Ten years ago, Catherine Horsey fell in love with a house.
Having spent seven years at the helm of Preservation Dallas, and recently returned to Dallas to work on the sustainable neighborhood Urban Reserve, Horsey saw an article on the house at 3216 Jacotte Cir. and was immediately smitten.
This home is significant in Dallas because it was Howard Meyer’s first modernist house, built in 1937. Meyer is one of Dallas’ first and most accomplished modern architects, known for designing Temple Emanu-El, one of the most distinguished works of contemporary architecture in Texas built during the 1950s; the Lipshy-Clark House at 5381 Nakoma Dr., one of the finest international modernist houses in Texas; and 3525 Turtle Creek Blvd., considered the most fully realized and successful modernist apartment building in Texas, perhaps in America.
Horsey saw this home’s rehabilitation as a great opportunity to showcase how historic preservation and green building practices could work hand-in-hand, and spent a year updating the entire house.
With the help of the original plans, photographs from a 1940 Architectural Record article, and conversations with Eugene K. Sanger, Sr., for whom the house was designed, Horsey restored its character-defining elements and adapted it for resource-efficient modern living.
“The longer I have lived in this house, the more I have loved it—that must be one of the definitions of good architecture,” Horsey said. “What I love about the house is the light—so many large windows that open out to the nearly 17,000-square-foot yard, and the very low utility costs. Howard Meyer really knew what he was doing when he designed this house for the Texas climate.”
This is a three bedroom, four bathroom house, with 2,034 square feet. Horsey is selling it herself for $739,000.
“It’s for sale by owner right now, because I’m going to do my best to keep it from falling into the wrong hands,” she said.
Many years ago, architect Meyer recalled the Jacotte House in an interview.
“My first client was Eugene Sanger, recently married and somewhat adventurous,” Meyer said. “So I did a modern house for them on Jacotte Circle, with brick up to the second-floor windows, a low-pitched roof, and a very open plan.”
This bellwether midcentury modern home sits on a large corner lot on a peaceful street in Lakewood. Meyer learned many things from renowned Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, and you can see the influence in the Jacotte house.
On the first floor are living and dining rooms, a kitchen, two half baths, and a utility room Horsy created by converting the one-car garage. One the second floor are two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a family room, and a screened porch off the master bedroom and den, accessible through French doors.
The home sits on almost 17,000 square feet, creating a secluded feel (and allowing for plenty of space should future owners want to change landscaping or build additions).
In 2005, Horsey told The Advocate Lakewood/East Dallas about the state of the house when she purchased it. Many of the interested buyers wanted to tear it down, and she couldn’t let that happen.
“There were issues with the house—no central heat or air, it really has only one and a half bedrooms—I could see why you wouldn’t want to buy this house if you have more than two people,” she said. “I don’t know how long I will live here…but after all the money I’m putting down for this house, I’ll be damned if the person that comes after me demolishes it.”
To learn more about the Jacotte house, click here.