You know a home is special when Preservation Dallas deems it worthy of an award. This Queen Anne Victorian home in the Peak’s Suburban Addition neighborhood of Old East Dallas is one of the winners of the 20th annual Preservation Achievement Awards this year.
However, Dallas is the real winner.
Preserving Dallas homes is an uphill battle. Generally, the value of the dirt a home sits on in this city supersedes any regard for history. But with great institutions like Preservation Dallas, talented builders, and owners that understand why preservation and restoration are crucial to our city, we are making strides. One of the best examples is this lovely Queen Anne Victorian at 1007 Moreland Avenue.
It was built in 1902 for Jacob Ullman, a well-known Decatur and Dallas businessman who immigrated from Germany. He and his wife Nettie lived in this Peak Suburban Addition Queen Anne Victorian — known today as Ullman House — with their young daughters. Ullman died in 1913, and his family continued to live in the house until 1919.
History Worth Preserving
It was built as a one-and-a-half-story home and was originally located on the corner of Swiss and Moreland at 706 Swiss Avenue, which later became 4516 Swiss Avenue. The house was moved to the back of the lot and turned to face Moreland Avenue sometime around 1922. The lot was then divided and the front parcel sold for development of a two-story multifamily apartment building. Research shows the property was eventually listed as four separate apartments in 1923. Sometime in the 1990s, the house was again turned into a single-family residence.
But it had suffered greatly.
Then along came Kyle Collins and Dr. Patricia (Patty) Simons of Lakewood Orthodontics. This home, by far, was not their first renovation rodeo.
“Kyle and I have a passion for history and for this neighborhood,” Patty said. “And as a dentist, I love to restore anything decaying! We did our restoration when we had just started dating. We took a historic apartment building on Reiger Avenue that had been neglected for several years and updated it to a modern, liveable fourplex. A few years later, after we were married, we began searching for our forever home.”
They found their next challenge on the corner of Gaston and Moreland. This house had been vacant for thirty years, cut into nine apartments and so neglected you could see through to the basement from holes in the attic floors. You’d think after a three-and-a-half-year restoration they would have had enough. But no!
“The house at 1007 Moreland looked so sad with its monochromatic color scheme and rotting front porch,” Patty said. “It was crying out to be saved from demolition by neglect. We let the owner, know that if he ever wanted to sell, we’d be interested.”
Several years later, he was ready to sell, and the timing could not have been worse for Patty and Kyle. They had just purchased a 1910 bungalow at 912 Moreland, which had been the childhood home of Alexandre Hogue, a famous dustbowl artist and were well into the planning stages.
But they went ahead with the purchase of the Queen Anne Victorian, with plans to return the house to its former glory after the bungalow renovation.
And boy did they perform a spectacular renovation!
A Complete Redesign
“The biggest challenge was in the redesign,” Patty said.
Remember, this house had not only been moved but also divided into four apartments, meaning four entrances. Dormer additions and a partial rear second story had been added. This left the interior very chopped-up. The roof-line had multiple valleys and a complicated and ineffective watershed which led to rot and termite damage that had to be addressed.
“The solution was to square-off the western corner of the house, going two-stories high, and capturing all the additions to the second story in one roof-line, “Patty said. “This allowed us to create a modern, livable space, with great flow on the interior, without losing any of the charm.”
An integral part of the charm of a Queen Anne Victorian is the front porch columns. Unfortunately, their capitals were crumbling and held together by wire wrapped around them.
“Casci Ornamental Plaster bailed me out,” Patty said. “Again, the dentist in me came into play! The capitals were made of plaster and horsehair. Considering I work with plaster all the time, I wondered just how hard this could this be. I just need to take the biggest impression of my life! I grabbed my old instruments from dental school, bought some epoxy resin, and started putting together the capital that was the most intact. I carved in the missing details and put the capital back together. I then made a mold of the capital with a rubber material (success after two failed attempts) but had difficulty getting the original out of the mold. At that point, I felt defeated. I took my mold to Casci Ornamental Plaster and asked for help. They informed me that my mold was usable, and they poured me the new capitals. I used twice as much material as I needed, and made the mold too stiff for me to break anything out on my own. Another lesson learned!”
The original fireplace mantle was found burned and missing its shelves in one of the gables after the attic fan was removed. Patty and Kyle took the Queen Anne Victorian to the studs to update plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. Wherever possible, the original trim was saved and reinstalled, and missing trim replicated to match. The hardwood floors were reused where intact, with new old wood was installed throughout the remainder of the house.
“This is one of the few remaining original Queen Anne Victorians in the Peak Suburban Addition Historic District,” Patty said. “Our goal was to return this house to its former glory as a livable modern single-family home while retaining and restoring its historic elements. The project consumed us for nearly three years, and every choice was made as if we would live in the house ourselves. Overall, we love the blend of the historical aspects and modern amenities within the house, and the exterior color scheme, which includes seven colors!”
Kyle and Patty have brought this architecturally significant historic Queen Anne Victorian back to life. With 4,012 square feet, four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and a powder bath, the Ullman House is ready for a new owner.
This fabulous historic Queen Anne Victorian at 1007 Moreland Ave. is listed by Briggs Freeman Realtor Elizabeth Mast for $925,000, who I might add did a stunning job staging this home! If you love historic homes, this is an amazing opportunity to jump into a move-in ready stunner with a City of Dallas 10-year Historic Preservation Tax Exemption.
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 all dogs, international travel, good chocolate, great champagne, and historic homes knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well!