Every stylish lady needs a refreshing makeover from time to time. Grand historic homes are no exception. When the Swiss Avenue Historic District kicks off its weekend-long 46th Annual Mother’s Day Home Tour, 5007 Swiss Avenue will be unveiling an elegant new look.

Since sharing the vision for historic home preservation is part of the Swiss Avenue Historic District’s mission, it featured the home in last year’s tour to showcase planning and craftsmanship in-progress. This year, tour-goers will get an up-close-and-personal look at the exquisite results.

The sprawling Italianate-style home was built at the top of Swiss Avenue in 1921 for Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Porter Mason. Mr. Mason owned Mason Engineering Company, and his wife was a Dallas arts benefactress who sponsored tours for famous musicians like Ignacio Paderewski, Jascha Heifetz, Van Clyburn, and Sergei Rachmananoff. Legend has it that Rachmananoff once performed in the home’s music room.

In 1983, another set of owners had the house physical moved from the original site at the corner of Swiss Avenue and Oram to its present address. Since 2011, homeowners Brian Shultz and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Odstrcil, have been making their own history in the home.

The couple initially married while on vacation in Istanbul – one of their favorite places in the world. They later hosted an alfresco Turkish-themed wedding at the house for a few hundred family members, friends, and new Swiss Avenue neighbors.

“Since our families did not join us in Turkey, we surprised them by getting legally married here with a dear friend of mine [who’s a] minister officiating,” Shultz said. “Our families were thrilled, [and] It was an awesome event.”

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The English garden at 6005 Swiss is the stuff dreams are made of.

The English garden at 6005 Swiss is the stuff dreams are made of, but it’s not the only stunning home you’ll find in the Swiss Avenue Historic District.

It all began when successful real estate developer Robert S. Munger had a unique and forward-thinking vision. He came up with the idea of planning and building an upscale residential community near downtown Dallas. This first deed-restricted neighborhood in Texas included the exclusive and elegant parade of stately, beautifully grand homes along Swiss Avenue.

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5314 Swiss Front

A reader writes:

“The homes are so beautiful on Swiss Avenue but seems like the homes for sale have been on market for a long time. Why do these homes take so long to sell and why does it seem like people are trying to move out?”

5314 Swiss Parlor

Let’s start by answering the second half of that question: Why does it seem like people are trying to move out? Of course, there are the same reasons most people move — changing jobs, capitalizing on a profitable market, closing an estate, downsizing — but considering this area, we wanted to find out if there wasn’t another reason. To answer this, we asked Cameron Kinvig, president of the Swiss Avenue Historic District Neighborhood Association, and owner of 4949 Swiss Avenue, the home that was featured in the Mary Ellen’s Will: The Battle for 4949 Swiss series by Lee Hancock.

I can’t tell you much about the homes for sale within the Swiss Avenue Historic District, or what motivates people to move out of the district (although I suspect it’s the same as everywhere else — as you mentioned, relocating for jobs, profitable market, estate issues, downsizing, etc.). I can tell you that the district is a great place to live and raise a family.  We have a great mix of long-time residents and families with young children. The district really shares a sense of community like a small town, and we socialize extensively within the district.  The homes all have character, and the owners all understand the joys and challenges that owning/renovating a historic home can bring.  Renovations are celebrated, and neighbors are always excited to see improvements being made. New neighbors quickly get to know others in the district, and are quickly adopted into the community.  The district really espouses a special sense of “place” within East Dallas, and I can’t recommend highly enough living there, as opposed to elsewhere in Dallas.  The first few months I owned my house I had a steady stream of neighbors from several blocks up Swiss, and on Bryan Parkway and LaVista stopping by to introduce themselves and wish me well.  I think you’d be hard-pressed to find that sense of community elsewhere in Dallas.

5314 Swiss Foyer

So, from Cameron’s perspective, Swiss Avenue is a unique place, but it doesn’t present many more challenges than other historic areas of Dallas, such as Hollywood Heights, Junius Heights, Munger Place, Winnetka Heights — all of which require homeowners to meet specific historic standards when renovating these homes.

5314 Swiss Living

Now, the first part of the question asks why these homes have been on the market for a long time. There are four Swiss Avenue properties listed right now, with the most recent listing having been on the market for just 50 days, and the oldest being on MLS for 291 days. Two of them are listed with Elizabeth Mast and Robby Sturgeon of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Lakewood/Northeast Dallas. Here’s what these two Realtors had to say about listing on Swiss Avenue (emphasis added).

We have experienced a large uptick in the real estate market in general, and East Dallas in particular has increased in popularity because of its close proximity to Downtown.  Our recent sales show that homeowners on Swiss Avenue, for many different reasons, are downsizing and are now taking advantage of this robust market.

It may seem that many of these homes are on the market longer than others in the area, but the truth is that these homes appeal to very special buyers; buyers who value the diversification and uniqueness of a historic district, and the architectural detail that cannot not be replicated today.   It’s also important to mention that many of these homes are greatly sought after, and are sold as private sales.

While many of the homes are nearly a century old and require ongoing maintenance, they are always a labor of love for their owners.  It is that very shared interest and passion that brings the Swiss Avenue Historic District together as a neighborhood.  The advantage to marketing an historic district like Swiss Avenue is the opportunity to share with others the history and stories that make each home unlike any other. The incredible sense of community and true neighborhood feel make Swiss Avenue stand apart.

Well, there you have it! I hope we answered your question, reader, and if you’re interested in this incredible home that we’ve shown in this post, it’s 5314 Swiss — a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath beauty marketed by Mast and Sturgeon for a $1.15 million. That’s an absolute steal for a home of this magnitude and in this area.

5314 Swiss Dining 5314 Swiss Master 5314 Swiss Office 5314 Swiss Master Bath 5314 Swiss Garden