Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour Features Architectural Treasures

This home at 5017 Swiss Avenue is one of eight that will be featured during this years’s Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour.

Mother’s Day weekend once again brings the Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour.  The annual tradition began in 1974, the same year that the neighborhood was named Dallas’ first residential historic area.

“Dallas has so few historic areas. I think there is a uniqueness to this home tour because there’s so much history involved with it,” Swiss Avenue Historic District representative Bob Cox said.

This year’s event will feature five homes on Swiss Avenue as well as three on Bryan Parkway. Multiple architectural styles will be represented including a French Normandy with Tudor influences, a brick mansion indicative of Louis Sullivan’s Chicago styles, and in Italian-style home currently being renovated.

Matt’s Rancho Martinez will cater a Mother’s Day lunch from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday.  The Matt Tolentino Band will perform early 20th century music — the songs that were popular when many of the homes were originally built. There will also be other local performers on Saturday and Sunday as well as horse-drawn carriage rides, a kids’ play area, and more.

“I think one of the neatest things about the tour is that it shows people what urban living can be like,” Cox said. “It allows people to kind of rediscover that it is a very livable and beautiful part of the city.

About the Homes

A few homeowners recently spoke with Candy’s Dirt about why they love their homes.


5007 Swiss Avenue

Owner: Bryan Shultz

CandysDirt.com: What room or design element of your home will stand out to home tour goers?

Brian Shultz: The home is currently undergoing significant renovation.  Much (if not most) of the back of the home has been removed.  In addition, the main downstairs rooms are being renovated.  If you are interested in seeing these beautiful homes from a structural and renovation standpoint, the project is a must see.

CD: Is there any feature or finish in your home that tour goers shouldn’t miss?

BS: The company doing the renovation, Alair Homes, will have 3D renderings of what it will look like.  Tour-goers should be able to stand and look out and picture what the finished product will be.  I look forward to seeing it myself.

CD:If you had to choose one spot — inside or outside — on your property where you could spend all day, where would it be and why?

BS: The gigantic pool in back.

CD:What are you doing to prepare for the home tour?

BS: The home is in the early stages of renovation, so much of what we are preparing for is safety as well as drawings and other information to present what was and what will be.

CD: What construction or renovation have you completed since you moved in? In what ways have you put your fingerprint on your home? Additionally, were there any challenges you had to overcome to complete your renovation project?

BS: We initially renovated the guest quarters upstairs as well as the pool area.  To our amazement, many of the original wood floors were present.  The artistry of those who work with these old homes and very brittle wood floors is something to behold.

CD: Is there any history behind your home?

BS: Our home was originally built in 1921 at the top of the street but was moved to its current location in the early 80s (I believe 1983).  The home was going to be demolished to make room for multi-tenant housing.  However, when a family that was looking to build on the lot (5007 Swiss) learned of the homes history, they elected to save it and had it moved from the top of the street to where it sits today.  As for the history, the original owners of the home were patrons of the arts and entertained Rachmaninoff and Van Cliburn (both having played in the home).

CD: Why did you fall in love with your home? Your neighborhood?

BS: We love the neighborhood, our neighbors, the majesty of the homes, the trees, and just about everything about East Dallas.  We are blessed to be able to live on Swiss.


5412 Swiss Avenue

Owner: Suzanne Ramirez

 

CandysDirt.com: What room or design element of your home will stand out to home tour goers?

SR: The remodeled kitchen and powder bath

CD: Is there any feature or finish in your home that tour goers shouldn’t miss?

SR: The original Rookwood fireplace, painted tin tiled ceiling in TV room, 7 ft. Cigar Store Indian

CD:If you had to choose one spot — inside or outside — on your property where you could spend all day, where would it be and why?

SR: Loungers in backyard, if the weather and insects would permit!

CD: What are you doing to prepare for the home tour?

SR: Just freshening up, cleaning windows, things like that.

CD: What construction or renovation have you completed since you moved in? In what ways have you put your fingerprint on your home? Additionally, were there any challenges you had to overcome to complete your renovation project?

SR: We’ve been here 20 years so many projects over the years! Wood floors, paint everywhere multiple times, renovated all baths and kitchen. The kitchen is the newest project and I just love how it was completed with matched wood floors, dark navy cabinets on bottom with white on top, and a one-of-a-kind quartzite island counter.

CD: Is there any history behind your home? 

SR: Once in a remodel project we found wiring for multiple phone systems, indicating house could have been used by bookies or as a multi-family residence.

CD:Why did you fall in love with your home? Your neighborhood?

SR: We love the area and having big yard and big trees. We love being close to downtown and the lake, while in the city. it feels small town with great neighbors and community happenings.


5124 Swiss Avenue

Owner: Chris Ivy

CandysDirt.com: What room or design element of your home will stand out to home tour goers?

CI: Regarding the exterior design elements, we love the detailed wood soffits, the unique green Ludowici clay roof tiles, and the mosaic-patterned tiles at the front door. Inside, the open floor plan and the tall ceilings are the design elements that stand out. They are some of the primary aspects that we loved when we purchased the home.

CD: Is there any feature or finish in your home that tour goers shouldn’t miss?

CI: The intricate woodwork on the staircase, the dining room walls, and the living room crown moldings are some of our favorite features.

CD: If you had to choose one spot — inside or outside — on your property where you could spend all day, where would it be and why?

CI: That is an easy one because we do it all the time; it is the outdoor living area and swimming pool. It’s a wonderful area to entertain guests and spend time with our families together.

CD: What are you doing to prepare for the home tour?

CI: We are putting our home on the market immediately after the home tour, so beyond our seasonal landscaping and spring cleaning, we’re doing all of the little things that I wish we had done as soon as we moved in many years ago!

CD:What construction or renovation have you completed since you moved in? In what ways have you put your fingerprint on your home? Additionally, were there any challenges you had to overcome to complete your renovation project?

CI: I touched on the outdoor living area previously, which was a significant renovation project that we completed in 2015. We moved the driveway entrance from Munger to Swiss and reclaimed a large portion of the backyard. The porte cochere was converted into to an outdoor living area and we added a swimming pool, a fire pit with a seating area. We planted many trees with significant landscaping, and converted the original enclosed back porch room into a new bar for entertaining. It was certainly worth it as we spend quite a bit of time enjoying the area with our family and friends.

CD:Is there any history behind your home? Your neighborhood? Care to share?

CI: The home was built in 1916 and the architect that designed it was W.E. Thomas. Joe T. Wilks is considered the first owner of record, but M.H. Wolfe, a cotton merchant, is believed to be the first resident.

CD:Why did you fall in love with your home? Your neighborhood?

CI: We fell in love with our home because we knew that it would be a wonderful place to raise our family and we fell in love with Swiss Avenue because we love the personality of the homes as well as the neighbors.


5112 Swiss Avenue

Owner: Jody Bowers

CandysDirt.com: What room or design element of your home will stand out to home tour goers?

JB: The living room is the first room they will enter after coming into the entry hall. I think it will stand out because it is such a large room with many original features: coved ceilings, original chandeliers, original fireplace, and original leaded glass bay window.

CD: Is there any feature or finish in your home that tour goers shouldn’t miss?

JB: They might be tempted to just skip going to see my husband’s office since it is above the detached garage.  It is spot that I think should not be missed.  It was part of our first renovation when we moved into the house. It has many unique features and elements that my husband requested in order to give a nod to Winston Churchill’s library at Chartwell.

CD: If you had to choose one spot — inside or outside — on your property where you could spend all day, where would it be and why?

JB:  I would probably spend it outside, going between the “summer house” and the “conservatory.”  These are the two little outbuildings we added when we removed the tennis court (part of our first renovation).  I enjoy gardening and this is my getaway area.

CD: What are you doing to prepare for the home tour?

JB: We have done some touch-up painting and power washed the front porch.  I’m having all of the garden clipped and mulched, outdoor pots and window boxes spruced up, outdoor cushion covers washed, chandeliers cleaned, windows cleaned, clearing out lots of clutter, helping with wording for the story boards, helping solicit docents, and more, but I’ll stop there.

CD:What construction or renovation have you completed since you moved in? In what ways have you put your fingerprint on your home? Additionally, were there any challenges you had to overcome to complete your renovation project?

JB:We have had two major renovations, one inside and one outside, facilitated by The Ed Jarrett Company. We never even interviewed another contractor for our second renovation … Ed is just the best. He helped us with one major renovation soon after we moved in in 2009.  In this one, we removed a full-sized tennis court with lights and fence. Renovated the garage from the ground up and added an enclosed staircase and bath and an office for my husband over the garage. Also, we added two small outbuildings, a summer house and a conservatory — so named by the British gentleman who designed them, and those names have stuck.  These charming little buildings were designed so they look they just grew up with the house.  These and my husband’s office are our unique fingerprint with the first renovation.

Two summers ago we added a mudroom area to the kitchen to allow for extra storage and an elevator (to prepare for our old age since no bedrooms downstairs).  At that time the kitchen was taken down to the studs and completely redone.  Also, since the addition opened up space upstairs, we did the same with the master bath. A complete overhaul.  This renovation was more challenging because it lasted about 10 months, and I had no kitchen except for a toaster oven, electric skillet, a little dorm-size refrigerator and a bathroom sink!  But we made it.  And it was worth it in the long run.  Carole Gantt helped design a special piece in my kitchen, and I’d say that is my unique touch…it has elements of a piece I love in the Aldredge House.

CD: Is there any history behind your home?

JB:  Our home has lots of history. Especially during the era of the first owners, Clarence and Esther Miller. (We are the fourth owner.)  When the Millers lived here, this area was the “social scene” for Dallas.  Our guest bath has a little Clark Gable memorabilia left by the previous owners because they were told by one of our older residents (now deceased) that he had attended some parties here.

Another fun fact about this house is that when the former owners lived here, it was featured on an episode of HGTV House Hunters.

CD:Why did you fall in love with your home? Your neighborhood?

JB:  We loved it immediately from the outside to the inside.  It just felt like home from the minute we walked in.  I love the neighborhood because the “park” that runs the length of our street.  The median is truly a park area.  Always dog walkers and joggers, and people just enjoying being in a pleasant setting. I love the eclectic feel and the history.  It’s fun just to wonder what it was like “back in the day.”

The Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 a piece and can be purchased here.