We all know restoring a historic property like this Italian Renaissance mansion takes deep pockets. Dallas has plenty of those. What it is lacking, however, is enough of those pockets that also have the dedication, education, and drive to preserve architecturally significant homes. Thankfully we do have what I like to call architectural angels.
These are the men and women that get it. They know why a historic home needs to remain standing and they figure out, not only how to keep it in place, but also how to improve it. I cannot think of a better example of perfect preservation and restoration than 3601 Beverly Drive.
Originally known as the Ferris Mansion, the home was designed by renowned architect Hal Thomson in 1923. Thomson hired some of the best craftsmen in America and Europe to bring his vision to life. You don’t see the elaborate stone, glass, and hand-carved wood details like this today because the craftsmen are few and far between, and fine details equal many dollar signs.
Fortunately for all of us, this Italian Renaissance mansion has been well cared for over the years by families that understood the value of preservation. Without a doubt, the most dedicated of these preservationists have been the present owners, architectural angels Mark Bunting and his lovely wife, Kelly.
Improving on a Masterpiece
This house has had quite a bit of press over the years because the Buntings did something almost impossible: They improved upon a masterpiece. The Buntings are not novices at renovation and preservation by any means. They had lived down the street and been through a sizable renovation on their previous house, but it was not on the level of a home this architecturally significant.
In 2008, the Buntings spent 32 months renovating this classic Italian Renaissance mansion. No historical detail was overlooked. The improvements are mind-boggling and so beautifully executed that they are almost imperceptible. That is until you get to the engineering feat that is now the home theater, gym, wine cellar, and tasting room. They are located under the backyard and pool. The neighbors are probably still talking about that excavation!
The renovation created a seamless integration of architectural history, with the conveniences we expect for modern living. It’s a beautiful, comfortable, and family-friendly home. If you think you can’t raise kids in a historic home, read my previous post on this fantastic property.
But wait, there’s more!
A lot changes in 10 years, like the advent of open-plan living spaces. So, in 2018, the Buntings created an open kitchen and family room area.
Today this 12,834-square-foot Italian Renaissance mansion has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, three powder baths, seven living areas inside, and three outdoor living areas.
This is one of those iconic homes that make Dallas, well, Dallas. That’s what we all need to remember. Without the preservation and restoration of these architecturally significant homes, who are we? Just another shiny but boring city. Having architectural angels like the Buntings is crucial to any large city that doesn’t value preservation as much as it should.
So, thank you, Mark and Kelly. Thank you very much for reminding us about what is important and worthwhile, and what helps to make us a great city.
The Buntings are on to their next adventure. It’s time for another lovely couple that longs for warmth, texture, and history to enjoy the fruits of all the labor and love that have gone into this home.
Briggs Freeman agent Alex Trusler has this iconic Italian Renaissance mansion listed for $9.499 million. That my dear readers, is an absolute steal. Snap it up or someone from California, who gets it, will.
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, preservation, historic homes, and good champagne knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well! Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com