Not many companies would take on the renovation of Bunker and Suzie Curnes’ new house in Highland Park.
The end result, however, is one to be proud of – a house steeped in history, yet with a modern feel that fits right in with the surrounding neighborhood’s beauty.
Providence Builders began reconstruction of the house on Maplewood Avenue in December of 2016, and one year later, the Curnes’ were finally settled into a space that meets the family’s needs while maintaining the essence of its original 1916 features.
“It was a lot of work to get the house done,” Bunker Curnes said. “I don’t think the builders that worked on it will ever have a project like this again.”
The house is a Preservation Dallas winner, thanks to the Curnes’ restoration and use of 33 original windows. It also was honored in March by the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society and will be on the society’s home tour in April.
The awards are especially important to Bunker and Suzie, two Highland Park High School graduates who know the importance of the area’s history. Now, they own a piece of it – a home where Dallas-royalty Salle Stemmons lived for 35 years.
“We’re really proud to be given those awards,” Bunker Curnes said. “They are usually only given to commercial properties, so it means a lot that our home was chosen.”
The Curnes designed the house with homages to places they have been. It has tile inspired by a bathroom in Amherst; a cooper vent nearly identical to one they saw in a Seattle restaurant; paints and colors that Bunker saw everywhere in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; even ideas from their visit to Brooklyn, New York.
“We have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, and we wanted this to be a house that they could really grow up in,” Suzie Curnes said.
To that end, the house offers every opportunity for two young girls to flourish – from the giant playroom and closet to artificial grass in the backyard, perfect for soccer practice.
“They got to pick out what doorknobs they liked, and we kept some of the colors that they liked from our old house,” Bunker Curnes said.
The Curnes’ expanded the house to 4,950 square feet – just less than 50 percent to avoid triggering a requirement to install fire sprinklers, Bunker Curnes said.
“We would have had to tear out the ceiling and the original plaster, and we loved the look of the original plaster,” Bunker Curnes said.
The Curnes added a larger kitchen, opened the downstairs and enlarged the upstairs. Fireplaces are scattered throughout, a backyard porch provides a perfect sitting area, and an upstairs deck is situated to not be doused in the afternoon sun.
“It’s such a fantastic house originally, but we needed to make it happy and open again,” Suzie Curnes said. “It feels like us.”
Stay up to date with the Curnes' makeover adventures on their blog.
Park Cities Historic Home Tour
What: Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s showcases five houses on this annual tour presented by Allie Beth Allman and D Home.
When: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. April 14
3925 Potomac Ave. (Cookie and Dan Owen)
3928 University Blvd. (Cheyne and Travis Goldammer)
3504 Hanover St. (Tracy and Lance Hardenburg)
4516 N. Versailles Ave. (Lee Lyon McGuire)
3712 Maplewood Ave. (Suzie and Bunker Curnes)
Tickets: $20 advance, $25 at the door. Get them online at pchps.org through April 10 or at Tom Thumb stores in the Park Cities area.