When my husband, Doug, and I set out to purchase our first home in the fall of 2009, we didn’t have many criteria: at least two bedrooms and a good layout for entertaining. We had only recently married, didn’t have children yet, and considered proximity to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Greenville Avenue a perk. (Priorities.)
We wanted to be close enough to where we worked that we weren’t spending precious happy-hour time commuting. So we decided on a charming 1950s home in Lakewood Heights that had big picture windows and an extra bedroom for out-of-town family and friends. We moved in and quickly got to work making it our home. It was our first house, and my second love.
We tended to the plants. Doug designed and paved a stone patio. We painted the master bedroom a warm shade of gray. We discovered we were pretty good at taking care of things, so we decided to have a baby. I began to think about a nursery. As I was sifting through paint samples and baby furniture catalogues, Doug was still trying to figure out where the baby fit in. He looked up at me and asked in all seriousness, “Where is the baby going to sleep?”
So you can see how little thought we put into the “future” when we purchased our first home. And that sort of went for the neighborhood choice, too. My husband grew up in Lakewood — a short jump over Abrams Road — and we liked being close to family. It’s sort of what we knew. And we liked that.
But on the eve of my daughter’s first birthday, a pipe under our front yard cracked. A six-foot ditch in our yard, thousands of dollars of repairs, and a canceled ladybug-themed birthday later, I officially broke up with that house. The love affair was over.
With a little more experience under our belt, we set our sights on a new home. We had intentions to grow a family, so we required a three-bedroom minimum. A playroom would be a plus. We wanted an open concept for keeping all eyes on crawling, curious kids. That we knew. We just weren’t sure about where the house should be. That’s when we started to do our research.
We drove the lap of roads from Knox-Henderson on the south, Forest Lane on the north, White Rock Lake on the east and Midway Road on the west more times than we could count. We interviewed friends. We looked at homes in Midway Hollow, Lakewood, and the Meadows. We researched schools and studied neighborhood association websites. We counted tree swings. We maneuvered strollers. We even took notice of how many people we saw walking down the streets with dogs and kids between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m. We knew we wanted action and to hold on to what little fragments of hip we had left.
This realization kept us coming back to the vibrant stretch of English Tudor-style homes in the M Streets.
The oak and pecan tree-lined lots in the historic Greenland Hills neighborhood were developed in the early 1920s. The master plan took into account landscaping as well, which explains the large trees that welcome baby swings and provide shade for children playing in the yards. The conservation district has strict guidelines for future renovations and construction and strives to preserve continuity and original architecture.
The obvious choice for us was so close — just a few blocks west of that first house — but we didn’t realize it until we did the research. The M Streets had everything we were looking for, and more.
My husband and I love choices. We love that if we choose to send our daughters to Dallas ISD, we have a solid elementary school in Stonewall Jackson, but with abundant private school options nearby. We love the central location and walkability. When we pack up the kids in the stroller, we can point north, east, south, or west to the Katy Trail, Knox-Henderson, Lower Greenville, or Glencoe Park. Restaurants, grocery stores, walking trails, and parks are all within a 10-minute walk. By car we’re on Central Expressway before you can even get your Bluetooth connected. We can get to the Arboretum or White Rock Lake without getting on a highway. Our downtown offices are a short 15-minute commute door-to-door, which gives us more time to enjoy a post-work family walk.
We also feel safe. Our neighborhood association’s off-duty police patrol is a popular program and a reason that young families are increasingly attracted to the area. When you’re out of town, there’s always a set of eyes watching your home, yard, and car.
Most of all, we wanted a place with real sense of community — that small-town feel that seems to be dying as fast as new neighborhoods are being developed. Our oldest daughter will learn to ride a bike on the tree-lined streets. Our youngest will learn to walk on the shaded sidewalks. It’s the place where our memories will grow. The M Streets is a neighborhood full of people who care about one another, their kids, and their pets. What’s more important than that?
Ryan Conner, associate editor for D Home and D Weddings, has lived in the M Streets since 2013.