In-Town Country Living on Skyline Drive

It seems a week doesn’t pass without this page decrying the paucity of the ever-elusive starter home. Even rarer is an abode with charm, let alone distinction from the cheerless, mass-produced builder models.

When looking at a house, I inevitably ask “Could I live here?” If  I believe the property has broad appeal, I will write about it even if the answer is “No.” In the case of 2121 Skyline Drive, I think I could answer “Yes.”

A long brick drive snakes through mature trees leading to the entrance of the delightful 1942 stucco cottage, on one acre of city land. There is a sense of the rustic — a country house in the city. Another access to the property from the Castleberry Cut Off Road means more value could be realized from subdividing the lot. And the price for all of this? A modest $277,500.

By now you are probably looking for the catch.  The addition, though rather grandly styled Beverly Hills Estates, isn’t in the most enviable location. Bounded by the Robert’s Cut Off and the Jacksboro Highway, inside Loop 820, it isn’t exactly beyond the pale either. It just happens to be enveloped by slightly sketchy areas, though its immediate neighbors on Skyline Drive are nearly as appealing. Simply put, it is part of a quirky little enclave planted in less desirable environs. In the plus column, it is a short bicycle ride away from a rather pretty urban oasis — Marion Sansom Park on Lake Worth.

Regrettably, photography could be better. Still, the very real appeal of this unaffected charmer shines through. The living room centers on a rock fireplace. Floor-to-ceiling windows include a fetching bay window at one end. Not to worry about the carpet —there is wood beneath. Rustic paneled walls running throughout the 2,000-square-foot house present opportunities for decorative invention.

Skyline Dr.

Some may find the kitchen a daunting project, but just look at the available space available for expansion.

The simple dining room, with its worn terracotta floors off the kitchen/breakfast area, evokes the allure of picturesque provincial interiors. Are we in Cabourg, Normandie or San Miguel de Allende?

Terracotta floors, paneling, and original wood panel doors offer an authenticity a similarly priced new build inevitably would lack.

Yes, I noticed the popcorn ceiling in the master bedroom, which could be easily addressed with ambiance-appropriate light bead board, but notice also the near floor-to-ceiling windows with sylvan views. The bedroom is one of three.

Thankfully, the original tile in the vintage bath has been preserved. The arched tub is period typical.

Many of the rooms have intricately criss-crossed , painted beams. In the back sunroom, they are left exposed. Admittedly this house has a few rough edges, but the designer in me revels in the obvious opportunities.

A major fillip into the bargain is the oversized, tastefully rectangular pool.

Got a horse or want to keep goats? There is a separate penned area for the livestock. And all of this is about 15 minutes from town. This off-the-beaten track gem hasn’t gone entirely unnoticed, appearing in The New York Times real estate pages, so you might want to get moving. There will be an open house tomorrow, Saturday from 1:00 to 3:00.

Gena Dowell of Coldwell Banker has priced 2121 Skyline Drive at $277,500.

Marion Sansom Park

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.