Tavis Westbrook Designs Brings Functional Modernism to Little Forest Hills

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Photos: Angela Flournoy

Are you getting excited about the upcoming White Rock Home Tour? If you’re not yet, we’re pretty sure that after eyeing this cool midcentury modern-inspired new build from Tavis Westbrook, you’ll be snatching up some tickets. This year’s White Rock Home Tour will feature seven amazing homes on April 21-22 from noon to 5 p.m. Two of those stops are on Diceman Street in sought-after Little Forest Hills, including Westbrook’s enviable one-story build. 

Most of the time, we ask homeowners a few questions to give tour-goers a little sneak peek at the homes on a particular home tour, but this new build was so fascinating that we had to pick Westbrook’s brain on it. 

Want to see it in person? Don’t forget to buy your tickets to the April 21-22 White Rock Home Tour — the only exclusively modern home tour showing off the gorgeous designs surrounding the crown jewel of East Dallas, White Rock Lake. It’s an absolute bargain at $15 per ticket in advance and $20 on the day of the tour, and all the proceeds benefit Old Lake Highlands’ own Hexter Elementary. 

Find out more about this stunner — sure to be a hit on this year’s tour — after the jump!


What are some of the challenges presented by this particular lot and location?

Westbrook: This Lot is only 50 feet wide by 150 feet deep, the alley in the rear of the properties is not developed, so I found it hard to design this home with a rear-entry garage, although some builders have in Little Forest Hills, I could not imagine a buyer for this home driving their nice car through the muddy alley with overgrown trees and brush to get to their home.
It was important for me to have the family room and master at the back of the home to enjoy the backyard space and a future pool if desired, so this presents challenges in floor plan design to avoid long hallways when only working with a 40-foot house after setbacks are applied. 

The small lot also makes it challenging when wanting to keep the home a one-story, but our target audience typically would prefer a one-story home if available.

What were some “must haves” for this house?

Westbrook: Some “must haves” for this home were: one story, three bedrooms, study/studio, large kitchen, dining and family, larger laundry, oversized garage, natural light in every room, enough room for a pool in the backyard, courtyards to use all of the space including the side yards on this home, fire pit, majority of windows to face east verses west, split bedrooms, large master closet, and midcentury modern design elements and influence.

Did you incorporate any new techniques, materials, or concepts with this project?

Westbrook: Several new techniques, materials, and concepts were incorporated into this project. One of the largest design elements that stands out is the flat roof design. This was very challenging to design considering the duct work and the use of skylights where I wanted them. The roof was built with a truss design with a small built-in hip slope, then layered with foam board and TPO roofing. Parapets were added in some areas while the majority of the home sheds the water into a gutter system around the perimeter of the home and into rain chain downspouts and down spouts that tie into underground drains to shed water to the alley and into the street.

The outside A/C condenser was designed and installed to sit on top of the roof to avoid setback issues as well as leaving the side yards open around the home so they all connect.

We also special ordered breeze block/solar block from a company out of Florida to incorporate into the front entry courtyard. This was also the first time we installed brick in a “stacked” pattern — this is very tedious and doesn’t allow for many mistakes. 

Deciding to have the front door on the West side of the home concerned us with getting too much sun in the summer, so we created a really cool covered front walkway with architectural beams and pre-finished tongue-and-grove soffits that extend from the inside ceiling to the underside of the porch. We also built a six-foot fence out of concrete block to tie into the breeze block theme. This helped with shading but also creates a really cool and Zen feel as you enter through the yellow door.

What room or space are you particularly proud of?

Westbrook: Its really hard to choose a room that’s my favorite in this home. Every inch of this home inside and out has so much character! We really took the time when designing this home to think through how a home lives and what makes the most sense with our target audience and life styles. We set out to build a high energy efficiency home with luxurious features in the small footprint with no wasted space! There are not many places left in Dallas where the math makes sense to build a custom home like this less than 3,000 square feet. We found that we had a lot of people interested in our homes that were downsizing, most had older children in college or with children of their own. Some did not have any children, they liked to entertain and have guest come and stay weather their kids, friends or other family. This why we called this home “Next Chapter.”

In this home, the family room, dining room, and kitchen are in the center of the home, each bedroom has their own private bath. The bedroom on the east opens to the dining room courtyard and fire pit for that morning coffee or evening wine to be shared with the host. The kitchen courtyard is perfect as its large enough for a table and chairs and room for an outdoor kitchen, it also links via round stepping stones to the sliding door in the studio, as I like to call it. The studio has an 8-foot wall that is open at the top by 4 feet to the 12-foot ceilings, which allows plenty of light into this room but allows you to close it off with this massive 6-foot, walnut-wrapped barn door with bottom track to keep the top open. 

What should home tour goers pay special attention to?

Westbrook: I personally enjoy the kitchen design, functionality, and flow. Designed to be very simple until we take you through all of the storage and cabinet features in this home! The hidden media closet in the family room. 

The other highlights I always want to point out would be the use of the skylights. The skylight in the front bedroom bathroom stretches the full length and sheds natural light dawn till dusk above the vanity and tub shower area. The skylight in the front foyer casts light down a wall to give a different feel than just staring at a solid wall. The skylight in the master bath is probably my favorite as it highlights the 3D porcelain tile and has a similar look and feel to water running down a wall.

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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 CandysDirt.com. 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.

Reader Interactions


  1. Mark M. says

    Great article, Candy’s Dirt – such interesting technical information on how this home was built. I’ve seen this home on Diceman and have always been curious about it. Excited to see inside soon. And they have unique landscaping out front too. WHAT IS THAT GRASS OUT FRONT? anyone know?

  2. Amy Galley says

    Tavis always builds a really great product! We need more builders in East Dallas like this versus all of the bad flippers.

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