All photos courtesy Erik Schuessler

All photos courtesy Erik Schuessler

When Erik Schuessler first encountered the midcentury modern house at 1434 Bar Harbor Cir. in the Wynnewood Hills neighborhood of Oak Cliff, he fell in love with its potential and retro aesthetic. As he renovated the 4,600-square-foot beauty and learned more about it, he also grew fascinated by its history.

In its heyday, Bar Harbor Drive was known as “Pill Hill” because so many doctors lived on the street. The house’s original resident, Dr. John B. Chester, ran Parkland Hospital and later ventured out on his own with The Chester Clinic and Hospital.

Dallas Morning News society editor Ann Draper wrote a piece in the early 1960s on his wife, Charlotte Chester, which described the Bar Harbor house as “among the most unusual and elegant in Oak Cliff. An indoor swimming pool has been a favorite with large and small groups of guests, as have rooms in the living area, which lend themselves to any number. Set in a wooded area, the house is on the very edge of the Oak Cliff Country Club’s No. 2 green of the golf course.”

1434 Bar Harbor

Located near the intersection of W. Redbird Lane and S. Polk Street, south of Highway 67, the house was what Schuessler describes as “pretty beat up” when he purchased it in early 2012.

“You can tell it was designed so well, and the way it was built is head and shoulders above many other midcenturies I’ve seen, and newer properties,” Schuessler said. “You can look in every corner and see that it was thought out. I fell in love with the aesthetic of the house.”

And thus began a three-year renovation for Schuessler and his girlfriend Meredith Moore, with Schuessler as the general contractor, carefully overseeing every detail of the revamp. The goal was to bring the house back to its original glory and perhaps make it even better by updating key elements, like HVAC, pool equipment, and the roof.

He is selling the house himself—it is listed for $475,000, or around $100 a square foot—but the intent was never to flip the property. It was to restore it.

“I think most flips are terrifying—it’s a ‘beige-ification’ with beige walls, Berber carpets, boring, boring, boring, nothing original to the style of the house except for maybe a pillar or two,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of houses and I buy a place, I really get into it, live in for three to five years, then move on. I find myself enamored by a place or an area and I have to buy it.” Jump to read more and see photos!


Inwood HOTW Overdowns

Do not miss this house, especially if you are looking for a lock and leave, get-out-of-Dodge- type place that is effortless to maintain, in a secure, friendly neighborhood, and will turn you on every time you walk in the front door. Welcome to 5706 Overdowns, the Ugly Ducky who became a swan with the help of architect extraordinaire Jay Peskuski and Dallas designer David Cadwallader. Oh yes, the very clever real estate agent helped a whole lot, too: Kelly Logsdon Rush at Ebby.

5706_OverDowns_KellyLogsdonRush-24(1) 5706_OverDowns_KellyLogsdonRush-3(1) 5706_OverDowns_KellyLogsdonRush-2(1) 5706_OverDowns_KellyLogsdonRush-4(1)5706_OverDowns_KellyLogsdonRush-9(1) 5706 Over Downs LR 5706 Overdowns stairs 5706 Overdowns longshot 5706 Overdowns to pool 5706 Overdowns master 5706 Overdowns master bath1 5706 Overdowns master2This home is also proof that an indoor swimming pool can be a positive IF you make it a focal point of the home!

5706 Overdowns was gutted, oh was she gutted, every bit of 4192 square feet re-designed, re-worked until perfect.

Once upon a time this was an unfortunate home neighbors shunned. More than one contractor suggested a total tear down. Built in 1980, I have no idea what they were smoking at the time this was created but then, Timothy Leary was still alive. Turn on, tune in, drop out! The home was clad in sallow beige brick and scarred wood siding, with one single dippy window in the front of the house that looked as if it was a San Quentin hangover. There was a chain link fence, multiple floor surfaces and a “sunken” living room (dear God, why did people make those? Sunken living room = sink hole), wood laminate counters (well, they were the cat’s meow in 1980) and my favorite: a Home Depot grade garden room with perpetually foggy glass windows. Oh, and then the enclosed swimming pool that brought back memories of being at the (sing it!) YMCA!5706 Overdowns ext before 5706 Overdowns LR before 5706 Overdowns kitchen before 5706 Overdowns pool before 5706 Overdowns master before

Months ago, a brilliant real estate investor with vision got hold of this house and said, ” I Have a Dream.” He must have been wearing Google Glasses. Whatever, we hope he keeps on wearing them! 5706 Overdowns is not just a new woman, she is re-engineered, she is ROBOCOP!

With fresh brick and solid wood, new doors, windows and glass, and completely new construction, this home has transformed into a soft contemporary marvel. The front entrance is defined by a custom wood grid screen that matches the coffee-chocolate dark wood kitchen cabinets. The giant living/great/dining room (almost 30 by 24) opens with natural European-style oiled hardwoods, lights, soaring ceilings and a marble-wrapped fireplace. Off this room are spiral stairs to a 16 by 12 loft with balcony, perfect for an office or secondary living area. The stunning kitchen with mammoth white Cesearstone island/breakfast bar commands the room. Stainless appliances and deep sink, Viking, and imported fixtures complete the sleekness.

Then there is the pool: four glass panel sheaths slide open to a sparkling blue indoor pool with waterfall, deck and “outdoor” shower. The pool is perfect, not Olympic,  and could easily be kept warm year-round for therapeutic dips. Moisture in this room will help shield you from the flu, but the house bears no scent of chlorine.

3816 Turtle CreekHere’s my plan: take a cue from Braden Powers’ (original owner), now Lee Bailey’s 8,430-square-foot, two-story mansion, with a party/spa master bathroom the size of DFW and salt-water pool in the living room, at 3816 Turtle Creek: give the spa a dual purpose as a media room. Can you imagine watching Downton Abbey while soaking in an 80 degree pool with a nice bottle of Veuve? Give the servants the night off!

Down a simple hallway are two bedrooms with en suite baths and built-ins, a large laundry with sink and room for a secondary or wine fridge, closets, and the master bath.

Now we are talking: 24 by 13 feet, his and her’s baths (one has a soaking tub and sauna) huge closet and the best part of the house: the exterior back deck overlooking a thickly wooded creek.

It’s as if there is no one around you, but you are very much in the heart of Preston Hollow. Overdown is off Preston Road, in between Royal Lane and Walnut Hill, and there is a traffic light at the intersection to make left-hand turns less treacherous. The Dallas North Tollway entrance is about three minutes away around the corner.

Truly a lock and leave home for people who want to be close in, but still desire privacy. And that pool will be a cinch to keep clean — no leaves, no freeze.

The good folks at Inwood Mortgage will have no problem finding a mortgage to float you all you want for 15 years or 30. Asking $899,900. Go ahead. Take the plunge!

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Arbys Listing Do you see what I see? At closing, the buyer’s agent — some lucky, lucky agent – will get an $8 cash bonus and an expired coupon — I’m sorry, this is so exciting it’s capitalized, forgive me – an “Expired Coupon” to Arby’s.

1225 Oak poolI don’t know about you, but I am beyond excited! So here goes, we will post it — I can smell that roast beef and $8 will get me two whole Starbucks, maybe, well regulars anyhow. Y’all run out to Keller and buy this 2636 square foot home at 1225 Oak with an indoor swimming pool that is 15 by 50 feet long. That’s huge, five feet longer than my pool and it’s saltwater. There are also two drains, in case you need them. And yes, those are clouds painted on the ceiling of the natatorium. You’ve got almost two acres out here near Highway 114 and 377 which, someday, in the year 2525 will be complete from road constriction. I mean construction.1225 Oak Trail front

I love stained concrete floors, especially if you have a pool in the house. Open floor plan but split bedrooms, three of them, three full baths, and a separate office/study with great built-ins in case you work from home. This is very good: his and her bathrooms — and a well-functioning bidet — saves many a marriage. Two large walk-in closets loaded with closet organizers. You just won’t ever run out of storage space in this house. There is also a closet behind the media center for controls & extra storage.

Located on a cul de sac, just like President Bush, in a secluded subdivision with other beautiful, large custom homes. And just think of all the money you’ll save on suncreen. Or bathing suits! PLUS you get your SWEET $8 dollar cash bonus!!1225 Oak Trail LR1225 Oak Trail kitchen1225 Oak Trail master her1225 Oak Trail pool cover Reduced to $424,500 or lease for $3000 per month, but not sure if that generous  bonus deal is available on the lease. 🙁