Woodlawn Front

Today’s dispatch is written from the comfort of a home with electricity and from under one of these. Our power was finally restored at 6 p.m. Monday evening after more than 85 hours of becoming displaced from winter storm Cleon. Our home is thawing, and there are murderous-looking icicles hanging from our eaves. In all, we’re lucky we didn’t end up with a more serious electrical problem, as folks in our neighborhood dealt with service panels ripped from their home’s exterior as the weight of downed limbs sent lines to the ground. A special shout-out goes to the crews with Alabama Power, who worked hard to restore electricity to our neighborhood. Those linemen are going on my Christmas card list, that’s for sure.

Woodlawn Living Woodlawn Loft

Now that Icemaggedon (or Icepocalypse 2013, if you prefer) is waning, my thoughts return to cozy homes now that my own home is cozy. This completely remodeled Craftsman bungalow in North Oak Cliff really caught my eye, and you’ll understand why. Sometimes folks do hodge-podge remodels of these homes and they just turn out ugly. This one at 915 Woodlawn is beautiful and modern, with a cool loft over the living room.

Listed for $299,000 by Chris Arnold’s Premier Realty Group, this home has some really stunning features. It’s inside Kidd Springs, too, and just a couple of blocks from the recently renovated Kidd Springs Recreation Center, the Bishop Arts District, The Kessler X+ area, Tyler/Davis, and Lake Cliff Park. It’s a lovely neighborhood with fantastic homes in a variety of architectural styles just minutes from downtown. With more than 1,500 square feet, three bedrooms and two full baths, this home is fantastic for a family who wants to live in North Oak Cliff but doesn’t want to put in the sweat equity it takes to rip one of these homes down to the studs and start over.

Woodlawn Dining Woodlawn Kitchen

This home fulfills almost everything on my wishlist — stainless steel appliances and new cabinets, hardwood floors and tile in the kitchen, two full baths, two dining areas, and vaulted ceilings in the living room — but one very crucial thing is missing: a fireplace.

Now, that wouldn’t be a big deal to me, but after not having power in a 1950s-era home without a fireplace, this is one feature that I can’t compromise on. Good thing there are some really cool, really reasonably price stand-alone fireplaces you can put in. Maybe you want to do a wood-burning stove, or just a gas fireplace. A lot of these can be purchased and installed for less than $5,000 and are totally worth every penny. Put one in the living room and keep the flue exposed for a wonderful transitional look.

Woodlawn Bedroom Woodlawn Master Bath Woodlawn Sunroom

I do love the windows in this home, and the front porch, which is a fabulous feature that, with the right furniture, will help you get to know your neighbors. You’ll appreciate the decent-sized corner lot, too.

What do you think of this home?



We’ve been displaced from our home in Casa View Haven for going on four days now. Our little corner of East Dallas lost power around 4 a.m. on Friday, and while we thought we could tough it out that evening, we ended up doing a white-knuckle commute to Forney, where our in-laws live. A trip that usually takes no longer than a half-hour took about an hour and a half on Friday afternoon, considering the snail’s pace we drove to negotiate icy bridges and 18-wheelers stopped on the shoulders. We saw cars and trucks in ditches, some getting rescued by tow trucks and fire engines, and more than a few devil-may-care-type drives being humbled by the icy roads.


Since then, we’ve been without power for 81 hours or so. (Side note: Our Great Pyrenees mix, Horsby (above) does not seem to mind the cold at all.) For the duration of that time, we’ve been relying on reports from our fellow neighbors who are either made of stronger stuff than we, or don’t have 2-year-olds, who have stuck it out in the cold and ice. The Casa View Haven Neighborhood Association has really come together during this time, with neighbors offering a warm bed to those who would otherwise turn into ice cubes overnight, hot meals, and even helping find animals who were spooked by the storm. The consensus among residents, though, is that service has been ridiculously slow to our area. Calls and texts and emails and web messages to Oncor have resulted in little to no service to our Zip code — 75228 — the largest in Dallas.

Considering the number of downed power lines and fallen trees in our neighborhood of post-war traditional homes, you’d think response time would be faster. And yet, a neighbor posted that a power line that has been buzzing on the ground in her backyard has still not been addressed. She’s finally decided to call 911, hoping that firefighters or emergency responders can help address the dangerous conditions.

It wasn’t until last night that we started to see trucks labeled “Alabama Power” in our area. If you’re keeping track, that’s about 64 hours after most of our neighborhood (including our home) lost power. We bought some of them coffee to help sweeten the deal to perhaps expedite our power restoration, but they were gone just about as fast as they arrived. They told us they were trying to figure out who would be working on our outages, and they were shooting to have power restored by midnight. Obviously, that didn’t happen.



We saw a few more Alabama trucks this morning, and even an Oncor truck, but still, no power. Even more galling is that Oncor’s text system keeps reporting some customers’ power as “restored” when those residents can tell you through chattering teeth that nothing could be further from the truth. What we’ve heard from some workers is that there were a lot of branches over lines that should have been trimmed, and when the perfect storm of winter conditions arrived — Hello, Cleon! — those branches crashed on the lines, resulting in massive and widespread outages.

Our neighborhood would have to agree. We’re still reporting outages to Oncor, every hour, on the hour, employing the “squeaky wheel” strategy. Here’s hoping we’re back in our own home, safe and warm, this evening. Until then, we’re hiding out in the Casa Linda Starbucks and other warm places that can keep a 2-year-old busy considering that his preschool — along with all DISD campuses, Fort Worth ISD, and pretty much all urban districts save for Garland — is closed. We definitely have a case of cabin fever.

Do you have power? What has been your experience from winter storm Cleon? And are you seeing crews working in your area? Sound off!

Ice tree on car E DallasThe latest estimates put it at 20,000 plus in Dallas and Collin Counties. That would include our Executive Editor, Joanna England, and frequent contributor Karen Eubank, both of whom live in East Dallas. Jo has been texting me since her house went cold Friday. She says “this photo is two streets over from me. We are finally seeing more Oncor and Alabama Power trucks in our area.” I’m sure Jo will be figuring out just what the hell took Oncor so long to get some parts of town power, soon as her fingers thaw.

Alabama Power? Does this mean Oncor had to call in for support? Parts of our ‘hood just got power — or “went hot” as the Oncor dudes put it —  last night. When I asked them why the selective service, they pointed to a bunch of trees weighing down some lines.

Kind of like this tree weighed in on this truck.

Also, I was at an open-house yesterday at a home with a metal roof. Looks to me like the ice was melting down in sheaths! I have so many questions for our CandysDirt Approved Builders I will keep them busy all month long… a sampling:

1. How much ice can a typical Dallas roof hold? That stuff is heavy.

2. I know this happens once a year, but maybe we do need heated front sidewalks, especially for elderly residents? My front walkway still looks like a slip and slide.

3. Can gutters withstand the weight of the ice?

4. What’s a better roof for ice, metal seamed or composition?

5.  What’s the best insulation for days like this?