Alan Peppard (heart heart) breaks the news on this one: the architecturally significant home of Naomi Aberly and Larry Lebowitz at 10210 Strait Lane hits the market this week. This is the home that the New York Times has called a “mega-version of the Lake Pavilion that Johnson designed on the grounds of his Glass House in New Canaan, Ct.” You may know it as the house with arches, east side of the street closer to Walnut Hill Lane, a huge white contemporary. Alan says it has hosted President Obama not once, but twice. The estate is listed for $27.5 million with David Nichols of the Mathews-Nichols group at Allie Beth Allman and Associates. I will be bringing photos your way as soon as they go live in MLS. Trust me, you will want to see the interiors — here’s what Alan says: “Between 2002 and 2008, Aberly and Lebowitz meticulously restored and modernized the house including a complete re-landscaping of the 6.45 acres by the Massachusetts firm of Reed Hilderbrand. The Dallas architectural firm of Bodron+Fruit did the renovation and designed the pavilion for the new swimming pool.” I’m getting chills already! The New York Times did a nice write-up on 10210 Strait and Johnson in April of 2010:
“…the Beck House was one of several projects from that decade that prefigured his postmodern work, like the AT&T building, of the 1980s. There’s something almost campy about the Beck house’s grand proportions and the relentlessness of its arches, but the arches are impressive from without and frame romantic views of the house’s six-and-a-half-acre site from within. A two-story atrium with a curved double staircase and a dining room that mimics the umbrella-vaulted interior of the Glass House’s guest quarters only add to its allure.
Larry Lebowitz is the former chairman of HBK, a hedge fund. He retired in 2009 after some dealings with credit default swaps — remember those? — drained a significant amount of cash from the firm. But hey, who thought the real estate market would ever dive? He and his wife, Naomi Aberly, she being an arts patron and mega Obama fund-raiser, had the good sense to buy 10210 Strait in May of 2002 from Henry C. and Patty Beck, as in The Beck Companies. The construction titan originally commissioned the home and hired Johnson to design it. Apparently the house had fallen into disrepair and the arts-loving couple totally saved it from the wrecking ball:
A family with deep commitments to arts patronage in Dallas rescued the Beck House from destruction in an overinflated real estate market, purchasing it from the original owner in 2002. Over the course of seven years, the client and design team demonstrated a careful balance of restoration and intervention, landscape recovery, and curatorial distinction. The house needed complete renewal. The landscape was seriously degraded, with abundant indicators of poor ecological health—more than half the site barely penetrable and clogged with invasive plants; declining populations of pecans and cedar elms; eroded and depleted soils; unstable creek banks and floodplain; and unfavorable habitat characteristics with few if any beneficial constituents. The clients demonstrated unquestionable commitment to respecting the project’s heritage and placed great focus on the curatorial aspects of the house and their extensive collections; but they were equally motivated by the need to reconcile these characteristics with their desire to create a family-oriented home, a comfortably domestic landscape, and a lasting stewardship ethic for the property.
You know who’s really psyched? Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster — he’s writing a book about Johnson and this is the ONLY house Philip Johnson ever designed in Dallas:
“Johnson created spaces that were intended for people to fill them,” says Lamster . “When that house is filled with people, it’s fantastic.”
Visitors are invariably awestruck by the two staircases in the great front room.
“The dueling staircases is something Johnson had used in museums,” says Lamster. “It is so formal, you’d hardly expect to use it in a private residence. It’s something from another century. In some ways, it’s tongue-in-cheek and intentionally fun.”
“It’s immaculate,” says Lamster. “Reed Hilderbrand and Bodron+Fruit, have done Johnson better than Johnson could have done Johnson.”
Looks like it’s on the DCAD books for $10,752,400. Whoa, that’s quite a difference from the asking price, no? But then there are 12,057 square feet on a home originally built in 1963 but re-modeled in 1985. The Lebowitz-Aberly’s have painstakingly remodeled this home between 2002 and 2008 — that’s a whole six years!
Between 2002 and 2008, Aberly and Lebowitz meticulously restored and modernized the house including a complete re-landscaping of the 6.45 acres by the Massachusetts firm of Reed Hilderbrand. The Dallas architectural firm of Bodron+Fruit did the renovation and designed the pavilion for the new swimming pool.
Stay tuned. And we heart you Alan Peppard!