2421 Springhill a

It’s the time of year when we look back on our accomplishments and discoveries for 2016. This Thursday Three Hundred, published March 17, was a favorite of both readers and the author! Enjoy this flashback.

Our Thursday Three Hundred is the home of entrepreneur Rachel O’Connor and her young family. O’Connor is the founder and owner of Party Made Pretty, and she creates all kinds of paper decorations, garlands, and banners.

Rachel O’Connor and family

Rachel O’Connor and family hate to leave their Casa Linda cottage, but her home-based business is booming and she needs a big studio

Party Made Pretty booming—she’s now filling more than 400 orders a month and her home-based business is busting at the seams. So she, her husband, 18-month-old daughter, and adorable, chubby dog need to move somewhere with a larger dedicated studio space.

Which brings us to their awesome house at 2421 Springhill Dr. near Ferguson Road and Lakeland Drive in East Dallas’ Casa Linda Forest. It would be hard to leave this place, a 3-2 with 2,220 square feet—large for the neighborhood, up on a hill with mature trees and a cute cottage feel.

O’Connor has worked magic with the interior—this is a 1959 home that has vintage charm, but feels modern and livable. The open floorplan makes the front rooms flow into one enormous, welcoming space.

“We changed almost every room in the house in one way or another— the way it was originally set up, we could see the potential for entertaining, but had a tiny galley kitchen,” O’Connor said. “We gutted the kitchen and opened it up and made it one big entertaining area. [Our renos were] centered around common living spaces.”

The backyard is big with a nice patio off the kitchen with a hot tub, and previous owners converted the garage into a bonus room. (This could be a negative for people who want a garage, but it sure makes for more space!)

It was listed March 7 by Kevin Caskey with Dallas City Center Realtors $348,500.

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This is the third installment of a new occasional column called Getting Real About Renovations. We’re looking at renovation realities for all sorts of projects, from hardwood floors and open floorplans, to master suite additions and kitchen upgrades. We’ll give you the unadulterated truth about options, costs, effort, Realtor opinion, and estimated ROI for these projects. You can read the last one about garage doors here

When people think of home renovations, things like “new kitchen” and “hardwood floors” typically come to mind. But when it comes to bang for your buck — and it might not be as sexy as a new vaulted ceiling or bathroom tile treatment — you really can’t beat adding insulation.

Both nationally and in Dallas, the top home remodeling projects last year were those that increased the functionality and sustainability of the home. They did this by improving either a home’s drive-up appeal or energy efficiency, according to the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report by the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling magazine.

Fiberglass attic insulation, which increases a home’s energy efficiency, ranked among the top five most profitable projects nationwide. In Dallas, it recouped 100.9 percent of initial investment, based on an average project cost of $1,482, according to that report.

“I think adding insulation is a great ROI in most cases —it is relatively inexpensive, as compared with radiant barrier, HVAC, solar panels, and a lot of other energy efficiency features,” said Kay Wood, a Realtor with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. “There are also sometimes incentives from Oncor or federal tax credits for increasing the efficiency of your home. I always encourage clients to think about how long they plan to stay in their home and how long it looks like it will take to see that savings pay for their investment. Energy efficiency and green features can also improve resale.”

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hardwood floors

Antique wormy chestnut reclaimed hardwood floors by Olde Wood Ltd.

Today, we’re starting a new occasional column called Getting Real About Renovations. We’re going to look at renovation realities for all sorts of projects, from hardwood floors and open floorplans, to master suite additions and kitchen upgrades. We’ll give you the unadulterated truth about options, costs, effort, Realtor opinion, and estimated ROI for these projects.  

Americans can’t get enough about home improvements, from reality TV shows to demand for renovations in properties on the market at all price points. In the first ten months of October 2015 alone, Americans spent $326.1 billion on remodeling their homes, according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report.

Many homeowners wonder which will bring them the most happiness and get the best return on investment (ROI) should they sell in the future (or if they’re flipping a property!).

We’re starting this series by looking at hardwood floors in all their forms: engineered, solid wood, and reclaimed wood floors, as well as refinishing existing floors.

So are they worth the investment? In a word, absolutely.

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2421 Springhill a

Our Thursday Three Hundred is the home of entrepreneur Rachel O’Connor and her young family. O’Connor is the founder and owner of Party Made Pretty, and she creates all kinds of paper decorations, garlands, and banners.

Rachel O’Connor and family

Rachel O’Connor and family hate to leave their Casa Linda cottage, but her home-based business is booming and she needs a big studio

Party Made Pretty booming—she’s now filling more than 400 orders a month and her home-based business is busting at the seams. So she, her husband, 18-month-old daughter, and adorable, chubby dog need to move somewhere with a larger dedicated studio space.

Which brings us to their awesome house at 2421 Springhill Dr. near Ferguson Road and Lakeland Drive in East Dallas’ Casa Linda Forest. It would be hard to leave this place, a 3-2 with 2,220 square feet—large for the neighborhood, up on a hill with mature trees and a cute cottage feel.

O’Connor has worked magic with the interior—this is a 1959 home that has vintage charm, but feels modern and livable. The open floorplan makes the front rooms flow into one enormous, welcoming space.

“We changed almost every room in the house in one way or another— the way it was originally set up, we could see the potential for entertaining, but had a tiny galley kitchen,” O’Connor said. “We gutted the kitchen and opened it up and made it one big entertaining area. [Our renos were] centered around common living spaces.”

The backyard is big with a nice patio off the kitchen with a hot tub, and previous owners converted the garage into a bonus room. (This could be a negative for people who want a garage, but it sure makes for more space!)

It was listed March 7 by Kevin Caskey with Dallas City Center Realtors $348,500.

(more…)

Canterview A

Editor’s note: This piece originally ran March 24, 2015, and highlights the gorgeous work of Barton-Graham Home & Design Firm. We subsequently wrote a profile of them here and featured another renovation of theirs here.

If you want to see what an incredible renovtion can do for a house, look no further than the 1960s ranch at 5823 Canterview Dr.

Located near N. Jim Miller Road and Interstate 30 in the Buckner Terrace neighborhood, this 3-3 underwent massive changes during the past six months. When Raymond E. Graham and Casey Barton bought it, the property had been vacant for five years and was a total wreck—they called it “the zombie house.” The duo have been renovating and selling houses together for eight years and own the company, Barton-Graham Home&Design Firm.

Graham and Barton are both general contractors and interior decorators and they didn’t miss an inch in this reno. Their efforts paid off: This house went on the market March 13 and was under contract three days later, for the highest price-per-square-foot in the area. It is listed by Graham at William Davis Realty for $290,000.

The duo showed me some “before” pictures of this house and they are scary! It makes me appreciate their work all the more.

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Oak Cliff TudorNorth Oak Cliff is one of the most sought-after areas in the DFW housing market, which makes it hotter than a fur coat in July. Houses regularly go under contract in a matter of days, and prices have increased substantially over the past five years in many of its neighborhoods.

The list of reasons to love North Oak Cliff could be its own blog post, but here are a select few:

  • The huge array of houses, in a variety of architectural styles
  • Unusual topography—actual hills!—and mature trees
  • The kind of neighborhoods where people know the names of the kids two doors down, like Ravinia Heights, West Kessler, and Winnekta Heights
  • Walkable neighborhoods, like Bishop Arts and Trinity Groves
  • An abundance of older homes with character, stories, and distinct looks
  • Proximity to downtown Dallas, Uptown, and other central areas of the city
  • The sense of it being an “up-and-coming” area of Dallas, with charisma and energy

Because so many people have realized the charms of the area, finding a property for under $200K can be a challenge. But there are still neighborhoods in North Oak Cliff where’s that’s possible. Sunset Hill is one of them, where the 2-1 at 2752 Catherine St. is located, near Hampton and 12th Street.

This North Oak Cliff Tudor is 1,263 square feet, updated with a new kitchen, but still retaining wonderful vintage charm, like arched doorways and original light fixtures flanking the fireplace. It is newly listed by Matt Watson with Dallasy.com, LLC for $175,000.

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Raymond E. Graham and Casey Barton renovated an East Dallas house at 5823 Canterview Dr. that went under contract in three days. Photo: Casey Barton

Casey Barton (left) and Raymond Graham renovated the East Dallas house at 5823 Canterview Dr. over six months and it went under contract in just three days. The person behind a declined offer for that property turned around and made an offer on another house they’re renovating nearby, which is still a worksite. All photos: Barton & Graham

In last week’s Tuesday Two Hundred, we wrote about a gorgeous East Dallas house in Phenomenal Buckner Terrace Reno Goes Under Contract in Three Days.

The renovation was a masterpiece created by Casey Barton and Raymond E. Graham, who have been renovating and selling houses together for eight years and own the company Barton-Graham Home & Design Firm.

Their work itself is inspiring, but when they showed me before-and-after photos of the Buckner Terrace property and others they’ve renovated, I decided they might be more like magicians than renovators.

East Dallas house

East Dallas house

The kitchen at 5823 Canterview Dr. was an outdated, dungeon-like galley. Barton and Graham opened it up into the former breakfast area, adding a breakfast bar, wine storage, built-in desk, and end shelves, and cabinetry built for the house.

Barton and Graham are both general contractors and interior decorators, and Graham is a Realtor and is getting his broker’s license in May, so they’ve got all their bases covered to offer comprehensive services to clients. They met in 2002 when they lived in the same apartment complex and after three renos together, including one for Barton’s mother, they decided to do it for a living.

“Our first remodel was in 2008 on a little cottage off Henderson on Bonita,” Graham said. “We did a great job and our hard work paid off, and despite the supposed crash of the housing market, we sold it and made a great profit. We knew that if we could be successful on our first renovation in a supposed bad market, then this is what we were meant to do.”

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Canterview A

If you want to see what an incredible renovtion can do for a house, look no further than the 1960s ranch at 5823 Canterview Dr.

Located near N. Jim Miller Road and Interstate 30 in the Buckner Terrace neighborhood, this 3-3 underwent massive changes during the past six months. When Raymond E. Graham and Casey Barton bought it, the property had been vacant for five years and was a total wreck—they called it “the zombie house.” The duo have been renovating and selling houses together for eight years and own the company, Barton-Graham Home&Design Firm.

Graham and Barton are both general contractors and interior decorators and they didn’t miss an inch in this reno. Their efforts paid off: This house went on the market March 13 and was under contract three days later, for the highest price-per-square-foot in the area. It is listed by Graham at William Davis Realty for $290,000.

The duo showed me some “before” pictures of this house and they are scary! It makes me appreciate their work all the more. (Check back next week for a full profile of Graham and Barton, including before-and-after photos from this house and others they’ve renovated in East Dallas. You won’t be disappointed!)

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