With the fervor for tearing down classic homes in the Park Cities right now, it was refreshing to find our Inwood House of the Week, a charming University Park Tudor not only intact, but also lovingly restored. What was even more refreshing was sitting down with the talented woman that saw the potential in 4111 San Carlos Street, and hearing her story.
Lisa Bennett worked in the interior design industry for years, reinventing, reinvigorating, and remodeling clients’ homes. So, it comes as no surprise that one day she’d find a house that would inspire her to her take on a full remodel where her creativity could run free — because she was the client.
“I was driving down the street and saw this house, and it spoke to me,” Bennett said.
Falling in love with this University Park Tudor was preordained for Bennett. At 14, she was a volunteer at one of America’s finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture, Stan Hywet Hall, the home of Charles Goodyear. Yes, that Goodyear. Her grandfather was English, and her mother had grown up abroad, so that love of Tudor style was deeply ingrained in Bennett from an early age.
Remodeling a home built in 1939 that has undergone multiple updates, is not for the faint of heart. Bennett wanted to retain as much of the original charm as possible while updating it for a modern family.
“With a remodel like this, you are fusing old and new design,” Bennett said. “You’re taking an existing structure and marrying it with a new structure. That’s challenging.”
But if anyone could pull this off, Bennett could. She’s a talented interior decorator and also has a degree in finance and marketing from Cornell University — she understands beauty and how to create a plan to make it all work. Her eye for detail and dedication to getting things exactly right is admirable. Bennett does not cut corners, and she does her research.
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the home are the decorative chimney stacks. Bennett was sure she’d seen something like them before, perhaps the famous chimneys of Hampton Court Palace?
“I was researching Tudor elements I wanted to incorporate into the remodel,” Bennett said. “I started thumbing through all of my books to understand the thinking of the original architect and I ran across theses multiple chimneys. I thought oh my gosh this is the original inspiration for the house!
Bennett opened up the wall between the dining and family room, repeating the theme of the Tudor arch design. It’s a stroke of design genius and looks as if it’s been there since 1939. She used classic elements throughout the house including Statuary Carrara marble, and arched oil rubbed bronze fixtures, avoiding trends in favor of timeless European style.
Bennett had a lot of work ahead. The house had been chopped up. There were no walk-in closets — a total necessity for today’s buyer. The family room and narrow galley kitchen were closed off. One small door led from the dining room to the kitchen. Bennett wanted to create an addition that would house a sizable master wing with his-and-her walk-in closets while still preserving the backyard. With the aid of a structural engineer she used steel beams to support the structure and had it cantilever over the back porch and yard.
Downstairs, Bennett pushed the kitchen back several feet and added a pantry and mudroom. The laundry area and downstairs bath were also reconfigured.
What makes this home special is not just the details you see, it’s those you don’t see.
“I hid the air conditioning vents in the kitchen island,” Bennett said. No one wants to see the vents if there’s a way around it.”
In all, she added 1,000 square feet to arrive at a home that is now 3,960 square feet. The second floor is like a private sanctuary with a living area, outdoor porch, and wet bar. All four bedrooms and three of the four bathrooms are on this floor.
Bennett has managed to stay true to the original integrity of the home while updating it beautifully.
This home is a rare find in Park Cities, not only because it’s a flawless renovation, but the location is possibly the best one in the neighborhood. It’s a block from The Moody Family YMCA, two blocks from Highland Park Village, three blocks from The Dallas Country Club, and four blocks from Bradfield Elementary.
“I think this house would be perfect for a family, someone that reveres the past, loves the charm of an old house, and believes in the preservation of details,” Bennett said. “It was a labor of love. I wanted to honor the home. It had been neglected and was worth fighting for because everything can have a rebirth.”
Now let’s take Bennett’s words to heart and think hard before any other teardowns take place.
Door Real Estate is listing the home for $1.715 million. That’s a steal so be sure and get to the open house early this weekend!
Open House: Sunday, April 30, 2 – 4 p.m.
Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years. She’s been a professional writer for 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying music at The University of Miami. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap. Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com