It Sold!: My House at 3216 Jacotte Circle, Dallas

3216 Jacotte CircleThe longer I have lived in this house, the more I have loved it–that must be one of the definitions of good architecture. The way the light comes into the house and changes throughout the day. The screened porch on the second floor that both protects the house from the southern sun and provides a wonderful sanctuary at all times of the day. The expanses of hardwood floor that are a foil for the lightness of the interior walls. The way that art looks hanging on the walls.

3216JacotteCircle Flyer

Real Estate Flyer for 3216 Jacotte Circle, Dallas

As a proponent of sustainable architecture and resource conservation, I have been amazed at how well the house is sited for the Texas climate. The louvered exterior doors and the screened sleeping porch allow for both ventilation and security. The orientation of the house catches the prevailing winds. The enormous Texas red oak on the west side, coupled with the glass blocks on the western facade, ensure that the hot summer sun is kept from heating up the house and provide privacy from the street. I’ve tried to enhance the house’s natural energy efficiency with my choice of heating and air-conditioning units, and my utility bills have been minuscule.

Architectural Record 9-40Howard Meyer was one of Dallas’s most significant architects and an early proponent and practitioner of modernism. Here are links to the documentary on his life: A Well-Made Object, Part One and Part Two. He designed the house for Eugene Kahn Sanger, who was president of the E.M. Kahn Company, one of the foremost mercantile establishments in Dallas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was published in the September 1940 issue of Architectural Record, as shown in this illustration.

The house is for sale at $739,000. Agents protected. Please contact me if you think this might be the house for you or for your clients.

Why I Love the State Fair of Texas

State Fair of TexasEvery year, three million individuals visit Fair Park, a National Historic Landmark, to attend the State Fair of Texas. The people who come represent every demographic in Texas. It is the place where the rich, the poor, the conservatives, the progressives, the cowgirls, the congresspeople and the kids all come. We eat the same foods, ride the same rides, have our photographs made in front of Big Texas. It’s a spectacle, for sure, and serves to remind us that we CAN all get along if we work at it.


Nonprofits in North Texas

This morning I attended a very interesting presentation by the Center for Nonprofit Management and the Council on Southwest Foundations on the State of the Nonprofit Sector 2012.  Here are some things I learned:

  • The number of nonprofits in North Texas has increased by 47% since 2009–just three years
  • In Texas, 75% of nonprofits have a budget of less than $100,000 a year and 44% have less than one month of operating reserves
  • Nationally, individuals provide 73% of donations to nonprofits, foundations only 14%
  • 44% of North Texas nonprofit boards don’t enjoy financial support from all of their board members–critical to a successful organization

What does this mean for those of us who work in the nonprofit sector?

It means we need to do a better job in all of this:

  1. Training board members to understand their responsibilities and ensuring their involvement in fundraising
  2. Telling our story effectively to our constituents and the public at large, which means highlighting the uniqueness and the benefit of our efforts
  3. Focusing our fund development attention on people rather than foundations

The good news is that charitable giving is increasing, even in a difficult economy. The other good news is that donors are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They still give primarily because of relationships, but they are looking for well-run organizations to support.

The complete study can be found here. Lots of good information–thanks to CNM and CSW for making it available.

The Natural Wonders of Dallas

Escarpment prairie remnant

A rocky, shallow-soiled escarpment prairie remnant with a beautiful stand of Little Bluestem and other grasses.

When I first moved to Dallas, it seemed to me to be barren of beautiful natural sites. Now that I’ve been here a while, I know that to be entirely untrue. And, increasingly, there are wonderful sites open to the public where families can begin to learn about the unique natural history of the Blackland Prairie and other local ecosystems.

There are prairie remnants–not a lot, only a few–to be seen in Dallas and the rest of the metroplex. A fragment at White Rock Lake, very small remnants in the Trinity Forest, re-created prairies at the Trinity River Audubon Center and Prairie Creek Branch Library.

Elam Road

There’s a prairie remnant at the end of this road, near the Trinity River.

Blackland prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America–more than 95% of it is gone. And, while prairie plants can be re-seeded, once a prairie is plowed it will never be the same. Prairie root systems reach as deeply as 16 feet into the soil, the better to enable the grasses to survive inevitable droughts, and it takes a long, long time to develop a prairie. If you want to know more about that, take a look at Ken Burns’s The Dust Bowl or, for a more comprehensive look through time, Matt White’s Prairie Time.

The Trinity Forest itself is an extraordinary resource for Dallasites of all ages. It’s public property and there are trails throughout, carefully constructed and maintained by Groundwork Dallas. Should you care to go with a group, Audubon Dallas, North Texas Master Naturalists, and other organizations provide periodic walks to look at trees, birds, and even native American sites.

Scyene overlook

Scyene Overlook

Now that the weather is more propitious for hikes, take the opportunity to get out and look at what Dallas has to offer; if you haven’t yet, you’ll be surprised at the richness and variety–and how much fun you can have for free.