I could spend a summer sitting on this deck and be just fine!

Summer is for Eagle Mountain Lake living (photos: Trey Freeze Media)

When you think of summertime, what do comes to mind? Great films such as Summer Rental, Summer School , Dirty Dancingand of course the legendary Michael J. Fox made-for-TV movie, Poison Ivy. Great songs like Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald, Cruel Summer by Bananarama (I still have a crush on them!), and Wipeout and Surfin Safari by the Beach Boys.

Too bad they don’t make summer movies like they used to.

When it comes to homes in Tarrant County, where there is no beach, when you think of summer, you need to think of Eagle Mountain Lake!

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Have you heard that the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is in town?  Starting Jan. 13 through Feb. 4, the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth will be hustling and bustling with all sorts of stock show and rodeo activity.  Rides, games, animals, contests, funnel cake, interesting smells, and so much more will be enjoyed by people of all ages.

While enjoying the festivities, make sure to take two minutes and travel less than a mile to the new listing by Martha Williams of Williams Trew Real Estate — 5016 Byers Avenue.  This 3,100-square-foot home could be the perfect “city home” for those involved in events such as the stock show and rodeo.

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Merrymount

Many in Fort Worth have always referred to the stately house at 5800 Merrymount Road as “The White House,” though it looks more like Tara to me. The property, which just came on the market this week, straddles Westover and the city of Westover Hills, just behind the Westover Hills Police Station, though the estate has its own guard house. With its array of meticulously landscaped terraces and vistas, the grounds feel larger than their 2.5 acre spread. In fact, the estate once extended to over 7 acres.

Built in the 1920s and augmented over time, the home seems from another era. Indeed the house and its owners are both fixed in local legend and history. Guy Waggoner, scion of the legendary ranching family, built the original 3,500-square-foot structure. The F. Kirk Johnsons bought the house in the late 1930s and nearly doubled the square footage, adding the pool and poolhouse. The exact square footage of the vast, six-bedroom , six-and-one-half-bath house is not precisely known.

For nearly 50 years, the Holt Hickmans have owned the property. In 1964, Holt purchased the automotive air-conditioning division of Leonard’s Department Store and founded Lone Star Manufacturing Co. Lone Star became the world’s largest automotive HVAC system company, servicing customers such as Chrysler, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Volvo, KMart, Target, and Montgomery Ward. A gifted entrepreneur, he would eventually found 70 companies. Mr. Hickman was major benefactor in Fort Worth, which he called “the center of the universe.” Honored for his extensive philanthropy, which included substantial gifts to SMU, his alma mater, he would serve on the board of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau and spearhead efforts to improve and rejuvenate the Fort Worth Stockyards. (more…)

1412 Alta Drive

Approaching nearly a year of writing about Fort Worth real estate, I hope I am developing a nose for interesting properties.

I came upon 1412 Alta Drive early this week while making a delivery to a client. Intrigued by the façade, conspicuously modest for this premiere Rivercrest address, reticently hiding behind a brick wall, I suspected a potential trove of concealed bounty. And I wasn’t disappointed on entering, encountering a perfectly preserved midcentury time capsule. The land appears to have been owned for many years by Charles A. Fischer who, with Dixon T. Harbison, founded Harbison Fischer, an oil service company born in the Depression and still thriving to this day. Construction of the residence completed in 1952, and the property has remained in the family until the present. (more…)

4729 Washburn Avenue

You might pass low key, 4729 Washburn Avenue, only one block from River Crest Country Club, without taking much notice.  The discreet façade with the two car garage front entrance out of necessity (no alleys in Rivercrest), extends across the 50 foot lot to claim the maximum amount of space for its interior. And yet the original owners, John S. Justin, Jr. and Jane Justin, were undeniably high profile.

John was the owner of Justin Boots. Jane was a well known philanthropist, hostess and writer of books on entertaining. The house’s prodigious storage housed her legendary china collection.

4729 Washburn

Listing agent Martha Williams of Williams Trew is intimately acquainted with this hidden treasure. Her father, Jack Schutts, was the architect, and her sister, Emily Dunleavy, is the present owner. The subdued front conceals a wealth of richness within and more than 5000 square feet of living. Originally more traditional in decor, Mrs. Dunleavy spent nearly a year and one half reconstructing-reincarnating might be more accurate-  the entire residence in a more modern vein. You are going to need to catch your breath when you see this: (more…)

1521 Elizabeth Blvd.

Remember “priced to sell” 1521 Elizabeth Blvd. from a few weeks ago? That post got nearly 800 Facebook shares and and a spirited bidding war ensued, taking the eventual selling price to a sizable chunk of change over the original asking price. And it appraised.

“You have to really work and do research,” said listing agent Lisa Logan of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s. “There are no comps because there is such crazy-low inventory.”

A further complicating factor is that Ryan Place is far more heterogeneous than Fairmount, mixing Jazz Age Palaces and simple bungalows.

“Ryan Place is trickier than trendy nearby Fairmount where, in spite of low inventory, houses do turn often enough to establish values,” Logan added. “This property has a wonderful setting and though new owners may want to do updates to kitchen and bath, it has a near perfect floor plan and buyers will pay for that.”

Back up offers continued to stream in during the contract period.

1521 Elizabeth Blvd.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably mention that I can see this house from my bedroom window, and while I am glad to see improving values, I dread the inevitable increase in property taxes having like most homeowners in Dallas-Fort Worth, just been hit with the maximum allowable 10 percent increase in valuation.

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