by Cassie Evans – guest blogger and Candy’s daughter.
Instead of a heavy brunch doting on her, Mom (aka Dallas Dirt Queen, Candace Evans) and I spent Mother’s Day afternoon doing what we do best:
judging looking at houses! We loved every minute of the Swiss Avenue Historic District’s Mother’s Day Home Tour.
It was a balmy 90 degrees and with bottles of water and comfy shoes, we were only able to hit up 4 of the 8 magnificent homes on the tour. Though that’s probably because we ran into half of our friends and ended up chatting in between houses on the scenic Swiss Ave. It felt like we were in a fabulous old movie, bopping into all our friends in sundresses along the spring sidewalk of one of the most beautiful streets in Dallas, seemingly everyone with fresh lemonade in hand. Perfection.
In Savage Park, they had lunch, beverages, a SnoCone truck, live music, plus interesting booths.
I’ll be honest, my favorite booth was the Scottie Dog rescue booth.
Speaking of dogs, we saw tons out on Swiss and even saw one Chinese crested touring! Le bon chien.
Though I snapped photos of all of my favorite parts of our tour experience, I did not get a pic of the two of us. Chalk it up to feeling like a perspirating Lilly Pulitzer-clad whale. Candy, as always, looked adorable. C’est la vie. Now, for my tour faves:
We started at 5421 Swiss, currently owned by Louise and James Finley.
Or, as I saw it from the line:
Built in 1917 by renowned architect Hal B. Thompson for Jesse David Padgitt as a wedding gift to his son [dearest in-laws, am I missing a wedding gift?! where’s my manse!!??] The elegant house, with Italian Renaissance and distinctly Colonial influences married together, was built to impress. After all, the Padgitt’s owned Padgitt Brothers Company, a leading leather-goods provider established in Dallas in 1869. Merchants needed manses. And thank goodness this one is still standing. The cute flowers in the shutters remind me so much of coastal New England, especially Kennebunkport.
My favorite room in the house is the toile guest bedroom – the bed was described as an antique from a French brothel. I thought there was some energy to the room…
Just look at some of the ornate molding this home displays … you just don’t find this in new homes.
And how cool is the home’s rare 1876-1920 Minneapolis Honeywell Clock Thermometer?
Invented by Frederick Denison and applied for patent in 1876, it was used in the process of manufacturing mottled cotton seed oil soap which had to bake at a certain temperature. Then in World War I, they found this control was the perfect device for maintaining a ship’s boiler pressure and many other Army and Navy needs. Very cool indeed.
Off the bar and butler’s pantry was the cutest, tiniest marble powder room … for the guest in a pickle.
As we exited the home, the owner’s adorbs Vespa collection was on display.
Makes me want to zoom to the market with a flower behind my ear!
We then tootled on to 5408 Swiss Ave., which I adored immediately from the outside. It’s just so clean and inviting looking.
Here’s some of the exterior detail I love – good luck finding that on a new home:
5408 Swiss Ave. was designed and built in 1917 and is reminiscent of the Beaux-Arts style of design birthed from the Gilded Age – a vernacular exemplified by the white-on-white confection you see above. The current owners, Joanna and John Hampton, are both architects and purchased the home in 2011. They then began extensive renovations that included roof and water damage repair. In fact, the home is still a work in progress as the renovations continue. What is really neat about this house is the traditional outside juxtaposed with the interiors eclectic mix of modern and heirloom pieces.
The current owners complete redid the kitchen and turned in into a sleek, white, modern cooking heaven. I loved the contrast with the original moldings and doors against the gorgeous modern accoutrements.
I also noticed that though the home is filled with both modern art and historic pieces, all are hung in a way to protect the walls. In fact, almost all of the homes we toured did this.
The dining room has mid-century modern furniture as well as uber modern light fixtures, which continued throughout the home.
The flower arrangements were different and exciting. As a former rower, I enjoyed the ergometer found in the upstairs laundry room. Surrounding by windows overlooking the back yard (which is currently being renovated), it was quite a view for a workout!
Next we zoomed to 5907 Swiss Ave.
The Italian Renaissance palazzo was designed in 1927 by famed architect Bertram Hill, who built several Dallas landmarks including the Adolphus Hotel and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company Building. The home was previously featured as one of the 10 most beautiful homes in Dallas, and there’s actually a replica of it on Beverly Drive in Highland Park. You know your home is fab when there’s a replica a few zip codes over! The current owners, Sharon and Mike Jones, purchased the home in 2007 and have filled it with luscious furnishings and exquisite antiques. In fact, Sharon and Mike were in the backyard serving up frozen margaritas, iced tea, and lemonade to home tourers…definitely the most festive home we toured!
I instantly fell in love with the details in the dining room, especially the soft, pastel hydrangeas
which I soon discovered came from the homes garden:
Also on the first floor were detailed original stained glass windows,
and a breakfast room overlooking the backyard with the most incredible original tile floor!
I enjoyed the green colored cabinetry juxtaposed against the owners’ blue and white china collection.
The kitchen is the only room that has been completely redone (and enlarged) by the owners, and it did not disappoint.
Can we say gorgeous white marble, fabulous cabinetry, and tons of natural light?
The living room off the kitchen is immaculately decorated, but the main focus is the imported antique fireplace.
In addition, I spotted an antique Hubley Boston Terrier door stop (which I have one almost identical to it at home that my dogs initially sniffed and barked at!!)
They also have these AMAZING ostrich tables flanking a pair of chairs.
The stairwell was grand, and I loved the “gossip” seat (window seat) on the landing.
The upstairs has been graciously preserved in its original condition. Here is one of the two guest rooms:
And the real kicker were the two original guest bathrooms on the second floor. Have you ever seen an old dental sink in a home? So cute!
And of course, the matching color-coordinated toilet!
This old shower was so tiny but it had NINE shower heads, all original,and I thought the “jail bars” (to allow steam to escape) were a great touch.
I think this is the master. The fluffy bed with exquisite white linens looked heavenly.
And this glass door armoire was a fun way to display fresh linens.
I also got a sneak peek of the master closet…which must have formerly been a porch because it was the size of an entire room.
But not to worry, they still have this fab second story outdoor patio overlooking the backyard.
Last, we hit up the darling carriage house above the garage, which the current owners gutted, rebuilt, and – this is so cute – appointed with furnishings from their childhood homes. It has a full kitchen, dining area (note the antique dough table),
and amazing bathroom with farmhouse-style walls, walk-in shower, and this delectable antique sink.
I am pretty much ready to move into the carriage house.
Last, we hit up 6243 La Vista Dr., perched at the very top of Swiss Ave. and called “The Crown Jewel of Swiss Avenue”…or as I call it, the house across the street from my post office.
I was very curious about this home as it has had a “coming soon” for sale sign in front of it for many months and I was wondering what was going on/why it was taking so long. Well, of course we got the whole scoop.
Built in 1926 for paving magnate, Robert Campbell Stubbs and his wife, Marie, the house is believed to have been designed by legendary Dallas architect Otto H. Lang. Unfortunately, Mr. Stubbs died one year after the home was completed, but his widow continued to live and entertain in the home until 1940. After World War II, the home was converted into apartments, and then it was returned to single family use in the 1970’s. The most recent owner, Willetta Sherrill Stellmacher, purchased the home in 1987. Willetta passed away, but we were lucky to see some of the memorabilia from her life. You see, Willetta was a former Vaudeville performer and showgirl who rubbed elbows with Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Lawrence Welk. Willetta Stellmacher led a COLORFUL life. Besides being known as an astute businesswoman, Stellmacher was hailed as a tough-as-nails landlord at the apartments she owned — and as the Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate says, a “pistol-packin’ mama.” You see, the 5,500-6,000 square foot home also has 3 apartments behind it that come with the property. One is currently rented out, and has had then same tenant for 18 years. Apparently, Willetta did not allow motorcycles, men with long hair, or beards. So, I guess that means no hipsters.
Here some photos from Willetta’s collection:
Sadly, I’m pretty sure that if we had met this woman, we would have hit if off immediately. You see, Willetta was Cook’s Champagne Girl of 1940. It’s rumored that she loved the champagne and would have a glass any time the mood struck, including for breakfast. We ran into her best friend’s daughter on the tour, who informed us that Cook’s promised Willetta free champagne for life, upon request. Well, when her best friend passed away, Willetta called Cooks and had 2 cases of champagne delivered to her deceased best friend’s family so the family could properly toast their beloved. LOVE THIS WOMAN!
Additionally, she was feisty. Willetta once said that she got her kicks by mowing her lawn while wearing a tight, flesh-colored bathing suit, “just to cause rubbernecks to have wrecks.” I say we each grab a glass of champagne and toast this amazing woman and her irreverent sense of humor right now!
So the house has been almost cleared of her belongings, but some rooms have been staged with furniture and decor. The A/C was out (or nonexistent), so I went ahead and took pics of my fave details of the home and zoomed to the PTA lemonade stand at the exit. Just look at these ceilings and moldings from around the home:
And this original bathroom was divine. I LOVE the bright blue with the crystal and white accents. So fresh! This better stay untouched for a long, long time!
And check out two of the fireplaces:
The kitchen is holy 1970’s…hello charcoal burner!
I’d love to see some fabulous white marble in that kitchen. But look at these original windows. How interesting are the wisteria panes! Reminds me of the huge wisteria trellis at the Arboretum.
The home (not this mini replica) is being offered at $1.5 million. I better start couponing.
All in all, a fabulous Mother’s Day filled with amazing old homes, lots of lemonade, and the best mom a girl could ask for.