There appears to be some construction going on at 4949 Swiss Avenue, but the historic home remains boarded up.

Lee Hancock wrote an excellent long-form dissection of Mary Ellen Bendtsen’s home, 4949 Swiss Avenue, after Mark McCay and Justin Burgess were willed the house under suspicious circumstances. While there have been some reports of construction going on at the “Grand Dame” of Swiss Avenue, the front is boarded up and the carriage house is still crumbling.

But it won’t be that way for long, says Cameron Kinvig, who purchased 4949 Swiss and plans to restore the mansion that was once home to W.W. Caruth. In fact, all three floors of 4949 Swiss will be open to onlookers during this year’s Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour on May 12 and 13.

“Many of the wall paintings from the ballroom (from Mattie Caruth’s debutante ball) were able to be saved and will be shown in their original (pre-restoration) condition in the ballroom,” Kinvig said via e-mail. “Docents will be on hand to discuss plans for the home’s renovation, and will be able to share some of the fun tidbits I’ve discovered since purchasing the home.”

After touring Swiss Avenue, if you want to watch the drama surrounding 4949 Swiss play out on the small screen, flip to the Discovery Channel’s “Investigation Discovery” on May 12 when they re-air the special about the case.



Update: the house closes on Friday! Stay tuned for an interview with the new owners!

Remember the story in the Dallas Morning News, fall ’06, way before pay walls and the market crash about the once-glamorous model, Mary Ellen Bendtsen, with a big home on Swiss Avenue? She was reportedly coerced by two designers, Mark McCay and Justin Burgess, into signing over her estate on her deathbed as the 86 year old was dying at Baylor Hospital. It was one of the best stories I ever read in the Dallas Morning News. I even went to the garage sale and bought some crystal. The Texas Supreme Court refused an appeal.

The house has been under contract repeatedly since 2008.  Robert Kucharski had it listed, Cynthia Beaird wanted to buy and restore it. And even with the court’s favorable ruling to Frances Ann Giron, Mrs. Bendtsen’s daughter, realtors said proceeds from the sale of the home will barely cover her legal costs. Tragic.

Well, the home’s original asking price was $720,000 and the price has been reduced to $550,000. And it is contract pending, once again. Listing agent this time, Fran Moore, Coldwell Banker.