There’s a little neighborhood nestled between Gaston and Abrams called Munger Place Heights, and the moment you wander in you’ll find a slice of heaven. Trees arch over the streets to intertwine, lawns are perfectly manicured, everyone hangs out on the front porch, and the neighbors not only know your name but they know your dog’s name, too. If you’re lucky enough to nab a house here you won’t ever leave, unless you love ‘em and leave ‘em like Karl Braddick does.
Braddick loves historic homes and leaves them on a regular basis. He renovates like no one you’ve ever met because he does it with a deep respect for history. Braddick’s been working on homes in this area since 1984. An 1886 Queen Ann he remodeled in Wellington, Kansas, has won two preservation awards and is on the National Register for Historic Places. He’s won Preservation Dallas awards for best residential preservation in Dallas in 2001 and 2003. This man knows what he’s doing.
Braddick’s latest project is 720 Nesbitt Dr., a gorgeous five-bedroom, four-bath Tudor built in 1925. Listed for $699,000 by Mary Thompson of David Bush Realtors, it’s 3,300 square feet of absolute perfection inside the Junius Heights Historic District. Gothic Revival windows and doors, a Rookwood fireplace, leaded glass dormers, enough wall molding to make you swoon, and a sweet claw-foot tub with a view of the clouds. Yes this is heaven, and you can see it for yourself this Sunday, July 19, from 1 to 3 p.m.
CandysDirt.com: What prompted you to start renovating period homes?
Karl Braddick: I just enjoy returning homes to look like they did when they were originally built. I enjoy working with my hands and the history of the homes.
CD: What attracted you to this particular property?
KB: The house was 95 percent original. Nothing had been re-muddled; the only thing missing was the original kitchen. All the architectural elements were there or covered up, like the porch. The house had been rented for 20 or so years and had very little maintenance.
CD: Did you instantly know what your master plan was or did it evolve?
KB: Houses always evolve for me, I can see the historic elements and know the basic plan. I put the house back the way it was originally built and make my changes look like they were done that way originally. Keeping all of the architectural elements in place is my plan. Sometimes elements are missing and you need to drive around and look at other homes or figure out the paint ghost.
CD: Is it harder to work on period homes?
KB: I think it is for most people, but I have been doing it so long and I know how to solve the roadblocks.
CD: You’ve done a great job of marrying the vintage look with the modern elements today’s homeowner wants. Can you give us a couple of examples that you are especially proud of pulling off?
KB: The kitchen is one. All the modern elements are there but it looks like it was done that way originally. The bathrooms are modern but retain their historic charm. The attic is all new with recessed lighting but still looks historic because the trim and doors are the same as downstairs and the baths retain the historic look because the tile matches the type used when the house was built.
CD: Tell us about the deep turquoise paint color you chose for the living room. It’s bold by today’s standards and unexpected.
KB: I picked up the color from the Rookwood tile on the fireplace and later discovered it was painted that color when the house was built … otherwise I use historical colors from paint manufactures or old colors found in the house I have done.
CD: What do you feel are the best features of this house, both existing or ones you put in?
KB: The attention to detail is the best feature. You don’t see that in a lot of restorations.
CD: Is it hard to tell when you’re finished? Do you feel like there’s always this one more thing to be done?
KB: It’s like the cabinetmaker. He is never done until they take it out of his workshop. I can always find something else to do or I just start over.
CD: When you rehab a home like this do you have a particular buyer in mind that you are designing it for?
KB: No, I design it for myself. It has to please me first. That is why I rarely work for other people.
CD: What’s the trickiest part of working on a house like this?
KB: Making sure you don’t re-muddle it. It so easy to go with the off the shelf-elements or remove historic elements than to search for or remake what was originally there.
CD: What’s the most rewarding part?
KB: Standing back and realizing you preserved the history of the house and it is beautiful.
CD: Is it hard to leave all your hard work and move on to the next project? Have you ever been tempted to just keep it for yourself?
KB: It’s not that hard, I love the process so much but I look forward to new adventures. I would like to stay here longer but a new adventure is waiting.