Going Mod in Dallas: The White Rock Home Tour

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil

The elegant neighborhoods nestled around White Rock Lake in Dallas are my very favorites in Big D.  I love the long, low ranches and charming bungalows that make up Little Forest Hills, the stately Tudors on tree-studded lots in Lakewood, and even the modest tract houses near Casa Linda, so it’s always a great day when the White Rock Home Tour takes place and affords opportunities to explore some of the area’s coolest modern homes.  This year, Robyn and I met up with some of my best girl pals from my Dallas days and headed out for a Saturday afternoon filled with great conversation, a lot of laughs, and some pretty great architecture.  First stop was this gem on Avalon Avenue:



Designed by E.G. Hamilton, whose firm, OMNIPLAN, also designed the award-winning Northpark Mall, this 2,589 sf home was built in 1954 on a hilltop corner lot on one of the nicest streets in Lakewood.  It features walnut paneling in the living room and a zig-zag glass wall looking out to the backyard and pool.  Interior photography wasn’t allowed in this house, but the brochure photo by Blake Marvin shows this delicious curtain wall and carport area:

Avalon house


All three bedrooms boast transom windows and sliders that open to a deck on the side of the house, and even though they aren’t huge spaces, they seem much larger thanks to this indoor/outdoor arrangement:



The only real modification to the home throughout its history was the addition of this studio and carport extension in the ’60s that adds even more drama to what was easily our favorite house on the tour:



Next, we drove around the corner to a recently built modern on Wildgrove:



W2 Studio designed the home on the same footprint of the previous, ’40s-era house, and many of the original home’s bricks and hardwood flooring were incorporated into the new design.  The two-story, 3,800 sf house was built in 2008 and contains an open floor plan downstairs — guest bedroom and bath, a kitchen overlooking the backyard pool:



… a den, and a large dining room:



Upstairs are three bedrooms, an office, and an outside slatted deck that acts as another living space while providing privacy from the street in front:



Aside from the amazing kitchen, I have to say that my favorite thing about this house was the clever grouping of vintage postcards on a hallway wall — will definitely have to remember this idea in the future:



The third house we toured is another new modern design, this time by Ryan Grey Smith.  Completed in 2013, the prefabricated house is two of my favorite things — modern and environmentally friendly:



With a fantastic view overlooking park space that surrounds White Rock Lake, the new home’s most dramatic feature is the beautiful front outdoor space, including the entry stairway that incorporates plenty of greenery in its design:



There’s also an outdoor terrace and fire pit where I think I’d want to spend every waking moment if I lived here:



According to the tour brochure, “this home was the first Modern-Shed, prefabricated home in Texas.  When choosing a home design, the homeowner’s most important objectives were to build a modern, high quality, energy efficient home.  During the design process, choices were made to keep the footprint of the home environmentally friendly by using soy based energy efficient insulation, stained concrete floors, and an extensive LED lighting system.  Not only is this Dallas’ first Modern-Shed, the home boasts a design that includes both the largest and smallest sheds available from Modern-Shed.  The smallest shed is detached from the largest shed and houses office space.” Here’s the smaller shed in back…



… and the bridge leading from the main house to the office shed and carport area:



You’ve got to love this new use for an old school bus seat:



The 2,085 sf house contains three bedrooms, an office, and an open living/dining/kitchen area:



The definite show stopper of the U-shaped house is the small pool and outdoor seating/dining area that comprises a whopping 1,000 sf of living space in the heart of the home.  I’ll bet the homeowner spends most of his time hanging out here, wine glass in hand, and watching all of the activity going on at the park across the street — I know that’s what I’d be doing if I had all of this beautiful and cozy outdoor space:




Perhaps the most charming house on the tour was the modest mid-century ranch located in the Highland Meadows neighborhood.



The 1,750 sf home was built in 1956 and has gone through several remodels over the years, including the recent addition of the very modern fireplace:



The latest owners also converted part of the original carport into a light-filled den that overlooks the dining room and kitchen areas:



The kitchen has been updated, but the original vent hood and stove are still there and looking pretty darned spiffy:



The Crate & Barrel-designed laundry room was pretty sexy, too:



A giant live oak tree gently stretches out over most of the backyard, providing plenty of shade for an outdoor lounge area and swing:




Our final stop of the day was a garden lover’s paradise in Little Forest Hills that boasts a lush and innovative vegetable and flower garden in front:



The two-story, 1,600 sf, two bedroom treehouse was designed by TKTR Architects and built in 2010:



According to tour brochure, “the home was designed around several large trees and garden areas, giving each room in the house a specific relationship to the site through the use of fenestration and material application as a backdrop for the landscape.  The relationship between the interior and the exterior is most evident in the expression of the two-story polycarbonate wall, filling the corresponding stairwell and public space beyond with natural light throughout the day.”



The compressed wood, open stairwell leading from the downtowns living area to the bedrooms upstairs is pretty impressive, too:



Sliders allow the owner to open up the entire back and part of the side of the house…:



… while the dining room in front looks out onto a private courtyard:




Even the master bedroom takes advantage of outdoor living with a screened-in sleeping porch nestled in the trees:



This garden oasis was very popular among our group, and we were glad to end the tour on such a high note.

The White Rock Home Tour takes place every April, with proceeds benefitting Hexter Elementary School in Dallas.  I’ll post 2015 tour information on our Facebook page when I get it, and maybe we can take a Mod Squad field trip to Big D to check out more modern homes next year!