Vision is a curious thing. You either have it or you don’t. If you do, it translates across the board whether you are an artist, a designer, a CEO, or all three — as is the case of Scott Siers. To say it took vision to transform this State-Thomas Prairie is an understatement.
But vision is what drives Siers. That, and of course, passion. Taking on the complete renovation of a historic State-Thomas Prairie requires a great deal of passion. Siers has plenty of both. When he emailed us with his latest project, we were intrigued.
I’ve always loved the State-Thomas District. It was cool way before the concept of Uptown existed. It contains the largest collection of Victorian-era homes in the city. It became a Dallas Landmark District in 1986. I pulled up the application for historic designation, and it reads as follows:
State-Thomas, known in the late 1900s as the Thomas-Colby District, was “North Dallas” first socially elite neighborhood… Fifty-seven percent (57%) of these structures existing withinTract 1 were built before 1899. These homes reflect the economic boom of the post-railroad era of Dallas. Adjacent and across the Dallas Branch of the Trinity River to the North, freed slaves settled as early as 1861. Several Shotgun houses have been preserved within Tract 1 as examples of the architecture and culture of the Freedman’s Town.
State-Thomas was one of the earliest subdivisions in Dallas, so it attracted the socially elite, and the architectural styles reflected that. The original homes were built between 1870 and 1920, so there is a wide variety that includes Italianate, Stick, Queen Anne, Classic Revival, Victorian, and Prairie Revival.
If you are a history buff, like me, I encourage you to call up the application for Historic Landmark District status and read the history of the area. It is absolutely fascinating and includes lore about Ted Dealey’s bathtub! Ted’s father George was the publisher of The Dallas Morning News.
What you learn from all of this is State-Thomas was the hot spot a century ago, and it’s the hotspot again!
But again, it takes vision to understand how to adapt a historic home to modern-day needs.
And Siers, as I mentioned, has that vision (and then some) because it was ingrained from birth.
Siers had the tremendous good fortune to grow up with a dad that built custom cars — for a hobby. His mom kept an impeccable home and probably, in another lifetime, would have been a well-known interior designer. So the style gene was strong from the get-go.
Yep, he’s that guy. The one that started building Legos in the corner as a kid, but his Legos became artwork!
As a business executive, he gets around quite a bit. At one point, not too long ago, he was living at the Metropolitan Club at ZaZa. He got to know Charlie Givens, the CEO of ZaZa Hotels, and after showing his condo to Givens was suddenly designing the lobby — in his spare time — as well as a couple of the condos. Let me step you back to take a breath. Siers is a very busy executive with more irons in the fire than most, and he still makes time to not only design but also to create art.
Because ZaZa is in the heart of the State-Thomas District, Siers got to know the neighbors. One of them called him up out of the blue and had the inside skinny on a historic State-Thomas Prairie going up for sale. Knowing his particular talents, she insisted he must buy it. But remember, he’s an executive. He was at a meeting in Chicago at that moment. So he called his pal Jane Yeatman of Ebby Halliday Realtors and asked her to check out this State-Thomas Prairie house.
“She called me and said, buy it now because it will be sold by the close of business, and make a full-price offer,” Siers said. “She sent me photos and said the bones are great, so I bought it that day. It did have great bones, and I was pleasantly surprised at the infrastructure.”
Happily, there was no buyer’s remorse. Siers had renovated historic homes before in Moblie, Alabama, so he had a clue about what was going to unfold. He’s done about eight projects to date, so absolutely not his first rodeo.
“I knew I wanted to gut it,” Siers said. “I’ve had enough experience to know when you really need to start from scratch. We took out everything, including the staircase. The only thing left were the floors and exterior walls. I drew out a floor plan, decided on the theme because I always create a theme for each project, and we got to work.”
Siers hired Daniel Hernandez with DH Real Estate Holdings, Inc. to create his art gallery home. “I collect art, and I create art,” Siers said. “I wanted this home to have an art gallery theme, so everything was built around that.
This home was passed down within one family from 1905, and from what I can discern, Siers may only be the third owner. He made a promise to the seller that he’d make her proud. “She came back to see it after the renovation, and she loved it, so I felt I’d done the right thing,” Siers said.
Siers does fall in love with every project.
“It’s going to be hard to let go of this home,” he said. “The neighborhood and the neighbors are fantastic. But I remind myself with one project going, another begins. And my true passion is the creative part.”
I can’t wait to see what Siers does next. Meanwhile, his four-bedroom, three-bathroom State-Thomas Prairie at 2516 Thomas Avenue with a home theater and a secret room is going to be on the market soon, so stay tuned!