Jon Anderson donated his kitchen to Habitat for Humanity as part of his Penthouse Plunge project.

Habitat for Humanity took my kitchen. There, I said it. And I couldn’t be happier.

Hopefully, the pristine, heavily lacquered maple cabinets manufactured by Germany’s Siematic fetch a good price at one of the organizations’ ReStore shops. In turn, those monies will be used for Habitat’s main job – giving former president Jimmy Carter something to do (kidding).

I have to say that of all the former presidents of my generation, Carter certainly gave back the most to his country and the world. Democrat or Republican, you have to admit his work with Habitat, which helps the less fortunate build their own homes, is nothing less than heroic. His public support is probably the only reason I’ve heard of them.  And Habitat for Humanity has grown. It supports 1,400 communities in the U.S. as well as more than 70 countries globally.

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In 2013, when I secured the building permits required to renovate my Athena condo, I was on the permitting office’s doorstep New Year’s morning and within a couple of hours, I left, permits in hand. When I returned a year later to get new permits to renovate the master bathroom, a similar timeline played out.

In the ensuing years since that simple, efficient timeline for simple renovation projects, the permitting office has vanished into bureaucracy, poor staffing and civil servitude. Instead of hours or even days, my permit took a full two-months to be issued – and it wasn’t because of me.

For those just joining the Penthouse Plunge series, on September 3, I purchased a 5,311-square-foot double penthouse at The Claridge on Turtle Creek. It had been on the market for four years with over $1 million in price reductions – and hadn’t been touched in 25 years. The combined floor plan didn’t work and so the only solution is to separate the units back into their original, as-built sizes and original-ish configurations.  And that’s just what I’m doing, with an endgame of selling the 2,770-square-foot corner A-unit (two bedrooms with study) and living in the B-unit forevermore. Penthouse Plunge follows the ups and downs of the renovation process and eventual sale.

Back to permitting (and its interminable waiting) which is part of the city department of Sustainable Development and Construction.

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The renovation to end all renovations: 6465 Aberdeen.

Some stories are best told in pictures and 6465 Aberdeen is definitely one of those stories. But it reads like a fairy tale.

We’ll sprinkle before and after pictures throughout because you just have to see it to believe it. And if you get the chance, go ahead and pick your jaw up off the floor. Seriously, Aberdeen is that good.

First thought you have, because we all had it is, “HOW ON EARTH IS THIS THE SAME HOUSE?” The answer is the current owners. They had a vision and impeccable taste and the patience of saints.

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On May 12, I posted a column on the coming sale of my home at the Athena. On May 14, it was listed in the MLS for $530,000. The home was under contract in seven days with the first (of many) people who toured (and still tour).

Including my home, there are currently five properties in the Athena for buyers to choose from. The others have been listed between five and nine months – and for less money. Why did my home get buyers’ interest so quickly?  Renovation.

Those who toured left comments that included:

“Absolutely stunning home in the sky! Please let me know if the current contract does not work out!” “It is lovely,” and, “This is a beautiful unit with the finest of materials used on the remodel.” And specific to the Athena, of those I spoke with, all appreciated my having an open balcony.

It’s no secret that buyers want move-in homes. But buyers in the older demographic the Pink Wall trades in really want move-in ready homes.  Properties requiring six-figure renovations with their associated hassles are a lot less appealing.

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I don’t know why, but these pea-green bathrooms straight from the 1950’s fascinate me. Our very first home in Dallas (on Ainsworth, northwest Dallas) has this same green tile mudded in. I love that the owners of this house took that green to the max, painting the cabinets an even darker shade of green with the closet door to match. Oh yes, the walls: green too!

So here you have it, a St. Paddy’s Day green loo, all for you!

This home is somewhat of a deal, too, especially if you love Midcentury Modern…

Wait, no that is not the home. But that is what it COULD be with a little effort. (more…)

After several months of extensive renovations, the timeless home at 3808 Cedarbrush Drive is now complete and ready for the right buyer. Designed by Demo Dallas’ Jessica Koltun and renovated by TK Homes, it is sure to attract plenty of attention.

“We wanted to make the home more what buyers in the area are looking for,” Koltun said.

Originally built in 1968, the home has been completely gutted and remodeled. Its layout was also reconfigured to add additional space. The now 2,900-square-foot home features five bedrooms and four baths. The impressive living room has a vaulted ceiling, large fireplace, and a bonus room to the side separated by a barn-style door.

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Tucked away in East Dallas, less than four miles from the shores of White Rock Lake, this hidden gem at 5637 Emrose Terrace is a perfect example of renovations done right. From its espresso floors and decorative lighting to the new roof and radiant barrier insulation, literally everything in the home has been redone since 2015.

“It looks and feels like a very modern, nice home on the inside,” Dallas City Center agent Scott Noblett said. “You can see the pool when you walk through the front door, through the living room and out to the back patio.”

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From left: Blackline Renovations Office Manager Jennifer Holloway, President Chris Black, Project Manager Taff Welborn and Interior Designer Jenifer Wiley. Wiley, the owner of J. Wiley Designs, is also Black’s wife.

Blackline Renovations founder and president Chris Black says that one of his biggest challenges these days is standing out from the crowd. By his count, there are more than 3,500 remodeling companies in Dallas alone.

“Demand is high but so is the sheer numbers of remodelers in the business,” he said. “We see new names popping up on signs all the time.”

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