This midcentury modern at 3401 Dorothy Lane is that kind of rare property that will find a buyer rather than the other way round. In fact, the next owner will be only the third in the vintage 1952 house’s history. The street front, deceptively simple, belies the wealth of carefully planned, abundant, interior space and decorative detail contained behind the reserved façade.
Jump to see more!
Approach, and you begin to preview and appreciate pleasures to come. Period, super thin “Roman” brick played against thin native stone, both of which will be carried indoors, are complemented by the contemporary iron work of the front door. Even the retro font of the street numbers strikes the perfect note.
Open the front door and 1950s high style awaits. Flawless terrazzo floors bordered by stone and free form planter boxes spill through the immense central space — and, yes, that is a banana tree planted dead center. That architect John Floore worked on both public buildings — including Kirkpatrick Elementary School and Colonial Country Club — and residential construction, is evident in the comfortable handling of scale in the main living space. Iron beams support an unfinished timber ceiling, which gently springs to 18 feet. Peak skylights and clerestory windows illuminate the room with perfect unshadowed light and produce an almost ecclesiastical effect.
The plan, at first glance, looks completely open. The central room comfortably accommodates a living area and large dining table with a concert grand piano thrown in. But the 4,873-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom house has discreetly screened devoted spaces including two independent living areas and a separate dining room.
An open bar, which can be glimpsed from the entry and dining room, screens the kitchen from view. The zig-zag galley kitchen plan is quirky but maximizes space. The unusual wood backsplashes are original.
Appliances have been brought into the present day, but the vintage cabinetry has been preserved. The lime formica is an update of the current owner.
The front guest bedroom in cool, light aqua is capped by fashionable palm frond paper — one of many custom details scattered throughout, including a Mondrian wallpapered bathroom. The 1950s fenestration provide gentle, indirect light.
The master bedroom, in Mamie Eisenhower pink, is headed by a complementary and contemporary grasscloth, which is carried into the en suite bath, which augments the generous inventory of storage space.
A listing is generally designed to be read as structure minus the people who have lived in and loved it, so that buyers can project, without baggage, themselves into their new home. The current owner apparently found this gem in a mild state of neglect due to time.
Special kudos should be awarded for the respectful and clever materials choices, from the cork flooring that has been added to or replaced as needed, to the wall coverings and kitchen materials sensitively chosen for period appropriateness. Expensive electric and other infrastructure upgrades have also been addressed. This listing from Williams Trew agent Pam Robbins is offered at $679,000.
Eric Prokesh is an interior designer whose work has appeared on HGTV, and in books and publications including D Home, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, and House and Garden. In January 2005, HG named Eric one of the 50 tastemakers in America and D Home has included him as one of Dallas’ Best Designers for 10 years. Having lived most of his life in Dallas, he now calls Fort Worth home and is one of our experts on beautiful Fort Worth Dirt.