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.”
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!