mistletoeOur Saturday Six Hundred for this week was an obvious choice — and not just because it happens to sit on Mistletoe Drive in historic Hollywood Heights-Santa Monica neighborhood.

It’s also because it’s a charming Tudor that has only been on the market two times in its history — which is remarkable because it was built in 1935. It’s also a home that could be a really great property if someone with the right vision came in.

First, the positives of this home — beautiful hardwoods throughout, original features like beams, wooden ceilings, light fixtures, and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace make this home at 6919 Mistletoe Dr. a home filled with character. Many of the windows, in fact, still possess their original hand-blown glass.



The Farmers Branch Historical Park is home to numerous events year-round, including a vintage baseball tournament in the Spring (photo courtesy city of Farmers Branch).

Is your home a 10-minute (or less) walk from a park? One-third of Americans have a much longer trek than that to get to their nearest park, according to research by the National Recreation and Park Association, Urban Land Institute and, The Trust for Public Land.

Recently, Rachel Banner, a senior program manager at the NRPA, wrote a piece for the National Association of Realtors’ Spaces to Places blog about a year-long initiative to make more public spaces and parks available — within a 10-minute walk from every person.

Banner also talks about the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, which revealed that while residential and commercial developers may create amenities within their buildings or spaces, that’s not necessarily what creates a lifelong resident of a city.

“The report talks a lot about the growing demand for amenities in both office and residential development.  In the discussion about the report Owen Thomas, CEO of Boston Properties also remarked that while each year a new set of cities may be pegged for growth, we must look at how long those cities will remain “hot spots” and the places people stay long-term,” Ballard said. “While including amenities within a building may initially attract owners or tenants, it is the amenities outside of the building open to all that will get them to stay.” (more…)

The old soul Victorian at 4317 Worth St. is Kristen

The old soul Victorian at 4317 Worth St. is Kristen Martin’s third “flip” all of her own in Dallas.

When some people look at an old house in disrepair, all they see are its problems. But for one Dallas Realtor, old Dallas homes are all about possibility, instead.

Kristen Martin

Realtor Kristen Martin in front of the Victorian she renovated in Old East Dallas.

Kristen Martin says she’s a kindred soul with old houses, getting to know them, even naming them as she restores, repairs, and renovates them to a state even better than what they were originally.

She’s a Realtor with The Michael Group, and she’s passionate about real estate. But the properties that truly inspire her are the ones she’s buying and flipping.

A few weeks ago, we featured her old soul Victorian flip at 4317 Worth St. in our CandysDirt.com Dallas open house roundup. It is sensational! We had to know more about this woman who can make old houses sing again.

“I go in the houses and just feel them out—[the house on Worth Street] was a mess but I got it flowing well because I talked to the house and it talked back to me,” Martin said. “I have renovated three in the last year and before that, I had done three with other people.”

She wears rose-colored glasses, because all of her flips have been messes when she found them. The Worth Street house, which she purchased in April, was built in 1903 and was a little more than “rough around the edges.” The foundation, plumbing, electric, carpet, and parquet were all bad and needed replacement. The kitchen was a gut. It needed an HVAC. Cosmetically, it wasn’t much to look at, either, with an 80’s vibe going strong.

But Martin saw past all that.

“I had a feeling when I walked into it—the fireplaces and windows and wraparound porch—my jaw dropped,” she said. “I’m ahead of my time in that neighborhood because the area hasn’t made a whole revival. It’s coming back around but throughout the years, everybody has just looked at Swiss Avenue and Junius Heights [nearby].”


Santa Monica Home

All photos: Shoot2Sell

Some of the best pre-sale renovations owners can do on older homes is to make sure they have things today’s buyers value: more than one bathroom; an updated kitchen with new fixtures and appliances; an open floorplan; and a fresh, updated look everywhere.

Today’s Thursday Three Hundred at 7014 Vivian Ave. is located in East Dallas’ Santa Monica neighborhood. Built in 1940, this home was taken by its owner from a 3-1 to a 2-2 with an ensuite master bathroom. He refinished the oak hardwood floors in his 1,260-square-foot home and painted both the interior and exterior. The kitchen is now open with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, white custom cabinets, and a subway tile backsplash. The result of all these renos is an adorable cottage feel with vintage charm, and amenities that make it a standout property in the housing market.

This house was listed Oct. 23 by Britt Lopez with Dallas City Center Realtors for $375,000. (There’s a broker open house next Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to noon, so let us know what you think if you go!)



Photos: Shoot2Sell

When Dallas City Center Realtor Britt Lopez sent me a link to her newest Hollywood Heights listing, I knew we had to have it on the blog because it was absolutely love at first sight.

Ya’ll already know that I’m not the craziest about Tudors. They’re cute, but a lot of times they fall into two categories: Mostly original with claustrophobic rooms or completely gutted into something completely unrecognizable from its former self.

This home, though … I was speechless. If you know me, that’s a feat in and of itself because I rarely shut up. It’s a Tudor on one of the cutest streets in Hollywood Heights and has the perfect combination of original details and smart, timeless updates that you’ll just swoon.


I love that the original brick-and-stone facade has been preserved, and thanks to smart landscaping and annuals that add pops of color, this home has outstanding curb appeal. The arched plate-glass windows in the sunroom are just divine and add so much character, and the front door, which is also arched, is just pristine.

Of course, inside there are even more lovely details …


6819 Santa Fe Front

I drove by this home this past weekend as I was headed to our son’s last YMCA under-4 soccer game at Randall Park Fields near Woodrow Wilson High School. I noticed the “Coming Soon” sign in the front yard and hoped quietly to myself that when it did go on the market, there’d be plenty of time for me to check it out and feature it right here.

Well, we’re in luck, folks, because 6819 Santa Fe went on the market TODAY. That’s right! Brand-spanking new listing in Hollywood Heights, y’all! And it backs up the the Santa Fe Trail! And would you look at that cute yellow door?

From the outside, this looks like a lot of the traditional brick-clad homes in the neighborhood, which is a Conservation District. But inside, you guys, this three-bedroom, two-bath home is going to just blow your socks off. It is so cool, so bohemian and fun, and with 1,879 square feet, it’s a great home for a family. It’s listed with Dallas City Center Realtor DeCarla Anderson for $349,500.



(Editor’s Note: Cassie Evans, Candy’s amazing animal-loving daughter, will be sharing a few posts from her new blog on how she’s getting her adorable home ready for the annual Hollywood Santa Monica Neighborhood Association 2014 Hollywood Home Tour. Interior Design by Bernadette Schaeffler. Enjoy!)

If you ever need to get several items accomplished around the house, perhaps a mini renovation, little organizational projects, or take that baby down to the studs and build it back up, having your home asked to be part of a HOME TOUR is the fire under your fanny that will get all of those things done.

Hollywood Heights is a historical conservation district. The story of Hollywood/Santa Monica begins in the 1920s when J.B. Salmon acquired this former dairy farm and formed the Hollywood Company to subdivide and improve the land. Also known as the developer of Kessler Highlands in Oak Cliff, Mr. Salmon was exceedingly careful in the planning of his property. So thoughtfully conceived was his development that he could allow other developers to build in diverse styles as long as they stayed within the deed restrictions. These styles include the predominant Tudor Cottage, as well as Spanish Eclectic, French Eclectic, Minimal Traditional, Craftsman, Monterrey, and two rare examples of the flatroofed Pueblo Revival style. We may suppose that Mr. Salmon was pleased by the outcome because he made his home within the development. Much has been said of the architecture to be found in Hollywood and Santa Monica, and the neighborhood may well be the largest collection of stone-embellished Tudor cottages in the nation. Indeed, it’s because of the attention paid to the aesthetic beauty of the area and its historical significance that in 1989 the neighborhood association succeeded in having Hollywood/Santa Monica declared a local Conservation District. This classification is shared by only a few other neighborhoods in the Dallas area.

We were very excited when we checked the mail and found a letter stating that the HSMNA (Hollywood Heights Santa Monica Neighborhood Association, Inc.) would like to consider our home to be part of the 23rd Annual Hollywood Home Tour. If you haven’t heard me screaming from our little rooftop about it – I’m that smitten – we live in Hollywood Heights on the most quaint, quiet, darling street in Dallas. It’s called Patricia, and us Patricians refer to ourselves as the Patricia Militia. Ain’t nothing getting past us. Our ultimate goal is to gate in little Patricia and have Tolltags open the gates. Unlikely to happen now, but once the home tour is over and I have some spare time, well… you never know! Our street is like a movie set – everyone says “hi” when out in their yard, everyone knows everyone’s pets and kids (and their kids can say your pets and your name no matter how young they are), and we look out for each other when someone is out of town. (Jake is not afraid to use night vision goggles and a shotgun…).

This wasn’t just like “oh great, sure we’ll be in the home tour.” A “walk through” was set up wherein the committee came over and toured our home, looking at all the details and definitely taking mental notes of what needed to be accomplished/changed stat. When you have two working attorneys and 6-7 animals at any given time, plus Board duties and Junior League, who do you think is going to meet the ________ workman between 9am and 12pm, to which he likely won’t show, and then make sure he does his job, doesn’t destroy anything else that will require another workman, doesn’t steal, and doesn’t let a cat or dog out of the house or yard? Yeah, it doesn’t happen.

Cat LadyI was a little nervous after the walk through. These people, whom I had never met before, likely think I am an animal hoarder. When they entered the house, there were 3 animals in small crates, and one HUGE crate (Bitsy). It was VERY loud and I had to bribe everyone with Greenies. Our grass was dead (so was everyone’s – it was winter and we’d had 3 freezes) but add that to the animal hoarding, absurd tee shirt and shampoo collection, and my love of reusing large Sonic styrofoam cups, and these people may start a separate, one-home tour called “what the hell is going on in this house?”

Shockingly, we received a letter a few weeks later. I was sure it was the “we’ve contacted the City about you. We think you have a problem and you need help” letter from HSMNA.

Instead, it was “you’re home has been selected for the 23rd Annual Hollywood Home Tour. What I read in between the lines was “now get your ass to work on that house.” Well, that’s just what I needed!

Due to some other factors as well, I took time off from working and decided to hit the home organization/project ground running. (Lent is such a great time to give up nuisances). I inventoried our home, made a list of everything that needed to be done in my mind, checked those items against a reasonable budget, tailored the list, found qualified workmen for each project (joining Angie’s List was really helpful – reviews are essential when quality, punctuality, and price are critical), and scheduled them all, and got to work.

The urine colored marble fireplace sans mantle HAD TO BE OVERHAULED. Here’s a before pic:

Fireplace Before

So I decided on travertine to go with my country french furniture and to complement the black mantle that is being made by a carpenter I found to match the home’s fabulous, detailed moulding.


Progress pics:

Fireplace Progress Fireplace Tile Fireplace Tile Grout

Huge difference, no?! [Ignore the row of yellow on top – that will be completely covered by the mantle!] If you need a tile/stone worker, my guy is AMAZING. He hand chipped the side of the pieces that had to be cut to make them look perfect. I heart him. Next stop – a chimney sweep to teach me how to use this bad boy and what type of gas logs I need to invest in. Again, there are usually great deals on Angie’s List for chimney sweeps, especially now when they are out of season.

I also had an electronics man come out and mount the ridiculously large television on the wall and run the wires through the wall to a box near the floor so you don’t see any hint of wires.

Wall Mount TV

I actually had to leave him at the house while I ran my bleeding cat to the vet one day. When I returned, covered in blood and fur, stressed, and worried, he nervously informed me that when he went to drill a hold for the wires through the fire wall in the wall, there was a random pier at a 45 degree angle that his drill hit and it came flying out the wall. And yes, it put a hole in the wall precisely where we did not want one. “I’m so sorry, are you mad?” I told him, “Randall, I’m covered in cat blood, I have cat blood all over my house and back steps, and they don’t know if they can fix his leg at this point. This hole is the least of my concerns and I am not mad at you at all.” I’ve never seen such relief on a man’s face. Apparently, some homeowners’ are real assholesjerks; he was expecting me to fly off the handle. He had his dry wall guy come out with him the next time, of course did not charge me for the mistake, and all is ok in the world!

He also installed a small tv in our bathroom. The previous owner has mirrors all over the walls to make the space appear bigger and brighter, and it turns out that ordering a tv from walmart.com is much cheaper than replacing a custom mirror with a space for a tv mount with another custom mirror without said space. So, looks like my showers will be as long as Naked & Afraid from now on…

Bath TV

1115 Sarasota Front

The Hollywood/Santa Monica neighborhood is hot right now, with hundreds of families looking for the perfect home in this sweet little subdivision, but thanks to higher prices and a market that is poised for even more growth, it’s hard to find the right house for the right buyer.

Still, there are some very lovely homes in this area, including 1115 Sarasota Circle. While this beauty blends with the rest of the Tudors and cottages in the area, you’ll be surprised to hear it was actually built just 13 years ago, a labor of love by a retired builder, Daryl Davis. It’s marketed by Allie Beth Allman agent Alex Roostaei for $549,000.

“This home was built for [Daryl] and his wife back in 2001. He’s one of those guys who if he’s going to do something,  he does it correctly,” Roostaei said. “He built this house not only to be beautiful and functional, but also to be just as sound behind the walls and in the construction.”

1115 Sarasota Entry

Sounds like this beautiful stone-and-brick-clad home will stand the test of time just like the rest of the 1920s-era Tudors you’ll find in Hollywood Heights and in Lakewood Heights. This particular home has three bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths, a huge backyard and a two-car garage with an air-conditioned studio/office space upstairs.

1115 Sarasota Living 1115 Sarasota Dining

Inside you’ll find elegant millwork and trim, with glossy stained hardwood mouldings throughout. The gorgeous fireplace in the living room is modeled after Rookwood fireplaces that are common in the area. The dining room is spacious, perfect for entertaining, and has a lovely chandelier overhead.

1115 Sarasota Kitchen 1115 Sarasota Breakfast

In the kitchen you’ll fall for the beautiful red cabinets and gorgeous pendant and wall-mount light fixtures that add a soft vintage flair. Of course, you’ll find high-end stainless appliances and a built-in, made-to-match refrigerator. A wine nook and a beautiful island complete the space, which benefits from tons of natural light from the windows. There’s a beautiful breakfast nook next to the kitchen with huge windows and a lovely, understated fireplace.

1115 Sarasota Master 1115 Sarasota Master Bath 1115 Sarasota Vanity

Upstairs, the master suite is just absolutely adorable. The same touches you love in a 1920s Tudor can be found in this home, including the adorable commode with a vessel sink modeled to look like an old wash pan. The woodwork, honeycomb tile, and the cast-iron claw-foot tub make it a trip back in time. Nostalgic and more romantic than a New England bed and breakfast!

1115 Sarasota Screen Porch 1115 Sarasota Yard

Just off the breakfast room is the screened porch, which opens to the huge, grassy backyard. In all, this home is perfect for lovers of vintage details with tons of modern amenities that make this incredible property a perfect Valentine for anyone!