The Tuck Watkins home located at 1126 South Crockett in Sherman is a Painted Lady Victorian style house built in 1890. Victorian homes were constructed in a variety of styles, some of which were intermingled as hybrids by the time the style reached Texas. The Tuck-Watkins home most closely resembles the Painted Lady style due to its use of multiple colors.
Current owner and listing agent Robin Phillips of Virginia Cook Realtors said the home is named after the Tuck family.
“The Tucks were a big family found in Sherman,” Phillips said. “There are many vintage homes that have the Tuck name attached to them. The Watkins, not so much. I have not found a lot of really great history on them.”
A fire broke out in the home during the 1970s and several changes were made to the home following it. A kitchen was added to the back of the property. Previously, there had been only a small prep space and the rest of the cooking would have occurred outside.
The four bedroom, three bath home was originally three stories tall with the third story being used as servant quarters. After the fire, the stairs to third floor were never reconstructed. Instead, the third story now serves as a large attic space.
“There is evidence of the char from the fire on the back banister,” Phillips said. “There is also some discoloration on the floor. I think it is really interesting that there are still signs of such an important event in the home’s history. You can definitely tell where they had fire.”
Although the added kitchen contains all modern conveniences, Phillips and her husband made sure to maintain consistency in decor, wherever possible.
“We’ve been mindful to keep the old details correct,” Phillips said. “As much as you can.”
Mature pecan and elm trees provide shade for the large front yard. The exterior of the home is adorned with half round shingles and what was once cypress siding. As the siding has been replaced over time, it is likely there are other materials now mixed in with the original cypress.
The home is painted grey with a variety of blue and green trim. Blue shutters and original windows add to the historic feel of the home.
A large covered porch wraps around the side of the house. Phillips explained the front porch is a special place for her.
“One of my favorite places is out here on the front porch,” Phillips said. “There’s always breeze out here. And we have really great neighbors. I love to sit here and listen to the train go by.”
The front door leads into a foyer highlighted by the unique entryway staircase. The wooden stairs climb up to the second floor, while the underside houses a reading nook and original stained glass.
From the decorative fret work to the ornately carved trim, the woodwork throughout the home has been preserved. The wood has been cleaned but not refinished so as to preserve its history. The parlor room is the only room with painted woodwork. This would have been an appropriate finish for a ladies’ parlor in the Victorian era.
One of four remaining coal fireplaces serves as a focal point for the parlor. The majority of the tile surrounding the fireplaces have been kept original. The house was originally heated using coal and remains of an old coal cellar still lie under the house.
The parlor and foyer are connected to the living room and formal dining room by pocket doors. The pocket doors and high ceilings were designed to help increase airflow during hot months before air conditioning was installed in the home.
Phillips explained that all modern conveniences have been added to the home over time while still maintaining the historical integrity of the property.
“It’s great living in a wonderful vintage old house, the history, the quirkiness of it,” Phillips said. “But you have got to make it livable. We raised our family here. It is absolutely a livable family home with the modern conveniences. You won’t find an outlet on every wall because the house didn’t have electricity when it was built.”
A butler’s pantry connects the formal dining to the added kitchen and second set of stairs. Tall ceilings and checkered flooring maintains the historic feel throughout the modernized kitchen. Three large windows look out onto the half acre property.
What is now the garage was once the carriage house. A back porch was added on by Phillips and her family.
The rear stairs, which would have been used mainly by the servants in the past, is now the preferred route to the laundry room for Phillips and her husband. Pictures hang in the stairwell of their family as they restored the home.
“It’s a great house to host parties and have people in,” Phillips said. “A great place to raise kids. I’ve got two boys and a girl and it has survived us. It has survived through many families before us and will survive for many more to come.”
All four of the bedrooms are located upstairs, as well as the laundry room and a second story balcony. Only one bedroom retains its original coal-burning fireplace.
A section of Crockett Street is designated by the city of Sherman as historic and the Tuck-Watkins home lies within that section. With her children grown and out of the house, Phillips is ready for a new family to enjoy the home.
“My neighbor says you don’t own these homes, you care for them,” Phillips said. “We have cared for this one for about 14 years and now it’s time for somebody else to come and enjoy the great fun that it is to live in one of these historic places.”