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 However, some buyers can’t see past an outdated kitchen and can’t get a construction loan to do the work.”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!

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Canterview A

Editor’s note: This piece originally ran March 24, 2015, and highlights the gorgeous work of Barton-Graham Home & Design Firm. We subsequently wrote a profile of them here and featured another renovation of theirs here.

If you want to see what an incredible renovtion can do for a house, look no further than the 1960s ranch at 5823 Canterview Dr.

Located near N. Jim Miller Road and Interstate 30 in the Buckner Terrace neighborhood, this 3-3 underwent massive changes during the past six months. When Raymond E. Graham and Casey Barton bought it, the property had been vacant for five years and was a total wreck—they called it “the zombie house.” The duo have been renovating and selling houses together for eight years and own the company, Barton-Graham Home&Design Firm.

Graham and Barton are both general contractors and interior decorators and they didn’t miss an inch in this reno. Their efforts paid off: This house went on the market March 13 and was under contract three days later, for the highest price-per-square-foot in the area. It is listed by Graham at William Davis Realty for $290,000.

The duo showed me some “before” pictures of this house and they are scary! It makes me appreciate their work all the more.

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University Manor Midcentury The moment you lay eyes on the house at 7140 Wild Valley Dr., you know you’re in for some serious Midcentury style.

This University Manor Midcentury Modern’s exterior is the first glimpse at its retro perfection, from geometric concrete walkway and horizontal wood fencing on both sides of the front, to a low-pitch gable roof and pink brick with chocolate brown accents.

Built in 1955, this house was one of the earliest in University Manor, a 3-2 on a heavily treed lot. The interior exudes atomic-era character, with 2,157 square feet of sleek, open, light-filled rooms.

This house’s value has been rising sharply over the past decade. It sold in 2006 for $209,900 and in 2012 for $290,500. There’s an active open contract on it today, listed for $375,000 by Lisa Johnson with Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate.

Let’s take a closer look at our Thursday Three Hundred and see what had it go under contract within days of hitting the market.

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updated lake highlands

All photos: Shoot2Sell

“Home is the nicest word there is,” proclaimed pioneer Laura Ingalls Wilder, and we agree with the sentiment. It’s particularly true when it’s a house as lovely as the updated Lake Highlands home at 10836 Ferndale Rd.

From the street, it looks friendly, with a big front yard, large trees, and a freshly painted exterior. But the interior is what really wows, with a vaulted ceiling in the living room anchored by a floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace, a totally updated kitchen, and a crisp, clean look throughout. Built in 1967, this traditional has been extensively renovated to reflect a more contemporary look and feel.

This 4-4 has 2,526 square feet on two stories, with a well-planned layout: the master and one bedroom are downstairs; the open staircase leads to a landing overlooking the den with its vaulted ceiling; the kitchen has new appliances, granite countertops, a breakfast area, and a huge pantry.

This house went under contract days after being listed by Kevin Caskey at Dallas City Center Realtors for $365,000, so let’s take a look at what made it such a hot item. (more…)

Kessler Highlands TudorOne of the most appealing areas in North Oak Cliff is Kessler Park, with gently rolling hills, historic houses, and lovely, tree-lines streets. The area is made up of multiple separate neighborhoods, each with their own personality, like Kessler Park Estates, Kessler Square, West Kessler, and Kessler Plaza.

Today’s Thursday Three Hundred takes us to Kessler Highlands, the second oldest of the Kessler Park neighborhoods, and a gorgeous Tudor Revival house at 923 Thomasson Dr.

This 3-2 has 1,610 square feet and a highly functional layout, with original touches, like a working fireplace and a charming round-top front door with large circular window. Its also just three blocks from Kidd Springs Park and Recreation Center.

It is newly listed by Crystal Gonzalez at David Griffin & Company for $349,900. Like so many of the beauties I find to profile in this column, it went under active open contract within a matter of days, so take a look before it’s off the market!

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Junius HeightsThe Junius Heights Historic District in Old East Dallas is home to the largest collection of Arts and Crafts/Craftsman-style houses in the southwestern United States. As Dallas’ largest historic neighborhood, Junius Heights is a treasure trove of handsome architectural designs, like the rare “airplane bungalow” at 722 N. Beacon St., our Thursday Three Hundred today.

“Airplane bungalows” became popular in the 1920s, an Arts and Crafts style named because the “pop-up” second story was thought to resemble a cockpit over its wings.

This house was built in 1913, so it’s an early example, and a rarity in Dallas—these types of “airplane bungalows” are mainly found on the West coasts of the U.S. and Canada. The exterior is a faithful representation of the style, with its low-pitched, gabled roof; oversized eaves with exposed rafters; wide, welcoming front porch; and open soffits. The color palette is perfectly Arts and Crafts, in sage, cream, and a deep red accent color.

The interior has been renovated in the last year to expand the master suite and update the kitchen and second bathroom. But you’ll still find historic features throughout its 2,020 square feet, like decorative leaded windows, hardwood floors, and an original fireplace.

This three bedroom, 2.5 bath beauty is listed by Peggye Johnson at Group One Realtors for $339,000.

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Raymond E. Graham and Casey Barton renovated an East Dallas house at 5823 Canterview Dr. that went under contract in three days. Photo: Casey Barton

Casey Barton (left) and Raymond Graham renovated the East Dallas house at 5823 Canterview Dr. over six months and it went under contract in just three days. The person behind a declined offer for that property turned around and made an offer on another house they’re renovating nearby, which is still a worksite. All photos: Barton & Graham

In last week’s Tuesday Two Hundred, we wrote about a gorgeous East Dallas house in Phenomenal Buckner Terrace Reno Goes Under Contract in Three Days.

The renovation was a masterpiece created by Casey Barton and Raymond E. Graham, who have been renovating and selling houses together for eight years and own the company Barton-Graham Home & Design Firm.

Their work itself is inspiring, but when they showed me before-and-after photos of the Buckner Terrace property and others they’ve renovated, I decided they might be more like magicians than renovators.

East Dallas house

East Dallas house

The kitchen at 5823 Canterview Dr. was an outdated, dungeon-like galley. Barton and Graham opened it up into the former breakfast area, adding a breakfast bar, wine storage, built-in desk, and end shelves, and cabinetry built for the house.

Barton and Graham are both general contractors and interior decorators, and Graham is a Realtor and is getting his broker’s license in May, so they’ve got all their bases covered to offer comprehensive services to clients. They met in 2002 when they lived in the same apartment complex and after three renos together, including one for Barton’s mother, they decided to do it for a living.

“Our first remodel was in 2008 on a little cottage off Henderson on Bonita,” Graham said. “We did a great job and our hard work paid off, and despite the supposed crash of the housing market, we sold it and made a great profit. We knew that if we could be successful on our first renovation in a supposed bad market, then this is what we were meant to do.”

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Canterview A

If you want to see what an incredible renovtion can do for a house, look no further than the 1960s ranch at 5823 Canterview Dr.

Located near N. Jim Miller Road and Interstate 30 in the Buckner Terrace neighborhood, this 3-3 underwent massive changes during the past six months. When Raymond E. Graham and Casey Barton bought it, the property had been vacant for five years and was a total wreck—they called it “the zombie house.” The duo have been renovating and selling houses together for eight years and own the company, Barton-Graham Home&Design Firm.

Graham and Barton are both general contractors and interior decorators and they didn’t miss an inch in this reno. Their efforts paid off: This house went on the market March 13 and was under contract three days later, for the highest price-per-square-foot in the area. It is listed by Graham at William Davis Realty for $290,000.

The duo showed me some “before” pictures of this house and they are scary! It makes me appreciate their work all the more. (Check back next week for a full profile of Graham and Barton, including before-and-after photos from this house and others they’ve renovated in East Dallas. You won’t be disappointed!)

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