Tanya Ragan, president of Wildcat Management, outside the Purse Building, which is available to tour Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The recently opened showroom has activated a long stagnant corner of the Historic West End.

The last time we told our readers about the re-do of the Historic Purse Building located at Elm and Record streets in downtown Dallas’ West End, Tanya Ragan and her firm, Wildcat Management, had just started the demolition process. Fast forward to yesterday, when Candy and I stopped into the Purse Building showroom to chat with Ragan about this building’s incredible transformation. 

The building — once a furniture warehouse and, in its previous use, an office building for the county — has revealed its stunning character as the process of restoration has uncovered, layer by layer, the beauty of what lies beneath the patina of neglect. Of course, we know that Ragan has accomplished other historic adaptive reuse projects, including the full-scale, brick-by-brick relocation of the Liberty State Bank building in the Dallas Farmers Market neighborhood. This building — and this neighborhood, even — is a study in comparison, though, as the building readies itself for tenants. 

For the full conversation with Ragan and exclusive new photos of the building’s incredible texture throughout its five available floors, jump!


“When we moved there about a year ago, the first thing we did was tear up the front yard and put a vegetable garden in the front yard with a firepit and chairs around it,” says architect David Stocker.

What’s an easy way to connect with your neighbors, lower nearby crime, improve your home value, and be happier? Put a pair of Adirondack chairs in your front yard, says David Stocker, principal architect at Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro Architects in Dallas.

It’s a new incarnation of what’s called front yard living — using architecture and furniture like patio seating to create livable spaces in your home’s front yard. Nowadays, it seems like backyards are given more thought and focus for livable spaces than the front yard, but Stocker wants to change that for the greater good — helping bring neighborhoods back to the social melting pots they once were. (more…)