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Hot Property: A 106-Year-Old Mansion with the ‘Best Porch’ on Swiss Avenue

You can walk through the Prairie-style home for yourself on the Swiss Avenue Home Tour.
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Hot Property: A 106-Year-Old Mansion with the ‘Best Porch’ on Swiss Avenue

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Situated on the corner with Glendale, listing agent Kyle Baugh argues that 5647 Swiss Ave. might just have the best porch on the whole street. 

“It’s just unbelievable,” he says, “to be sitting there with coffee or a cocktail looking out over the park-like Swiss setting.” 

The 106-year-old stately Prairie Foursquare home, in the historic Munger Place neighborhood, was listed on the market last week for almost $2.4 million. 

Prairie-style homes emerged during the 20th century’s early days, led by architects like Frank Lloyd Wright. These homes focus on simplicity and craftsmanship, like 5647 Swiss Ave., which the builder Benjamin T. Seay constructed in 1916.

Seay came to Texas via Tennessee in the late 1800s, eventually founding Seay-Cranfill Company, which was one of the city’s oldest and most successful real estate firms. He was one of the first builders to put up homes on Swiss Avenue. He built 5647 Swiss Ave. as his personal family residence. He lived there with his wife, children, and families until his death in 1921. The house was then bought by Texas state highway engineer Rollen J. Windrow. 

This property is the “sister” to 5533 Swiss Ave. The Prairie homes are almost identical, but 5647 is more ornate. This house features beautiful molding and wainscotting, diamond muntin window detailing inside and out, and tulip motifs on the Rookwood fireplace and dining room’s stained-glass windows.

When the current owners bought the property several years ago, they worked with architect Daron Tapscott of studioB* to update the home while preserving its history, Baugh says.

They redid the bathrooms, including expanding the downstairs half-bath into a full. (Now, the study can be converted into a fifth bedroom, if needed, says Baugh.) Among other things, they fixed plaster and tiling in some areas of the house, installed LED lighting, and transfigured different spaces’ uses. For example, they converted the formal dining room into a formal sitting room and turned the old breakfast area into the new dining room. The original living room is now the library. The old sleeper porch is now a TV room and the attic is another living/office area.

But, Baugh says, “every room’s got so much character.” 

In the dining room, the current owners extended the wainscotting upward, mimicking the diamond detailing in the windows. The stained glass and display cabinets are original to the home, and the light fixture is an antique 19th-century French chandelier. 

The primary bedroom on the second-floor features three walls of windows, all with the same diamond muntin detailing. It’s a gorgeous room, Baugh says, but there are automatic shades if you want to block out the morning sun. 

There are three other bedrooms on the second floor, with a Jack-and-Jill bathroom between two of them. One of the bedrooms has access to the front balcony through its closet. Another has a door to the roof—so perhaps that shouldn’t be your toddler’s room. 

These rooms also have access to the old second-floor sleeping porch. This space was closed off and is now a music/playroom. Baugh says this room is the owner’s favorite room because of all its windows and treetop views.

All of the spaces make for a great “modern family living” home, says Baugh.

And if the 5,269 square-foot house isn’t enough, try the guest quarters behind the pool in the backyard. The home’s old carriage house (it is a mansion, after all) has been converted into a two-car garage, a workshop, and a one-bedroom apartment for guests on the second floor. It even has an access chair lift into the apartment. 

Scroll through the gallery to see more of the home. The property will also be featured during this year’s Swiss Avenue Home Tour May 7–8. 

*This story has been updated to include the architect Daron Tapscott’s name.

Author

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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