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Hot Property: A Fairytale Fixer Upper in the Historic M Streets

The High Tudor-style home has lots of curb appeal and lots of potential.
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Hot Property: 5506 Vanderbilt

Hot Property: A Fairytale Fixer Upper in the Historic M Streets

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Tucked away on Vanderbilt, in the historic M Streets neighborhood of Greenland Hills, is a small cottage where perhaps the fairies raised Sleeping Beauty or where Hansel & Gretel met the witch. 

With its steep gabled roof, Sycamore trees, frosted lead glass front windows, and elaborate chimney, this High Tudor fixer upper is definitely an eye-catcher. 

“I think one of the main draws for young couples and people moving into the neighborhood is the drive-up appeal,” says realtor Robert Kurcharski, but it’ll need a lot of work from the right buyers. 

Let’s cut to the chase: Built in 1933, this house requires some major fixes, such as a new roof and a new back deck. The electrical wiring should be checked, the window sills should be replaced, and the floor needs leveling. It’s protected by the M Streets Conservation District, so it can’t be torn down, but it can be gutted, renovated, and even added on to (many houses in the area have added second floors). 

But once those changes are made, the rest of the home just needs some refreshing. Out front, the dreamy façade is calling out for some power washing and a paint job, and the backyard could do with a bit of landscaping.

Inside, the home’s original red oak hardwood floors are in good condition and can be sanded and re-finished to the new owner’s tastes. Archways open up the living and dining rooms, giving the house an airier feel. “It’s a cheerful house,” Kurcharski says.

Not much needs fixing in the living room, Kurcharski says, but it could use a new front door. “Somebody’s put, if I could just use the term, a Home Depot kind of door,” he says, suggesting the owners swap out the vinyl clad door with something more historic.

The current owners enlarged the kitchen in the early 2000s and its cabinetry is still in good condition, but Kurcharski says new owners might want to swap out the granite counters and tumbled marble backsplash for something trendier. 

He also suggests trading out the tile in both the kitchen and the bathroom with something closer to the period in which the home was built. “Therefore, the house will never become dated again in the future,” Kurcharski says. 

The master bedroom doesn’t have an en-suite, but it’s a good size and has a set of three dreamy divided light paned windows. The secondary bedroom is almost the same as when it was built—complete with an extra door to the outside. Back in the ‘30s, before the days of air conditioning, “the design of houses was to let as much natural air cross-ventilation happen in homes,” Kurcharski says, “so they put doors and windows everywhere.” 

There’s no doubt this house needs work, but it would be money well spent, Kurcharski says. “The potential lies where it’s located.” The house, zoned for Mockingbird Elementary, is just two blocks off Lower Greenville and has easy access to the freeway. 

And if that’s not enough to tempt you, most of the surrounding houses on the block are priced between $750,000–$1.2 million, so with some love and care, this home’s value will only appreciate over time. 


Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…

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