Oak Court A Mid Century Modern Dallas Landmark Preserved

Oak Court A Mid Century Modern Dallas Landmark Preserved

I remember driving by a gated house on Park Lane as a teenager and wondering who would live in such -an ultra-modern house. I was fascinated by the clean lines and grillwork that shaded the entire front of the home. If it weren’t for the gate, I would have stopped and gotten a closer look.

Apparently I was not alone. As a boy, John Eagle rode his bicycle past the home many times and told himself that one day he would own a home like that. Today, he and his wife Jennifer live in that ultra modern home, called Oak Court, and after an extensive renovation the building sparkles as a significant architectural work tucked into the wooded environs of North Dallas. Designed by Edward Durell Stone in the mid 1950’s, the house resembles the US Embassy Stone was building in New Delhi at the same time. Typical of Stones work his clean International Style was often accented with slightly schizophrenic elements, like a carved rococo fireplace and elaborate crystal chandeliers. The dining room was floored in polished white marble, floating in an indoor lagoon, an iconic touch but a maintenance problem. Because of odd touches like these, not many of his homes have been enthusiastically renovated or preserved, but the Oak Court house is a happy exception.

Designed by Edward Durell Stone in the mid 1950’s, the house resembles the US Embassy Stone was building in New Delhi at the same time. Typical of Stones work his clean International Style was often accented with slightly schizophrenic elements, like a carved rococo fireplace and elaborate crystal chandeliers. The dining room was floored in polished white marble, floating in an indoor lagoon, an iconic touch but a maintenance problem. Because of odd touches like these, not many of his homes have been enthusiastically renovated or preserved, but the Oak Court house is a happy exception.

Working with architect, Russell Buchanan and a design team, the current owners aimed to honor the openness and purity of architectural forms of the original design while addressing the needs of a 21st century family.

On the first floor, they were able to restore the indoor water lagoon of the dining room which had been eliminated by a previous owner. Buchanan explained that through state-of-the-art technology, the water is electronically purified and maintained at the same temperature as the air in the room to prevent condensation and possible damage to artwork or walls.

The rococo fireplace and chandeliers were also removed and a new museum-quality lighting system was added. All electronic systems were wired to one location, freeing the home from numerous wall switches, thermostats, speakers and security pads. A sensitive reorganization of spaces took place on the second floor where servants quarters were eliminated and reconfigured and a library and study were incorporated into the design. To connect the original open-air terrace to the new outdoor pool, an innovative perforated stainless steel spiral staircase was added,
an homage to the original bris soleil screens of the main house.

Because of their diligent work, National Trust for Historic Preservation presented Oak Court in Dallas,its prestigious National Preservation Honor Award. The project was one of 21 national award winners honored by the National Trust during its week-long 2008 National Preservation Conference in Tulsa, OK.

 Modernism is an increasingly important component of preservation, says Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Oak Court reminds us that good design and beauty are timeless. By faithfully respecting Stones original work, the owners have set an extraordinary model for others to follow in preserving
the architectural landmarks of the modernist era.

Co-nominees honored for Oak Courts Honor Award are: Buchanan Architecture, John and Jennifer Eagle (Owners), Sebastian and Associates (General Contractor), Cadwallader Design (Interior Design) and Mesa Design Group (Landscape Design).

 

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