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Old Town Lewisville. Photo courtesy of the city of Lewisville

When you think of hip, fun destinations to live, work, and play in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the city of Lewisville is not usually at the top of the list.

But city leaders in this northern suburb of almost 100,000 residents are changing that as redevelopment moves into full swing in the Old Town area. New houses, townhomes, restaurants, and retail shops are all in the works as developers and entrepreneurs take note of the changing atmosphere.

“Everybody has been hyper-focused on Collin County, but these changes in Lewisville will give people another option,” said David Maez, Broker and Co-Owner at VIVO Realty, which represents the developer Belleville Village, the builders of Uptown Village Lewisville townhomes near East Main Street and East Mill Street in Old Town. “It’s close to Lewisville Lake, close to the airport, close to I-35, which makes it easy to get to Dallas. These changes will make that area more appealing for buyers, especially younger professionals.”  (more…)

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Swiss Avenue is full of wonderful properties that have so much history and life to them. They have more character in one square foot than many Dallas homes have throughout. Homes on Swiss Avenue are the antithesis of the zero-lot-line McMansions you see in the suburbs (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), and they have such beautiful presence that it’s no wonder they’re magnets for people who adore architecture.

Peter and Christine Loh purchased 4930 Swiss Avenue, a unique Prairie School home built for Texas rancher Thomas W. Newsome by noted architect C.P. Sites, and have been in love with the home since then. Built in 1914 for just $16,000, this home is celebrating it’s 100th birthday during this year’s Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour. Christine was kind enough to take the time to chat with us about her incredible home. Don’t miss this wonderful event this weekend! We’ll be giving away a pair of tickets to the home tour tomorrow so stay tuned to CandysDirt.com!

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It’s a Dallas tradition to honor mom and her commitment to her family and career (and all those dang peanut butter and jelly sandwiches she made and stories she read to you, even when she said she would only read one book and ended up reading five) with a special weekend at the Swiss Avenue Mother’s Day Home Tour.

This unique event showcases the lovely historic homes for which this neighborhood is known, and offers a fantastic marketplace and lovely tea that mom will appreciate even if it will take years and years to make up for that phase of your teens where you were a moody jerk to her every dang day.

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State Thomas Architectural Home Tour

Thanks to the incredible generosity of Preservation Dallas, we have TWO PAIRS of Patron-level tickets to give away to their amazing Spring Architectural Tour of the State Thomas District. This tour is almost certain to knock your socks off, with candy-colored Victorian homes, Edwardian cottages, and beautiful Italianate manses that are painstakingly preserved.

Jump to find out how you can win!

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815 Newell Front

Boy do I have a sweet-tooth when it comes to homes (and chocolate, of course!). I like them cozy and cute with tons of great decor! So when I saw this adorable listing from David Bush Realtor Joe Kacynski, I made an appointment with my dentist because this house is so sweet I got a toothache!

Hollywood Heights is hot, hot, hot, as you know, and most homes are on the market no longer than a month before they’re snatched up, usually for more than asking! That’s why we’re so glad we get to feature a home that is super fresh to the market and priced competitively at $299,000. (more…)

(Editors Note: Please welcome Marc Lee to the CandysDirt.com team! Marc is an experienced writer with a love of real estate that makes us girls swoon. Read on for more, and send him a note at [email protected])

1. exterior

Pre-owned homes in desirable southern neighborhoods seem to pop on and off the market as quickly as craft beer bottle caps in the Bishop Arts District.

Only a few years ago, scoring a great deal on a house, like this stuccoed Winnetka Heights craftsman listed at $275,000 by Gia Marshello of Coldwell Banker, seemed almost too easy. But Dallas real estate prices have zoomed past pre-recession highs, according to surveys like the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and solo professionals and young families have to keep an eye on value like never before.

4. Liv and fireplace

“Winnetka Heights and Kessler Park are the neighborhoods that people flock to now,” says Marshello. “There are several nice streets and they’re close to downtown.”

This three-bedroom, two-bath 1925 bungalow with breezy wrap-around porch sits on a secluded, shady, tree-lined street that seems miles away from anything urban. But it’s close enough to Oak Cliff’s entertainment districts to hop on a bike and grab a slice of pizza. And it’s an easy pedal over the bridge to work. Children could attend the well-regarded Rosemont Elementary a short walk away, or The Kessler School, a private elementary campus in Kessler Park.

5. entry and study

Two bedrooms and a bath with claw foot tub downstairs belong to kids or guests, while the master suite perches on the second story. Windows on all sides of the bedroom provide sweeping views of the architecturally significant homes in the neighborhood and a green swath of the back yard.

Multiple built-ins, hardwoods, heavy wood-and-glass entry doors, and detailed millwork bring out the historical charm of every one of the home’s 1,921 square feet. But the tile-faced living-room fireplace and its flanking bookshelves make the most elegant statement.

The original kitchen has been replaced and updated with cherry-faced cabinetry, granite countertops, and a matching stainless steel appliance package that will give the new owners a modern place to make a meal. And a study just off the living room — somewhat rare for this kind of house, Marshello says — is a cozy place to pay the bills.

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Back to the nuts-and-bolts of value: The water heater, plumbing, insulation, and HVAC at 218 N. Rosemont Ave. have all been recently replaced or updated over the past few years. While not quite worth their weight in gold, they’re pretty close.

The home’s value has steadily risen, even during the recession years, according to tax assessments and Marshello’s own calculations.

“A year ago, it would have been listed at $235K to $250K,” she says, but compared with similar homes in the neighborhood, it’s priced in a solid middle ground. A quick look at listings of similar properties show prices range from $245,000 to $312,000.

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The average sale price for a single family Oak Cliff home is $270,000, according to the latest figures from online real estate database Zillow, down about 7.2% from a year ago. As a comparison, the average sale price for Dallas as a whole is $277,700, up 15% from the same time last year. Oak Cliff seems to have slightly more stable prices than the rest of the city, which is definitely a consideration for buyers if we are caught up in a regional housing bubble.

But it’s all-too-easy to get caught up in the money game and forget about quality of life issues. With its amenities, spacious rooms and proximity to entertainment, schools and jobs, this may be a perfect starter home.

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The neighborhood association even has complimentary beer and wine tastings at its meetings. Makes it easy to get to know the neighbors. And get to know the neighborhood better, too.

11. exterior rear

618 N. Brookside Home of the Week

I have driven down this street, Brookside, off LaVista, so many times on my way to Hollywood Heights/Santa Monica where my daughter now lives. Every time I marvel at how pretty Brookside is, and how the homes on one side all back up to the Lakewood Country Club. What a perfect place to live — walking distance to Lakewood Shopping Center, Whole Foods, and of course a whole country club golf course in your back-yard.

Then, eureka, a month ago, I see this gorgeous, neat as a pin and spiffy Tudor revival that has a for sale sign in front on the country club side! It is listed by John and Debbie Brosius, Allie Beth Allman & Associates, Debbie being John’s wife, and John being the super star agent who brought a buyer to my home years ago. Then I look this house up and — quick someone hide my checkbook!

618 Brookside is now under one million dollars!

618 N. Brookside Entry 618 N. Brookside Living618 N. Brookside Dining 618 N. Brookside Kitchen 618 Brookside KIT3618 N. Brookside DenBuilt in 1928,  the 3486 square foot home is perched on a bit of a hill, not a climb, enough to poise it majestically. Landscaping is luscious and mature on a third-acre lot(.38) and the home has been beautifully updated inside with classical touches: the walls and ceilings are still thickly textured plaster, and yes, those are original stained glass windows. There are beautiful moldings, arched windows, nooks, crannies, hardwoods, leaded glass doors, slate floors, an original  Potter Ironworks stair rail, and a rookwood pottery fireplace. You get four bedrooms, three and a half baths, formals, , secluded master with sitting room, spa bath with bidet, sunroom, an outdoor pergola with a beautiful grill built into a round, stone island structure, a roman swimming pool and detached garage with 600 square feet of guest quarters over.

618 N. Brookside Master 618 N. Brookside Master Bath 618 N. Brookside PoolhousePlease note that subtracting the guest quarters square footage leaves the home at 2886 square feet — essentially  a three bedroom, two and a half bath house with a rear guest quarters. But really, who needs more?

John and Debbie have it listed for $985,000. Was listed a year ago for $975,000, you know, different market. Then it went back on July 5 at $1,025,000. I’d say we are getting closer to perfection… and my checkbook…  and a loan from Inwood Mortgage right now!618 Brookside grill 618 Brookside guest house618 N. Brookside Backyard 618 N. Brookside Patio

Tremont front

Nothing quite like a cute house to break you out of your after-lunch food coma. This cute bungalow in Munger Place has so many fun details that you’re going to fall for it, folks! And hard! This is a front-porch neighborhood, and nothing would be more attractive or refreshing than a glass of iced tea on this front porch!

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Seriously, nothing cuter than a pink house! Amiright? Especially one that has been maintained so well! This is a four-bedroom, three-bath prairie-style bungalow in one of the best historic neighborhoods in Dallas and was featured in the area’s 2011 home tour. It’s very walkable — even bikable — and has tons of great shops and restaurants nearby in Lakewood, including the Lakewood Whole Foods. It’s marketed by Ebby Halliday Realtor George Haynes for $387,500.

Tremont Dining

Now, I am a huge fan of pops of color on a neutral palette, but for some reason I am strangely attracted to the ochre walls and bright blue and red furniture throughout this house. The bright colors against the classic shapes and white beadboard just works, right? Crazy, I know.

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The furniture is an interesting mix of traditional and antique, with some modern elements. Nothing evokes this more than the living room, which has some great Queen Anne chairs mixed with more traditional furniture and modern lines. There is more than 2,400 square feet in this house, so you can fill and curate all of these cool rooms with tons of great finds.

Tremont Kitchen

The kitchen, well, you can tell that it hasn’t been really renovated, just updated here-and-there in a very hodge-podge manner. Some of the homes in this neighborhood still feature antique gas stoves and Chambers ovens — cast-iron enamel behemoths that dominate the space. Still, it’s cute, with cabinetry and stand-alones giving you enough storage for your cookware and china. I think it would be a great investment, though, to overhaul this space for a gourmet experience. Just keep the chandelier, OK?

Tremont Master Tremont Master Bath Tremont Backyard

So, what do you think? Cute enough to eat or what? If you want to get a better feel for the space, it’s open this sunday, July 28, from 2 to 4 p.m.