See Shawn Watkins’ Party-Ready Midcentury Modern On The White Rock Home Tour

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Shawn Watkins and his wife, Jalie, purchased a fully intact midcentury modern and breathed new life into it. (Courtesy Photo)

If the White Rock Home Tour ever makes a coffee table book of the homes it has featured over its 13 years, then I can say, rather unequivocally, that this year’s tour stops will have two-page spreads and thorough write-ups. That’s just how amazing this year’s tour is, complete with an epic time capsule, fantastic new builds, and a stunningly renovated midcentury modern.

Speaking of stunningly renovated midcentury moderns, we have to give you a sneak peek at this beauty renovated by Shawn Watkins of Watkins Remodeling and Repair. You might recognize it, as we featured it here on when it was still completely intact. We noted then that the home could stand a freshening up.

And you can tell that Watkins, with his keen eye for color and shape, did exactly that. The home is truly amazing, and I can’t wait to see it on April 21-22 for the White Rock Home Tour. Tickets are already on sale, and we’re sure you’re going to want to snag them once you get a glance at the bang-up job Watkins did on this beauty. Jump to find out more about this beautiful Lake Highlands midcentury modern that is ready for any party this summer can throw at it!

The backyard features a great guest house, agorgeous round pool and an epic outdoor kitchen. (Photos: Angela Fluornoy) What room or design element of your home will stand out to home tour goers?

Shawn Watkins: The outdoor kitchen, unusual round pool, and guest house, nestled in the treed landscape, it really feels like a resort at times.

CD: Is there any feature or finish in your home that tour goers shouldn’t miss?

Watkins: The entire backyard space. And take the time to stand back and look at the rear exterior façade — especially the expansive amount of glass with sweeping upper deck that spans the whole width of the house. I wish everyone could see it in the evening when it is all lit up.  And of course the brand new construction pool/guest house. For the tiny house lovers it is a must see, with 850 square feet, two bedrooms, one bath, a full kitchen, and large deck attached for entertaining or relaxation.

Any art lovers out there will really enjoy the eclectic mix or original and limited edition prints and paintings throughout the main & guest houses, you cannot miss the 6ft tall giraffe in the stairwell!

The stairwell features vintage lighting and exposed brick, as well as a a quirky painting of a giraffe.

CD: If you had to choose one spot — inside or outside — on your property where you could spend all day, where would it be and why?

Watkins: Morning coffee on the upper deck overlooking the whole backyard will make you feel like you’re in a tree house.  We often spend the whole day in the backyard, lounging in the pool, smoking meat in the outdoor kitchen, and entertaining. Don’t forget the extra-large, drop-down movie screen in the backyard.  We often have impromptu pool parties — you never know you is going to show up!

CD: What are you doing to prepare for the home tour?

Watkins: We really just have some spruce up of the landscape (hard winter freezes this year) to do. We will display the future kitchen plans for the main house, as I don’t feel we will have enough time to complete it before the tour. (Maybe, we will have a surprise and have it done for the tour!) So really just some touch ups and routine maintenance.

CD: What construction or renovation have you completed since you moved in? In what ways have you put your fingerprint on your home? Additionally, were there any challenges you had to overcome to complete your renovation project?

Watkins: In the three years we have been here, there’s a long list:

Main house: Wood floors refinished and polished concrete. All new interior walnut doors, expansion or the lower level bedrooms, complete remodel of the master suite, minor remodel of the upper guest bathroom, retaining the original tile. All lighting fixtures and hardware replaced. Laundry room / utility updated with new HVAC and water heater (the not so sexy part). Lower level Kitchenette has been remodel with new walnut and painted cabinets. It is continuous, as the kitchen and one more bathroom on the lower level still need to be remodeled.

Landscape: The entire front, sides and back have been re-worked, with concrete walks, corten steel, and native plants, along with a new horizontal modern fence.

Guest/pool house: A complete, ground-up construction completed in 2017, with 850 square feet with two bedrooms, one bath, new kitchen with walnut and painted cabinets, plus the house is fully automated, featuring polished concrete floors and wood ceilings. The design was carefully thought out to be very cohesive with that of the main house original design and features

Outdoor kitchen: Another ground-up construction completed in 2017. Removing over 40 yards of soil to get sunk-in below the pool level for that swim-up bar feel, full kitchen, large island for seating with quartz counter tops throughout, all containing a huge 54-inch grill, a big green egg, a fridge, a warming drawer, and storage.

The house is built into the hillside, which posed the biggest challenge as we had to ensure that proper drainage would not affect the future builds. Additionally, maintaining all the large trees was a must in building the pool house, which sits in an area that was all bamboo before.

CD: Is there any history behind your home? Your neighborhood? Care to share?

Watkins: The home was built in 1955 by Niles Resch, presumably for himself.  Many of the houses in this secluded part of the neighborhood were architect-designed and built for their personal use, mostly all midcentury modern style, which makes it such a unique enclave that most people are not aware exists.

CD: Why did you fall in love with your home? Your neighborhood?

Watkins: First, appearances from the front are deceiving. It is not until you walk in the front door that you get a full appreciation for the hillside house.  The secluded area on a large lot (half an acre), was a huge appeal. We saw great potential and vision to make the home something that we always wanted.  My passion for midcentury modern design and architecture allowed for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As long time East Dallas residents we did not hesitate to go all-in.  Any time a midcentury modern can be preserved, I get excited.

See this incredible home, as well as five more amazing properties plus a bonus home at the April 21-22 White Rock Home Tour benefiting Hexter Elementary School in Old Lake Highlands. Advance tickets to the tour are available online for $15, or can be purchased at any tour home on the day of the tour for $20. 

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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