You Can Teach an Old House Transitional Tricks With The Right Builder

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Take a good, hard look at this beautiful Highland Park home. Guess when it was built. If you, like me, are accustomed to touring beautiful new home builds almost daily, you’d guess within the last five to seven years, right?

WRONG.

Hudson Construction Group and Mary Beth Wagner completely reimagined this Highland Park home.

Pay attention: you are going to see a sort of magic take place with 4233 Edmondson, a home that was once on the market and in a vastly different interior design style. A home that was built in 1991 and looked very much her age: beautiful, elegant, but incredibly traditional. INCREDIBLY.

I am talking columns, massive doses of thick crown molding: the word was, in 1990, you could never be too rich, have enough columns, crown molding, scrolls and spirals. We built homes to replicate castles in Bavaria, Ethiopia, and all those French chateaux. THE MORE PLASTER THE BETTER!

THIS was what Mary Beth Wagner walked into…
Hall of state? Yes, brick flooring.

What is amazing about this property is that Mary Beth Wagner, a talented Dallas interior designer herself (Mary Beth Wagner Interiors), spied the house about three years ago and fell in love with the location.

She was more than turned off by the eight rows of fluted columns, dentil crown molding everywhere, frou-frou and brick floors (RED BRICK FLOORS)! AN ORANGE ROOM! CHOCOLATE BROWN FAMILY ROOM!. But she has a discerning eye and incredible design vision, and she knew she could turn the house into a transitional showplace because the bones were so very, very good.

But despite a great location and high ceilings, the home was a “problem child”: there was not a fourth bedroom, you had to walk through the master to access TWO upstairs bedrooms, and the attic was not finished out.

(I’m not even going to mention the mirrored walls.)

Former master bath
New master bath

So she engaged one of the most dynamic young home builders in Dallas to complete the job: Hudson Construction Group.

Founded by Elliott Perry and Blake Evenson, Hudson’s focus has been to build in Dallas’ premier neighborhoods and high-rise buildings, including luxury multifamily. The Hudson philosophy is to focus on a home or development as their client’s largest asset, protecting and nurturing it for longevity of ownership.

Hudson’s extraordinary team is the successful partnership enjoyed by Perry and Evenson. Perry has a background in project management and business finance, extensive experience on the business side of real estate, and a vision for developing partnerships that offer the extraordinary at a savings to all of Hudson’s clients.

At 4233 Edmondson, the molding was removed, chiseled out by craftsmen. New doors were brought in. Hudson touched everything, from the HVAC to flooring, molding to moving and replacing windows.

Yes, this is the house:

“Removing the brick floors and heavy columns down the entry hall allowed me the ability to choose lighter, airier materials,” says Mary Beth. “The floor-to-ceiling windows (that were in the house) were amazing, and helped me with the vision of how I would treat the windows with draperies.

After removing the brick floors, the Hudson crew re-fashioned the entry all the way back to the pool-facing family room in limestone.

“One of the most important features in our homes is a seamless indoor-to-outdoor living environment,” says Elliott Perry. “So many clients ask for it, we have really perfected the mode. There are months in Texas where you want to throw open the doors and windows and bask in the fresh air and sunshine. Then there are other months when you’d rather pretend to be outside. We build our homes for a year-round experience.”

Edmondson was a big home, with enough overall space for a growing, bustling family of five, but in multiple areas it was traffic-choked.

Upstairs, a quirky floor plan that produced an overly massive master, two walk-through bedrooms, a coffee bar, and an exterior rear porch, was re-imagined into a sane traffic flow, three full ensuite bedrooms, a nicely-sized master with spa bath and huge closet, and a laundry room. The aforementioned rear porch became a more functional reading area and part of an additional bedroom suite. Removal of that hallway coffee bar made way for a staircase to the spacious attic above.

Where they created an entire third floor.

“With Mary Beth’s vision, we were able to capture more space by moving walls, and adding a third story with guest room, a large landing used as an exercise room, even an office plus storage room,” says Elliott Perry.

The home sits on a corner, another plus for the buyers. Hudson improved a brick retaining wall on the southwest side of the home skirting the street, adding an element of privacy and creating an amazingly peaceful outdoor living space separate from the pool area in the rear. A built-in grill, pavers and new landscaping created a usable outdoor living space, yard for kids and a sitting area for adults to enjoy on a pretty day. 

One of my favorite re-imaginings is on the first floor, where a bar coexisted with a walk-through pantry and elevator that was removed to create a more updated and utilitarian walk-in bar.

As Elliott Perry says, the trend is still to go open, but have a definition of what a room is.

While transitional is the preferred style for today’s homebuyer, not everyone can swing building new, from-the-ground-up sleek new homes. Sometimes you have to rip out and recreate the structure, even if we are talking homes built before 2000.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “tastes—and access to credit—have shifted dramatically since the early 2000s. These days, buyers of all ages eschew the large, ornate houses built in those years in favor of smaller, more-modern looking alternatives, and prefer walkable areas to living miles from retail.”

Design trends have shifted radically in the past decade. That means a home with crown moldings, ornate details and Mediterranean or Tuscan-style architecture can be a hard sell, while properties with clean lines and open floor plans get snapped up.

All you need is a builder with the confidence to turn a dated home into a progressive version of itself. This is refreshing news for buyers who often eschew “dated homes” for new construction.

Mary Beth Wagner was not at all afraid to rip a house apart and get what she wanted.

“This is our forever home. Without the dedication, patience, and attention to detail that Hudson devoted to this year a half project, I’m not sure we would have had the incredible results we have,” says Mary Beth. “They executed on some challenging rooms, and there are not many out there who could have.”

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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Comments

  1. John Copeland says

    Maybe I have missed some of your video tours but if not this one was well done and would look forward to more in the future.

  2. Nancy Nelson says

    Love watching your interview with my sweet, talented daughter, Mary Beth Wagner! Thank you for this very nice interview w/her!

  3. Patti Kennedy says

    What a beautiful transformation of this 1991 home – it is truly amazing and beautiful – so in line with 2020. Mary Beth Wagner is such a talented designer – she was right on the location- perfect for any family.

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