A Boutique Agency with a Grand Global Motive

We’ve covered the scant stock of market-entry housing in Fairmount, so when we find a completely renovated, move-in ready, two-bedroom, two-bath charmer at $275,000 on a popular street, it’s, well, news.

Add into the mix that the newly minted firm Motive Real Estate Group is as newsworthy as the property they are brokering. More on that later. The nearly 100-year-old bungalow at 1711 South Henderson Street was given a total makeover in 2105 and now is as fresh as the nautical blue paint which enlivens its exterior.

The house has the must-have Fairmount feature — a front porch. In a wistful throwback to earlier times, residents regularly avail themselves of these shaded perches to relax with a glass of wine and monitor children at play while keeping current with neighbors.

The fireplace is curiously lodged in a living room corner. I’m seeing more and more rustic wood or exposed shiplap walls, a trend I thought might be a regionalism but judging from the shelter shows, seems to be a national trend.  I’m not personally a fan except, perhaps, in commercial spaces. Here it is installed on an —  excuse the term — “accent wall” in the living room as a foil to the cool pale pastel palette.

A partially opened floor plan contributes to the light airy feel. The kitchen division is preserved with a pony wall supporting a bar. When entertaining, pocket doors can be drawn to cordon off kitchen and dining room post dinner.

The kitchen has been given an update with new cabinets, appliances, and surfaces. I love the cobalt blue tile set against the Irish Georgian green, which threads throughout the residence. Also well chosen is the random size gray tile floor.

Greatly appreciated are the pristine skim-coated walls. The floors — one year shy of being antique — have been lovingly rejuvenated.  The neo-machine age ceiling fan in the master bedroom is well chosen for style as well as proportion. The closet, if a bit shallow, is nevertheless large for a house of this era.

The original master bath has been brought into the 21st Century though original elements like the claw footed tub have been refurbished and retained.

The back offers green space without the maintenance as it is almost entirely deck and hardscape, with the greenery thoughtfully supplied by neighbors. Infrastructure investments like new HVAC, a tankless water heater, upgrades to electric and plumbing, attic insulation and a per-square-foot price of around $190 begin to make 1711 Henderson look like a bargain.


More and more companies now seem to constitute themselves to perform multiple functions. Making a profit is naturally still the principle raison d’être, but many are finding creative ways to funnel a portion of those profits to pet projects and worthy charities which brings us to the second part of our story.

John Staab, principle at Motive Real Estate Group and listing agent of 1711 South Henderson, tells how he formed the company one year ago.

“I thought about what a lot of companies already do to give back, like donating a small percentage of profits or a few dollars to charities. That’s all great, and I love that they do that, but I wanted to make more of an impact. So after a lot of thinking and soul-searching during long runs, mountain bike rides and just sitting still (which I don’t do often), I had a crazy idea that it would be amazing to give a home away for every home I helped a client buy or sell.”

“I slept on it a few nights and, each day I woke, it seemed just as crazy as it was when I went to sleep the night before. I was completely fixated by the idea. That’s when I knew it’s what I needed to do. I would create a real estate brokerage driven by the purpose of giving a home for a home.”

After much research of foreign and domestic NGO’s and nonprofits, he stumbled onto Butterfly Tree which has been working in the land-locked, southern African country of Zambia.

“Butterfly Tree has been working in Zambia for over a decade and they have cut through the red tape and jumped through the hoops necessary to get things done.”

Granted these dwellings are very rudimentary, but recipients are generally large families living unsheltered in the open, exposed to malarial mosquitoes and predators. So far, Motive has built 12 such structures.

“We’re always searching other areas and countries where we can help and when we find the right fit, we may expand to those locations,” said Staab. “The cost of homes we build varies based on exchange rates, availability of materials and other factors. I don’t typically get into the specifics of costs, but I will say that it stings when we send the wires to fund these projects, but it’s completely worth it. And none of this happens without our amazing clients.”

Eric Prokesh is an interior designer whose work has appeared on HGTV, and 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.

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