History ran deep in Jack and Kate LaGere’s 1928 Park Cities Tudor. For Kate, an art history major, the home’s past ran even deeper.

Though the couple wasn’t purposely house hunting when they spotted the “For Sale” sign in the yard, they had discussed purchasing a historic home and knew exactly what they wanted. Aside from a nearby elementary school and park for their three young children, the LaGeres envisioned their historic dream home as a place they could preserve and restore to accommodate their art collection and family’s modern lifestyle.

Since the Tudor was across the street from Kate’s old elementary school, the location was ideal. After seeing the sprawling interior of the house and engaging their imaginations, they checked preservation and restoration off their wish list and embarked on their journey.

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mothballed

A vestibule at the Douglass at Page Woodson, which recently won a prestigious preservation award after developers turned into a long-abandoned Oklahoma City high school into affordable housing (Photo by Justin Clemons Photography/courtesy the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

Three Dallas ISD schools — shuttered for years, are now up for sale, the district announced last month. It’s uncertain how much they’ll go for in the competitive, sealed bidding process, but one of the mothballed schools — Phillis Wheatley Elementary — is considered to be a historic site.

That the three schools are up for sale is likely no surprise to anyone who paid attention to last September’s board of trustees meeting, where the trustees took up discussion of what to do with three shuttered campuses – the former Billy Earl Dade building, Pearl C. Anderson Elementary, and Phillis Wheatley Elementary. Both Wheatley and Anderson were closed in 2012, and both have been the target of vandals as well.

Wheatley Elementary (Photos courtesy City of Dallas)

Wheatley Elementary opened in 1929, and sits in the historic Wheatley Place neighborhood, named after Phillis Wheatley, an African-American poet from the 18th century. The entire neighborhood has been designated as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and as a Dallas Landmark District by the city. (more…)

Park Cities Tickets for the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society keynote luncheon are selling out quickly – which reminds me, I have a speech to write!

It is a great honor to have been asked by this fantastic group to be the keynote luncheon speaker on April 10, 2019 … one week from Wednesday!

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Dallas Center for Architecture is Now AD EX with Newly Expanded Vision, Location | CandysDirt.com

The Dallas Center for Architecture has changed its name and expanded its vision, moving to a new location in downtown Dallas and setting its sights on being an integral part of the community. 

DCFA is now AD EX, shorthand for The Architecture and Design Exchange. They are taking new roost in the historic midcentury architectural icon Republic Center with the goal of being both a physical space and mechanism for spurring conversation about walkability, mobility, historic preservation, affordable housing, economic development, and other civic challenges related to architecture and urban design that impact the city. 

“Building on the momentum created over the past ten years, we look forward to AD EX becoming a critical force in an ever-growing conversation on the design and livability of our cities,” says Jan Blackmon, FAIA, executive director of The Architecture and Design Foundation and AIA Dallas. “We believe this storefront space in the middle of a new epicenter for downtown will give us opportunities to reach new audiences. Our hope is that AD EX will inspire our community to see its surroundings differently and imagine new possibilities for design as a solution.”

AD EX’s street-level location in the dense urban core of Dallas and adjacency to downtown’s next planned public park, Pacific Plaza, is intended to break down barriers and facilitate informal exchange of ideas about design and architecture. Its interior space, outside terrace, open floorplan, and floor-to-ceiling windows will showcase design-focused exhibitions, films, book and panel discussions, student workshops, policy symposia, and other programming. 

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Proposed East Dallas-Oak Lawn Delayed Demolition Overlay (abuts downtown DDO to the south)

Last (stormy) night I attended the only community meeting to discuss the planned Delayed Demolition Overlay that is essentially bordered by the Tollway, Highland Park, Haskell, and Matilda.  The East Dallas-Oak Lawn DDO would be Dallas’ third.

This third proposed DDO covers some 15,000 parcels of land. Between this and the downtown DDO, much of the Oak Lawn Committee area of PD-193 would be covered (for what it’s worth).

What’s a Delayed Demolition Overlay (DDO)?

Delayed Demolition Overlays are areas of the city that contain at least some historic properties worth preserving. The first is essentially downtown including parts of Uptown. It was created via city ordinance in 2015 after the Joule Hotel developer demolished historic structures without warning. The preservationists went bonkers and Dallas City Council created the legislation needed to create a DDO.  The second DDO is in the Bishop Arts area with enlargement planned.

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Bishop Arts 7th St House12

Source: Google Maps, Jan 2016

The landscape of  the Bishop Arts District is changing quickly — tiny historic Craftsman homes by the dozens are being razed for apartment complexes, half-million dollar condos, and five-story mixed-use developments going up. One developer, once demonized by the community for their rudimentary design out of the gate, just won major Brownie points with the help of Rogers Jr. House Moving.

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The old soul Victorian at 4317 Worth St. is Kristen

The old soul Victorian at 4317 Worth St. is Kristen Martin’s third “flip” all of her own in Dallas.

When some people look at an old house in disrepair, all they see are its problems. But for one Dallas Realtor, old Dallas homes are all about possibility, instead.

Kristen Martin

Realtor Kristen Martin in front of the Victorian she renovated in Old East Dallas.

Kristen Martin says she’s a kindred soul with old houses, getting to know them, even naming them as she restores, repairs, and renovates them to a state even better than what they were originally.

She’s a Realtor with The Michael Group, and she’s passionate about real estate. But the properties that truly inspire her are the ones she’s buying and flipping.

A few weeks ago, we featured her old soul Victorian flip at 4317 Worth St. in our CandysDirt.com Dallas open house roundup. It is sensational! We had to know more about this woman who can make old houses sing again.

“I go in the houses and just feel them out—[the house on Worth Street] was a mess but I got it flowing well because I talked to the house and it talked back to me,” Martin said. “I have renovated three in the last year and before that, I had done three with other people.”

She wears rose-colored glasses, because all of her flips have been messes when she found them. The Worth Street house, which she purchased in April, was built in 1903 and was a little more than “rough around the edges.” The foundation, plumbing, electric, carpet, and parquet were all bad and needed replacement. The kitchen was a gut. It needed an HVAC. Cosmetically, it wasn’t much to look at, either, with an 80’s vibe going strong.

But Martin saw past all that.

“I had a feeling when I walked into it—the fireplaces and windows and wraparound porch—my jaw dropped,” she said. “I’m ahead of my time in that neighborhood because the area hasn’t made a whole revival. It’s coming back around but throughout the years, everybody has just looked at Swiss Avenue and Junius Heights [nearby].”

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Collinwood house

All photos courtesy of Plano Magazine. Photos by Jennifer Shertzer.

We recently told you about the precarious situation of the historic Collinwood House. It is the oldest structure still standing in the city of Plano, and it faced demolition to make way for a recreational pavilion in a new park being built by the city.

But after a community-based campaign to save this historically significant house, Plano City Council says it will leave the decision up to voters in the May 2017 bond election.

At last week’s council meeting, they ditched an earlier ultimatum that gave friends of the Collinwood House until Aug. 5 to raise $1.5 million for restoration of the house, and to present a viable preservation plan.

The estimated $3.5 million it will take to restore the Collinwood House will be placed in the future bond election. Council also asked the Plano Heritage Commission to continue their research into the historic significance of the structure, and council agreed to secure the house by building a fence and installing an alarm.

“We were pleased to hear that the council decided to follow the direction recommended by the Heritage Commission, which entailed securing the house, putting the restoration costs on a bond election in 2017, and allowing research into the site and structure to continue,” said Candace Fountoulakis, a board member for Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation. “Council members added to that with their statements about needing confirmation of the facts, staying focused on the Heritage Commission’s role, and refusing to agree to move the house if the bond election passed. We hope to inform Plano’s citizenry about the house so that they will know exactly how valuable the house truly is and what the costs of restoration will be, based on further research.”

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