By Donovan Westover
Whether to or from home, the drive gets pretty dicey on Colorado Boulevard east of the Stevens Park Golf Course. This particular stretch of the road is windy, topographical, and populated with several of the most significant historic homes in Oak Cliff — and Dallas, for that matter. Between the Binsford (1704 Colorado), Cavitt (1535 Colorado), and Skillern (1177 Lausanne) Houses, I have the attention span of Dug, the talking dog … squirrel!
And then, there is THAT house … the English Tudor at 1414 West Colorado Boulevard that seems to turn the corner with you. From the elbow at the front of the house, two wings protrude away from each other, each wrought with half-timbering on steeply pitched gables, massive chimneys, a spectrum of cast stone elements, and the thing that practically sends me careening into that little triangle park, the leaded casement windows.
For you see, I am a historic window geek, and there is a lot of distraction for me amid their shapes and sizes, leading patterns, and peppering of stain glass shapes, crests and vignettes. Even if Tudor is not your thing, this commanding house grabs your attention. Please look out for the triangle park when it does.
The House, which will be open for Preservation Dallas’ Oct. 29 Fall Architectural Tour, was built for Louie Kimple in 1931. Kimple was one of the founders of Dixie Wax Paper Company. In my childhood I recollect ironing wax paper sandwiched over autumn hued crayon shavings, to then cut into leaf shapes. Raised in Arizona, this was the closest thing we had to autumn’s colors. I call it “The house that faux leaves built.”
Kimple hired Carsey & Linskie to design the house, and there was a minor addition in 1944, making it well over 4,000 square feet. The year before, Carsey & Linskie’s design for the old bath house (White Rock Lake Bath House Cultural Center) had been built, which is one of the earliest Art Deco structures in the southwest.
The current Kimple House owner (steward, in preservation talk) is the fourth and has lived here 26 years. And, he is a great steward. The house is meticulously maintained both inside and out, and, there is a lot to maintain. Stocked with original windows, patterned plaster ceilings, TONS of Magnolia (yes, Magnolia) woodwork and the grounds, this remarkable home has it all.
I figured the back would be landscaped unassumingly as the front is. Boy was I wrong. Under the owner’s tutelage, the yard has transformed into a multi-layered oasis the last 26 years. A swimming pool complete with grotto and hot tub anchors a series of walking paths, seating vignettes, and gardens. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring from the ground-level patios and vignettes, and from the multiple rear balconies on the house. Please do not make me pick a favorite place. It was all Zen.
Assembling historic home tours in Dallas can be challenging. While we want to exemplify the adaptability of historic homes for modern lifestyles, we do not want to highlight insensitive updates. Dallas is truly a big-thinking city, and we often are challenged with the shiny and new interpretation, or giant privacy walls and gates keeping everybody out. Preservation Dallas is fortunate to bring you the Kimple House among our line up of stellar Fall Architectural Tour homes on Saturday, October 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Seriously … stellar.
There are five houses on the general tour including Cupaioli and Vaughn, as well as the Jones House at 3900 Mockingbird Lane. There is an additional tour house for patrons, in addition to the patron party at the Hess House.
On a side note… with the longevity of his career, Jon Carsey’s designs range from Colonial to Tudor to Neoclassical to International and are sprinkled throughout Dallas and Texas. Two of his most iconic midcentury designs can be found in Greenway Parks in the 1951 Prior (5381 Waneta Drive) and 1950 Simmons (5343 Wateka Drive) Houses.