Homes along Dallas’ Swiss Avenue are protected and preserved thanks to the city’s designation of the area as a Dallas landmark. Swiss Avenue is also on the National Register of Historic Places. That’s why, when you drive down the stately street, you’ll see century-old homes preserved in their original glory.
But the designation as a historical district presents challenges to modern homeowners because of rules and regulations about changes that can be made. You won’t see an older home flipped to be a modern farmhouse design on this block. According to the Dallas City Hall’s website, a “Certificate of Appropriateness” must be obtained before any work can be done on a historic home site.
The sellers of the home at 5521 Swiss Ave. enlisted the help of designers to bridge the gap between preserving the home’s history and updating it for their modern taste. Elements of the home have been renovated and redesigned at various times during the sellers’ ownership, including updates to bathrooms, kitchens, electricity and outdoor spaces.
The home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and one half-bathroom in 3,652 square feet. It sits on 0.45 acres and has a pool in the backyard. The home was built in 1919 and, according to the listing, the property was part of historic home tours in 2015 and 2019.
The sellers worked with construction consultant and designer Carol Gantt and interior designer Gillian Blair to update the home and maintain its historic appeal. Gantt estimated that she has worked on four or five homes on Swiss Avenue over the years. She said she wanted the home to feel current but still refer to the period during which it was built.
“We wanted to return to the grandeur of the house,” Gantt said.
The home’s living room is next to the foyer and has the original Rookwood tile fireplace (a feature found in other Swiss Avenue homes) and French doors that open to the front patio. On the other side of the fireplace wall, there is an office that has French doors and windows that give it a bright, sunroom feel. A secondary living room is adjacent to the office and has another Rookwood tile fireplace. There are also a dining room and a powder bathroom on this level.
Gantt said a bigger kitchen was a key design objective when she was working with the homeowners. The kitchen has white cabinets, an island with room for seating and a La Cornue range. A portion of the wall on one side of the room has exposed brick, which Gantt said is part of the flue that would’ve led from the home’s basement incinerator up through the roof.
All of the bedrooms are on the second level of the home. The primary suite has a fireplace, large windows and easy access to an exercise room. An upstairs patio at the back end of the house is used as a sleeping porch and the front upstairs patio has views of Swiss Avenue. The third level of the home has another living space that is used as a music room, plus a storage closet.
Outside, the home’s back patio can be used for entertaining, and a pool was added two years ago. Designer Gillian Blair said that she researched the design of pools relevant to the period before choosing the checkerboard-style tiles that surround the pool.
“We wanted to think about the history and do something appropriate for the house but also not take it too seriously,” Blair said of the home’s design and the pool. “We didn’t want to do some kind of replica or anything like that. We wanted to have a modern, fresh spin on it.”
The home is on the market for $1,650,000 and is listed by Meridith Hayes of Compass.
This is part of our Posh Properties series, providing a glimpse inside nice homes in North Texas for those who love to look at houses. It is not paid for or presented by area real estate agents or companies.