Evergreen Hills Midcentury Modern Is An Oak Cliff Love Story

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Photo courtesy of Heritage Oak Cliff

Long before the Midcentury Modern and Oak Cliff were having their big moments, homeowners Enrique Montenegro and Michelle Reyna chose their home on Evergreen Hills for the most practical of reasons: it checked the right box. Dr. Reyna needed to be near Methodist hospital for her work and Oak Cliff was an easy commute. The Midcentury Modern home they chose, well, that was more about a feeling. After seeing several houses one morning, they walked into the one-story ranch and just knew.

“I realized this is it,” said Montenegro. “We felt really lucky. We still do.”

Eclectic and Diverse

Oak Cliff impressed the couple early on, from its unique topography to outstanding community organizations, to the variety of housing stock and the diversity of people in all phases of life living together in one neighborhood.

“I like the diversity — the eclectic vibe of Oak Cliff in general,” Montenegro said. “Specifically, for me, having grown up in El Paso, Jefferson reminds me of home. Great little taco joints, hearing Spanish music playing when you’re driving down the street.”

As time went on, Reyna and Montenegro added to their brood, becoming parents to two girls. And as their family grew, space became a bit of an issue. In no hurry to leave the neighborhood they loved so well, they decided rather than moving out, they would build-out. It just so happens that Montenegro is a founding principal and designer at the renowned SHM Architects, so the resulting renovation is *chefs kiss*.

Preserving the roofline of this midcentury gem took careful planning. Photo courtesy of Heritage Oak Cliff

Luckily, the major renovation didn’t alter the home’s yesteryear curb appeal. Even after the addition of almost 1,000 square feet, the roofline remains true to its midcentury roots. It was no happy accident. “I’m actually really proud of that,” Montenegro said, noting that the homes new additions are tucked behind the privacy wall.

Bathroom before: While charming, the the size and layout didn’t suit this growing family’s needs. Photo Courtesy of Enrique Montenegro.
Bathroom after: Sun-drenched and functional for a family of four. Photo Courtesy of Enrique Montenegro.

An Evolving Aesthetic

While Montenegro says he’s always loved Midcentury Modern, he and Reyna, who have been together since college, evolved their aesthetic together over the years. The result is a home that blends midcentury and contemporary styles in an effortless, welcoming compromise between time capsule and busy family home. “We’re not obsessive about MCM furnishings,” he said. “We make a check-list of pieces we need, and it’s anything from DWR (Design Within Reach) to hand-me-downs.”

That easy-going style lends itself perfectly to the 900-square-foot addition, in which new spaces and old flow easily into one another.

Kitchen before: Like most kitchens in this era, the layout didn’t lend itself well to entertaining. Photo Courtesy of Enrique Montenegro.
Kitchen after: wide-open spaces ready to host a party. Photo Courtesy of Enrique Montenegro.

“Although our house is small, it lives large,” said Montenegro. “The living areas surround the kitchen and are very open to each other. I think it flows well. The large deck off of the family room further expands the living area. One can see all the way through our house from the front to the back.”

Those through-and-through views help people feel connected, he said, making large social gatherings possible in the relatively small space. “We’ve hosted gatherings of 100-plus people comfortably. We’ve hosted school socials, the Kessler Krawl, and my office Christmas Party.”

The expertly executed renovation provided the perfect solution for a growing family with a fondness for a good party. “We could have easily looked for a new another house,” Montenegro said. “But we really loved our neighbors.”

Sigh. I do love a happy ending.

Ready for more?

For more of this home’s midcentury magic, join us on the Heritage Oak Cliff Home Tour on October 19 and 20. For more information and teasers on other magnificent homes on this tour, hop on over here,  or simply click here to purchase your tickets.

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Heather Hunter

In addition to a 15-year career in marketing and communications, Heather is an accomplished freelance writer and has contributed to The New York Times’ “Modern Love” column and “The United States of Dating” on National Public Radio. Her blog, This Fish Needs a Bicycle, was syndicated by NBC Universal (iVillage) for four years. As a ghostwriter, her work has appeared in publications such as WIRED and Stadia Magazine

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