Want to catch lightning in a bottle? You have the rare opportunity to buy an O’Neil Ford Midcentury Modern that just hit MLS. If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times: When you have a chance to buy an architect-designed home, do it!
Preservation Dallas deemed the home to be one of O’Neil Ford’s most important designs in Texas. So, with that stamp of approval, you cannot go wrong. First, a primer on O’Neil Ford:
O’Neil Ford is widely recognized as one of Texas’ most celebrated 20th-century architects. He designed most of the University of Dallas campus in Irving; Braniff Memorial Tower, the Braniff Graduate Center, the Gorman Lecture Center, parts of the art village, the Haggar University Center, and the Haggerty Science Building. San Antonio, his home base, is covered in his work: the renovation of La Villita, the campus of Trinity University, the campus of Saint Mary’s Hall, the University of Texas at San Antonio Main Campus, and the Tower of the Americas.
He also created buildings for Skidmore College in upstate New York and for Texas Instruments. O’Neil Ford completed the design of the building of the Museum of Western Art in Kerrville in the Texas Hill Country, shortly before his death in 1982. His sturdy structures always utilized brick, glass, and wood, and were brilliantly attuned to their physical settings.
And when it’s a perfectly preserved O’Neil Ford Midcentury Modern, grab your checkbook and move on it, because these don’t hit the market very often. The present owner has been here since the early 1990s, which, as Realtors always say, speaks to the livability of a home.It was designed for the Haggerty family in 1958. Patrick Haggerty was one of the founders of Texas Instruments, and it’s been a hot property since it was completed — featured in books, magazines, and newspapers. It’s also been the site of countless lectures and social gatherings — if walls could talk!
What I particularly love about these architecturally significant homes is their social history. The Dallas Morning News archives are a treasure trove of information that offer extraordinary insight into the life of many of the notable homes in our city. In 1965 the following article ran:
O’Neil Ford, FAIA of San Antonio, will speak at the meeting of the Dallas Art Museum League at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday at the home of Mrs. Patrick Haggerty, 5455 Northbrook Drive.
Mr. Ford, an internationally known architect and a native of Dallas, has a collection of photographs of his representative work currently hanging at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts.
He was the architect for the Haggerty home, for Texas Instruments, buildings at St. Mark’s School, and the University of Dallas.
Mr. Ford is the coordinating architect for the 1961 Hemisfair in San Antonio. He is the architect for Trinity University there and has done notable churches, schools, municipal buildings, and homes in a definitive, original, indigenous Southwestern style.
Ford sited it on a terraced 1.77-acre lake lot in the Dentwood Addition of Old Preston Hollow. If you look across the lake, you’ll spot another significant home— the Robert Goodwin-designed Grady Vaughn house at 5350 South Dentwood Drive.
With this much land, privacy is a given. Ford increased that level of privacy with a vast expanse of Mexican brick across the façade of the 6,877-square-foot home. It runs from the exterior through the interior and out again, a hallmark of midcentury design. The back of the home is almost entirely floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the grounds. The main house has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and three powder baths. There are also not one, but two separate guest quarters on the property.
The level of detail in this O’Neil Ford Midcentury Modern is mind-blowing. Ford is known for collaborating with his brother, Lynn, whose skills are seen throughout the house in the intricate woodwork, screens, doorknobs, and even the hinges.
One of the more intriguing features of this O’Neil Ford Midcentury Modern is not by Ford, but I think he’d approve. In 1970 a protégé of Ford’s, Duane Landry, designed a 2,600-square-foot indoor swimming pool. It’s not just any old pool, however. Landry enlisted one of the famous Dallas Nine artists, Thomas Stell, to create a mosaic backdrop as well as undersea creatures on the floor of the pool. This is a proper natatorium with a bath and dressing room. It opens to the main courtyard and the master bedroom. I can think of nothing better than a private, climate-controlled dip before bed!
There is honestly nothing like this house. The extreme care and maintenance that have gone into preserving it would have you think Ford finished it yesterday. If you are lucky enough to get a peek, it will leave you speechless. If you buy it, you’re even luckier!
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 all dogs, international travel, good chocolate, great champagne, and historic homes knows no bounds. Her father was a spy, so she keeps secrets very well!