American Foursquare

There homes that define America. The Colonial, the Ranch, and the American Foursquare come to mind immediately. The American Foursquare was popular from the 1890s to the 1930s and is arguably the most iconic of American styles. And do we have a beauty for you today!

… a square house of dependable proportions and solid, honest construction in a country where a square deal was offered by then- President Theodore Roosevelt. From it’s very beginning, it was perceived as an American type and style.

The American Foursquare is like the perfect vanilla cake. The batter is rich, always flavorful, and turns out a dependable base for decoration. It was one of the most popular homes in the early 20th century because it was so simple. American Foursquares were also energy efficient and economical to build.

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1405 W. Virginia Street McKinney is listed for $459,000 by Heather Stevens of VIVO Realty.

Have you been pining for a Victorian farmhouse but aren’t interested in a major renovation? Well have we got the home for you! Tucked away on a quiet street within walking distance of historic downtown McKinney, sits this adorable four-bedroom, two-and-one-half-bath charmer that’s ripe for the picking.

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Can Dallas have nice things? If this proposed project goes through, the answer is absolutely yes.

I get it, you’re immediately wondering what those green-walled balconies are running up the building. It’s a sneak peek at a proposed residential tower at 1899 McKinney designed by Chicago-based SCB Architecture for investor/developer Ari Rastegar of Rastegar Property Company – his first new-build in Dallas. Like the man, it’s ambitious architecture for Dallas. When I spoke with Rastegar and SCB principal Clara Wineberg, I imagined a conversation a resident might have explaining where they lived:

“Where do you live?”

“The building you’re on the waiting list for.”

But let’s unpack this picture.  In front of the white car, you can see the tops of umbrellas, which form the patio space for a proposed café. They’re so low because the plot is similarly sloped. This natural contour enables the café to create a more private feel while keeping the cohesion of the extensively landscaped pedestrian areas.

Slightly above the “ground” level, the green begins. Those “balconies” are in fact 17-foot deep amenity platforms spaced every three floors with lush green growing up their back walls. Expect them to be gathering places with seating and perhaps outdoor kitchens (my suggestion). That depth means you’re actually standing a considerable distance cantilevered out from the building’s skin – the views will be stunning. The uneven surfaces of the greenery should also tamp down some city noise in addition to being beautiful – were they simply glass-walled, they’d be an echo chamber.

What you can also see is the curved bump-out on the corner that will face down Akard to the Klyde Warren Park addition.  For those with Mayfair memories, I specifically asked about the radius of those curves. I find the tight turrets at the Mayfair condos result in largely useless spaces. The curve here is looser, allowing for easy furniture placement while delivering the drama of a curved glass wall.

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mayoralSome Dallas mayoral candidates like historic, some like new, two don’t even own homes but rent. And they live north, south, east and well, not west. And, remarkably, some of the most expensive homes belong to the female candidates in Dallas’ mayoral race — but with a caveat.

Regina Montoya has the biggest, most expensive real estate of the group with a home valued at roughly $4.3 million. Lynn McBee’s Highland Park home at 3912 Miramar is on the market for almost $3.5 million, and she’s living in an apartment in downtown Dallas. (more…)

5533 Swiss Ave ext

Mary Mapes is the CBS News producer who lived the life fantastic as Dan Rather’s principal producer for 60 Minutes. In 1999, their collaborative work culminated in a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for an investigative report on abuses in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

But Mapes and Rather, as you may recall, are also known for leaving CBS after their famous 2004 report that questioned how George W. Bush got into the (largely noncombat) National Guard during the Vietnam era. It questioned whether he received favorable treatment and even fulfilled the required obligations before his 1973 honorable discharge. It was the early era of blogging and the web microscope. The authenticity of military documents Mapes and Rather used in the report was questioned by bloggers who contended that the typeface used in those documents (Microsoft Word) didn’t yet exist, strongly suggesting the documents had been doctored or were forgeries.

It was one of the most famous events in the history of American journalism. To anyone in broadcast journalism, Dan Rather was the Walter Cronkite of our generation, the shoulders of truth. The ordeal was surreal.

On Sept. 20, 2004, CBS News president Andrew Heyward apologized for the report, as did Rather on the air that same night.

And thus began a nightmare for Mapes, including dismissal from the sterling network brand. Rather resigned from CBS a year later, shipwrecking one of the most stellar careers in broadcast journalism. Mapes was put through the wringer:

Mapes eventually found herself on the receiving end of a more than 200-page report from a panel commissioned by CBS and headed by former Republican attorney general Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press president Louis D. Boccardi.

The panel said it “had not been able to conclude with absolute certainty” whether the documents used in the report were “authentic or forgeries.” Nor did it find evidence of “liberal bias.”

All that time, Mapes was married to Dallas Morning News reporter Mark Wrolstad and living in Munger Place on Swiss Avenue right here in Dallas. The couple bought the home in 1998.

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4837 Tremont (Photos: Aaron Doughterty)

4837 Tremont (Photos: Aaron Doughterty)

Tomorrow’s wine walk and preview is the first event in the three-day Munger Place Days and Tour of Homes this weekend. In its eighth year, the home tour shows off the historic district’s ample inventory of early 20th century architecture. The homes will be open to ticketholders on Saturday and Sunday, and includes a wonderfully curated group of bungalows, prairie-style homes, and even a colonial revival.

Other events scheduled for the weekend include a craft fair and street festival on Sunday, and a free symposium on Saturday that will cover the care and restoration of vintage homes led by Tom Clark and Jon Wright. Their talk will mostly cover restoration of windows, but expect to find out more about the detailed process involved in preserving a neighborhood of this caliber, like the classic craftsman at 4837 Tremont pictured above.

Tickets for tomorrow’s wine walk and the home tour are still available. You can purchase wine walk tickets for $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Home tour tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.  The symposium is a free event sponsored by Prime Lending.

Jump to see more photos of this year’s tour homes.

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Mortgage loan

Getting a home loan can be a challenge for self-employed people: A typical mortgage lender wants to see one job with steady month-over-month income.

But an independent contractor might have time off between jobs, varying amounts of income each pay period, and business income that looks low because of capital investments, which are common tax write-offs for the self-employed. This often means they can’t qualify for a traditional home loan, even though they’re earning enough to afford it.

In fact, about one in four borrowers see their traditional purchase loan applications rejected in areas like Dallas and Travis counties, where self-employment is roughly 30 percent, according to Zillow. Around the rest of Texas, the chances of being rejected can be even higher for well-qualified borrowers, including small business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and self-employed borrowers.

“It’s not that they aren’t financially capable of buying a home—it’s that they’re up against a traditional lending system that hasn’t adapted to a changing workforce,” said Michael Slavin, CEO of online mortgage lender Privlo, which rolled out its services in Texas Friday, one of nine states in which it is currently doing business.

“We underwrite each borrower and are able to tailor the loans,” Slavin said. “We’re using technology to be a lot more flexible because we deal with the exceptions to all the lending rules.”

Because of those exceptions, Privlo considers many more data points beyond the typical W2 used by traditional banks and institutions to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness, like tax returns and bank statements.

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