Every so often, a landmark Dallas home comes along for sale that makes you catch your breath and want to mortgage your first-born child so you can buy it.
Such is the Herman and Mimi Lay estate at 4935 Radbrook Place in Preston Hollow. Have you seen this home in spring? It has oceans of tulips sprouting in colors so vivid you do think you are in Holland. And the azaleas! No wonder the the Lay Ornamental Garden in the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is named in honor of Herman and Mimi.
On June 9, 4935 Radbrook hit the MLS and life has not been the same since. The home, built in 1962, was designed by renown architect Cole Smith, who is married to Sherry Hayslip. The home was built by Hal Anderson.
This month it appears as one of the most beautiful homes in Dallas as anointed by D Home Magazine. Sometimes I don’t agree with those selections, but I have to say this one is right on target! And even better on the inside, I think, than out! The home was custom built for Herman and Sarah Amelia (Mimi) in 1962. Herman Lay, of course, started the H.W. Lay Co., Inc, which is now part of the Frito-Lay corporation.
So in a way, this is a home that potato chips built!
The Lays had 4 children, and one of them, Dorothy, came through the house recently. She agreed it was frozen in time. The current owners have kept it perfectly pristine, with much painting and upkeep, things every house needs every day just as we need water and food. They did, however, gut and re-surface the tennis court, which is now 9 years old. I’ve had a tennis court and those surfaces take a beating. Most of what they tried to do was keep up with Mrs. Lay’s exquisite gardening, which is pretty much the same as when Mimi Lay directed it. At Easter, the whole house is alive with azaleas and tulips.
The home is 7041 square feet with five bedrooms, six full and one-half baths, generous rooms, master bedroom suite down, four bedrooms up stairs, landscape design by Lamberts, lighting by John Watson, a pool and tennis court, plus a guest house that offers complete privacy. It’s also a corner lot on Radbrook, where it intersects Sunnybrook, which as you know is the creme de la creme of Preston Hollow. 4935 Radbrook also backs up to 9400 Rockbrook, the only Frank Lloyd Wright home in Dallas and the last home Wright designed before he died. That home is a skip and a jump across Bachman Creek.
The foyer is grand, has a marble floor, and one of the original grand circular staircases in Dallas. In fact, this may be the most copied staircase in town. The windows are swagged and the living room has picture frame wood panels. And the wallpaper! I’m in love with it. The floors are herringboned hardwood, and the family room appears to have pecky cypress beams, which I spy more of in the study and breakfast room. The kitchen has a round copper venta-hood and oceans of granite counters. And yes, brick walls. Those were huge in kitchens in the 60’s and 70’s and I think we totally need to re-visit that trend. I know because my mother and aunts all built homes about this time and they were all trying to outdo each other with more brick in the kitchens! The appliances are original but as Elizabeth says, they were the top of the line at the time they were purchased. The ovens in the kitchens are within 7 degrees of heat calibration. Goes to prove that buying the best lasts, and that the originals don’t necessarily have to be ditched for new.
And do you not just love those wainscoting panels (that’s the foyer to the first floor master suite) and that ceiling treatment? In fact, the house is full of beautifully crafted surprises such as hidden pocket doors, and stunning hardware.
The estate has a guest house of 1239 square feet that includes one bedroom, two baths, two living areas, a kitchenette and fireplace. Speaking of fireplaces, the house is loaded: five total. And there is a gracious pool with a beautiful fish sculpture instead of a diving board. Dorothy Lay says the large fish sculpture is a verdigris fountain put in by the second owner.
This home is not only one of the most beautiful homes in Dallas, but one of the most historical. Listed with Elizabeth Hutchinson of Keller Williams Dallas Premiere, and asking $3,499,000. Elizabeth tells me the current owners bought the estate from the Lay family estate and the home is frozen in time. A contract is pending, came through shortly after the home was listed June 9.
Thankfully, the potential buyers have no plans to use those double four letter words: tear down.