East Kessler Park Traditional Gets a New Lease on Life

Share News:

East Kessler Park Traditional

Our Inwood Home of the Week is an East Kessler Park traditional at 435 Allison Drive, and it has quite a story. Let’s begin with the fact it was built for John Stemmons. Yes, that John Stemmons.

When Steve Kettering of Kettering Ideas and his partner (and daughter), Neysa Font, found this East Kessler Park traditional, they knew it had a lot of potential.

“This was a stunning house, even in the purchase condition,” said Kettering. “We found the original blueprints in a closet and discovered the house was built for John Stemmons. We don’t know if he ever moved in, or built it to sell but his name is on the documents.”

East Kessler Park Traditional

Kettering is not your typical architect or builder. But when you put the bits and pieces of his history together, you realize he is ideally suited for the business.

“I was a farm kid and grew up building things for myself,” Kettering said.  “I didn’t know it was anything special. I drew up the plans for my own home in 1984 and built it. Then I built another. I’ve always just figured things out.”

Kettering was a career pilot for American Airlines. You may know that pilot schedules include downtime between trips. As a self-proclaimed workaholic, instead of playing golf or tennis he designed and built homes for family and friends.

One thing led to another, and before you know it, Kettering Ideas LLC became a reality as well as a family business. Font is the brains behind color, finish out, light fixtures, and all the fun parts. She also does the not-so-much-fun part of researching the right houses to renovate and update.

The company specializes in saving homes that have a historical component and have seen better days.

“I’m anti-knock-down,” Kettering said. “Especially in neighborhoods that are defined by the character of the homes that are there. I like to find houses that have a lot of existing charm and make them functional and modern without losing that original element of charm.”

You can see this East Kessler Park traditional was a perfect fit for Kettering Ideas. Having those original blueprints (now framed and hung in the home) was an integral part of the home’s rebirth. The plans showed a covered porch and a room at the end of the house that had not been completed. So, in addition to creating more space, Kettering was able to finish the house the way the original architect drew it.

“It’s kind of weird,” Kettering said. “The house now looks more like the blueprints than when we purchased it. I think the way we did the addition completed the house. It all looks like it was always supposed to be there. The other thing that worked so well was being able to transform the existing two-car garage into a master suite. We added a new two-car garage in front of it and a bedroom above.”

East Kessler Park Traditional


The most important thing to Kettering was solving what he saw as the staircase problem.

East Kessler Park Traditional
The original staircase layout ran right into the front door.

“As soon as you opened the front door, it was right in front of your face and went straight up,” Kettering said.  “It was a problem, a huge negative. So, I figured out a way to pivot the stairway with an open look. Stairways are complicated. You have to have the appropriate rise and run of the step, and code issues are challenging. There was just enough room to do what needed to be done. It was my favorite thing I was able to do in this house.”

East Kessler Park Traditional
From the living room of this East Kessler traditional, you can see how the front door opens to a steep view of the staircase.
East Kessler Park Traditional
Kettering cleverly pivoted the stairs to flow into the dining area.

Antique barn doors keep the prep kitchen secluded from diners.

This East Kessler Park traditional now has 2,801 square feet, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a powder bath. A new roof was installed, as well as new HVAC, plumbing, and electrical, and those gorgeous, oversized sliding glass doors in the breakfast room.

Before the renovations, you can see how the space was adapted to create a modern kitchen buyers are going to love!

Opening up the kitchen allowed Kettering to add a prep kitchen to the side complete with a dishwasher and sink.

Once the house was renovated, Kettering knew the finishing touch would be staging. He called in Karen and Eddie Otto with Home Star Staging to turn the house back into a home that would resonate with buyers.

“Staging homes with furniture allows people to see how the space works,” Karen said. “Homes feel bigger with furniture. It provides a frame of reference. It’s important that a home looks livable, and that you put in the right scale of furniture as well as the right number of pieces.”

The new master suite overlooks the backyard.

The hall bath before renovation.

East Kessler Park is one of those neighborhoods that continue to draw buyers, especially medical professionals. You can walk a block and be at Methodist Medical Center. A historical note here — the land for Methodist was donated by none other than, you guessed it, the Stemmons family!

This East Kessler Park traditional is a short jog to Lake Cliff Park and about a five-minute drive to Stephens Park Golf Course. Seriously, this location is Oak Cliff gold, and all on offer from Callan Harrison with Allie Beth Allman for $935,000. It’s not in MLS, so follow our link to Callan!

We love that with meticulous care,  just the right additions and updates and great staging, this East Kessler Park traditional really has not strayed from that original advertisement:

This home just built to demonstrate present-day building value and the artistic beauty that can be achieved in a location rich in trees and natural beauty. The finest type of construction, the best arrangement, the newest and best in building innovations.

Some things don’t change. They just get better.

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. Karen teaches the popular Staging to Sell class and is the creator of the online course, The Beginners Guide to Buying Wholesale. Her love of dogs, international travel, history, white paint, champagne, artificial turf, and Tudor and Midcentury Modern homes knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well! Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com


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


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *