Fort Worth Friday: Duplex Conversion Creates Delightful Double-Faced Home in Arlington Heights

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Ah, titillating ambiguity! This home at 800 Virginia Place in Arlington Heights is just such an agreeable experience. Glimpsed  from a casual drive-by, the house could be mistaken for new construction — but was in fact built in 1936. Does it front Virginia or 7th Street? On a corner half-acre lot, the result of an adroit up/down duplex to single family conversion, the house presents equally strong facades to both streets.

Seemingly situated in a quiet west side neighborhood, it conveniently lies only a few short blocks from the lively 7th Street scene, with its brimming bars, restaurants, and shops and the museum rich cultural district.  Approaching, one notices the attractive millwork of the balcony. Original or a later addition? The more important point is that it is completely house appropriate as is the playful mixed shingle siding, striking a Victorian note, now masking one of the former duplex doors.

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The ample entry vestibule with sitting area looks onto what could best be described as a parlor with an attractive double-quarter landing stair to the right. Doors, base and, crown mold have been lovingly stripped of paint to reveal original wood grain and hardwoods throughout are in mint condition. Symmetrical windows frame one of three fireplaces in the 2,937-square-foot house. Although the current owner has deftly exploited the old house ambience as a setting for her beloved Victoriana, the fluid floor plan could easily sport a more modern point of view with a few minor decorative alterations. It is listed at $575,000 with Spencer Perry of Williams Trew.

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A charming dining room opens to a roomy kitchen with two pantries and gorgeous six-burner, dual-fuel Aga cooker paired to commercial grade vent. The enclosed porch to the right looks out onto a lovely, walled, outdoor living area-an ideal secret garden with  a large stone fireplace.

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Completing the first floor is an airy bedroom and complete 3-piece bathroom with a diminutive slipper claw-foot tub offering a perfect independent guest situation. propImgHandler-6.ashx

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Ascending the stairs, arriving at a vaulted second living area, one finds the second of three fireplaces (we aren’t counting the one out of doors). The whole of the upstairs now, and probably for future owners, will function as its own private suite. Remember the previous incarnation as a duplex? The former kitchen and dining areas have been added to the stock of square footage to augment a master suite, all behind one door, with a considerable closet and large bath sharing the third fireplace with the bedroom. The third bath conceals handy upstairs laundry and the third bedroom serves as home office.propImgHandler-8.ashx

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Major big bonus for a house of this age is the three car garage. The above apartment, generates healthy rental income and is an unexpected charmer which I am assured, is usually empty only on the evening of moving day.

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Eric Prokesh is an interior designer whose work has appeared on HGTV, in books and publications including D Home, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, and House and Garden. In January 2005, HG named Eric one of the 50 tastemakers in America and D Home has included him as one of Dallas’ Best Designers for 10 years. Having lived most of his life in Dallas, he now calls Fort Worth home and is one of our experts on beautiful Fort Worth Dirt.