Saving a Grand Old House in Texas

by hookedonhouses on August 5, 2013

Cartwright House Victorian in Texas BEFORE

Take a look at the historic Cartwright House in Terrell, Texas. It was built in 1883 and needed a lot of love (and work) by the time homeowners Tom and Nancy Aldridge bought it. Here’s how it looks now:

Cartwright House Victorian in Texas AFTER

Gorgeous. Nancy told Houzz, “There isn’t a day that goes by without someone stopping to take a photograph of the house. It makes me feel so proud.”

Cartwright House Victorian in Texas AFTER 2

I can see why it attracts so many lookiloos. I’d be braking for it, too!

Cartwright House Victorian in Texas AFTER 1

Here’s a peek inside the 7,000 square-foot home:

Cartwright House Victorian in Texas 2

They bought it with much of the original furniture inside.

Cartwright House Victorian in Texas 3

“We knew the restoration was going to take a lot of work, so we hired an architect, Ron Hobbs, and a contractor, David Mauk,” Nancy says. “They made a presentation to the state, and our plans were approved.”

Cartwright House Victorian in Texas 8

Interior designer Pat Ratcliff to help choose appropriate historical colors for the house. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cartwright House Victorian in Texas 7

Head over to Houzz to read the article about the Cartwright House by Sarah Greenman and see all the beautiful photos she took of it. Then come back tomorrow to see another inspiring makeover!

gates in front of historic Victorian Cartwright house

P.S. Click here to see more makeovers, including…

Barbie's Pink Victorian Dreamhouse Before

Barbie doesn’t live here any more!

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House Crazy Sarah August 5, 2013 at 7:37 am

Oh my gosh – this one just about balled me over!! This is AMAZING! The owners SHOULD feel proud – they did a saintly thing by saving this gorgeous old house! It is stupendous inside and out!

DAWN August 5, 2013 at 7:38 am

Always happy . . . and relieved to see another ‘grand dame’ of the past restored to even better than before. It’s amazing how these fabulous old homes retain their graciousness and sense of dignity in their often sad states of decline. It’s almost as though they know it is only a matter of time before they are restored to their intended beauty. Thank you for saving her! And I am sure she thanks you as well.

Tessa August 5, 2013 at 7:39 am

What a magnificent job! Well done! Thank you for sharing it, with us.

“A Cottage Near The Woods” blog

Jeana August 5, 2013 at 8:11 am

Absolutely stunning!

Laura August 5, 2013 at 8:27 am

That house is incredible. Love the house, and I’m glad they have restored it, but the interior design is not to my taste.

eyecreate August 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

they kept it within the period of the house…

Sherry August 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm

…and I’m thankful to them for a genuine restoration of this Texas treasure!

Barb Fiester August 5, 2013 at 9:12 am

What a magnificent make over! It is just so gorgeous! What a privilege to be able to live in that house (and to be able to afford fixing it up historically)!! Well done!

Cindy_FearlessDIY August 5, 2013 at 9:13 am

Truly stunning! Those porches are to die for!

Catherine August 5, 2013 at 10:24 am

What a magnificent makeover!! Wow! I love seeing people do that (especially when they can afford to do it properly). The inside is beautiful as well, even though that isn’t my usual style. Don’t know what it is but I love that dining room (and I normally don’t like much ‘wood’). I also love seeing the little details that show real people live there. Bravo!

Melinda August 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

The owners did a fantastic job with this house. Those porches, that woodwork…swoon!

jacque August 5, 2013 at 10:43 am

My heart is going pitty-pat just looking at these photos. It is gorgeous!! Whenever I see and old,abandoned house it makes me so sad. Such a waste.

Jennah August 5, 2013 at 10:56 am

Oh Em Gee! I can’t stop looking at this incredible home! By far, my absolute favourite on your blog!

Jane George August 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

Gorgeous is right! Tremendous work.

jen August 5, 2013 at 11:21 am

this is just so beautiful the owners have done a wonderful job

Gabrielle August 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

they did a great job keeping the history of the house…what a gorgeous makeover…so glad no one came and tore it down to make Condos

lynne August 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Gorgeous. But you know what would be great if there was a way to know the purchase price of these homes and then rhe cost of the renovation. I think that would be really intetesting and educational.

hookedonhouses August 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I’m always curious, too, but have found that most homeowners don’t want to give hard numbers.

Another reader just told me it’s on the market right now for $990,000. I couldn’t find it on the other major real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia, but still has the listing posted with additional info and photos if you want to see them (thanks, Kelly!):

Tempie @ The Texas Peach August 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm

What an incredible house! It’s awesome that someone was able to restore it. I live about an hour away from Terrell, so I’ll have to drive by there the next time I’m in the area!

Dan Nickerson August 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm

There is nothing more amazing than seeing an old home brought back to life. The craftsmanship alone is a gift and so greatful when it is shared for new generations to see what beauty and attention used to be given to a family home. Great work and a job well done to all involved!
Dan Nickerson NYCID

John August 5, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I hate it when brick is painted over, now it looks washed-out.
The interior looks great.
I am glad someone invested the time and money to save this architectural gem.

carrie August 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm

It looks like the exterior is siding, not brick. It’s a beautiful house.

CCJ August 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Drop. Dead. Gorgeous.

This house reminds me so much of the house I grew up in (in Fairfield, TX). Except our house was much smaller! 😉 I did have two questions- first, what happened to the second tree on the lawn? I always picture southern houses with double-tree lawns; ours in TX had magnolias. The article mentioned that some of the trees were cut down and used for the woodwork of the house, was it one of them?

I would love to see a picture of the kitchen but couldn’t find one! I love that Tom and Nancy wanted to use a more classic look around the house, it would be interesting to see how the modern-built kitchen blends into the house.

Thanks for sharing, Julia, Tom and Nancy!

hookedonhouses August 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Check the listing I mentioned above. It has better kitchen photos that show more of it:

CCJ August 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Wow, I had totally missed the listing! Thanks so much for re-posting the link for me. :-)

Now, I’m off to save the listing photos. ALL of them. 😉

Leigh Ann August 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Oh, man. I want to live there.

Beverly August 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I love people who bring old houses back to life! Truely amazing!

Kelly - Talk of the House August 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Wow!!! Truly an act of love to bring that one back to its glory. Can you imagine how much trim there was to paint on it????? Fantastic job! Thanks for finding and sharing it Julia!

Kelly - Talk of the House August 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I hope this doesn’t post twice…computer going crazy here. That house is absolutely amazing, and congrats to the owners for reviving it! The amount of trim alone that has to be painted is tremendous! Thanks for finding and sharing it Julia.

Autumn August 5, 2013 at 5:13 pm

There are no words to describe this beautiful home! It looks like it could be a house from “Gone With The Wind”. Many thanks to the owners for having a contractor and interior designer do the needed work to make and keep the house looking to “period”. Beautiful home.

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) August 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Wow, what a stunning restoration…just beautiful! Love that they painted the porch ceilings “haint blue.” :)

Carrie August 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm


Ulrike August 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm


Tracie August 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Wow! What an incredible refurbishment! I wish I had the time, money, and vision to buy such a home and complete such a transformation! I love the interior, too. The kitchen wouldn’t be my first instinct, but it works so well and fits so much better that a modern or “white/stainless” style.

I love the before and after weeks….thanks, Julia!

Historic Home Lover August 6, 2013 at 6:52 am

After much searching (like off and on over 20 years!) for an historic home in our area, we had to give up our search because if the house was redone (especially all the plumbing, heating and electrical) it was way out of our price range. Or if nothing, or very little had been done, we didn’t have the funds to do what was needed…even with the help of an historic preservation entity :-(

This house is GORGEOUS! It is what I still dream fondly about….{sigh}. I salute those who have the foresight (and $$$$$$$$) to save and restore these wonderful homes.

Jennifer August 6, 2013 at 8:12 am

What a beautiful home! I’m so happy to see someone restored it. I see homes like this one in some small Texas towns when we go on road trips and always hope that someone saves them.

The Country Girl August 6, 2013 at 11:01 am

Love it! That entrance hall floor is too wonderful!

Kim August 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

What an incredible historic mansion! I think this would make a nice bed and breakfast. Maybe if it’s bought, the new homeowners will turn it into one.

Dina August 6, 2013 at 8:37 pm

It’s so nice to see a restoration done with class and taste. Thank you.

gerald @ savehouses August 7, 2013 at 10:19 am

The character and detail of this house is absolutely amazing. I currently live in the Charlotte North Carolina area. There is a city outside that is near by called Concord. On my way from church 1 day I noticed an entire block of historic homes near downtown Concord, but nothing like this. The restoration that was done to this particular house is simply amazing. The amount of money it cost to save houses and upgrade them in this condition can be very costly in some states, but well worth the effort. Amazing. Great House!

Patrick Keller August 9, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I am in love!!! Thank you!

SteamboatsMyHome October 23, 2013 at 9:22 am

What’s so awesome about this is that this home is recycled. No filling of landfills and much less building materials to make such a fine home. Yes, it’s gorgeous.

Alyssa February 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

This is AMAZING!!!!!Love how they stayed true to the house :) some overdue it when restoring and this is just beautiful. I wouldn’t mind living there !!! lol!!

Kate February 27, 2014 at 11:36 pm

I’ve never seen a home like this. The sheer numbers of porches alone sets this one apart from any other. I can see why it’s in the National Register of Historic Places. I think the dishes visible in the kitchen cabinetry is perfect for the room.

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