A pair of eclectic 1920s houses will open their doors to the public this month, offering ticket holders a chance to check out their unique interiors.
Anyone who’s done a lap around Lake Cliff Park likely has noticed these shingle-covered homes tucked deep into their lots at the corner of Blaylock Drive and East Fifth Street.
The same family built 606 and 616 Blaylock in 1923 for a generational compound. An empty lot between the two homes served as private park space for the original family.
The homes — one now belongs to Eva Gordon and the other to Dale Dietert and Charles Hammett — are among 10 on this year’s Heritage Oak Cliff Fall Home Tour. This is the 45th-annual tour. It started in 1975 as the Urban Pioneer Tour and included 12 homes — five in East Dallas, three in Oak Lawn and four in Winnetka Heights.
While the tour has ventured as far south as Oak Park Estates and Bretton Woods, this year’s tour homes are mostly northern: Lake Cliff, Kessler and Stevens Park, Wynnewood North, Bishop Arts and Winnetka.
The homes range from a 1956 mid-century modern single-story home built on a hill in Kessler Park to a Winnetka Heights “airplane bungalow” — similar to a craftsman but with a pop-up second story that resembles a cockpit — outfitted in Scandinavian style.
Viewing the collections, art, furnishings and personal style of the homeowners is reason enough to buy a ticket.
A few of the homes, like the home of John Whittemore and Logan Ragsdale at 648 N. Manus, appear to be mild-mannered suburban-style ranchers. But when you step inside, it’s like a gallery with contemporary art and an inspired balance of traditional and modern furniture.
And then there are the pools.
Perhaps the most impressive is at 845 N. Oak Cliff Blvd., home of Enrique MacGregor and Mark Niermann, a one-of-a-kind mid-century modern house on Stevens Park Golf Course. The cabana, created from the home’s original garage, has a wall of glass doors that open on an expansive deck and infinity-edge fountain, which flows into a rectangular pool. The patio and landscape design drive home the modern angles. Workers on the pool and cabana additions found a cave, full of debris and yard waste, that the homeowners suspect could’ve been used as part of a moonshine distillery during prohibition.
Speaking of additions, 2018 Mayflower Drive was built in 1936, and its current owners moved there in 1992. Mary Alice and Monty Ayers lived in its original 1,100 square feet for 25 years until Mary Alice, who used the woodshop out back as her design and art studio, drafted up a plan for expansion. They doubled the size of the house, adding a huge library with built-in bookcases and a “universal design” master bath — it has no steps or ledges into the shower — for aging in place.
Go see all 10 houses if possible. After 45 years of planning a home tour, Heritage Oak Cliff has this down. Every house is a stunner.
Heritage Oak Cliff Fall Home Tour
When: Oct. 19-20
Tickets: Search “Heritage Oak Cliff Home Tour” at eventbrite.com.
Why: All proceeds fund grants awarded annually to neighborhood associations, which have used them for crime watch, sidewalks, sign toppers, landscaping, supporting neighborhood schools and other projects. Since 2014, the nonprofit has given $148,000 to neighborhood associations.