Swiss Avenue is full of wonderful properties that have so much history and life to them. They have more character in one square foot than many Dallas homes have throughout. Homes on Swiss Avenue are the antithesis of the zero-lot-line McMansions you see in the suburbs (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), and they have such beautiful presence that it’s no wonder they’re magnets for people who adore architecture.
Peter and Christine Loh purchased 4930 Swiss Avenue, a unique Prairie School home built for Texas rancher Thomas W. Newsome by noted architect C.P. Sites, and have been in love with the home since then. Built in 1914 for just $16,000, this home is celebrating it’s 100th birthday during this year’s Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour. Christine was kind enough to take the time to chat with us about her incredible home. Don’t miss this wonderful event this weekend! We’ll be giving away a pair of tickets to the home tour tomorrow so stay tuned to CandysDirt.com!
CandysDirt.com: We love this fantastic home! It has such great history! What made you choose this home on Swiss Avenue over the many other amazing historic properties in the area?
Christine Loh: We looked at seven homes on the street. We fell in love with this one and kept coming back to it. I felt like we were working with a blank slate and could decorate it our way. The architecture was simple yet elegant and the spaciousness and open floor plan worked well with our family. The large back house was a tremendous plus as we have out of state relatives that like to visit for extended periods of time. Although the yard was incredibly overgrown, we saw the potential.
CD: What condition was your home in upon purchasing? Did you have to do much in the way of renovations?
Loh: The house had been on the market for 3 years. We had pursued purchasing it for 9 months. We gutted the kitchen, painted the entire inside, extensive landscaping, and had minor electrical and plumbing work completed.
CD: What are some of the unique challenges historic homeowners face when renovating? Do you have any stories to share?
Loh: Sometimes the renovations have unintended consequences. We inadvertently took down a load bearing wall. Our house has 82 windows. All of them were painted shut. We have started the process of opening them one by one and restoring the original weights. Electrical outlets are not always in the best places.
CD: What are your favorite features and rooms inside your home that you think home tour goers should pay special attention to? Why?
Loh: The crown molding in the front sitting rooms is very unique. The pocket doors separating a sitting room and the formal dining room are in good condition. The previous owner found 80 year old light fixtures in the attic which originally hung in the dining room. He restored them to the dining room. Both of the sunrooms have been enclosed. The third floor is a finished attic which has tunnels connecting the rooms. The kitchen banquette is my favorite spot in the house.
CD: As a homeowner in such a special Dallas neighborhood, what are your favorite things about living in the Swiss Avenue Historic District?
Loh: The sense of community people in the district have. The residents all take great pride in their homes and appreciate the history each house has. The Women’s Guild is a diverse group of women in which everyone is welcome.
CD: What are you doing to prepare for the home tour?
Loh: Continued renovations to the kitchen area and back portion of the house. Our home is 100 years old this year. While it is not completely finished the way we would like it, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate this unique milestone for our home and the street. At 3 pm on Sunday (Mother’s Day) of the Home Tour, the district will be having cake for 300 people to celebrate.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Christine! Your home and Swiss Avenue are Dallas treasures!