What’s Going on at Preston and Beverly?

Want to go sight-seeing? Just shift your car into low gear, put your neck into a craning position and head for the intersection of Preston Road and Beverly Drive. You’ll be in good company.

Dallas’ latest traffic-jammer is materializing before your very eyes. The stately Rose Lloyd Estate, purchased nearly a year ago by independent oil man Ed Cox and his wife Ann, is getting a natty facelift – not to mention every other tuck available.

During the past three months, workmen have been making quite a commotion behind the walls and through the trees. Fences are down, scaffolding is up and the place looks a mess. The restoration process, indeed, is in full swing. But it will take a full 18 months to two years before the Coxes can vacate their present North Dallas abode and take up housekeeping in Highland Park. The spectacle at 4101 Beverly should feed the gossips for some time – and here’s why:

“We want to retain the classic feeling of the house, but we’ll be updating it for convenience and to make it functional,” says Mrs. Cox. Lacking renovation of any significance since it was built around 1911, the house will get its innards spruced up with a new heating and cooling system and plumbing. The main body of the house is to remain, save for a few “minor” adjustments. For instance, the “caviar room” has been moved from the south side to the north as an addition off the living room. Several windows will be changed and the kitchen expanded, still staying within the confines of the original house. They won’t touch the famous foyer with the open space that travels all three floors and is topped with a stained glass ceiling. But all those tiny bedrooms on the second floor will be replaced with three larger bedrooms.

The ballroom on the third floor – yes, I did say ballroom – was never finished and will never witness the cavortings of society. Ed and Ann, who have collaborated with architect Wilson McClure on the whole project, have decided to transform the entire level into an attic and utilities room. Upon structural completion, the house’s interior will be decorated with the family’s antiques, firmly squelching the talk that the Coxes’ contemporary tastes (their present home on Gaywood has a modern exterior) won’t complement the mansion.

“Before, they had a wrought iron fence, but we prefer a stone wall,” Mrs. Cox says, explaining all that activity on the periphery of the property. “Because portions of the foundation were crumbling, the workmen are pouring a new foundation. But just a normal foundation.”

Slightly amused by all the fuss her house-to-be is creating, Mrs. Cox had completed her list of decorating details until the question popped up: What about a pool? Well, yes, there will be a pool attached to the south side of the house. It will be an indoor pool – sometimes – until someone pushes a button and the roof opens up.

And while on the subject of sports, how about a tennis court? Affirmative, again. While the Cox house is connected to the swimming pool, the swimming pool is connected to the tennis court. Explains Mrs. Cox: “The indoor court will be on the south side and will look like part of the house. There’s a natural slope of nine feet on the lot, so the roof of the court won’t be nearly as high as the house. But because of the slope, the end of the court will be level with the ground – or partially underground.”

In other words, the roof of the tennis court will be above ground entirely, but rallies will begin down under.

Why have Ed and Ann Cox gone to all this trouble, considering they had all these accouterments in the first place? “We were intrigued with taking the house and making it beautiful again,” says Mrs. Cox.

Local historians should consider this undertaking a favor – making one of Dallas’ most loved estates beautiful again. The cost of the renovation-which could easily surpass the cost of the house itself – is, not surprisingly, a secret. But not even William Randolph Hearst thought of an indoor underground tennis court.

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