Dallas is experiencing phenomenal inner city growth. Neighborhoods like Oak Cliff, the Trinity River Corridor, Deep Ellum, Ross Avenue, and the Design District are seeing urban infill like never before, showing up in all scales and types.

inner city growth

Robert Meckfessel, FAIA

These changes are remaking the city and opening up new opportunities for residents and businesses alike. But when we look at housing, retail, restaurants, office, and streetscapes, what are the traits that make for good infill and connectivity for these areas?

These are the questions posed for the next Dallas Architecture Forum event, a panel presented in collaboration with Preservation Dallas called Remaking the City.

The event will be moderated by Robert McFessel, FAIA, President of DSGN Associates and past president of leading organizations involved with the quality of the built environment, including the Dallas Architecture Forum, Preservation Dallas, LaReunion TX, and AIA Dallas.

McFessel currently serves on the boards of LaReunion TX, The Trinity Trust, Trinity Commons Foundation, DoCoMoMo U.S., Greater Dallas Planning Council, and the Advisory Board of the Dallas Architecture Forum.

Panelists include:

  • Edwin Cabannis: Owner of the Kessler Theater
  • Katherine Seale: Chair of the City of Dallas Landmark Commission and Past Director of Preservation Dallas
  • Evan Sheets: Senior Urban Designer at Dallas City Design Studio
  • Dan Shipley, FAIA: Founder and Principal at Shipley Architects

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Oak Cliff basementBasements in North Texas are about as rare as a cat that likes to swim, but today’s Tuesday Two Hundred is that unusual exception.

The reason you don’t find basements in DFW is because our clay soil moves too much and building one is usually cost prohibitive. But in North Oak Cliff, there are a few. The house at 924 Lausanne Ave. in the Kings Highway Conservation District has a finished basement that adds about 650 square feet to the home, which is 2,144 square feet.

Built in 1921, this house has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a half bath. The current owners bought it in 2013, and love it dearly, but a job offer out-of-state is too good to pass up. So it’s on the market as of Oct. 30, listed for $299,000 by Kay Wood with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.

They’ve made a lot of updates, and there are more that could be made—this house has big potential. Additionally, it’s walking distance to restaurants, Stevens Park Golf Course, and the Kessler Theater, so location is prime (and check out the stately million-dollar homes just one street over).

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Winnetka HeightsFor people interested in homes with stories and personality, the Winnetka Heights neighborhood in North Oak Cliff offers hundreds of beautiful examples.

Today’s Thursday Three Hundred is a Craftsman bungalow at 214 N. Edgefield Ave., near Davis and Polk streets. Built in 1924, it has doubtless seen generations of people sit on its wide front porch, looking out at the arching shade trees that line the street.

At 2,212 square feet on two stories, this Craftsman is large, with four bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and one powder room. It sits on a heavily treed lot, and is walking distance from the Kessler Theater and restaurants like Nova; the entire Bishop Arts District is just one mile away.
Winnetka HeightsThe neighborhood has its own stories to tell, too. Winnetka Heights is the largest historic district in Dallas, with 600 houses and 20 commercial structures in its 50 city blocks. In 1911, several prominent Dallas investors developed Winnetkta Heights as a tony area, full of one-story frame bungalows and two-story Prairie-influenced Four Square homes.

Let’s take a look at this Craftsman, both beautifully maintained and renovated in key areas, and newly listed by Erin Young with Allie Beth Allman & Assoc. for $399,900.

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North Oak Cliff bungalowIt’s not often in our Tuesday Two Hundred we get to wonder if a house was designed by noted Dallas architect Charles Dilbeck, but today we can.

The California-style bungalow at 914 Westmount Ave. near Fort Worth Avenue and Westmoreland Road has irregular brickwork and woodwork that has led some to believe this may have been designed by Dilbeck himself. North Oak Cliff bungalowWhether it’s a Dilbeck, or Dilbeck-inspired, this North Oak Cliff home is simply stunning. It’s a 2-2 with 1,445 square feet built in 1946, and it has undergone an impressive transformation with recent renovations. Think polished concrete floors, original refinished hardwoods, an open floorplan, spa-like bathrooms, sexy light fixtures, and a backyard with a lovely pergola surrounded by fruit trees and flowers.

It gets even better when you see the list price: $199,500, almost too low for the Tuesday Two Hundred! It’s newly listed by Brian Davis at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, and I’ll bet it goes under contract quicker than you can say, “Great location, great price, gorgeous amenities!”

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Kings Highway CraftsmanOne of the most appealing things about North Oak Cliff (in a long list of wonderful, charming things) is that every house is like a snowflake: special and unique. No cookie-cutter, boring real estate here.

So the fact that we’re in the same Kings Highway Conservation District neighborhood for this week’s Thursday Three Hundred as last week’s house might give you a moment of déjà vu, but these North Oak Cliff Craftsman houses each have their own personality and style.

Today’s house is at 906 N. Edgefield Ave., a 3-2 built in 1925 with 1,558 square feet and a master bedroom addition that adds a private retreat and second bathroom to the home.Kings Highway CraftsmanThe house is a half mile west of Kidd Springs Park, with its large spring-fed lake, a swimming pool, softball field, butterfly garden, and a rec center that overlooks the lake. A half mile to the east of the house is the Stevens Park Golf Course, often referred as the “Little Augusta” of North Texas.

The wide, open front porch is a friendly welcome for visitors, and a porch swing promises relaxing family time. This house is newly listed by Ged Dipprey at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate for $315,000.

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Kessler 2

By now you may have seen the video everyone is talking about over the watercooler: the Kessler Theater video, taken by artistic director Jeff Liles and posted on his Facebook Page. It’s of two women who may or may not have been drinking a bit too much alcohol (as was insinuated in the video), who were allegedly asked to leave the theater during last week’s Lee Ann Womack concert (whom they claimed they are friends with) because they were allegedly too loud. If you have not seen it, here it is: 6,000+ shares on The Dallas Observer.

Crazy person at The Kessler Sometimes people talk too loud during shows and we have to remove them from the room. This was one of those times.

Posted by Jeffrey Liles on Saturday, May 9, 2015

We debated posting this Monday, and held back because, well, yeah, and also because I believe we all live in glass houses. If you could have seen me at Cattle Baron’s Ball last year, or rather after, in between the Vodka giggles and the hiccups,  I was rather smashed. A mess. It happens to all of us once in awhile. (And I am not saying these gals were smashed.) But I kept thinking, this video is really about real estate and neighborhoods, and stupid stereotypes that some people still have.

And is Oak Cliff, where the Kessler Theater is located and where I have spent lots of time, really the “hood”? (more…)