Interior designer Michael Lee recently mentioned to me that he always tries to find an old photograph, preferably black and white, of a historic home to show the original essence of the home when he meets with a client to discuss saving and renovating it. The reason for this is the original design, unencumbered by decades of modifications or landscaping grown out or proportion, provides a more compelling appreciation of the home. In my blog series, Preservation Five Steps for Saving Homes, I discuss in Preservation Step Three that at the beginning of my career my first transaction was negotiating 22 options on divided-up rent houses for the Historic Dallas Fund, which included the home pictured. The fund would re-sell these homes to homeowners who would return them to single-family. It was thought impossible to sell these divided-up rent houses, with 30 bad weekly tenants in a bad Dallas neighborhood, to a homebuyer. My solution was to retain an architect to draw a floorplan of the home reflecting the home when it was originally single-family, before it had four kitchens and bathrooms in the living room. This prompted me to continue to create floorplans even a decade later when I began selling some of the most beautiful homes in Highland Park and other parts of Dallas. I was the first Dallas realtor to create floorplans for listings, now it is standard practice for realtors. Also, I had an architect create a pen-and-ink drawing of the home, stripping away the deterioration, the three front doors, and adding back the original porch that might have been eliminated or closed in.
In Preservation Step Four of the blog series, I discussed how for the home pictured—one of the original Historic Dallas Fund houses—I had a contractor provide a bid to renovate the home back to single-family. It was subsequently renovated and actually resold eight years later for the same price as a larger brick Swiss Avenue home. A family has enjoyed raising their children in this Munger Place home originally destined for demolition. *Preservation Step Four