Fairy Tale Ending to Mid-Century Modern Renovation in Disney Streets: Q & A with Remodeler Nick Lestina

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Meet one of our all time favorite  builders/remodelers. Nick Lestina. We sold Nick a home in the Fairy Tale/Disney streets, a wonderful neighborhood of homes just to the north of Royal and west of Midway.  This neighborhood features such memorable street names as Pinocchio, Sleepy, Snow White and truly is a “magic kingdom” for mid-century modern homes on large lots.

We sold him an L-shaped mid-century modern home built around a large pool that was very run down with excellent renovation potential.  From purchase to a full renovation Nick took only 3 months.  After  only three days on the market  the home set  a record sales price per foot for a home over 2700 square feet in the Disney Streets.

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Below is an interview with Mr. Lestina about the project.

 What made you decide to remodel the house?

 “Mid-century homes are really popular right now.  The house was  at a very good price point going in and after Bill Griffin did some research for me I realized that the potential for a higher sales price was good once the home was fully renovated. The house seemed to have unlimited  potential and great  bones to work with.”

Why do you think mid-century modern is becoming more and more popular?

 “Big windows, vaulted ceilings and clean lines are timeless and this home has a feel of being in Southern California where contemporary homes are worshipped.”

 What is it that you particularly like about mid-century modern homes?

“I just started doing modern recently and i discovered that I absolutely love modern. Once someone sees modern and feels it they really love it. This mid-century’s floor plan  is perfect  for how people like to live today.  The style is going so strong right now and it seems to be one of the hottest trends in Dallas housing.”

As a builder you said that this is one of the projects that you enjoyed working on the most. Why is that so?

 “When the remodel was finished it just seemed to feel extremely good, looked beautiful, looked better than most of the traditional homes I have renovated. Gingerbread and French country are really popular. All the natural stones seem to be dying out a bit and slicker finishes seem to be really in vogue right now. Experiencing working on a modern style home and seeing how the remodel evolved so beautifully caused me to develop a strong appreciation for the style.  I was surprised how much i fell in love with mid century modern.  I fell in love really quickly.”

What do you do with most traditional houses you remodel?

 “Open them up! I think you can take more traditional homes and get them to feel more contemporary.  These traditional homes become more transitional in style.”

 When you first saw the house what was your reaction to it? What kind of condition was it in?

 “The house was in very bad condition. There were missing windows, missing air-conditioning,  plumbing fixtures,  light fixtures and there was not a single recessed can light.   The home  couldn’t be financed normally because it was in such a rotten shape; but the foundation was good and the walls were square. It had the right starting point  to create  something beautiful.  It really turned out better than I anticipated!”

Talk about the floor plan and how you changed it.

 “The original floor plan had a great flow  and we just had to  tweak the floor plan very little.  In some of the more traditional older homes you have to yank out all the walls practically to get it to flow correctly. This one flowed very well and we had to fill in  a couple gaps here and there to make it flow very nicely.”

One major thing you did was moving the kitchen. Tell us about that.

 “ The kitchen was a small galley style area tucked away from the living areas with a breakfast nook.  It was kind of a dark hole. The home already had 3 really large living areas so we re-purposed one of the living areas. I moved the kitchen to the center of the house and all the rooms now are around it. It is ideally set up for entertaining.”

You worked a lot in east Dallas. This was a departure for you. What differences do you see working in this area?

 “I really tried to base it on price per square foot. There are some hot spots in east Dallas such as Lakewood and the M-Streets where the entry price is very high and getting higher by the day. Northwest Dallas is a very large area with lots of great neighborhoods.   The homes in North Dallas are usually bigger to start with so you  don’t usually have to do additions. It’s much more family oriented in the Disney Streets.  I have enjoyed the people I met in the neighborhood. It is a very nice and well taken care of area. The only thing I miss little bit is all the cool little niche restaurants and hangouts that east Dallas has.”

What is your next project that you are working on?

“It’s in east Dallas by White Rock Lake on a street named Kilarny. The neighborhood has big houses and lots. This  3,000 sq. ft. home will probably take a bit more effort. It has a lot of potential, it is more traditional so it will require more reflection on  how to make  it modern looking while maintaining the traditional look.”