All I Want for Christmas is an East Dallas Midcentury with Original Hardwoods

Here's my map to help guide Santa's sleigh. And his real estate agent.

Here’s my map to help guide Santa’s sleigh. And his real estate agent.

I grew up in North Dallas and have lived all over Dallas and the ‘burbs, but when I finally landed in East Dallas in 2007, I knew I had found my happy place.

East Dallas has a culture unlike anywhere else in the city (although North Oak Cliff feels like its cousin). I could spend hours walking or biking through neighborhoods like Little Forest Hills, Buckner Terrace, and the Peninsula. So many beautiful houses! So many trees! And friendly neighbors everywhere!

Circumstances and a new baby moved me to Plano this year, and I have pined over my favorite neighborhoods in East Dallas ever since. I go out of my way to get back to East Dallas as often as possible, and because I’ve been very good this year, I’m asking Santa for a token of his appreciation for Christmas: A midcentury house east of White Rock Lake. With original hardwoods. And mature trees.

That’s not too much, is it?

I’ve got a few ideas for Santa, in case he’s stumped. This Casa Linda cottage has just the kind of curb appeal I love: big trees, tranquil setting, and an expansive yard. Located at 1422 Tranquilla Dr., it’s listed at $348,500 and is a 3-2 with 1,857 feet. That’s not quite large enough for my family of four, so we might have to sell the teenager before we move. But I’m OK with that.

1422 Tranquilla Dr

Looks at those gorgeous original hardwoods! And the built-ins! And a wood-burning fireplace! So much character from when it was built in 1945.  (more…)

Broken tree trunk

We know that Icemaggedon doesn’t discriminate between homes it hits, and while you may have worked tirelessly to get your listing ready for MLS, a downed branch or broken limb is a huge issue when it comes to showing a home.

So, what should you do as a Realtor if one of your listings was hit hard by our recent history-making ice storm? Harold Spiegel of Preservation Tree Service says that you shouldn’t do a thing — let a trained arborist handle it.

Pear tree split“Potential buyers are looking for big mature trees, but the key is a healthy tree,” Spiegel says. He recommends homeowners partner with a Certified Arborist to help them achieve this goal. “Tree work should be completed only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees, because your home’s value depends on it.”

Of course, just like our last catastrophic ice storm, tree companies will litter neighborhoods with flyers and business cards, but Spiegel warns that not all tree trimmers are created equal.

“There are many individuals with no more than a truck and a chainsaw who sell themselves as ‘tree care professionals’ or ‘arborists,’ ” Spiegel adds. “They’ll tell you they can take care of your trees and happily take your money; only to leave you with what translates to a butcher job and trees that will most likely succumb to decline from poor treatment.”

To avoid these “tree fakers” as Spiegel calls them, follow these tips:

Always ask for ISA Arborist certification numbers for staff they say is certified. Will one of their certified arborists come inspect the trees beforeany pruning work or treatments are performed? Are they accredited and insured? If they damage your property, will they be responsible, or will you? A logo doesn’t equal legitimacy. Nor does simply calling oneself an expert.

If you are trying to sell your home, Spiegel recommends you prioritize tree care and pruning, especially after an ice storm, because this is important to curb appeal and a huge selling point. “Trees add value to the property, help cool your home and neighborhood, break the cold winds to lower heating costs in the winter, and provide food for wildlife,” Spiegel said. “Homes with healthy mature trees also sell faster.”

Of course, when weather like Icemaggedon hits, firms with trained arborists and tree-trimming experts are often backlogged with customers, especially in areas with tons of mature trees like East Dallas and the Park Cities. Patience is important, Spiegel says.

“Don’t let anyone come in with a chainsaw,” he warns, “because they could cause irreversible damage to the structure of the tree, leave it susceptible to disease, and even harm the curb appeal and beauty of the tree, which will cost the homeowner money.”



Just north of Forest and west of Hillcrest is Preston Brook Estates. It’s a quiet little area, carved seemingly from a forest with its mature trees on typical suburban lots. The location is outstanding — you’re close to shopping all along Preston Road, you’re close to North Central Expressway, and you’re about 25 minutes from downtown.

The neighborhood is populated with 50s and 60s-era traditional ranches, which is a great home for those interested in remodeling. Pretty much anything goes with these houses (within the bounds of good taste, of course).


That’s why I like 11820 Hampstead marketed by Sylvia Scott of Allie Beth Allman & Associates. So much of the home has been remodeled, and what’s been done recently is absolutely perfect.  What original work has been kept — the gorgeous fireplaces — were definitely keepers. I love the copious living area (three rooms total!) and the two dining areas.The kitchen is adorable, too. I love the dark cabinets!

In total, this home is 3,154 square feet and priced at $575,000. You get three bedrooms and three baths, too, along with a great backyard that looks like the perfect spot to relax in no matter what the weather throws your way.

My only nit I’m going to pick is the master bath. It’s outdated, which the brass fixtures make painfully obvious. This is a pretty easy fix, though, so don’t let that put you off from this cutie!

What do you think about this house?

Go Rangers Go! Adrian Beltre and Wife Sandra Sure Like Real Estate!

The Beltre’s just picked up this Preston Hollow pad near Northwest Highway and Inwood this April for $2,850,000 and I congratulate them on a steal! The home was originally listed at $3,399,000. They have over 8000 square feet on a three-quarters acre lot, the home built in 2008. Even so, that’s half the size of the home the Beltres are still trying to unload in Bradbury CA, near Pasedena. The Dallas pad has five bedrooms, five baths, two half baths, formals, great kitchen, pool and spa and that Preston Hollow wooded drive up appeal with mature trees & electonic gates.  There are also exercise, game, craft, and bonus rooms, a chilled wine cellar & several wet bars (which will be put to good use after tonight’s game). The outdoor living area, yes, there is one of those, has electronic phantom screens to close off into yet another bug-free living area. Elevator ready, tons of storage with a floored attic.