Not everyone can have an architecturally significant custom contemporary from the swinging ’60s. This week’s Monday Morning Millionaire is on the market for the first time since it was built in 1964, and you could be the next lucky owner. Let me tell you why this is an incredible opportunity by walking into the past for a bit.
If ever there were an era to step back into, it would be the 1960s in my book. Music, fashion, and architecture were all in a state of revolution. Louis Khan, Eero Saarinen, Philip Johnson, and our own James Pratt were shaking things up by creating designs that were like nothing we’d ever seen before.
Pratt is the genius behind those giant stainless steel flagpoles at Exposition Plaza. He also designed the Great Hall of the Apparel Mart. The latter location was deemed cool enough by Hollywood to set the scene for the 1976 science fiction dystopian film Logan’s Run staring another Texas icon, Farrah Fawcett. I’m still brokenhearted that building was demolished, but I digress. Pratt also designed St. Stephens United Methodist Church in Mesquite, Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch, the College of Architecture building at the University of Texas at Arlington, the Quadrangle, the Dallas Garden Center Solarium, and supervised the renovation of Old Red, the Dallas County Courthouse.
Pratt was a man far ahead of his time. He was remembered in a tribute by AIA Dallas that beautifully sums up his vision and his talent.
His impact on our community through his landmark work on Goals for Dallas and the Trinity River corridor is immeasurable. He was the author of Dallas Visions for Community, a comprehensive land plan and concept for Dallas’ future, and he served on the committee that wrote Prairie’s Yield.
James is also remembered for his legacy of service to the profession as president of AIA Dallas in 1969 and vice president of the Chapter in 1961. He was the recipient of the 2010 AIA Dallas Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 1995 Texas Society of Architects Citation of Honor with the Dallas Institute of the Humanities.
His firm, Pratt Box Henderson received 18 Design Awards from AIA Dallas and TxA, as well as three AIA Dallas 25-Year Awards. The architecture of Pratt Box Henderson was rooted in its time and place, drawing on proven means of dealing with Texas climate and culture, while embracing the possibilities and expressions of modern technology. In 1959, the firm received first place in a national competition to design an efficient house for a modest-income family of the future. “The body of work of James Pratt, Hal Box, and Philip Henderson is among the most significant of any 20th century firm in North Texas, notable for its creativity, quality, and diversity,” says Robert Meckfessel, FAIA.
So, do you get it?
James Pratt was amazing, and he did not design many residential properties. This custom contemporary at 3717 Maplewood Avenue in the heart of Highland Park, was the dream home of Ted and Iva Hochstim. They raised three children here and they loved this home for 45 years. Their daughter, Nancy Goldberg, gave us a peek into how this house came to life.
“My mom had a certain aesthetic in mind, so she and my dad hired James Pratt to design their house,” Goldberg said. “They wanted a one-of-a-kind home, which would nevertheless fit within the well-established Highland Park community because few homes were being replaced in the neighborhood at that time. My mom wanted a courtyard, high ceilings, and special bricks that she hand-selected in Mexico. Working with Mr. Pratt, she also picked unique ornamental fixtures such as the hand-made door handles that distinguish the house.”
The design of the home follows what we expect from a custom contemporary to a certain degree. The entry is secluded, so the beautiful stained glass windows by Octavio Medellin are entirely unexpected. Medellin was a multi-talented artist and teacher noted for his installations at Temple Emanu-El and the Mercantile National Bank. He founded the Medellin School of Sculpture in Dallas which is now the Creative Arts Center of Dallas.
There are unique features, such as the massive solid-wood partition between the dining and living rooms. It’s reminiscent of what you find in Japanese residential construction.
The house wraps around an interior courtyard, another nod to what would be expected in a ‘60s home. The concept of bringing the outdoors in that began in the 1950s was beautifully thought out in this custom contemporary. There are four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a powder bath, and 5,067 square feet of statement living in this home. Sure, there are minor updates, but let’s face it, you just don’t find homes like this any longer, and this one requires so little effort to bring it forward.
I hope the picture of this home is growing clear. The Hochstim’s were creating not just a place to raise their family. They were creating a statement home — quite a statement. It was the only residential winner in Architecture ’68, the second annual biennial awards competition sponsored by the Dallas AIA chapter.
“When my parents built the house, its features like its internal brick walls, Octavio Medellin windows, huge sliding glass doors, high ceilings, and an internal courtyard visible from almost every room were quite unique,” Goldberg said. “Friends who visited my siblings or me were always struck by the differences with their much more traditional homes. We would run up and down the long hallways, chasing each other for hours in and around the courtyard. I also happily recall the wonderful parties that my parents would host in the light-filled living and dining room area with the beautiful wooden partition and bar. Growing up there we felt like we were very comfortably living within a work of art.”
Indeed, they were and now you can!
Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager and writer for over 25 years. Karen teaches the popular Staging to Sell class and is the creator of the online course, The Beginners Guide to Buying Wholesale. Her love of dogs, international travel, history, white paint, champagne, artificial turf, and Tudor and Midcentury Modern homes, and any house designed by Clifford Hutsell knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well! Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com