Highland Park Historic Spanish Colonial Brings The Past To Life

Historic Spanish Colonial
Certain homes define Dallas, and this Highland Park historic Spanish Colonial at 3806 Beverly Drive is one of them. We are more than excited that it’s on the market because it has rarely been available.

Settle in with a big cup of coffee because we have a tale to tell.

To fully appreciate the inspiration for this historic Spanish Colonial home we must step back in time for a moment to the resurgence in popularity of the Grand Tour. Affluent families often packed up the children and took off to see the world, sailing out of New York and Canada on stunning ocean liners created by companies like Cunard and White Star.

So, it’s not surprising that Dallas businessman Zebina Earle Marvin packed up his family for a four-month trip around the world sailing on the Empress of Britain. Marvin was the owner of the Marvin Drug Company, which included six drugstores in Dallas, and two in University Park, (Marvin’s merged with Walgreens in 1940). Marvin was also the president and CEO of the Gulf States Security Life Insurance Company.

Historic Spanish Colonial

Historic Spanish Colonial

The lovely thing about scrolling through the Dallas Morning News archives is you can travel back in time instantly and see how the men who built our city lived. Dallas was a small town then, and every social activity was recorded. In November of 1931, the following story appeared in the newspaper.

“An interesting trip around the world lies before the family of Z.E. Marvin, who will leave Sunday afternoon for New York to sail Thursday for a four-months’ cruise. The first landing will be at Madeira, and from there the party will go to Gibraltar, Algiers, Morocco, Naples, and then to Jerusalem where they will spend Christmas Day. From the Holy Land, they will proceed to Cairo, Bombay, Batavia, and Singapore. They will stop at Manila and continue to China, making a stop of several weeks to visit Hong Kong, Shanghai, and other points. They will visit Kobe and Yokohama, and from Japan, will go to Honolulu. Their boat will dock at San Francisco and will continue to Los Angeles thence to Balboa, through the Panama Canal, and thence to New York arriving April 8th.”

When the family arrived back in Dallas, they had a clear vision for their dream home inspired by the architecture they saw on their travels. They hired Lang & Witchell, the most noted architectural firm of the day in Dallas. Otto Lang and Frank Witchell completed the home in 1934.

Historic Spanish Colonial

Lang & Witchell are best remembered for designing the Spanish Mediterranean Highland Park Town Hall and community center in 1924. They were a busy duo. We found some interesting information in the Alexander Architectural Archive at the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin. Jamie Lofren’s thesis “Early Texas Skyscrapers” included the following:

“The local firm of Lang & Witchell dominated construction in Dallas from 1910 to 1942 and had a profound impact on the city’s architectural character. The most respected firm in Dallas during this time, their long and prolific career and consistently high-quality designs contributed substantially to the cityscape…”
“The firm’s undisputed masterpieces are the Dallas Power & Light and the Lone Star Gas Company buildings, both finished in 1931. These two elegantly detailed structures remain Dallas’ finest Art Deco skyscrapers.”

Combine this affluent, well-traveled family and a highly sought-after architectural firm, and the result is this incredible historic Spanish Colonial home.

The wainscotting in the dining room is antique tile imported from Portugal.

The Marvin family lived here for many years, and then from what we can discern, the S. Allen Guilberson family bought it. The present owners purchased the historic Spanish Colonial from the Clint Murchison III family — yes that Murchison, the son of the former Dallas Cowboys owner and the grandson of the legendary oilman, Clint Murchison.

Now you may be thinking, “Ugh … historic means upkeep.” Not on this house. The present owners hired noted architect Wilson Fuqua to lead a complete renovation and expansion of the historic Spanish Colonial in 2013. And we mean complete. Every door, window, floor, and wall was carefully replaced with a focus on the quality and authenticity of materials. The owners understood full well they were stewards of an iconic property.

The hidden wine closet has storage for 300 bottles.

The present owners sent us the following information:

“Wilson worked to ensure that the scale and design details were consistent with the spirit of the original. Ceilings, columns, feature windows, and the exterior brick surface were all chosen to repeat the original themes. Since the project was completed in late 2015, the property has received many accolades and has been published in interior and architecture magazines and books.”

The house now stands at 9,624 square feet with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and three powder baths. “The addition is seamless,” Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s listing agent Joan Eleazer said. “It includes two more guest suites, an exercise room, a media room, and a spa with a hot pool and cold plunge pool. It’s one of the prettiest houses I’ve ever seen.”

Pour another cup of coffee because this story just gets better.

What’s a great house without a great interior designer and a great landscape architect? All of the finishes and interior design elements throughout the home were selected by Dallas interior designer Cathy Kincaid. It’s clear she kept in mind not only her current client’s desires but also the original inspiration for this historic Spanish Colonial. Entering this home is like stepping into a venerable country estate. It’s the perfect blend of European style and American convenience.

One of the many assets of this historic Spanish Colonial is the landscape. Set back from Beverly Drive, you wind your way to the main house through a landscape design created by Diana Green of Los Angeles-based Green Print Designs.

The indoor spa is adjacent to the exercise room and includes a hot pool with jets, a cold plunge pool, Finnish sauna, and a steam room.  The hot and cold pools utilize a geothermal system.

This historic Spanish Colonial is understated, intimate, and private despite being on one of the most desirable streets and in one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Dallas. It’s rare to find a home of this stature that has been updated in such an authentic manner.

Eleazer has this iconic home listed for $16.9 million.

Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager and writer for over 25 years. She teaches the popular Staging to Sell class and is the creator of the online course, The Beginners Guide to Buying Wholesale. She loves dogs, international travel, white paint, champagne, and artificial turf. Her father was a spy, and she keeps secrets very well. Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com

3 Comment

  • Fabulous, so glad to see and appreciate true architectural beauties – rather than the grey boxes so prevalent in today’s market!

  • I agree with Ronda Needham; this Highland Park beauty is a gem far surpassing ubiquitous gray boxes. However, I hope that the Z. E. Marvin family also celebrated Chanukah in Jerusalem during their 1931 Grand Tour! And why hide the wine closet? I shudder to entertain a location-related memory lapse when in need of a glass of Manischewitz. The brick entry court is a delight and the landscaping thoughtfully complements the Mediterranean-revival architecture. I’d change a few interior decor details; however, that’s just me. Incomparables such as this home are challenging to list price; accordingly, the actual sales price will be instructively enlightening.

  • My family moved to that street in the early ’70s. The owners at that time had a narrow gauge railroad tracks that circled the home. I recall that it is was in a state of disrepair but did see the owner chug chugging a electric train and open carriages ferrying little kids around the house once.