Learn how designers updated and preserved this Dallas home on Swiss Avenue built in 1919

Homes along Swiss Avenue in Dallas are protected and preserved through the city’s designation of the area as a Dallas Landmark. Swiss Avenue is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That’s why, when you drive down the stately street, you’ll see centuries-old homes preserved in their original glory.

But designation as a historic district presents challenges for modern homeowners due to rules and regulations regarding changes that can be made. You won’t see an older home transformed into a modern farmhouse design on this block. According to Dallas City Hall’s website, a “certificate of suitability” must be obtained before any work can be performed at a historic home site.

The house sellers at 5521 Swiss Ave. sought help from designers to bridge the gap between preserving the home’s history and updating it to their modern taste. Elements of the home were remodeled and redesigned at various times during the Sellers’ ownership, including updates to bathrooms, kitchens, electrical, and outdoor areas.

The home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a powder room on 3,652 square feet. It sits on 0.45 acres and has a swimming pool in the garden. The house was built in 1919 and, according to the listing, the property was part of historic home tours in 2015 and 2019.

Sellers worked with construction consultant and designer Carol Gantt and interior designer Gillian Blair to update the home and retain its historic appeal. Gantt estimated that she had worked on four or five houses on Swiss Avenue over the years. She said she wanted the house to feel current while referencing the period in which it was built.

“We wanted to get back to home greatness,” Gantt said.

The house’s living room is off the entrance hall and has the original Rookwood tile fireplace (a feature found in other Swiss Avenue houses) and French doors that open onto 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 veranda feel. A secondary living room is adjacent to the office and has another Rookwood tile fireplace. There is also a dining room and a wet room on this level.

Gantt said a larger kitchen was a key design goal when working with homeowners. The kitchen has white cabinets, an island with seating and a La Cornue stove. Part of the wall on one side of the room has exposed brickwork, which Gantt says is part of the flue that would have led from the house’s basement incinerator through the roof.

All bedrooms are on the second level of the house. The master suite has a fireplace, large windows and easy access to an exercise room. An upstairs patio at the back of the house is used as a sleeping porch and the front upstairs patio has a view of Swiss Avenue. The third level of the house has another living space which serves as a music room, as well as a storage closet.

Outside, the back patio of the house can be used for entertaining and a swimming pool was added two years ago. Designer Gillian Blair said she researched the design of period-relevant pools before choosing the checkerboard-style tiles that surround the pool.

“We wanted to think about the story and do something appropriate for the house, but also not take it too seriously,” Blair said of the house and pool design. “We didn’t want to do some kind of a line or anything like that. We wanted to give it a modern and fresh touch.

The home is on the market for $1,650,000 and is listed by Meridith Hayes of Compass.

It’s part of our Chic properties series, offering a peek inside beautiful North Texas homes for those who enjoy looking at homes. It is not paid for or presented by real estate agents or companies in the area.

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