“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you,” once said the GOAT himself, Frank Lloyd Wright – and this Midcentury Modern gem in Las Colinas does just that. It was designed by renowned Dallas architect David George, a devoted student of Frank Lloyd Wright, and in our opinion, a visionary who quite literally took those words to heart. The result is a nature-forward treasure, quietly perched on a heavily treed lot at 113 E. Northgate Drive. And with a price tag under $585,000, it’s a rarity that is sure to go quick. Let’s take a look around, shall we?

A Breathtaking First Impression

 

First, we are struck by the mature lot and timeless appeal of the brick-clad exterior. The walk-up is unreal! Here, canopies of mature trees unfurl with majestic poise, as if to say “welcome home.”  Step through the front door and you’ll soon discover there is not a single room in the house that doesn’t embrace the peaceful yet unbounded natural beauty of the estate.

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Last night’s community meeting with Huffines Communities at the Golf Club of Dallas on Redbird Lane felt like a bad setup. The room was at capacity with literally hundreds more still standing in line, out to the middle of the parking lot, when the presentation began.

“I hope all these people are against the project” said one woman in front of me. Everyone seemed to be talking about how the proposed small lots and low price point were a bad fit for the neighborhood. It was a very diverse crowd – a cross-section of the diversity that people love about Oak Cliff, from very young to very old and all types and kinds of ethnicities of people. Even Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was there.

When Donald Huffines — who is also a Texas state senator — got to the mic. he began by showing images of developments he’s built in his 30 years of experience. Water parks, waterfalls into lakes, Cape Cod-inspired town homes, and ‘no brick facades’ – so homeowners are able to paint their exteriors … Demonstrating in pictures what their website says about another project they planned, “This community will offer residents the signature Huffines Communities lifestyle along with traditional resort-style amenities, several highly regarded builders, and year-round resident activities.”

The neighbors didn’t want slick pictures of other places — they wanted to hear what was planned for their neighborhood. The presentation was cut short and the crowd got rowdy. Dallas City Council Member Casey Thomas did his best to calm the crowd. Eventually we heard, “There is no plan yet. We’re here tonight to hear what the neighborhood wants.” With over 500 people in a jam-packed audience that was a tall order. (more…)

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I want to introduce you to the best little secret street in Preston Forest: Caladium Drive. It’s not quite visible from Preston Road, if you hunt for the “flower power” streets that criss-cross Preston like a finely tuned grid. The reason is that Caladium dead ends at the Preston Forest shopping center, southwest corner. Which means that if your dog has to go to the vet, you can pop on a leash and walk them over. Or if you want food, you can walk. Out of cotton balls and Q-Tips? Jog on over to Ulta — done. Be brave and cross Preston at the light and the delicacies of the southeast shopping center are at your toes, including Whole Foods.

In other words, flower-power street Caladium may well be the most walkable street in North Dallas.

“I think this neighborhood is still in discovery phase, with the lots just being discovered,” says Lance Hancock of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate’s Hewitt & Habgood Group. “There are new homes and serious remodels everywhere, but this home stands as one of the last true mid-centuries, and in more than mint condition.”

It has not even come on the market yet: 5824 Caladium.

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mayrath house

Original Geneva cabinets are just one of the Midcentury Modern wonders in the iconic Mayrath house, located at 10707 Lennox Ln. in Northwest Dallas near the Straight Lane estates.

For all of its progress toward becoming a world-class city, Dallas still has a lot to learn about the value of historic architecture.

We are tear-down happy. The list of demolished Dallas buildings with significant historic and architectural value would go on for pages. But here are a few recent examples:

We might have another situation happening now. The Mayrath house at 10707 Lennox Ln. is a Midcentury Modern gem. It was designed by Dallas architect and homebuilder Truett A. Bishop in 1956, and is largely unchanged since then.

Photo: Michael Amonett

Photo: Michael Amonett

A Dallas Times Herald article from Sept. 23, 1957, titled Not a Splinter of Wood Used In Outstanding Home in Dallas, describes the Mayrath House like this:

Wood, the most frequently used material in homes, is completely shunned in the home of one Dallas family. There isn’t so much as a splinter of wood in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Mayrath, 10707 Lennox Lane…Built on columns of steel, the two story house is constructed with aluminum, glass, concrete and Austin stone. It may look like a country club at first glance, but it is a luxury home—one that probably is not equaled in the vast Southwest.

In terms of architectural value, this Northwest Dallas home near Royal Lane and Inwood Road is priceless. But it was listed Jan. 18 by Sharon Quist with Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate for $2.5 million, which is just the lot value.

That means the iconic Mayrath house and all its Midcentury significance is likely to face the wrecking ball, probably replaced by another generic McMansion or faux château.

When discussing this possible fate for the Mayrath house, a friend commented, “That is so Dallas.” But it doesn’t have to be. This home is worth saving.

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Cliff Welch

Cliff Welch’s E. Lake Highlands Drive home featured in next weekend’s tenth annual White Rock Home Tour. Photos of house: Eric Homes

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the first one here and the second one here).

Cliff Welch

Photo: Cliff Welch

Cliff Welch, AIA, is a Dallas-based architect who champions modern architecture and designs with inspiration drawn from modern architecture of the last century.

His background includes working with the late Dallas modernist Bud Oglesby, later becoming a principal at Design International before starting his own firm, Welch Architecture, in January 2000.

One of his designs, located on East Lake Highlands Drive, is featured on the 10th annual White Rock Home Tour April 25-26. When the tour started in 2005, it showcased midcentury modern homes in the White Rock area; it has now expanded to include new construction, as well.

Welch earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. His work has received multiple Merit and Citation Awards from the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as well as their coveted Young Architect of the Year award. He has also earned honors from Preservation Dallas, the Texas Society of Architects, D Home magazine, and the AIA.

Welch is the past president of the Dallas Architectural Foundation and taught graduate-level architecture classes at UT Arlington. He is a past executive board member of the Dallas Chapter AIA, also serving two years as their Commissioner of Design, and has chaired multiple chapter events, including various home tours. He also served as a design awards juror for other chapters around the state.

Welch’s White Rock Home Tour house’s elegant simplicity and open spaces incorporate modern design to create an exception environment.

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Ed Murchison has established himself as the go-to Dallas Realtor for midcentury modern properties. He’s marketed and sold some amazing homes that are not only gorgeous, but some are like walking on a Mad Men set — completely preserved in their shag carpet and glitter Formica splendor.

If you’ve wanted to own a midcentury modern home, but have missed all your chances, then you might be able to snatch up this amazing home in East Dallas’ Merriman Park — a fantastic family neighborhood. This home was just featured on Retro Renovation as one of their “time capsules,” and we can see why. Many original details of this lovely home have been preserved, but it’s not without some modern touches.

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8506 Eustis FrontIts Dec. 31, 2013 and technically, it’s still the “Year of the Midcentury Modern,” as I dubbed it yesterday. No better way to go out than to feature another great mid-mod on Eustis, an East Dallas street known for its midcentury architecture.

8506 Eustis is a very cool mid-mod that has some really insane features, the first of which you can spot from the curb. Do you see that huge tree growing up through the roof next to the fireplace? Also, I love the original red brick and the cool storage area off of the car port (a typical covered parking solution for homes built during the boom of American auto industry.

8506 Eustis Living 8506 Eustis Fireplace

Inside you’ll find hallmarks of mid-mod architecture such as clerestory windows, exposed brick, vaulted ceilings with open beams, huge faceted windows, and gobs of natural light. As for cool features inside, you’ll love the trapezoidal fireplace opening, which is certainly creative and eye-catching. In the dining area there is an original redwood wall that gives the whole side of the house a feeling of warmth. The flooring is tres cool, too, with the cut-away wood giving way to linen-faced ceramic tile through the dining and kitchen areas.

8506 Eustis Dining 8506 Eustis Kitchen

In the kitchen, check out the grain on the cabinets, which is the perfect foil for the Carrera marble counters and brand-new industrial-grade stainless steel appliances and apron sink. The mosaic backsplash is visually attractive, but almost too busy when placed next to the texture of the cabinet faces. Still, I love it, and the pendant lights are just absolutely perfect.

8506 Eustis Master

Now, the bummer is that, while we know this 1,254-square-foot home has three bedrooms and two baths, we don’t get any photos of the baths in this listing. What gives on that? Another head-scratcher is that this home was originally listed for $314,900, but was reduced to $299,000, and has still sat on the market for more than three months — unheard of with this style and location. It’s under contract right now, but I’m still wondering about why we don’t get a look in the backyard, either.

 

Still, I love this home terribly. Considering that this home was purchased from its original owner in 2012 and was restored to this condition in just over a year, I think 8506 Eustis is an outstanding property to go out on for 2013. What do you think?