The Demise of the Dal-Tile House

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Dal-Tile house

When we got the news the iconic Dal-Tile house had been demolished last week, a heavy sigh went up around CandysDirt.com and with resignation, we cranked up “Another One Bites the Dust.”

This scenario is becoming all too common these days. It’s an architectural, historical, and cultural tragedy.

Dal-Tile house

I reached out to our friend David Preziosi who is the Executive Director of Preservation Dallas for a comment.

Dallas has lost too many wonderful historic houses to new development and another one recently fell victim. Preservation Dallas is deeply saddened by the loss of the Brittingham House built in 1967 for the founder of Dal-Tile. Its large multi-parcel lot overlooking White Rock Lake was too good to pass up for new development. The remarkable 12,000 square foot home was leveled after earlier being subdivided and a portion sold off for a new house now under construction. Even though it was built late in the mid-century period, it was an amazing house with characteristics of that time with a low-slung form hugging the land and an interior with large rooms of expansive glass for views of the lake. And of course, it had the most exquisite tile, being the house that Dal-Tile built!

Dal-Tile house

So why does this keep happening? Is it the notion that bigger, and newer is always better? Is it the desire of “I what I want when I want it, and where I want it”? Is it “I just don’t give a damn”? Or is it as simple as a lack of education?

I prefer to think it’s the latter because there are plenty of places to build a giant home in Dallas. It’s simply unnecessary to destroy one as historic, loved, and admired as the Dal-Tile house.

Dal-Tile house

“I have been inside this fabulous property, and I can tell you, with the exception of perhaps the kitchen and de-popcorning the ceiling, there is very little I would change about it.”

‑Candys Dirt reader

We had an event at this beauty in 2018 and everyone that entered the home experienced the proverbial jaw-drop. It was an absolute midcentury-style masterpiece with gorgeous views of White Rock Lake and a two-story rock fireplace, the likes of which I’ve never seen.

This was, with the exception of needing an updated kitchen and bathroom (although everyone loved that pink bathroom) a move-in ready home.

Many people can’t see what once was and cannot imagine the possibilities of what could be. People see things as disposable, and it’s unfortunate. We recycle paper and cardboard and cans, and yet we don’t recycle buildings and homes.

It’s a shame.

— David Preziosi

You can see from the photos, the Dal-Tile house could be a template for what architects and builders are creating brand new, today. The Midcentury Modern style is one that is being copy-catted daily. And you could never rebuild to the quality that originally existed. The materials and craftsmanship cannot be replicated. So this all begs the question: Why tear it down?  

Dal-Tile house

Try as we do here at CandysDirt.com to educate and enlighten,  people still don’t seem to understand historic properties.

Why are we all drawn to Europe? It’s the architecture. We long for that connection with the past and for the beauty of ageless buildings.  They are integral to the culture of any city. They are seldom torn down and replaced without a darned good reason. 

Dal-Tile house
Dal-Tile house

So while we wish the new owners well, we also wish they had taken time to familiarize themselves with why this was an iconic property and appreciated the Dal-Tile house for what it was, how much more it could be, and for what it meant to our city. 

If you buy a historic property, be a good steward, not just for the preservation of an iconic home, but for the preservation of the fabric of our history.

mm

Karen Eubank

Karen is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years and a professional writer for over 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying for his masters at The New England Conservatory of Music. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap.

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Comments

  1. mmShelby Skrhak says

    This home was my introduction to CandysDirt. I attended the open house party there in 2018 as a brand new addition to the CandysDirt.com team and can remember every detail of this ab fab home. The mix of champagne and the midcentury style was intoxicating and I feel lucky I at least got to drink in this legendary home.

  2. Ashley Clark says

    I am just sick that this home was torn down. LOVED so much about this house. I agree with you that people are uneducated… you would think with being able to break the side lot into two that the owner of the property could have historically updated the Dal-Tec house and still made an amazing profit.

    • Guerin Honeycutt says

      The guy who bought it lives nearby in Lakewood, real estate isn’t even his company’s main business. Truly disgusting that anyone would do this…

  3. Suzanna Smith says

    I moved to Dallas from Tulsa, OK in 2014. While I have come to love my new hometown, there is one aspect that I do NOT appreciate: Dallas’ almost total disregard for historical architecture/preservation. My family spent 20 years in Tulsa’s beautiful Yorktown Historic district. While the restrictions placed upon us by the historic designation could occasionally be frustrating we appreciated the goal of keeping the feel/appearance of the neighborhood preserved. What can be done to improve the level of historic preservation in Dallas? I am sick of seeing beautiful, live-able, historic properties torn down for yet another McMansion.

  4. Fletcher scarborough says

    I know how sad everyone is. I too loved this magical place and lucky enough to have visited many times. Alas the main floor had sunk about 12”. The plumbing is so far inside the actual trap of the home that upgrading it would have meant destruction of 50% of the home itself. The once beautiful pool had already been filled in as the repairs on it were going to be more than anyone could afford. What will replace it? 4 beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright homes. Open rooms w lots of man mad creeks running thru the lots. I think you are going to be very proud

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