Freshly Listed Modern Malabar Retreat Has ’57 Style With a Sweet ’16 Bod

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First of all, love affair: me and JanMar. Note to husband and world: Do not be surprised if I end up there someday.

Janmar was developed in the late 50’s, early 60’s. Named after the developer’s daughters, Janet and Margaret, you basically have Bluffview east of Hillcrest: hills, water, and Buffalo Creek, which flows to White Rock Lake. It doesn’t feel like any other part of the city. Because of the creeks, the area is loaded with animals such as the usual possums, coyotes, but also great horned owls, great blue herons, hawks, and even a bobcat or two, which very well may have crossed over Hillcrest to our Ricks Circle. Truth be told, bobcats are everywhere in this town from Oak Cliff to Richardson and beyond.

Because of the time period in which it was developed, natural mid-century design abounds here, the most notable of course being Dallas’ Not-Really-By-Bruce-Goff Round House. (Long story.) And because those were the style of homes that were being built when I was growing up, I feel so much at home here. Have I ever told you about Bruce Goff’s REAL “Round House” in Aurora, Illinois? My cousins lived down the street and we rode bikes there all the time. Can you believe it only cost $64,000 to build?:Round House Aurora, Ill.

Architect Bruce Goff, one of the few U.S. architects whom Frank Lloyd Wright considers creative, scorns houses that are “boxes with little holes.” But he likes circles, believing that a circle is “an informal, gathering-around, friendly form.” Working on this theory, he designed a house for the Albert Fords of Aurora, lll. which makes most modern houses look quaint.

The house consists of a huge, domed center circle, 166 feet around. and two semicircular bedroom wings, all shaped by steel arches made of standard Quonset ribs. At the base of the center sphere, which is built on three levels, is a curved cannel coal wall, treated against smudging and weathering. For sparkle, this wall is studded with ordinary playing marbles and with numerous 100-pound clusters of bright glass cullets, a hardened waste product periodically cleaned from glass furnaces.
Navy surplus rope covers the horizontal ceilings. Cypress siding, laid in a herringbone pattern, lines part of the domes and walls. There are no windows, so ventilation is provided by hinged louvres and ceiling vents. Chief hazards of the main living space are the glass walls, which carry out Goff’s theory of “space moving inside and out.” To keep guests from trying to follow suit Mrs. Ford is growing succulent plants in ditches outside the glass walls.
The house, which cost $64,000, delights its owners. Mr. Ford, who is a gas-company executive, likes the doorless carport (“No trouble now to put the car away”); Mrs. Ruth Van Sickle Ford, who is the director of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, is pleased to have a balcony studio where she can paint, a gallery where she can hang pictures and plenty of room where she can entertain-all in a house that requires little care. Friends and curious passers-by are often less delighted. While building was in progress so many people came to gape at what they variously called the “big apple,” “birdcage,” “dome” or “hangar” that the Fords posted a sign reading, “We don’t like your house either.”

JanMar: great mid century modern homes, topography with a Capital T, what else? Proximity: being midway between Central Expressway and the Dallas North Tollway is being in sheer heaven in Dallas. You can get anywhere quickly, north or south. And now with the new offerings at Preston Hollow Village (Trader Joes, Blue Sushi, PakPao and more) you can go east or go west to your neighborhood staple of Preston Royal with Tom Thumb, Central Market, yogurt, fish, Celebrity, McDonalds, Pier One, Thai and even a Post Office.

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But I digress from the real reason you might want this home: 7418 Malabar Lane, simply stunning.  Designed by Marek Architecture, the 3530 square foot ranch home was built in 1957 and has been remodeled to the Nth degree and then some. Let me count the ways I love thee: level 5 drywall finish everywhere, EVERYWHERE; white oak floors, Karastan carpet in bedrooms, high tech smart home and Lutron in the main living areas. The kitchen is MOD with white Caesarstone quartz surfaces, Subzero, Wolf, and Fisher & Paykel, deep deep stainless farm sink, abundant storage. The master bath is a veritable spa with large steam shower and tub plus double vanities and storage galore.There are three bedrooms, each with built in bed platforms and storage, four full baths and one powder room — that fourth full bath is located in the 388 square foot quarters that overlook the stunning pool in a total Hollywood-esque fashion. This reminds me of another home in Dallas… which one? (Racking brain.) Oh yes! David Nichols’ Philip Johnson contemporary on Strait. This could be a pool house, office, fourth bedroom, guest quarters, even a dog house for the husband he might just move into. And stay: there is a home generator that provides for power throughout the home, including the guest quarters, and it kicks in automatically during a storm.

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Architect Scott Marek was the lead architect for Texas Modernist, and worked with Frank Welch before starting his own firm. Just listed, hot on the MLS sheet with beautiful Beverly Pitchford at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, asking $1,699,000. I don’t think the ink on the listing agreement is even dry yet…