Midcentury Modern Alert, Architect’s Own Home: 5824 Caladium is Loaded with Flower Power

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I want to introduce you to the best little secret street in Preston Forest: Caladium Drive. It’s not quite visible from Preston Road, if you hunt for the “flower power” streets that criss-cross Preston like a finely tuned grid. The reason is that Caladium dead ends at the Preston Forest shopping center, southwest corner. Which means that if your dog has to go to the vet, you can pop on a leash and walk them over. Or if you want food, you can walk. Out of cotton balls and Q-Tips? Jog on over to Ulta — done. Be brave and cross Preston at the light and the delicacies of the southeast shopping center are at your toes, including Whole Foods.

In other words, flower-power street Caladium may well be the most walkable street in North Dallas.

“I think this neighborhood is still in discovery phase, with the lots just being discovered,” says Lance Hancock of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate’s Hewitt & Habgood Group. “There are new homes and serious remodels everywhere, but this home stands as one of the last true mid-centuries, and in more than mint condition.”

It has not even come on the market yet: 5824 Caladium.

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“One of the qualities I enjoy when visiting my friends at Caladium is the private feeling I get while sitting in the living room, almost like being in an Arizona spa,” says Lance. “Looking to the outside of the house with its quiet courtyards for privacy and walls of glass, allowing the peace of early evening to fill the home as night settles around the crisp landscape beyond, the glittering pool and fountains are like jewels.”

In 1956,  Harwood K. Smith architect James Clutts built 5824 Caladium Drive as his personal home. He lived in the home for 10 years. Later, he was brought back to the property by the new owners (who bought from him) to create a garage conversion, turning the garage he built into a large family room.

The current owners, essentially the third family to live in this house, brought the home into a fully functioning 21st century mode — new wiring, plumbing, gas lines, heat and air, mechanicals, roof, pool, even the backyard turf — but beautifully maintained the home’s midcentury roots. This was done by very thoughtful selection and preservation of materials. In fact, with the exception of the charging station for electric cars in the carport, the home almost appears to be a time capsule.

The home was purchased sight unseen by the current owners.

There has been an increase in recent years of buyers finding a property online, then nabbing it, especially given our hot market. In this case the owners — a physician and a Ph.D. researcher — were living in California, relocating to Dallas and UT Southwestern. They had lost out on another home, so wasted no time in getting 5824 Caladium wrapped and sealed right from the web.

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Breakfast

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If you get a familiar feeling looking at this house, it may be because you attended a private school in Dallas: Clutts’ talent and his association with Smith put him in at the design helm of some important buildings around Dallas. His imprint can be found on the Hockaday School, St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church (ESD lower school), the Music BBuilding and Recital Hall at the University of North Texas, and others.

“What blew me away was seeing his style reflected in these other buildings and also in Caladium,” says Hancock, who is marketing the home. “I think the Caladium house always resonated with me in a way that I couldn’t quite connect until I read that Clutts had been an architect at St. Michael’s. Then it all fell into place.”

The home has four bedrooms, three full and one half baths, formals and a recreation room. Or, as we used to say in the ’50s, a “rec room.”

It packs a ton into 2,996 square feet. You enter into the formal living area with vaulted ceiling, the formal dining separated by a floating Danish wood cabinet with shelves. The fireplace is original brick. The kitchen is long, narrow, and efficient, with a breakfast room at one end. The family room is off the kitchen, with open cathedral ceiling. From the Chevy to the Tesla: the attached carport is pure vintage until you see the discreet electric car outlets.

The master is incredible with a vaulted ceiling, and it opens to a private meditation garden. The master bath is completely knocked out with walk-in shower, huge soaking tub, dual vanities, and tons of storage space. Each additional bedroom features the same walls of glass onto the spacious backyard and pool.

I love so much about this house, but I am just ga-ga over the flooring: original hardwoods, terrazzo, parquet in the living, and polished brick. Of course the updated baths are tile.

A rare find is 5824 Caladium, the home as rare as the location, a 110 wide by 146 foot deep lot loaded with trees. The backyard is a sea of turf that looks like velvet — no watering, fertilizing, or weed whacking.

Priced at $850,000, this vintage treasure remains true to its ’56 origins with state-of-the-art updates in a sea of remodels and new construction where dirt is trading for a minimum of $600,000.

Agents tell me this is only the beginning: just wait until Valley View transforms into Scott Beck’s Midtown dream … the sky may not even be the limit.

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5824 Caladium Backyard and Pool

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