So, Midway Hollow, eh?
Mature trees? Check. Affordable homes in several price ranges? Check. Good schools? Check. Healthy, involved crime watch dedicated to reducing both nuisance and violent offenses in the neighborhood? Check. Close to good shopping? Check. Near a good airport but not in the flight path? Check. Plenty of diamonds-in-the-rough to diamonds-in-the-not-so-rough to make your own? Check, check.
Which is exactly why Nathan and Ann Jane Draper of Draper Construction chose the neighborhood. They’re on their second family home here, but a drive through the neighborhood (which is bordered by Walnut Hill Lane, Midway Road, Northwest Highway and Marsh Lane) reveals many homes the Drapers have built or remodeled.
“I comb the neighborhood looking for projects,” Nathan Draper said, standing in the kitchen of one of their most recent at 4069 Park Lane. “We like staying in this neighborhood. Prices are going up, we like the feel of the homes and the neighborhood.”
Draper is also in the middle of a remodel down to the studs with a second-floor addition on nearby Saranac Drive that will sell for the mid $700s. The home on Park Lane is listed at $549,250, and has four bedrooms and three baths.
Most of the homes in Midway Hollow (the original ones, anyway) were built in the 1950s. Before that, the neighborhood was farmland. The affordability of homes now — you can still find a cute little bungalow in the mid-to-high $200’s — has made it a mecca for first-time homeowners in the past, but now more and more families are choosing to put down roots.
But those low prices have also made it attractive to developers. In 2007, Preservation Dallas listed the neighborhood as endangered due to the design of the new construction going in after older homes were torn down.
And just like many neighborhoods that are catching on in Dallas, teardowns are prevalent. But not for Draper, who says they aim to either renovate existing homes or, in the event of a teardown, build a home that is true to the character of the neighborhood.
“It’s definitely intentional that even our teardowns conform to the neighborhood,” Draper said.
But this latest project was definitely not a teardown. With an entire wall of marble already in the living room, plenty of room and a family-friendly footprint, the Park Lane home was ripe for a remodel.
If Draper could get it, that is.
He saw the home originally as a for sale by owner — and underpriced. He put in an offer but by the time he did, someone else had snatched it up. “It sold $60,000 to $80,000 below market value,” he said.
Just a short time later, the house was back on the market — and priced higher. It was still a bargain, though, and Draper was successful this time.
As he and his crew began to work on the home, neighbors began to come by to give him bits and pieces of the home’s history. The large back room in the back? The previous owner used it for his train collection.
It is now a spacious master suite with a large walk-in closet, beautiful master bath with skylight, and a new, improved roof.
But the home’s eccentric story doesn’t stop at a train room — after all, everyone has a hobby, right? What really surprised Draper, he said, was that the house actually sat empty for 20 years — except for the owner’s collection of trains and memorabilia.
“A neighbor said the owner didn’t live here, but would come by occasionally to visit the home,” he said, and laughed. “Seems like a pretty expensive hobby if you’re devoting a whole house to it.”
The adorable midcentury modern was spruced up on the exterior with a fresh coat of paint, a reworked roofline, and returning the entry way woodwork to a natural stain. Inside, the floor plan is now open and airy in the kitchen, dining and main living area, with high-end finishes (including the aforementioned original wall of marble), hardwood floors throughout. In addition to the master suite, there are three more bedrooms and two more bathrooms, ample closet space, and a permanent storage building in the backyard. “We redid the electrical and plumbing, too,” Draper said.
The Drapers – like many builders making Midway Hollow their newest hunting ground – are pretty sold on the neighborhood. But they’re not just building here, they’re living here. A few streets over, the family of four has moved into a home just down the street from their old one, making their investments in the neighborhood not just business, but also personal.