I know, I know, I know …. I, too, hate seeing Christmas merch in the local big box before we’ve even gotten through Halloween. However tickets do go on sale next week for the grandmother of Fort Worth’s home tours, officially monikered, “A Candlelight Tour In Ryan Place.” The popular yuletide event, which attracts faithful tour goers from all over the Fort Worth area and even Dallasites, is one of the main revenue sources for the Ryan Place Improvement Association, Fort Worth’s first neighborhood association, and has funded the rebuilding of the original demolished gates and installed period-style street lights throughout the neighborhood among other projects.
Candlelight Tour committees make an effort to mix it up, aiming for variety in style and size and this year is no exception, with a mash up of old and new, often in the same house. Two of the residences will be familiar to Fort Worth Friday readers.
The oldest house on this year’s tour is actually a relative newcomer to Ryan Place. The 1904 Queen Anne-style Victorian was originally part of the older the Page Addition, which was incorporated after the formation of the Ryan Place Improvement Association in 1969. As might be expected of a 114-year-old house, it has known much joy and sorrow, and separating fact from legend is sometimes difficult.
The current owners moved into the area in 2005, part of a wave of young people who participated in the Near Southside Renaissance, who fell under the spell of the extensive inventory of charming older houses. Veteran Ryan Place Candlelight Tour goers may remember this house from 2010, when the house was presented as “the work-in-progress” house. Now it might more properly be described as the “vision realized” house. While keeping faith with the original Victorian ambience, the current owners have made additions — most notably the stunning eat-in kitchen with its bespoke cabinetry and fashionable brass hardware and quartz countertops. The master bath has also been reworked to house a complete suite with a full-sized shower stall. The owners’ spot-on taste shines in the lovely color palette throughout the house.
The 1922 Craftsman bungalow on 5th Avenue has been totally updated and packs a generous 2600 square feet, four bedrooms and a completely renovated kitchen. A beautiful “old church staircase” leads to upstairs loft overlooking living area.
If the gray Tudor-style house on Elizabeth Boulevard looks familiar, it’s because we covered it when it was for sale two years ago. On a raised, near-half-acre lot, the residence has strategic views of the street. The living room contains one of two fireplaces. Ample fenestration makes the Craftsman/Tudor-style home light and airy. Those who saw the Tudor in 2008 will be delighted by the many changes in the past decade. The previous owner was an interior designer who undertook substantial renovation which the present owner augmented with her own tasteful tweaks and alterations.
The kitchen has been thoroughly renovated with modern stainless appliances and a deep stainless farmhouse sink and expanded island. New brass hardware adds warmth over the eye-catching blue cabinetry. The master bath has also been renovated. New light fixtures are standouts, in particular the dramatic wood fixture in the broad stairwell, which echoes the tones in the hardwood treads and scales perfectly with the space. In fact, furnishings in general look so perfect and carefully chosen that they look as if they were acquired especially for the residence instead of being moved to Elizabeth Boulevard only two years ago. On plan — a rework of one of the bedrooms which lacks closet space and the children’s bathroom which has a claw footed tub but no shower. Charming, yes, but not totally practical.
When I googled the College Avenue stop to have an advance peek at the fourth tour home, I found the image above. Really? Mixing it up gone too far, I thought. Happily, a drive by revealed bold, brand-new construction. New, as in less than six months old. An investor bought the 800-square-foot bungalow with the intention of refurbishing and extending it. When inspection of its foundation and other issues revealed it to be unsalvageable, it was sold for lot value.
Chris and Emily Stevens had attempted to buy a house designed by their friend, architect Brandon Allen, but lost it in a bidding war. When the College Avenue property became available, the young couple saw an opportunity to commission a house perfectly tailored to their taste and needs. Construction began on President’s Day this year and was completed with impressive swiftness. The Smiths have now occupied the house for a mere five months.
What emerged is a bold minimalist conception whose strong gable emphasizes verticality. Allen presented the couple with two plans and they ran with one of them with only minor modifications, including an outdoor fireplace, twin sinks in the master bath, and master door. The floor plan is open with no barrier between living room, dining room, and kitchen. Polished concrete floors gleam like ice. Walls meet ceilings perfectly without any intervening trim. Brass light fixtures and hardware carefully chosen with equal attention to design detail. This is the year of the brass. Here it is successfully installed in a modern milieu. The paired down gabled clap-board creation could be viewed as the 21st century descendant of the Lipscomb Street Victorian.
Also familiar is the South Adams stop. A real striking stand-out, this South Adams home unquestionably packs a lot of captivating design punch. From the appealing exterior color scheme, to its bold modern profile, the house has not so much been remodeled as re-imagined. Deconstructed and Reconstructed. Seasoned builder Terri West, has excelled herself in this effort, by reclaiming and maximizing every square inch of usable space in the 2,800-square-foot house. And yet most of the “bones” of the 1924 house have been left intact.
Ryan Place newcomer, Jenna Lee was initially looking for a fixer-upper, but with a growing business and young children she wasn’t displeases when she stumbled onto the South Adams move-in-ready. Her business, Winton+Waits, best described as a ‘style shop’, with a mix of jewelry, clothing and decorative accessories, is located in the fashionable 410 on South Main. Her home décor is informed by her relaxed, low key style-contemporary with occasional nods to tradition. Look for her signature gilt candles and soaps scattered throughout the house and for coupons for discounts at her unique shop.
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. His own home on historic Elizabeth Boulevard has been featured in 360 West.