This historic Kessler Park Dilbeck cottage is an over-the-hills-and-through-the-woods storybook home. It’s the sort of house you imagine to have magical properties. Considering the number of artistically inclined owners who’ve made their own kind of magic here, it clearly has been sprinkled with fairy dust.
The cottage was a custom build in 1937 by one of our favorite architects, Charles Dilbeck. Dilbeck’s client was T.L. Morehead, better known as Mr. Buster of Mr. Buster’s Studio Furniture Company. Morehead’s shop was considered the purveyor of “very fine furniture” and was located at 2923 North Henderson. He was a big believer in advertising and gave decorating advice both in regular columns for The Dallas Morning News and in speaking engagements around town. He was a man of great taste, and that’s no doubt why he chose Dilbeck to build the family home. You can imagine how beautifully it was decorated back then.
When he sold the home, the ad in the Morning News on December 5, 1943, offered the following description:
For Her Christmas
1125 Canterbury Court in beautiful Kessler Park. A magnificent Monterrey design home by Dilbeck. Owner-built, and interior decorations by Mr. Buster. This means something to the discriminating purchaser. Three bedrooms, two baths upstairs. Guest bedroom/bath and powder room downstairs. Also, servant room, bath, and recreation room.
Don’t you love ads from the 40s? I especially like the idea of buying a house, “For Her Christmas.”
In the late 1940s, the house was purchased by J.C. Anderson, the president of The American National Bank in Oak Cliff. Anderson installed a workshop where he and his adult daughter designed and made copper plates for their friends.
When we get to the late 1950s, sculptor Henri Bert Bartscht and his wife, Waltrud, called the storybook cottage home and studio. The Bartscht’s held many art shows, talks, and hosted national artists like Elaine de Kooning at their Kessler Park Dilbeck cottage.
Creative personalities continued to be drawn to the home into the 1990s when artist Jack Hammack and his partner Chas Fitzgerald settled in for over 10 years.
It’s an easy house to love, and I think it must be a hard home to leave because it consistently seems to have promoted creativity. How could it not, though? Nestled into a leafy, secluded setting and set back behind a broad courtyard, the home’s lack of architectural predictability is intriguing, charming, and of course, typical of Dilbeck.
Over the years it’s been lovingly and artistically updated in a manner that does not infringe on Dilbeck’s original intentions. It’s surprisingly spacious, with 2,984 square feet, five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a powder bath, and guest quarters with a separate entry.
There is so much to love about this Kessler Park Dilbeck cottage from the private nooks to the stunning views. It’s a home of deeply layered character that we’re drawn to because character is not easy to find and no longer cost-effective to build. So, when you see something this steeped in history, you know you’ve happened upon a bit of magic.
That’s not much for magic!
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.