Many people ask me, when attending open houses in Hollywood/Santa Monica, what constitutes a conservation versus a historic district and what one can and cannot do to their homes in each. Hollywood Heights is a conservation district whereas, Munger Place has a historic designation. For example, in Hollywood Heights, people are always curious about the roof height requirement-a roof cannot exceed 24 feet-unless it is already more than 24 feet, in which case, the lower part of the roof may be raised to meet the existing roof line. Confused yet? Also, many people think that you cannot tear down and build in Hollywood-not true-but you DO have to re-build as a Tudor and follow specific set back and style requirements. Here are the guidelines http://www.hsmna.org/documents/hcdg.pdf.
As for historic neighborhoods, such as Munger Place, the requirements are much more detailed and stringent. Homes in Munger Place must be, according to the guidelines, 2 stories., as an example. The ordinance can be found here http://www.mungerplace.com/dox/MungerPlaceOrdinance.pdf.
Many people that choose to live in older parts of town do so because there are guidelines which prohibit people from modernizing their homes too much. Unlike a suburban homeowner’s association, these guidelines prevent a mixture of styles from being built alongside historic construction. Some people don’t mind differing styles from modern to Prairie while preservationists find it unappealing to even walk into a home built in the early part of the 1900′s that has undergone major renovations.
East Dallas is home to many types of architecture which make it especially appealing to people who enjoy things like wrap around porches, Tudors, Hutsells, original wood frame windows, wood floors, vintage bathroom tile and the like. This part of town is unique in it’s various pockets of neighborhood architecture as well as what each has to offer as far as amenities.
Looking for a Tudor? Look in Hollywood, Junius Heights, Cochran Heights, Lakewood Hills (previously known as Gastonwood/Coronado and/or the “C Streets”), “M Streets”, parts of Lakewood Proper. Is a Prairie more your cup of tea? Try Munger Place or Vickery Place. If a Mediterranean style of home is more your style, try Lakewood Blvd for some of the most beautiful homes in all of Dallas. Larger lots and money to spare? Swiss Avenue or Forest Hills.
For these neighborhoods, expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $300 per square foot depending on your preference. I suggest touring open houses as much as possible before deciding on a neighborhood. This will give you a good sense of what each neighborhood has to offer and what each feels like when the majority of people that live there are home.