Since moving to Dallas 8 years ago we've moved no less than six times.
From a historic downtown loft with sweeping skyline views, to a much too large house in the suburbs, to a 2-room condo in a sleepy little family community, to a stunning modern loft overlooking Venetian style canals, to a charming, historic 4-plex on one of Dallas' most famous avenues... Suffice it to say, we were ready to finally settle, desperate in my case.
Having tasted a little of everything from literally all over the metroplex, as well as having traveled extensively across Europe over the last decade (and thus become well attuned to how very little is necessary, not to mention freeing, in terms of living space), we knew precisely what we wanted in the purchase of a home:
- not too big, but not too small. juuust right.
- proximity to parks, walking and biking trails, outdoor picnic areas
- lots of natural light
- tons of trees and vegetation
- a friendly community
- something cottage-y
So when we stumbled upon a darling yellow cottage with black shutters in a jewel of a neighborhood we'd never heard of, within walking distance of the beautiful White Rock Lake and our beloved Arboretum... we had a hard time turning our attention to anything else.
I was more hesitant than Josh given the plethora of projects I knew came part and parcel with the purchase of a century old house, but he was entirely undeterred. I had to admit that the ancient Oak towering over the entirely secluded backyard was calling to me... but still I balked. For a while. We knew well we could get a brand new house in the suburbs with three times the square footage, but that's not where our heart was. We wanted charm, history, trees. We wanted a home, something we'd keep forever no matter where life takes us.
The more we searched the more my mind wandered back to the little yellow cottage... the trees... the quiet... the balcony off the master that felt like a treehouse... the hardwood floors and antique glass doorknobs... the breezy porch swing...
We made a number of treks to the neighborhood over the following weeks. We parked in the drive and wandered around the property as if it were ours. We peered in the windows time and again dreaming. We ate barbque on the back deck while the sun set and mosquitoes came out to harass us, finally driving us back to our car. We walked the neighborhood and chatted with neighbors as if they were already ours.
The neighborhood itself felt so quiet, yet so alive. Little Forest Hills. There was something about it I just couldn't put my finger on. Slightly overgrown with scraggly trees draped across rolling streets, no two houses the same, some uber modern and chic with desert vegetation in lieu of grass, some dainty cottages with white picket fences draped with roses, some crazy funky with flowerbeds lined with bowling balls and yards full of wine bottle trees. There were chandeliers hanging from tree limbs and thick groves of bamboo hiding some houses entirely from view, sculptures here and there in yards, fire pits, gardens, chicken coops, freestanding doors that seemed to lead no where. Twinkle lights came to life at night filling backyards with the glow of activity, little free libraries on posts called to kiddos to take a book for reading, wind chimes tinkled... It reminded me of the secret garden, with a crazy funky, messy twist.
When a realtor with a knowing twinkle in his eye explained that the neighborhood of about a thousand houses was populated primarily by artists and musicians, it clicked. That's it, I thought, that's it exactly. These were my people. Weird, eccentric, equally friendly and insanely private, risk-takers, music-makers, sculpture builders. Poets, architects, readers and writers. Travellers, food lovers, backyard chicken and compost keepers. Gardeners, dancers, romantics. These, were my people.
Within weeks of moving in we had already fallen in love with our neighbors, heard story after fascinating story of how the neighborhood came to be (the consensus says it was built around the turn of the century as a vacation home community steps from the gorgeous White Rock Lake), and been inundated with basket after basket of welcoming baked goods. Aside from loads of unpacked boxes and a number of messy renovation projects, it was down-right dreamy.
Fast-forward several months... and we're finally settled. For the most part, that is. There are still a number of large-ish projects looming: tons of planting and gardening, the building of a new picket fence, a complete ceiling re-do in the sitting room, an entire master bath renovation, etc. With a house this old the project list really never ends, it just rotates. Fortunately for me, I love projects. I get that from my forever-building-something parents.
The house lends itself well to a number of our passions which I'll be much sharing more about in the weeks to come, but now that you've met her, how about a little room by room tour?? (more outside pics coming soon, as well!)
Up next: The Dining Room!