Mary Middleton said she and her husband Randy Spence fell in love with their Hollywood Heights home the second they walked through the front door in 1992. The Spanish Eclectic design, original details and vibrant interior drew them in, and they decided they would make it their mission to maintain its authenticity.
“We decided that we would try to restore it, rather than renovate it,” Middleton said.
The home on Clermont Avenue was designed by Clifford D. Hutsell, a noted architect whose other designs dot the landscape of the Lakewood area (his one-time personal home on Lakewood Boulevard is designated as a Dallas landmark).
Tax records say the house was built in 1946, but Middleton said further research revealed it was actually built in 1932.
The home is 2,187 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, all in their original configuration, Middleton said. The walls of the living room are covered with a mural that depicts White Rock Lake, which the owners later discovered to be the work of Fort Worth artist Bror Utter. Wooden beams sit on either side of the arched living room ceiling. Spence, a local artist, worked to restore to their tree-like design after previous owners had painted over them.
Elements like this certainly have a historic charm, with colors representative of an older era, but Middleton said they opted to adapt their personal preferences to fit the style of the home. A bathroom with salmon pink tile and contrasting trim has a vintage feel, and Spence painted a mural on the top half of the walls that mimics the style of other designs in the home.
“Everything we did, we did it with an eye on the past and what it would have been,” she said.
Middleton said they renovated the kitchen a few times during their tenure as homeowners. Wanting to maintain the integrity of the design, most of the couple’s updates included essential (but perhaps less glamorous) renovations like plumbing and the addition of central air.
The couple researched the home extensively, both to understand the story behind it and to ensure that updates were made in keeping with the style. Middleton said they are only the fourth owners, and she was able to connect with a descendant of the home’s previous owner and learn details about the design’s history.
“For us, it was more than a house,” Middleton said. “It was something that had its own personality.”
The exterior design of the home pulls from the colors of the roof tiles, and the terracotta and cobalt blue paint colors are consistent with her research, Middleton said.
The home has one bedroom on the first floor and a primary suite upstairs. There’s a family room, a kitchen, a breakfast nook (with a mural on the walls), a dining area and another living room. The detached garage also has living quarters on the second floor.
“For as long as we lived in Dallas, we knew we would live in this house,” Middleton said.
And they did. The home was recently sold to a new owner after nearly three decades in their care. Middleton and Spence are moving to Arkansas to be closer to their daughter.
Has your home been in the family for generations, or does it have a historic legacy? We’d love to know. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your story.