The home at 11325 Chicot Dr. is one of five featured in our weekly open house roundup.

The home at 11325 Chicot Dr. is one of five featured in our weekly open house roundup.

This is not traditionally a great season for home sales—people get busy with holiday plans and postpose their real estate search. But we’ve found five Dallas homes with open houses this weekend that will impress you with their features and style.

They range in price from $349,000 to $1.5 million, and include everything from an Old Lake Highlands cottage updated to perfection to a 7,390-square-foot house in Eudora Estates near Hillcrest and Forest. Let us know what you think of our choices, and if you know of any we should feature next week!

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Summer Riggins

Summer Riggins took an outdated cottage in East Dallas and transformed it into a contemporary, elegant haven with luxe features and a custom-build feel. Photo: MetroplexHD

Two weeks ago, an East Dallas property in Old Lake Highlands went on the market and was featured as the CandysDirt Thursday Three Hundred. It caught our eye with its custom-build features; cohesive, elegant look; and Midcentury vibe.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, and people swooned over the details of this big renovation that turned a dated cottage into a chic, welcoming home. (It also went under contract in 12 days, proving our readers have great taste!)

The woman behind the transformation of 561 Classen Dr. is Summer Riggins, a Dallas-area pharmaceutical rep who is self-taught and does this work in her free time.
561 classen exterior before

summer riggins

Photo: MetroplexHD

After you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, take a moment to look through the before-and-after photos of this house to appreciate the scale of the reno that Riggins undertook. This was not just paint and floors: Riggins reimagined almost every area and made careful changes to reflect a California Midcentury Modern ranch aesthetic, honed over years of study and practice on multiple smaller projects. The Classen house is almost unrecognizable from its pre-renovation state.

Riggins has been on the path to “renovation virtuoso” since childhood.

“While I haven’t completed a [complete] home renovation prior to this one, I did grow up in a household where it wasn’t uncommon to come home from school and find an exterior wall knocked down, with a smile across my mom’s face and a directive we would be rebuilding it as a family,” she said.

Riggins once got sent to her room for not properly drawing layouts for the home she wanted to build one day.

“I truly wanted to be an architect and I’ve always had visions of living spaces running through my head,” she said. “I guess I thought everyone else did, too.”

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I know that not everyone is going to agree with me, but I’ve been thinking about this ever since PV14 was built: Shipping containers as housing is over.

So over.

When Michael Gooden was hoisting the long metal boxes in the air that would make up his shipping container project in Old Lake Highlands that overlooks White Rock Lake, I had to wonder: Why are we using metal boxes to build things in Texas? Have you ever been inside a storage unit without climate control in summer here? It’s the equivalent of being baked alive. Heck, if you want to sweat it out, go to King Spa. But a corrugated metal home in an area where you’re roasting on 100-degree days throughout the summer? No thanks. And consider that, if you’re just building a room without modifying the container size, it’s only 7 feet wide, which is hardly a good size for a human-scaled space.

And yet, Zad Roumaya wants to build an apartment development in the Cedars that will be made of shipping containers. He says he’ll call the concept, should it get off the ground, ModPod. But how much sense does it make to assemble all these boxes to build a structure that costs hundreds of dollars to retrofit for our climate?

I was glad to see that my misgivings were validated by someone far more qualified: San Francisco-based OpenScope principle Mark Hogan. Hogan, an architect who has even done a shipping container project has much more to say on the matter.

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Eastwood house

For today’s Tuesday Two Hundred, we’re venturing to the East Dallas neighborhood of Eastwood. The house at 8917 Sweetwater Dr. just hit the market last week and is simply lovely, from its well-imagined floorplan and thoughtful details like built-ins, to totally renovated kitchen and bathrooms and towering shade trees on the lot.

This 1962 ranch was just listed last week and went under contract within days—one look inside and you’ll see why. The neighborhood is also a big selling point: Eastwood is minutes southeast of White Rock Lake, near the Claremont area. (There’s a better-known neighborhood nearby also called Eastwood, which is roughly bounded by East Lake Highlands, Peavy, Garland Road, and Easton. Not that same area as this one.)

This Eastwood house is close to St. Francis Park, Lakeland Hills Park, Ferguson Park, and Casa Linda Park, and two miles from the Dallas Arboretum and the east shore of White Rock Lake.

It’s a three bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house with 1,986 square feet, listed by Patricia Sterling at The Michael Group Real Estate for $265,000.

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Old Lake Highlands MidcenturyHome sales in North Texas broke a record last month, with more than 10,500 sold in June, shattering the previous record by 1,000 houses. East Dallas is faring particularly well, with sales up 10 percent from last year, according to the latest sales figures from the MetroTex Association of Realtors.

Today’s Tuesday Two Hundred takes us to a property East of White Rock Lake that helps us understand why homes in the area are selling in 22 days on average. (I’ll bet this one goes under contract even faster than that.)Old Lake Highlands MidcenturyThe Old Lake Highlands midcentury at 703 Kirkwood Dr. is newly listed and sits on a heavily treed corner lot, walking distance from White Rock Lake. It’s a 3-2 with 1,632 square feet, built in 1955 and listed by Jan Chavoya at Ebby Halliday Realtors Frisco for $299,700. (The owners recently updated the electrical panel and security system, too.)

MetroTex reports that the average price now for an East Dallas house is $399,230 (a 19 percent increase over last year), so this is a find at under $300K. Let’s look at the updates and features that make this midcentury house a gem.

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Tom Greico’s project on Easton Road is a modern home that takes full advantage of the long lot and canopy of trees.

He’s passionate about building custom homes that evoke the clean lines and accessible floorplans for which he’s known. Forward-thinking, open, and bright, Tom Greico’s brand of modern has developed a loyal following.

“They go on the internet and they see me on Facebook and they follow me. People will come up to me and say, ‘We saw your house on Such-and-such Road,'” Greico says with a laugh. And after that, they often ask when Greico Modern Homes be available to build the home of their dreams. With eight projects right now, he says it’ll be about a year or so before he can start something new, but it’s great to be in-demand, Greico said.

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881 Berkinshire Front

Just listed today, this Old Lake Highlands home is practically a celebrity! Its owners, Steven and Ashley Walton, found this beauty during a whirlwind search on HGTV’s House Hunters show in 2011 and again on House Hunters: Where are they now in 2013.

“In 2010, my wife and I decided to move out of our small Uptown apartment and buy 881 Berkinshire Dr. in Old Lake Highlands because we wanted a project,” Steven said. “Fast forward almost 4 years (and many projects) later and we are ready to simplify our lives and move back to the city to be closer to our jobs in downtown/Uptown.”

Ashley and Steven Walton went on 'House Hunters' in 2010 to find 881 Berkinshire. They're now selling the Old Lake Highlands home.

Ashley and Steven Walton went on ‘House Hunters’ in 2010 and find 881 Berkinshire. They’re now selling the Old Lake Highlands home.

This beautiful home, a charming post-war traditional in a fabulous neighborhood that is super close to White Rock Lake, is listed with Lauren Valek Farris with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Team Whiteside for $269,000. Today is its very first day on the market, and considering the competition in the $200K range, it may be it’s last!

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By now I’m sure you’ve read just about all of the postmortems on the infamous shout fest of a town hall last month regarding a proposed restaurant at Boy Scout Hill. But even if you’ve had your fill, I implore you, find room for just one more: Eric Celeste’s “Whose Lake is it Anyway?” in the June issue of D Magazine. 

This is an important column to read because residents of Old Lake Highlands and other White Rock Lake-adjacent neighborhoods need to see what other Dallasites see, from the outside looking in. Whereas Lyle Burgin and Richard Knopf just wanted to build a restaurant atop what they thought was an underused portion of White Rock Lake Park, residents saw it as an abominable incursion on public space that was a slippery slope toward turning the “Crown Jewel of Dallas” into an amusement park.

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