By Patrick L. Boyd
Ah, Oak Cliff – my how times have changed … and fast!
There was a time that there were only about two or three areas anyone outside of Oak Cliff had heard of, let alone would think about living in – those of us who have been over here a while called it the “Ooooo” factor. “Oooooak Cliff?” They’d say, with raised eyebrows.
The inevitable first question:
“Isn’t it dangerous”? No
Followed by the second and third questions: “Where do you shop for groceries,” and “Where do you eat”? We did have some decent options, actually.
Well, those times seem to in the rear-view mirror, as even national and international media is picking up on the “Brooklyn of Dallas.” We’ve even been called that hipster of hipster part of Brooklyn, Williamsburg. Not sure we’re there yet!
So now that everyone has “discovered” Oak Cliff, and it’s cool to live across the Trinity for the first time in decades, everyone’s question seems to be, “Where’s the hot new place to live?” They mean, where is the not-as-discovered (and therefore not as expensive) as say, East Kessler or Winnetka Heights.
Elmwood is definitely a neighborhood that’s on the radar – even though it’s been a “hot” place to live since before the DART Rail station opened on it’s northern edges about a decade ago – at least for the people who don’t really follow what’s “hot” in the media.
The neighborhood has everything from Tudors that rival the M Streets from the 1920s, to long, low mid-century ranches along Cedar Creek, with lots of post World War II GI houses in between.
It’s located in the heart of North Oak Cliff, bounded by Hampton on the west, Illinois on the south, Wright Ave. /DART on the north, and Vernon on the east ( which is Tyler/Polk-Sylvan further north).
Charming older stock of well-built homes = Check!
Rolling topography = Check!
Meandering Park and Walk-Bike Trail along a stream not unlike Turtle Creek = Check!
Great Neighborhood Association = Check!
Convenient to other areas ( that DART Rail is nearby, and it’s less that 10 minutes to Bishop Arts and about 15 minutes to downtown) = Check!
Great older little business district, not unlike Bishop Arts where a big Hollywood movie was filmed (“Born on the 4th of July”) = Check!
So that brings us to one of the latest homes renovated by Mark Smith and Doug Gorling of Footprint Realty at 1839 Tennessee – a post World War II bungalow that sits on a huge corner lot that’s been completely and lovingly renovated from top to bottom – yes, it has a FULL basement, kind of rare in Dallas back in the day, but perfect for this lot as it as a fair amount of grade change from front to back.
The front is shaded by a huge pecan with which you can sit under and chat with neighbors. Upon entering the house you’re immediately met by how open it is – walls knocked down and light allowed to flow in – and yet still retains the original fireplace. The feel is almost loft-like with a big open island that is perfect for entertaining. Everything in the kitchen is all new, with stainless steel appliances, a subway tile backsplash, and a perfect gray finish on the cabinets.
The first floor has two bedrooms, and a completely renovated bathroom with modern touches like the tile and sink, but still keeps that original charm with the deep cast iron tub, which is perfect for soaking.
Homes of this era usually don’t have a ton of closet space or storage – but each bedroom has big closets and there are built-ins in the hallway — downright unheard of.
The biggest surprise of this little charmer (actually not that small at more than 1,700 square feet) is the full basement – accessed by stairs off the kitchen. What had been a garage (and still could be for someone with a very fancy car or motorcycle with the modern steel and glass roll-up single door) has been opened up and made into a second living area complete with built-in bar (which could almost be expanded to a nearly full kitchen), a sliding barn door leads you down to a huge bedroom and full bathroom, with all new fixtures and tile. There’s also a second bedroom on this level that would make a great office.
The huge back yard is accessed via the basement, but if a wood deck were added on the main floor above with stairs down, that would really add to the entertaining aspect of this house, plus value.
There’s room for a two-car garage, a pool, and anything the new homeowner could dream of, thanks to the large lot. And at a listing price of $229,000 for 1,750 square feet, it’s really one of the best deals on the market in North Oak Cliff. Go and see it for yourself!