, and apartment locator for downtown Dallas apartment rentals.

“I live in the Wilson Building and I love being close to public transportation, the urban core, so many restaurants, and downtown businesses,” Stanley said. “A lot of my clients for whom I find apartments are looking for an urban experience and they find living in downtown Dallas to be a vibrant, exciting thing.”

Last week, we looked at six historic Dallas buildings where you can rent a loft: the Wilson Building, 1900 Elm Historical Lofts, American Beauty Mill Lofts, the David Building, DP&L Flats, and the Butler Brothers Building.

This week, we’ll look at the final five and you can learn about each structure’s unique place in Dallas history, price per square foot**, and amenities.

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Chantilly Court by Greico Homes

Chantilly Court by Greico Modern Homes

It’s been a newsworthy summer for Greico Modern Homes. Their homes are featured in Dwell Magazine this month, and they are finalists in multiple categories of the Dallas Home Builder Association ARC Awards. But the awards that Tom Greico is the most proud of are the ones that he was awarded as a student of W.T. White High School.

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S. Edgefield HCHOTW

If you’ve been ogling over those cute tiny homes that are popping up everywhere, but you’re not sure if a life on wheels or in the boonies for you, this listing from David Griffin & Company Realtor Bart Thrasher shows that you can live itty bitty in the city.

Bart, who lives in Winnetka Heights with his wife, Karen, and son, Henry, knows a thing or two about good construction. Bart is a contractor and Karen is an incredibly talented architect, and with all that know-how between them they founded Thrasherworks, a boutique architecture and design firm based right in North Oak Cliff. And in Bart’s opinion, this property is perfect for those who believe in the gospel of minimalism and the zen of tidying up.

No wonder this unique Craftsman in Winnetka Heights is our High Caliber Home of the Week sponsored by Lisa Peters at Caliber Home Loans. While this listing is in contingency (the buyers are waiting to sell their current home), it doesn’t hurt to be prepared should it go back on the market. Call Lisa Peters at Caliber Home Loans today to get your pre-approval in line so you can put your highest and best offer in on this tiny home should you get a second chance!

342 S. Edgefield Front Porch

The front porch of 342 S. Edgefield has a hidden secret …

Jump to see the brilliant open floor plan and excellent storage inside this adorable Winnetka Heights Craftsman cottage!

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Vision - Ground Level & Overall Site Plan-2

Site Plan (top is West), courtesy of Crescent Communities

Crescent Communities released more details about its project planned at Zang and Davis near the Bishop Arts District. The residential components offer a variety of types and sizes to appeal to a range of budgets and lifestyles.

Most controversially, the second phase North Site plan includes a set of 30-38 brownstones with single units — each three to three-and-a-half stories high, made of high quality materials, and with walk-out roof terraces. The Towns on Zang product would likely be a great addition to the neighborhood if the front entrance stoops weren’t so devoid of character, but the question is whether Crescent would develop the property themselves, or sell to another developer. Their portfolio doesn’t include multi-level brownstones currently, and according to neighborhood watchdog Councilman Scott Griggs, their plan is to change the overlay to allow residential, then sell.

The current zoning overlay requires one-story retail frontage all along Zang Blvd. Removing the requirement for retail frontage would allow even dingy apartments to be built. Griggs insists upon including stipulations for street-access units if/when changing the zoning overlay. If this is the plan, let’s just make it part of the plans! But Crescent seems unwilling to make that concession. All we have is their word — and better pictures promised in a few months.

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