“He quite clearly and unselfconsciously sees architecture as an art and is unwavering in pursuing that goal. That makes him unique. This sometimes lonely quest has placed Emery Young at the very top of his community of architects.”
That was Dallas architect Frank Welch’s assessment of Emery Young’s work. Emery Young died in 2016, preceding the venerable Mr. Welch in death by one year.
“No architect in the region drew as carefully and in as fine a hand as Emery and his office, and none would have detailed finish work to the 1/32nd of an inch or looked for hours on a hot day for a missing ¼ inch in the layout of a concrete foundation,” according to AIA Fort Worth.
Built in 1980, 1912 Highland Park Circle in Fort Worth reflects many of the master architect’s aesthetics and values. If you are unfamiliar with Highland Park Circle, don’t blame yourself. Highland Park Circle is a small, gated cul-de-sac colony off Byers Avenue, near Merrick Street. The nearly 3,800 square foot house lies near the bend in the street, perched on the sort of difficult, irregular, hilltop site, prized by the architect. The multi-level house fairly fuses with the landscape of mature oaks it inhabits, with its subtle palette of earth-toned masonry, recalling the work of another Texas great — O’Neil Ford.
Entering through a discreet door, one encounters a pool around which the front of the construction wraps, like a Roman Villa, around an impluvium. A wide, tiled walkway leads to the front door. There is a consistency of design and materials throughout the residence. The tile which paves the walk, paves the floors inside, intentionally blurring the borders of indoors and outdoors.
The design is a dignified celebration of nature. Floor to ceiling windows look onto the interior courtyard at front and the dramatic ravine at back, producing a feeling of intimate tranquility. We’ve glimpsed the work of Emery Young before. Sadly many of Mr. Young’s slavishly planned designs have been thoughtlessly altered over the years, but 1912 Highland Park Circle, built in 1980, has been decorously preserved.
Often a careful scrutiny of listing photographs and a telephone call to the agent are sufficient to write about a house. This week’s FWF necessitated an agreeable visit to apprehend the subtleties and low key sophistication of Emery Young’s design which need to be experienced to fathom its ingenuity.
An axis running along the front connects a suite comprising a sitting room and bedroom with bath at one end and the kitchen at the other. The dining room is at the center with a run of steps on the side that lead down to the living room. An L curtain of windows captures stunning views of a terrace and the breathtaking views of the steep ravine beyond. The luxuriant, uncultivated woods at back run all the way to Quail Run Street. The embedded architect-designed banquettes and cabinets stay, offering prospective buyers’ a partly furnished room with a ready floorplan.
The eat-in, galley kitchen is sheer simplicity with sleek modern cabinetry and steel backsplash. The double ovens are Thermador. The refrigerator/freezer is Sub Zero. There is a view of a small private courtyard.
This is a connoisseur’s house as portrayed by the current owner’s art collection. A quiet ground floor den connects to a bedroom illuminated with light from skylights.
Not an everyman house, Highland Park Circle requires a buyer as refined as its design. With its abundant square footage and relaxed flow its easy to fail to notice that this is a two bedroom, two bath house suited to a smart single person or stylish empty nester couple.
The second floor landing forms an office/library flooded with natural light, with floor to ceiling bookcases. Very civilized. At the end of the second level is the master bedroom suite. The shape of the bedroom is an unconventional trapezoid, whose longest side is a wall of windows with access to the terrace and views of the wooded ravine below. The window cornice conceals curtain hardware and ingeniously meets the minimalist ceiling cornice.
The master bath reintroduces familiar materials, seen in other parts of the house. There are twin sinks, a soaker tub, and generous cabinetry.
There are two parking spaces in the garage at front. A quarterly association fee of $500 covers maintenance of common areas.
Martha Williams of Williams Trew Real Estate listed 1912 Highland Park Circle three days ago for $1,100,000.