It’s not news that real estate in North Oak Cliff is hot, hot, hot, especially Kessler Park, Bishop Arts, and Winnetka Heights.
But there’s an up-and-coming neighborhood east of Interstate 35E and a half mile south of the Dallas Zoo that is darling and much less publicized: Beckley Club Estates. This community of about 150 houses, described as “a quiet haven of winding, tree-shaded streets, one-lane bridges, and gently sloping hills” is home to the newly listed property at 1511 Seevers Avenue.
This 2-2 Craftsman-traditional hybrid was built in 1935 and renovated this year by owner and listing agent Greg Hutchinson at Ebby Halliday Realtors. The main house is 1,259 square feet, with a 400-square-foot finished basement, and 250-square-foot guesthouse with full bath and kitchenette. Its list price is $260,000.
“This is the tenth property I’ve renovated in the neighborhood, and I’ve lived there for 17 years,” Hutchinson said. “When I first started, you could get a house for less than $100,000. I have sold some of mine for $220,000.”
Hutchinson admits his pricing of this property may be “ambitious,” and it looks more like a Kessler Park price tag to me, but his reno and attention to historic detail are impressive. The extensive work included rewiring, repainting, refurbishing the hardwood floors, new plumbing, and architectural work to make the basement accessible from the house’s interior. This place is getting attention for a reason.
“It took seven-and-a-half months to complete, and I spent more time on this house than any other one, but it’s getting rave reviews and I feel like the hard work has paid off,” he said. “Our one open house had 49 people and we came close to getting it sold then, and have come close two or three times since.”
According to Hutchinson’s research, the house was built at the same time Fair Park was readied for the Texas State Centennial, which took place the next year. Much of the exterior brickwork of the Seevers house is hand-stamped with decorative images that are connected with that Fair Park work.
Those accents were preserved and Hutchinson tried to make the house look as it might have in the 1930s, including a powder blue living room, pictured above, terra cotta kitchen, pictured below, and hardwoods refinished with an orange hue. The original house did not have a fireplace, so Hutchinson custom fit the living room with an electric one to make it cozy.
The kitchen was a total gut, with the new incarnation offering Santa Cecilia granite countertops, stainless appliances, a gas range, and custom cabinetry. Those hanging stained glass pieces over the sink windows are an homage to the peacocks that call Beckley Club Estates home. The flock of about 11 birds roams freely and has done so since the 1960s, Hutchinson said. They are beloved mascots: the neighborhood Facebook page pictures a peacock in its banner and locals joke there should be a “peacock crossing” sign posted.
The main floor has two bedrooms and one full bath — a small third bedroom was sacrificed to add a staircase, making the basement accessible from the interior. The master bedroom is 14-by-10 and the second bedroom measures 11-by-10. The bathroom was updated with Travertine tile, glass tile accents, and a new sink, lighting, and toilet. Low-e windows and updated insulation throughout will make energy bills more manageable than in some homes of this era.
Basements are extremely rare in North Texas because of our soil, but in this little pocket of Oak Cliff, many of the houses have them, Hutchinson said.
“There are hills around here and the houses are set into the hillside—that makes it possible,” he said. “It’s not flat as a pancake around here — this is not Plano we’re talking about.”
As unusual as basements are in these parts, this one is even more notable at 400 square feet, including a large utility area with sink, side room, and full bathroom, all of it climate controlled. There’s even a nook for wine storage with shelving, which could be closed off and made into a walk-in wine cooler. The crawl space under the front porch was fitted with an electric ventilator so that the basement will never have a musty smell.
The large backyard was “a sad little jungle” when Hutchinson bought it, he said, but you’d never guess by the landscaping now. The 0.185 acres have a pleasant blend of trees, grass, blooming foliage, evergreen shrubs, and perennials, with stone walkways and river rock accents.
At the back of the property is the 250-square-foot guesthouse. This compact residence includes a foyer, bedroom, walk-in closet, full bath, and kitchenette, where there’s a place for a mini-refrigerator, hot plate, and microwave oven, all concealed behind custom cabinetry enclosures.
So is this spot-on reno a harbinger for things to come in Beckley Club Estates? If it sells for close to its $260,000 asking price, it could set a new precedent for neighborhood comps among the Tudor, Spanish Eclectic, ranch, and Cape Cod styles along the tree-lined streets.