Photograph courtesy of Dallas Fire Department

By Donovan Westover
Special Contributor

My heart sank when I learned my favorite Charles Dilbeck-designed house had burned to the ground.  An exterior appliance started the 2016 blaze, which quickly spread throughout the 9,000-square-foot house replete with acres of 55-year-old wood shingles, wood siding, and wood ornamentation.  I was super sad for the loss to the family, as well as saddened for the loss of such a significant home … albeit not to a bulldozer, this time.

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This 1936-built home got a remodel in time for New Year’s Day.

If a home is lingering on the market, one of the first strategies a Realtor will employ is the “price improvement.” It’s not a bad idea, as conventional wisdom says that if a home hasn’t sold, it’s a combination of some other factor and it lacking a price to match its desirability.

But in some cases, sellers throw down the cash to do something pretty smart: remodel. 

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Photos showing some of the original details of this 1940 home by noted architect Charles Dilbeck, located at 5106 Milam Street in the Cochran Heights neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. Taken March 17, 2016. (Photo © Michael Hamtil)

Dallas Morning News photographer Michael Hamtil and his wife, photojournalist Lara Solt, have opened their Cochran Heights Dilbeck for the neighborhood’s first ever home tour on April 3. (Photo: Michael Hamtil)

This brand new home tour on April 3 is part celebration, part education, as Cochran Heights opens five of its Dilbeck-designed homes.

So, what’s the occasion?

According to Erika Huddleston, the neighborhood is celebrating its new Texas Historical Commission marker signifying the splendid collection of Dilbecks Cochran Heights holds.

The marker, which is on Henderson Ave. next to Consignment Heaven and Nick Brock Antiques, will have a formal unveiling at 1 p.m. Sunday April 3 with Preservation Dallas director David Preziosi and City of Dallas Parks and Recreation director Willis Winters. The unveiling will be followed by the home tour from 2 to 4 p.m. Tickets are available on the Cochran Heights Neighborhood Association website for $15 in advance or $20 the day of the tour. Or, if you want to try your luck, CandysDirt.com will have a ticket giveaway next week for two pairs of passes to this tour. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for your chance to win!

“These Cochran Heights Dilbeck homes have not been open to the public before, so this tour is a rare opportunity to peer into 1930s Dallas architecture and see how the homes have been adapted to 21st century living,” Huddleston added. “I hope that the Texas Historical Commission’s marker will encourage developers and homeowners to restore and rework old homes as a continuation of our history rather than tear them down and replace them.”
5216 Milam BeforeAfter

 

Before the official home tour, Preservation Dallas will host an in-town outing March 30 at 6 p.m. at 5215 Milam, pictured before and after restoration above. The home, a 1936 Dilbeck that was completely restored to LEED standards, won a 2015 Preservation Dallas Achievement Award. The tour is free for Preservation Dallas members and $20 for non-members, which also includes a ticket to the earlier neighborhood home tour. You can RSVP via reservations@preservationdallas.org.

Michael Hamtil, owner of 5106 Milam, shared some splendid details discovered during renovation. He gave us a sneak peek of his charming home, which will be on tour:

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4605 Watauga frontal

It’s going to be a beautiful week in Dallas. While our northern brethren are digging out from under piles of snow, the sun is shining on us in Dallas.

Like our weather this week, I have to share quite possibly the best of both worlds in Dallas real estate: a home designed by one of our most beloved architects, Charles Dilbeck. He is the architect who created my favorite flame PaigeBrook, the Westlake home that was moved to preserve it because the owners would never let that home shed one stone. And he designed this sprawling 1954 era ranch in the heart of Bluffview, a home whose inners have been completely re-fashioned by one of the most significant architectural and interior design firms in the southwest, Bodron + Fruit. Svend Fruit created Bodron+Fruit with interior designer, Mil Bodron. Bodron + Fruit has been responsible for architecturally sensitive renovations to some of the most important modernist houses in Dallas, including, the Philip Johnson or “Beck House” on Strait Lane, currently listed with David Nichols of Allie Beth Allman.  They have brought many a mid century modern home from the 1950’s to the 1970’s up to current living standards while maintaining the architectural flavor and purity of the original design, often done by a famous regional or national architect.

And they do it fabulously, seamlessly, so that the home never looks like a time capsule. 4605 Watauga pool ext (more…)

Paigebrooke Front CroppedA Reader writes:

Hey Candy, i was just wanting to know if you knew of any websites or books that are about Charles Dilbeck or have a list of the homes he designed. He is my favorite architect and i know he built a ton of houses in Dallas but i have also found homes in more random towns like Sherman, and Waxahachie. I would really appreciate the feedback because i have loved every single house that i have found that he built, because i want to see more of his amazing work. Thanks again.

The very best Dilbeck property, one of my tip-top faves in all of the world, is Paigebrook in Westlake. It is funny this house never seems to make the “most beautiful” lists of local shelter pubs because it is hidden in Westlake. PaigeBrooke is minutes from D/FW Airport and a brief jog from Westlake Academy. The rambling, half-timbered structure was designed by Charles Dilbeck in 1938, and is chock full of artisian handiwork and delightful surprises in almost every room — VERY Dilbeck,  who said each room in a home should have a surprise element. There are surprises, and Dallas history everywhere. The home was built originally for Ted Dealey, a publisher of the Dallas Morning News and member of a Dallas publishing family dynasty.

Dilbeck, of course, is the architect known for romantic Tudors and French country homes sprinkled in the Park Cities and a few in North Dallas: Harry Potter style before Harry was a Potter. His homes have a signature English farmhouse feel to them, and are built rambling, as if they have been added onto. Dilbeck, for example, always said that in authentic cottages you could always find the original log cabin that the home started from. (PaigeBrooke has one.) He also designed homes without hallways, so you have to go into one room to get to another, as if the house had been added on to randomly. It creates a very organic, cottage-y feel.

PaigeBrooke is classic Dilbeck, built with rustic brick, stone, tile and wood. There are those signature Dilbeck features such as rounded chimneys, overhanging balconies, cupolas and turrets — even a bell tower. Dilbeck was an eco-friendly architect before green was vogue. He favored salvaged and recycled materials. Hence, the pinkish stone throughout this house came from an old slaughterhouse in Fort Worth, and the handhewn beams were made from original Union Terminal timbers in Fort Worth.

You are correct: Dilbeck designed several country estates. PaigeBrooke’s owners, Scott and Kelly Bradley, remain close friends with his widow, Pat Dilbeck. She and her daughter Elaine Dilbeck MacIntire say Paigebrook is their favorite of Dilbeck’s houses, and it was his favorite, too. Let me get in touch with Kelly and Pat… Kelly Bradley tells me there is a Dilbeck class at SMU on Paigebrooke DRCharles Dilbeck design. But alas, it has a wait-list.Paigebrook exteriorPaigebrooke Fireplace 2

4414 Shenandoah4144 Shenandoah, one of the four famous Dilbecks on every corner of the intersection of Douglas and Shenandoah, is on the market and whittled down to $1,550,000 from a high offering of $1.6. On the market since January 13, that $50,000 drop really worked some magic: the home is already under contract.

Paigebrook exterior

Paigebrook

Paigebrook-Dining-Room-575x372

Paigebrook

Which makes me want to cry because I love this home and would buy it in a heartbeat. 3393 square feet, two bedrooms, two and a half baths of storybook fantasy, a Carmel CA Hansel House. There are genuine turrets, a balcony and all the wonderful Dilbeck rambling farmhouse feel, the wonderful huge stone fireplace, corner fireplaces, arched doorways, rafters, and stone floors. This is a mini version of my precious Paigebrook out in Westlake, which we need to re-visit. Jeff Watkins with Briggs now has that listing, and I have actually had the honor to meet Mr. Dilbeck’s wife. 4144 was built in 1934 but remodeled in 1990. You get a slate roof, stone exterior, two bedrooms upstairs including the master and master bath suite, an ante-room after the second bedroom. Can you think of a better house for empty nesters? I cannot either, especially the location and the quarter in back with full bath for guests or return-to-nesters.4414 Shenandoah DR 4414 Shenadoah foyer 4414 Shenandoah kitchen 4414 Shenandoah porch 4414 Shenandoah den 4414 Shenandoah stairs 4414 Shenadoah master 4414 Shenandoah master bath 4414 Shenadoah master tub 4414 Shenadoah studio 4414 Shenandoah yard

 

 

Remember the Dilbeck ranch, PaigeBrooke, in Westlake that was built by Ted Dealey and moved in six huge chunks to avoid the wrecking ball? John Charles Stevens Dilbeck is one of the area’s most famous and treasured architects, and anyone who DARES tear down a Dilbeck home quickly becomes homeowner non grata. So it is with great pride I offer you today’s Tuesday $200K: a Dilbeck home at 411 North Montreal with updated kitchen, second floor master, beautiful hardwoods and all the interior architectural delights that make his homes so very special. Even better, the backyard: a modern oasis with pool, spa and custom made storage building. Inside this charmer you will get 1786 square feet with circa 1941 touches including an oversized Dilbeck fireplace and multi levels, both Dilbeck trademarks. He loved the quirky farmhouse feel, and often had one room flow into another as if the home was built from a single great room. The square footage does not include the fun sunroom. This home is minutes from the Bishop Arts and Davis Street restaurant scene. I spent yesterday with developer Jim Lake, the man who made the Dallas Design District explode and he is so bullish on North Oak Cliff and Bishop Arts he could pop. I’m writing a story on the area for Texas Monthly, so stay tuned. All I can say is this: $248,500. GRAB IT!