The Hidden Hillcrest New England Cottage in a Woodland Wonderland

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New England Cottage

You are in for a treat today. I have the most incredible account of this hidden Hillcrest Road New England cottage at 11525 Hillcrest Road because the couple responsible for the renovations kept meticulous notes. Grab a second cuppa, and settle in dear readers. This is one special property.

You know how much I love history, so let’s go back to the early 1900s when the Boy Scouts of America were formed. This property was the original Dallas County Boy Scout camp ground, called The Owl’s Nest!

Eventually, the property was sold to Mrs. Hazel W. Johnson and her husband, Roy. They were pretty clever as they immediately subdivided it, and that subdivision is still named after Hazel. They retained a lovely bit of woodland acreage for themselves, which include a bridge and a water-well that had formed the base camp for the Boy Scouts.

New England Cottage

The Johnsons built a lovely stone, two-room, New England cottage on the property in 1941 and lived there, quite happily, for 16 years. In 1957 they hired architect Dan M. Daniel to expand and update.

The house changed hands only once between the Johnsons and the present owners — it’s that special.

The current owners have been the perfect stewards of this magical property. They took on reconstruction, renovations, updates, and spent a considerable amount of time on the woodland wonderland setting as they are keen gardeners.

New England Cottage

New England Cottage

It’s pretty safe to say they have done everything to the property you’d find in new construction. They turned to architect Gary Olp to bring the cottage up to 6,130-square-feet in 2001. He did a magnificent job , adding a new kitchen, master bedroom suite, formal dining, and living room areas, a second-story with two bedrooms and a bathroom as well as a two-bay attached garage. Suddenly the little New England cottage was a big beautiful three-bedroom, three-bathroom two-story home in a woodland wonderland befitting the best storybook setting you can imagine.

The owners sent us the following information on their massive 2001 renovation of the entire house.

While preserving the overall appearance of the original New England stone cottage, local architect, Gary Olp re-designed roof lines to bring conformity to the preceding renovations. The house was gutted to install proper insulation as well as to replace the electric wiring, heating, and air conditioning. Gas and water lines, along with hard-wired Internet, cable TV, and security systems, as well as a sprinkler system, were installed. The original two-room stone cottage and master bedroom were taken down to studs, ceilings raised and then rebuilt to replicate the original design including the wood paneling. New windows and French doors were installed to gain access to the kitchen garden as well as the new screened-in porch. The master suite was completely redesigned and expanded. The master suite includes a spectacular and massive dressing area and closet with built-in cabinetry, hardwood flooring, and huge mirrored closet doors. A new, large, covered screened-in porch offers wonderful views of Buffalo Creek and the adjacent woodland.

The old two-bay garage was converted into a two-story Cypress-paneled library with extensive built-in cabinetry for upstairs and downstairs offices. The library was custom built by noted master craftsman cabinet and furniture maker Rocky Gregory, who used some of the old massive Cypress bridge beams to craft a bench seat at the bay window and to form part of the cupola.

The library features a music center and a 200-plus bottle refrigerated wine cellar, unique library lighting, as well as a French art deco Degué chandelier and wall sconces. The unique architectural features, as well as the extensive use of wood, have contributed to a room with impressive acoustic qualities.

I could go on and on, but I have to get to the setting of this New England cottage because it is truly magical.

The central feature of the vegetable and flower cutting garden is the summer house. The design is based on Gravetye Manor, an Elizabethan stone mansion located in East Grinstead, England. More from the sellers on this:

Gregory built the wooden superstructure which includes pegged joinery. The floor is constructed from the massive Cypress beams salvaged from the old bridge on the property. An antique Swedish iron chandelier provides a wonderful warm glow in the evening. The plantings in the defined bordered growing beds were carefully selected to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and honey bees. Flower pots are used to grow a wide variety of herbs and vegetables. Peonies bloom in abundance each spring as do some spectacular Lilies (some of which are now over 8-feet tall!). There are multitudes of Hydrangea. Climbing vines and roses provide interesting color while complementing the garden’s architectural features.


There is a large fish pond on the north side of the house installed by Bonick Landscaping, a workshop, a custom-designed greenhouse that is fully computerized, and a 25-foot high waterfall.

The home and grounds have been a true labor of love for the current owners, and I’ve not seen a property that compares to this one in Dallas. You may find something equivalent in the English countryside, but it would never include the updates that have been added to this flawless New England cottage. It’s a one-of-a-kind home you cannot replicate today, and I hope the right person discovers this and cherishes it because it is an absolutely perfect house in a magical setting.

Ebby Halliday listing agent Kay Weeks has this New England cottage listed for $3.925 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, history, white paint, champagne, artificial turf, and homes with personality. Her father was a spy, and she keeps secrets very well. Find Karen at


Karen Eubank

Karen is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years and a professional writer for over 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying for his masters at The New England Conservatory of Music. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap.

Reader Interactions


  1. Bill says

    Love the house – especially the master bathroom – but as you said, Karen, it’s the property itself that is the magnificent part of this property. And that greenhouse – what a gift that is. If only I had $3.9-million!

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