Pat and Todd Dilbeck 1 (1)Todd Macintire is in town, visiting his favorite person in the world, his grandmother Pat Dilbeck, with him here inside one of the “four sisters” on Shenandoah at Douglas. Todd, who grew up in Dallas and graduated from Highland Park High School, lives in Brooklyn now where he owns a retouching business, He is 36 and single (pay attention girls!) and Todd moved to the City in 1996 to attend the Pratt Institute. Surprise, surprise he LOVES architecture, photographing homes and is looking for an old building to purchase in Brooklyn right now.

What are some of his memories of life with his famous architect grandfather?

“I recall we would go out to eat and my grandfather would draw with us, and tell us stories. Then we’d be running around, and my grandmother would be telling us to sit down, and he’d say no, let them be. Let them have fun. My grandfather was one of the most easy going people in the world.”

We learned some fun Dilbeck lore through the current owners of Dilbeck homes attending SMU’s “The Houses of Charles Dilbeck” Wednesday night. The course, taught by Dr. Jann Mackey, is part of SMU’s Continuing and Professional Education Program.

Dilbeck loved to hang doors upside down.

Pat Dilbeck & Candy (2)Why did he do that, I asked his grandson?

“Oh, for fun. He just liked to shock people.”

Did you know that Charles Dilbeck and Henry Ford were going to, at one time,  partner on developing homes? Every home they built would come with a Ford in the garage.

“And if only he had met Walt Disney, wow,” says his widow, Pat.

And in some of his homes, Dilbeck left the upstairs, particularly the master bedrooms, fairly stark and unadorned without the elaborate, intricate finish-outs he used downstairs. Like those dining room ceilings (heart beating very fast here)!

“I think the idea was to spend the money downstairs, because people never went upstairs except to sleep,” says Pat. “But I told him, your clients have money, make the upstairs and the master bedrooms a little fancier!”Pat and Todd Dilbeck 1 (1)

Paigebrooke Front CroppedA Reader writes:

Hey Candy, i was just wanting to know if you knew of any websites or books that are about Charles Dilbeck or have a list of the homes he designed. He is my favorite architect and i know he built a ton of houses in Dallas but i have also found homes in more random towns like Sherman, and Waxahachie. I would really appreciate the feedback because i have loved every single house that i have found that he built, because i want to see more of his amazing work. Thanks again.

The very best Dilbeck property, one of my tip-top faves in all of the world, is Paigebrook in Westlake. It is funny this house never seems to make the “most beautiful” lists of local shelter pubs because it is hidden in Westlake. PaigeBrooke is minutes from D/FW Airport and a brief jog from Westlake Academy. The rambling, half-timbered structure was designed by Charles Dilbeck in 1938, and is chock full of artisian handiwork and delightful surprises in almost every room — VERY Dilbeck,  who said each room in a home should have a surprise element. There are surprises, and Dallas history everywhere. The home was built originally for Ted Dealey, a publisher of the Dallas Morning News and member of a Dallas publishing family dynasty.

Dilbeck, of course, is the architect known for romantic Tudors and French country homes sprinkled in the Park Cities and a few in North Dallas: Harry Potter style before Harry was a Potter. His homes have a signature English farmhouse feel to them, and are built rambling, as if they have been added onto. Dilbeck, for example, always said that in authentic cottages you could always find the original log cabin that the home started from. (PaigeBrooke has one.) He also designed homes without hallways, so you have to go into one room to get to another, as if the house had been added on to randomly. It creates a very organic, cottage-y feel.

PaigeBrooke is classic Dilbeck, built with rustic brick, stone, tile and wood. There are those signature Dilbeck features such as rounded chimneys, overhanging balconies, cupolas and turrets — even a bell tower. Dilbeck was an eco-friendly architect before green was vogue. He favored salvaged and recycled materials. Hence, the pinkish stone throughout this house came from an old slaughterhouse in Fort Worth, and the handhewn beams were made from original Union Terminal timbers in Fort Worth.

You are correct: Dilbeck designed several country estates. PaigeBrooke’s owners, Scott and Kelly Bradley, remain close friends with his widow, Pat Dilbeck. She and her daughter Elaine Dilbeck MacIntire say Paigebrook is their favorite of Dilbeck’s houses, and it was his favorite, too. Let me get in touch with Kelly and Pat… Kelly Bradley tells me there is a Dilbeck class at SMU on Paigebrooke DRCharles Dilbeck design. But alas, it has a wait-list.Paigebrook exteriorPaigebrooke Fireplace 2