Kessler Park

Photos courtesy East Kessler Park Neighborhood Association

By Deb R. Brimer
Contributing Writer

East Kessler Park is a breathtaking mix of storied historic homes and natural beauty. The neighborhood not only contains the largest collection of eclectic architecture within the city of Dallas, its residential patriarch The Rock Lodge – is among the oldest masonry structures in Dallas County.

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It’s people’s health and life expectancy versus Pecan trees down in Oak Cliff. This is a real head scratcher for me, given the fact that staying fit is the undisputed key to staying healthy and reducing health care costs in this country. Southern Dallas is already a wellness desert; the area has the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension in the city. Methodist Dallas Medical Center wants to expand a small campus fitness facility to a full-fledged wellness center to benefit everyone living south of  I -30. 

It’s even January, the month where everyone makes resolutions to get into better shape. And the latest mortality report from the Centers for Disease Control shows that Americans are dying sooner. In fact, for the third consecutive year, U.S. life expectancy fell. Our nation now ranks 29th globally in age-adjusted mortality despite all we spend on healthcare. Look at the 10 leading causes of death; at least half could be dramatically reduced with knowledge and technology we have right now if only U.S. citizens took better care of themselves. The author, Dr. Robert Pearl,  says that “if more Americans kept their New Year’s resolutions to improve their diet and exercise, we could greatly reduce the incidence of diabetes, our nation’s No. 7 cause of death.”

But in East Kessler Park, some folks who live in the neighborhood surrounding the Folsom Fitness Center on West Greenbriar Lane are more interested in saving trees, than people.

The Folsom Fitness Center at Methodist Dallas Medical Center wants to expand its current fitness facility, constructed in 1984 and only 5100 square feet, to a 35,000 square foot state-of-the-art center just northeast of the current location. They envision something similar to Baylor’s Tom Landry Fitness Center in Old East Dallas, which has aquatics, kettle bells, pilates, triathlon training, sports-performance programs, and so on. Or the 52,000 square foot Cooper Fitness Center in North Dallas, which has all of the above plus running trails on about 30 acres. (more…)

East Kessler Park Traditional

Our Inwood Home of the Week is an East Kessler Park traditional at 435 Allison Drive, and it has quite a story. Let’s begin with the fact it was built for John Stemmons. Yes, that John Stemmons.

When Steve Kettering of Kettering Ideas and his partner (and daughter), Neysa Font, found this East Kessler Park traditional, they knew it had a lot of potential.

“This was a stunning house, even in the purchase condition,” said Kettering. “We found the original blueprints in a closet and discovered the house was built for John Stemmons. We don’t know if he ever moved in, or built it to sell but his name is on the documents.”

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East Kessler Park TraditionalWhen I came across this charming East Kessler Park traditional home at 1518 Oak Knoll St., I did a double take. It checked every box I could think of for our Inwood National Bank Home of the Week, great location, sizable home, character, updated, a pool, and look at that yard! There are 12 trees over 100 years old that canopy the lot, with nine of them in the front yard. Where else in Dallas do you get that? Nowhere!

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There are a lot of neighborhoods in North Texas that have rather euphemistic names, using terms like “hills,” “bluffs,” and “ranch” that are a stretch worthy of an Olympic gymnast. However, Oak Cliff is truly an area filled with both oak trees and rambling cliffs of stone throughout, and some of the most interesting houses are set into its varying topography with aplomb.
 
One such example is this listing from David Griffin & Company Realtor Courtney Tauriac.  It’s a gorgeous Austin Stone traditional in East Kessler that, while rather unassuming from the curb, packs a punch inside and in the backyard. It’s an obvious choice for this week’s High Caliber Home of the Week presented by Lisa Peters at Caliber Home Loans. Though it’s a beautiful house, what really makes it unique is the large lot, Tauriac says.
 
“Finding a third acre lot in Kessler Park is a rarity in itself,” she notes, “but to have a pool, outdoor wet bar with large pergola seating area, large yard, and two-car garage all for under $900,000? This home is such a gem!”
 
We agree!

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439 W Colorado Blvd ext 4

This charming cottage at 439 West Colorado Boulevard in the heart of East Kessler Park lasted on the market only five days and snagged three offers. (I was actually surprised it lasted that long.) When the seller told me he and his “partner in crime” were considering selling, I said, go find a place to live NOW.

This is the home of the most talented Todd Johnson, who I knew as the Art Director of D Home Magazine, but his last art direction gig was with Ink, the magazines of American Way. 

You can see his well-thought out touches from the very first glimpse of the home: the detail work in the freshly white brick, the welcoming front door and shutters. Inside the walls are various shades of blue-gray that enhance the abundant exterior greenery floating in from the giant windows, located on multiple sides in most rooms.

439 West Colorado Blvd ext

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Josh and Hannah were brave enough to re-do their master suite on the DIY network's "Renovation Realities" show.

Josh and Hannah Ramsey were brave enough to re-do their master suite on the DIY network’s “Renovation Realities” show. They’ve decided that, while they love their East Kessler home, it’s time for them to simplify.

Josh and Hannah Ramsey have loved North Oak Cliff since they bought their first home just off of W. 8th Street in 2009. That was back when the Oak Cliff “Oh…” was almost a reflex when the Ramseys told their friends where they lived. It didn’t bother Josh and Hannah, though, as they felt right at home from the moment they moved in.

“Our house was a block from Bolsa, and we fell in love with the neighborhood, the amazing food, and the entrepreneurs making this place great,” Josh said. “We preemptively sold our home for a job relocation that fell through and then bought a home in Lake Highlands. It never felt like home, so we started house hunting and found a giant gem. It was way too big, but we saw the beauty here.”

Josh, a corporate director for Hilton Worldwide, and Hannah, a trauma nurse at Parkland, bought a 1946 neoclassical and set to work making it a place to raise a family. The home had already had a history of entertaining kids, as the previous owners of 15 years raised all six of their children there. Before that, Josh noted, the home housed nuns that volunteered at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

“When marathon training a few years back, I remember running by this house thinking, ‘I’d sure love to live there one day,’ ” Josh mused. “We knew it was well loved and couldn’t believe the charm.”

But the home needed a lot of work.

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1418 Eastus Front

We’re going to try to get our minds off of all the horrible flooding in Dallas with house porn. We got this little cutie in our inbox from none other than Steve Habgood, one of the best Realtors in North Oak Cliff. Habgood, a Dave Perry-Miller Realtor who is partnered up with Kathy Hewitt, says that this Austin stone cottage is a superb opportunity to move in and put your own stamp on a home with already fabulous bones.

This home has some updates, including fresh paint, refinished hardwood floors, and an updated kitchen. There’s some work to be done, namely updating light fixtures, re-doing the ceiling in the living and dining rooms, updating the sunroom, and perhaps fixing up the wood-burning fireplace in the living room.

1418 Eastus Living 3

But those are cosmetic projects, and this home was built extremely well with good-sized rooms considering that it was built in 1948. Jump for more photos and information on our Friday Four Hundred.

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