There are so many beautiful homes to choose from in Dallas, but given the holiday tomorrow, I settled on an historic Georgian in the heart of the Rawlins Conservation District. It’s listed for $1,649,000 with Ilene Crist and Kyle Richards, one of Briggs-Freeman Sotheby’s newest dynamo agents. You may know them as part of the Dream Team at Museum Tower. But like most dynamo agents, they have a balanced portfolio of inventory, from haute contemporary to this Perry Heights colonial that just screams “America’s birthday”!
Independence Day is America’s birthday, and one of my favorite holidays. It’s the day the 13 original colonies (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, Province of New York, Province of North Carolina, and Colony of Rhode Island) declared themselves free from the rule of Great Britain. I have lived in FOUR of the original 13 colonies! Though 4434 Rawlins was built way after the U.S. had ditched the Brits, in 1936, it retains the charm of a home styled after one we might find in the Massachusetts Bay Colony or Georgia. And it’s located in a conservation district to retain that charm and historical feel, something we need more of in Dallas. I shudder to think what life along Swiss Avenue would be today without Virginia Savage Mcalester and her dedicated work to save those turn-of-the-century homes. Swiss Avenue and the Cedars are the oldest neighborhoods in Dallas, thank God we still have them!
It takes a LOT to maintain a home for 100-plus years. Our beach house in Maine was built prior to 1900 as an Inn. Last week, about this time, I was touring Miami Beach’s South Beach and the stunning art deco buildings dotting Collins Avenue (be still my heart). My guide, Sarasota reporter and writer extraordinaire Harold Bubil, told me that though they try to preserve the stucco, sometimes the rebars in the concrete deteriorate and actually chemically destroys the concrete surrounding it, a process called “spalling”. This is, of course, aggravated by the South Florida climate of sea air and salt water, same problems we face in Maine.
So you would think historic homes would have a better chance of survival in Texas — a drier climate, at least until this year, and no salt air to corrode the rebars. 4434 Rawlins was well built in the ’30s and has been lovingly maintained and rebuilt on the inside where it counts — plumbing, electrical, new updated Carrara marble baths (now, that’s a master bathtub!), totally updated kitchen with a farmhouse sink, large, airy formals (as they built them in the 1930’s) and 9 foot ceilings everywhere. Remember low ceilings did not come into vogue until the Bauhaus influence in the late ’40s.
(I don’t know, to me all those Frank Lloyd Wright low ceilings and smallish rooms are sooo Proletariat!)
The home is 4948 square feet loaded with tasteful color and four large, airy bedrooms — the master is 24 by 15 and has a huge walk-in closet as well as a real cedar closet — not composition cedar, but the actual boards. Cedar was how people kept their linens and woolens fresh and bug free prior to air conditioning. There are three gorgeous full and one half baths. And the lot is a sprawling .43 acres on a corner in the heart of Dallas, near the Tollway, Oak Lawn, a gadzillion restaurants and services, and Love Field. Walk if you don’t melt.
There are several quiet patios, gardens, flowers, and butterflies, plus a charming guest cottage. Beautiful moldings everywhere. Kind of reminds me of our beloved home on Park lane, R.I.P.
To me, this is a house that typifies what America is all about: a beautiful, peaceful place to hang up the jacket, plop down the purse, once we return from a day of toiling, even if it’s in the other room on a keyboard. Because what is so great about America is something we often forget: it’s not a place where we are GIVEN anything for free, just the chance, a fair shake, at WORKING for a living. The immigrants who emigrated here like my grandparents came for just that — the chance to work for a paycheck so they could buy food, buy a home, have families, and just live without war and famine around them.
Home ownership was just that — a chance to own some dirt without the threat of anyone being able to take it away from you. Can you imagine what our market would be like if we had to pay cash for every home? We get mortgages, like from the good folks at Inwood National Bank, and we go to work, pay them off, then end up owning the home free and clear in our later years. Fpr most of us, our homes are our biggest investment.
That’s the American Dream. That’s what July 4th is all about.
I believe that as long as home ownership is available to the vast majority of working people, the American Dream will thrive. I have concerns — rising home values, rising rents keeping Millennials out of the market, strict lending standards even 9 years after the Great Recession requiring bigger down payments. In Washington, there are some who would like to see the home mortgage deduction eliminated. We need to be vigilante on these and more issues.
And yes, we are still battling for freedom some 239 years later. We still have people who refuse to let their fellow citizens follow their own nature — marry who they want, love who they want, be who they want. We are battling discrimination and abuse of power even in the greatest, most seemingly American communities.
But America really is about the chance to have a fair shake. Not saying there are not people out there who want to take that fair shake away from you, shake you down or impose their beliefs. We still have a chance to stand up and say, or shout, STOP IT — and thanks to our first amendment freedoms, we can say it just about anywhere.
So let me take this chance to say how great our local community banks, our real estate community, and our real estate dirt is. From the northern tip of McKinney down to DeSoto and Cedar Hill, and clear west to Fort Worth and Albany, where the Fort Griffin Fandangle just wrapped.
This is a great American home, smack in the greatest country on earth. Check it out!