An idea had been bouncing around in the back of Kathy Adcock-Smith’s mind for a while. How could she promote preservation inside her small North Dallas neighborhood? Walnut Hill is a tidy square mile, bounded by Royal Lane on the north, Midway on the east, Walnut Hill on the south, and Marsh on the west. It’s full of mid-century modern homes, with low-slung roofs all made popular in the 1950s, a style that is very much in demand right now, but was somewhat of a novelty back then.
In fact, several of the homes in Walnut Hill were featured in the National Parade of Homes in 1954, hosting more than 100,000 people. The neighborhood is not only architecturally interesting, but many of the residents grew up here and then bought their own home in the area. It’s teeming with fabulous homes, but they’re being scraped at record rates.
“I go to the White Rock Home tour and the AIA tour of homes every year,” Adcock-Smith said. “A lot of the mid-century modern homes in this neighborhood could benefit from restoration.”
But she didn’t put two-and-two together until a neighborhood association meeting a year ago. “Someone suggested doing a home tour, and I thought ‘That’s it! That’s perfect!'”
Adcock-Smith assembled a team, which included two architects who live in Walnut Hill. Donovan Westover of Preservation Dallas gave the neighborhood association a “Home Tour 101” class, covering operations and fundraising. From there, everything seemed to fall into place. That’s how the Modern Mile Home Tour was born.
The inaugural tour, slated for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 3, will include six homes throughout Walnut Hill representing a mix of architectural styles and renovations. You’ll see a mid-century time capsule as well as a brand new build, Adcock-Smith said.
“One of the goals is to see how cool these mid-century homes are,” Adcock-Smith said. “But we did include a new home that is a more modern home, which is the kind of thing people are looking for. We felt this tour home fits with the tour, and it’s important to show people that there is value in the architecture here. You can build a new home that is sensitive to the neighborhood, because we realize that not all of these homes can be salvaged.”
Virginia Cook Realtor Ed Murchison, who specializes in mid-century modern homes and is one of the home tour’s sponsors, agreed with Adcock-Smith that this is a very special place in North Dallas. It’s his neighborhood, after all.
“In my opinion, the charm and appeal of the neighborhood lies in the mix of architectural styles, including many mid-century modern, architect-designed homes sitting on large tree-shaded lots,” said . “Also, the location is outstanding. The neighborhood is ‘Preston Hollow adjacent’ and is in what I often call ‘Private School Heaven’ with ESD being right in the neighborhood and several other great private schools very close by. There are also great public school options such as Withers Elementary … Buyers get all the benefits of a Preston Hollow location for less money.”
The tour will benefit Walnut Hill Elementary School, which has a dual-language immersion program, and organizers hope to raise enough money to help with landscaping around the school, including the construction of an outdoor classroom in the school’s courtyard. There will be food trucks at the school on the day of the tour, and the neighborhood association will be giving away cookies and collecting donations, too.
Tickets are priced at $15 in advance, and $20 on the day of the tour. Tickets are available for purchase Thursday, Sept. 3, on the Modern Mile website. If you can’t attend, you can still donate by following a link on the site. Raffle items have been posted on the tour’s Facebook page, and you can bid on the items starting Thursday.
Stay tuned, as we’ll be featuring a homeowner and hosting a ticket giveaway to this fabulous North Dallas home tour!