Iconic Midcentury Modern Mayrath House Faces Tragic Teardown, Priced at Lot Value

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Original Geneva cabinets are just one of the Midcentury Modern wonders in the iconic Mayrath house, located at 10707 Lennox Ln. in Northwest Dallas near the Straight Lane estates.

For all of its progress toward becoming a world-class city, Dallas still has a lot to learn about the value of historic architecture.

We are tear-down happy. The list of demolished Dallas buildings with significant historic and architectural value would go on for pages. But here are a few recent examples:

We might have another situation happening now. The Mayrath house at 10707 Lennox Ln. is a Midcentury Modern gem. It was designed by Dallas architect and homebuilder Truett A. Bishop in 1956, and is largely unchanged since then.

Photo: Michael Amonett

Photo: Michael Amonett

A Dallas Times Herald article from Sept. 23, 1957, titled Not a Splinter of Wood Used In Outstanding Home in Dallas, describes the Mayrath House like this:

Wood, the most frequently used material in homes, is completely shunned in the home of one Dallas family. There isn’t so much as a splinter of wood in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Mayrath, 10707 Lennox Lane…Built on columns of steel, the two story house is constructed with aluminum, glass, concrete and Austin stone. It may look like a country club at first glance, but it is a luxury home—one that probably is not equaled in the vast Southwest.

In terms of architectural value, this Northwest Dallas home near Royal Lane and Inwood Road is priceless. But it was listed Jan. 18 by Sharon Quist with Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate for $2.5 million, which is just the lot value.

That means the iconic Mayrath house and all its Midcentury significance is likely to face the wrecking ball, probably replaced by another generic McMansion or faux château.

When discussing this possible fate for the Mayrath house, a friend commented, “That is so Dallas.” But it doesn’t have to be. This home is worth saving.


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Photo: Michael Amonett

Photo: Michael Amonett

The Mayrath house is a classic Austin stone Midcentury Modern structure, with original mint green Geneva cabinets in the kitchen (!!!), and one of the earliest microwaves. The entryway is a grand, two-story affair with a sweeping gold aluminum staircase and a black-and-white marble floor. The two fireplaces are beautifully atomic era in style, and the house boasts a geothermal HVAC system, as well as a balcony around much of the exterior.

It’s 5,240 square feet, with five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and a half bath. It sits on a 2.29-acre lot, with three additional structures and a tennis court. There’s a cabana with a pool room, bar, and two bathrooms; a one-bedroom back house apartment; and an office/tennis house with three walls of windows.

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Photo: Michael Amonett

Photo: Michael Amonett

The Mayrath family in the grand entryway, late 1950s. Martin Mayrath made his fortune by inventing the grain auger. Photo: Preservation Dallas

The Mayrath family in the grand entryway, late 1950s. Martin Mayrath made his fortune by inventing the grain auger. Photo: Mayrath Home Solutions

“This is very special house—it’s quirky and it’s going to take the right kind of person to come along and buy the property,” said Donovan Westover, Events and Development Coordinator at Preservation Dallas. “It’s a time capsule—it looks exactly as it did in the old photos.”

Westover led a group on a property tour of the Mayrath house Wednesday evening. He noted that architects on the tour marveled at the home’s construction—the “no wood, all metal” style is quite rare.

Listing this house at lot value makes the assumption it is a teardown, and that’s a tragedy. One interested buyer has apparently already had an estimate done on teardown costs (which would be huge, because the structure is so solidly built.)

Razing this significant house is not the only option.

“It would be really cool if somebody restored this as a guesthouse and built their megamansion on the other side of the property,” Westover said.

In terms of living in the house, most buyers would want to do updates, and that’s feasible.

“The first thing everybody would look at is the bathrooms and the kitchen—the kitchen is small and by today’s standards, so I could see someone wanting to add space onto it, which would be sad, because the kitchen has the original Geneva cabinets,” Westover said. “I’ve seen a lot of historic homes, but I’ve never seen a set of cabinet in such pristine condition—it’s amazing.”

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Photo: Michael Amonett

mayrath house

Photo: Michael Amonett

mayrath house

Four preservationists, Virginia McAlester, Jim Rogers, Lisa Marie Gala, and Neil Emmons, together founded the Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties (DEEP) fund last month. The goal is to buy up properties in danger, place deed restrictions on them, and sell them to those who value the character historic homes bring to a city. (Read our post on it, Tired of Teardowns, Preservationists Form Fund to Buy Up Historic Properties at Risk.)

Could the DEEP be an option for the Mayrath house?

“This would probably be a property that would fall into their purview because it’s so significant, special, and unique, and once it’s gone, we do not have another example like it in the city,” Westover said. “However, the fund is brand new, they’re still building, and this price tag is probably way out of what they could do right now.”

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From happy times in the Mayrath house. Photo:

Happy times in the Mayrath house. Photo: Mayrath Home Solutions

So what is the solution for the endangered Mayrath house? I don’t know. But another McMansion isn’t going to add anything of value to the city, and tearing down this gem would be an irreplaceable loss for Dallas.

Leave us a comment with your thoughts on what can be done to save this architecturally significant home. We’d love to hear your opinion.

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The pool cabana has a pool room, bar, and two bathrooms.

The pool house in the late 1950s. Photo: Preservation Dallas

The pool house in the late 1950s. Photo: Mayrath Home Solutions

"Tony the pony" used to graze by the pool house. Photo: Preservation Dallas

“Tony the pony” used to graze by the pool house. Photo: Mayrath Home Solutions

Photo: Michael Amonett

This office is one of three accessory structures on the property, and has windows on three sides. There also is a cabana and a one-bedroom guest house. Photo: Michael Amonett

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42 Comment

  • What a wonderful, full of light home. I appreciate the historic kitchen and baths a whole lot more more than the ceilings and fluorescent lighting though.

  • I hate to hear about houses like this being in danger – what I would do for those cabinets… this would be ideal for a family with older kids or parents – love the idea of keeping this house intact and building a modern home elsewhere on the property.

  • Added Info: Looking at DCAD, this home has been owned since 1986 by the Shear family and I suspect it’s now an estate sale. DCAD has valued the property at almost lot value for over 15 years. In 1999 the home itself was valued at $88,880 while the land was valued at $761,120. The most the home was valued at was $208,850 (2008-2011) while the land has always been valued at about 8x the home. The land value has also remained constant since 2007’s $1,880,100 valuation (DCAD accuracy at work). The home is also categorized “23” which is defined as “a superior quality custom house,” category 26 is the highest. The home’s desirability is listed as “very poor.”

  • This kitchen is so amazing, I just love the cabinets. Fabulous house, would be an incredible remodel.

  • We shouldn’t just point the finger at the new buyers or builders – they have to chase yield to make the project worthwhile…if a home is worth saving, but the economics don’t really work by just selling it ‘as is’ (ie – it will be a teardown), then sellers and visionary remodelers/investors should team up. This would increase the return for the owner and the remodeler/investor could make some $$$ too. Sure that prolongs the payout 12-24 months, but the increased return plus saving a significant property should out weight the short term benefits of a quick sale.

    • What a wonderful idea. Maybe Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties could/should look into offering that type of facilitation as they seek to help older properties avoid the wrecking ball.

      • I’m an agent and have proposed said arrangement before, but there are a lot of moving parts. Who brings the capital, what are appropriate NET splits, put the property into an LLC/Trust, who had decision making rights….the list goes on. However, I think this structure, or some version of it, is a good solution to saving significant properties. Most builders/architects see what a property ‘could be’, but highest & best use of the land anywhere near ‘ask price’ is tear down and rebuild. I’d be excited to help structure a deal with/for the endowment – I think once one had deal had success more would follow.

  • what a home set in a time period. it is both sad that it is being taken apart but both happy the stuff will be taken care of and i fully understand why the home owners want it done. We do junk removal and haul away service and we know how some times the unwanted junk has history might not have value but some times history is worth more. love the pictures.

  • I love this house. There is nothing at all I would change. I could live in it exactly as it is. Especially the cabinets and staircase. Wish I could buy it tomorrow.

  • That is an incredible awesome Mid Century Modern house, a real royal one, built with quality materials that is meant to last forever, looking at the pictures the house has everything one would want that is ultra super cool. I hope it survives and is loved forever.

    • James, you really must tour the house to fully appreciate it’s beauty and exceptionally unique special touches. The shower doors all have special etched designs that are extraordinarily beautiful.

      It would be a CRIME to demolish such an amazing treasure …. and that is a fact. (Not considering that I am over the top biased, being one of the original owner/builder’s children.)

      Thanks for your wonderful comment.

  • This beautiful, opulent example of unique Mid Century Modern architecture must be preserved for it’s educational and cultural worth! The property is lovely as well, it will likely grieve if it loses it’s home! Seriously, this is a great house. The kitchen is not all that small, should be kept as is, has a generous amount of stainless steel, and beautiful cabinets. The blue bathroom is gorgeous! Showers could be small back then, enlarging shower would be practical, if possible.
    Get rid of all pink carpet, consider some hard woods. Hopefully someone will save it, and give the City of Dallas a wonderful gift by keeping it as is, except for small showers and pink carpet. MCM enthusiasts love to stay in an MCM environment- how about renting it as a vacation home?

    • Thanks for the great suggestions and comments, Sand. There are so many possibilities for this house …. and one interesting suggestion is to use it as a movie set.

      Please keep the great comments coming!!

  • This house is fabulous. What a tragedy it would be if it were bulldozed. A few changes including removing that wallpaper in the kitchen – but the cabinets STAY. They are fantastic.

  • Regarding the Mayrath home at 10707 Lennox,
    I am Truett A. Bishop’s daughter, Susan Bishop.
    I have the original set of plans for the home as well as the entire section of newspaper about the home.
    If there is anything I can do to help save this home, please let me know. I will be touring the home soon with
    Patricia McInnis. I recall Dad and Mom driving us sisters
    to the home as it was being built and talking about its
    uniqueness. I appreciate the comments people wrote in.
    Hardwood flooring and other updates would work!

    • Thanks so much, Susan, for all your help in trying to save this amazingly unique house that your dad helped to create!

      I feel confident that the architectural value and amazingly current stability of the house are both great reasons to do anything possible to save it!

      I suggested to my Dallas area sibs to contact Architectural Firms, Architecture Professors and DFW area Colleges, and Preservation Societies about saving the house. I think it would also be very worthwhile to encourage the Dallas Morning News to print up a supportive story about it …. whether they decide to mention the original news article printed in the Dallas Times Herald, or not.

      I live in SW KS, but please keep my contact info handy and let me know if there is ANYTHING that I can do to help to preserve this amazing creation and unique piece of ’50’s architecture.

      Thanks again, Anne Mayrath. contact me anytime at almayrath at yahoo.

    • Susan, I will be in touch! I’d like to follow this story and your insight will be invaluable.

    • Susan –
      Can you please contact me at endowdeep@gmail.com regarding working towards preserving this structure? Thank you, Lisa Marie Gala, Founder & Chair Dallas Endowment for Endangered Properties, Inc.

  • I would hate to see this house go but if it does, I would love to acquire the kitchen & bathroom cabinets. Who would I contact?

  • House is amazing!!

    It would make a great film set for a TV show or a movie.
    It could be a unique bed & breakfast too.

    A quality remodel of this property would put the neighboring houses to shame.

    • GREAT IDEA for a movie set. I am one of the original owner/builder’s children …. and even today, being in the home fills one with nostalgic thoughts and feelings for days gone by.

      Thanks for the great comment. Know any movie industry or Hollywood insiders who we could forward that idea to???

  • Totally WRONG to destroy this treasure on so many levels it’s ridiculous! Don’t touch a thing, it’s perfect!

  • Thanks to all architecture lovers for the wonderful comments that you have shared.

    As one of the original owner/builder’s children, I can assure all that the 10707 Lennox Lane home is as solidly built a home as is possible, except for granite and steel office structures. The tear down costs for demolition would exceed any original quotes given …. as I have ventured through every inch of the house with my brothers and can attest to its bunker-like strength.

    The very cool newspaper article from the ’50’s, printed in the Dallas Times Herald from Sept. 23, 1957, titled “Not a Splinter of Wood Used In Outstanding Home in Dallas” is a detailed and interesting description of the extraordinary building materials and amazingly costly and troublesome construction that went into creating this architectural masterpiece. The article is well worth researching and perusing.

    On behalf of the Mayrath family, any support, promotion ideas and actions, and networking done to preserve this amazing house is very very greatly appreciated. Even though the Mayraths have not owned or lived in the house since the early ’70’s, we have always considered it “home” and the “castle that our dad built”. When Martin Mayrath, the builder and owner passed away in 1969, it was simply impossible to keep the home in the Mayrath family.

    We Mayraths are grateful and very appreciative towards the Shear family, who actually purchased the house in the early ’70’s from the Mayraths, for preserving and caring for the home and retaining much of its original grandeur and design. If not for the house being owned by the same family for so many years consecutively, the architectural marvel may have already been torn down.

    My earnest plea is for any Architecture lovers to PLEASE work actively and urgently to contact any one or all four of the DEEP Preservationists (listed in this wonderful article) with ideas, support and assistance to save this absolutely unique and one of a kind gem from destruction.

    A supremely extraordinary structure such as this, in ANY city in the US, should be saved for all posterity and the enjoyment of future generations. The Lennox Lane house is truly a marvel and was engineered and built years, if not decades, “ahead of its time”.

    Thanks so much to all of you. … Anne Mayrath

  • Preservation Dallas needs to purchase the house, make any upgrades, then sell it. Better yet, keep it as a museum.

  • People of Dallas: please unite and do what it takes to preserve this home. I’m thinking a museum would be perfect. Then sublet it and have it open once a month to tours. Something like that…

  • From the outside, it looks like any period strip center office building, dentist office, or below-average motel except that it’s saved by that staircase., which is not particularly attractive but is quite grand. The acres of concrete for the driveway really emphasize the commercial-design of the place – plenty of room for the assistants, office staff, and customers for that dentist! The landscaping is substandard and haphazard for such a large lot. The blue carpet inside is more attractive than the chain link fence around the yard.

    However, the brightness due to all the windows and the balconies make it seem like an interesting place to live, so I hope they find someone to love it as is.

  • SAVE IT WITH KICKSTARTER!!!!!!

  • I think thee Mayrath house would make a unique bed and breakfast and place for special events or gatherings. It seems like most B & B’s are in the style of a quaint, cozy place, but I am sure there are many people across the country who would love to stay in a unique MCM, especially one so architecturally significant. I can imagine people who would love to schedule a wedding on the grounds and have their reception at the house. As far as the B & B idea goes, the outbuildings and pool would also be adaptable for that type of use. I can imagine people who would want to schedule business receptions or dinner in such a unique setting. It is the style and uniqueness of the structure and beauty of the grounds which deserves to be preserved and which would be it’s drawing card in the next stage of it’s usefulness. Style is something so lacking in this “modern” time. It would truly be a shame if Dallas lost this gem.

  • I will chain myself to this house so they can’t demo it! It’s perfection! I would be the happiest person in the world to raise my family in this home! I would not change one single thing!

  • I am the daughter of the designer/builder of this home, Truett A. Bishop. I’ve recently toured the home with the Mayrath family and my daughter. It could certainly be updated with beautiful blond wood flooring, new lighting,
    kitchen updates – all with the mid-century look and feel.
    New landscaping. Advertise nationally for the specific lover of this type architecture. Dallas has great interior designers like Mary Anne Smiley and Sherry Hayslip or
    Anne Rosenthal who could get their teeth into this project and make the home a new kind of “grand” for the
    21st century! I can imagine a grand reception for the
    newly updated home.

  • It would make a great airbnb. I stumbled across this home while doing research about Ju-Nel and Demuth homes in East Dallas and Lake Highlands. I’d love to help however I can

  • That house is definitely salvagable. I could upgrade it to be what ever the new owner wanted. There is so much value in this type of home. Please don’t tear it down.

  • I’d live here in a heartbeat, just as it is.

  • It’s a terrible shame to tear this beauty down. Someone needs to buy it with the idea of restoring and updating this classic. Unfortunately, today most people do want the tiresome, often unattractive mega mansions. Those types of homes have lost their charm, if indeed there ever was any. They are ostentatious with no true character. Just my opinion – but it also screams ‘let’s recycle and cherish what is awesome’.

  • This is an awesome place and it must be saved from the wrecking ball!! Every single thing about this house is AMAZING!