To write about 1315 Elizabeth Boulevard in Ryan Place is a daunting proposition. There is just so much deserving of comment to give this venerable Fort Worth grande dame her due. On a personal level, its owner hosted a party here to welcome me and other newcomers when I moved to Elizabeth Blvd. six years ago. The sale of this property is somewhat bittersweet because the current owner was one of the community leaders responsible for the Ryan Place Renaissance — often an indispensable force in the neighborhood. Her departure is difficult to imagine.
This architectural gem sits in the prime middle block of the half-mile long Elizabeth Blvd., which is the main axis of the historic neighborhood. Just across the street is the impressive house built by Ryan Place developer John C. Ryan as his own home, which was the subject of my first Fort Worth Friday.
The structure, one of the finest residential commissions of legendary architect Wylie G. Clarkson, possesses a dignified grandeur expressed in the classical tradition. Perched on a deep-set lot above street level, the house is reached by two flights of steps and a lovely wide walkway of red brick. The stucco exterior is a warm biscuit color that reminds me of Bath, England. Architecturally, the nearly 90-foot-long, symmetrical façade reads ABCBA from left to right. There are two Palladian motifs on the ground floor — the one at the right has a sophisticated blind opening to preserve the symmetry. The portico is supported by paired Doric columns. Above a smaller Palladian framed window just peeks through the broken pediment crown.
The interior is copiously abundant in architectural details executed with a rich repertoire of columns, pilasters, and sumptuous vintage cornices. The scale of the 1918 house is breathtaking with nearly 6,600 square feet of living space. The front hall is larger than the average living room and shunts visitors to living and dining rooms, with the library closed off with impressive French doors.
Ample fenestration gives the 100-year-old house a feeling of sun-drenched freshness. The living room contains one of two fireplaces.
The library opposite the front door is covered in rich mahogany stained paneling. Many of the fixtures in the home are of the period. Even the fuse box behind a glazed access door is a marvel in of itself.
Sacrifice nothing in space with the eat-in kitchen. The kitchen runs nearly the full depth of the house with abundant storage.
The upstairs wainscoted gallery clocks in at nearly 550 square feet. The six bedrooms are all on the second floor and are of a scale consistent with the rest of the house. Some of the four bathrooms have undergone updates, but all retain their vintage tubs and sinks.
A major legacy for the new owner is the massive green Ludovici tile roof, which was replaced two years ago. There is parking for four cars at back with a roomy guest quarter above. The lively street scene can be observed from the cool, covered terrace sitting area. This beauty has only been on the market for two days with unusually heavy interest for this sluggish real estate season and is bargain priced at $137 per square foot. A bidding war is almost a certainty.
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.