Douglas Newby Insights

Neighborhoods, Architects, Architecture, Design, Dallas, and Organic Urbanism

Bucolic Highland Park

There are many reasons to love Highland Park. The pragmatic reasons include great schools, police and fire departments, safety, and beautiful homes with economic appreciation. Maybe the best reason to love Highland Park is the emotional satisfaction of living in a bucolic township just a couple of miles from downtown Dallas and the Arts District. My favorite Highland Park residential site has become the one at 3925 Potomac Avenue in the Mount Vernon neighborhood. This street ends at Turtle Creek, which eliminates traffic. Rush hour in front of the home might mean that one or two housekeepers in the afternoon are leaving for the day. While photographing the architecturally significant home architect Hal Thomson designed at 3925 Potomac, I found myself in the middle of the street for over an hour without a single car going by. Highland Park is filled with beautiful parks and homes with acreage that contribute to the bucolic atmosphere of Highland Park. We sometimes forget how nice it is to have Dallas’ oldest country club and golf course in the middle of Highland Park just around the corner from Highland Park Village. Arriving at the home at 3925 Potomac, one is greeted by a backdrop of Turtle Creek, pictured here, lined with layers of large and ornamental trees that allow a filtered view of expansive green of the golf course behind it. This view continues from the front yard, dining room and upstairs bedroom. Highland Park is one of the few locations that offers so many city amenities and residential sites totally embraced by nature. *Bucolic Highland Park
#PotomacAvenue #3925Potomac #HighlandPark #TurtleCreek #HalThomson #Architect #Landscape #Bucolic #Dallas #Neighborhood #DallasCountryClub #DallasGolfCourse #ArchitecturallySignificant #MountVernonNeighborhood

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Tribute in Orange

When one is invited to a birthday celebration for maybe the most admired woman in Dallas, and the invitation says all guests must wear orange, what would you wear? I imagined, at this architecturally significant Volk Estates home, an orange velvet rope at the entry hall in the spirit of Studio 54 would allow access depending on the vibe and attire of the guest. Sure enough, those attending this well curated birthday party wore orange with verve. Artists including three internationally published photographers, several authors, a celebrity chef, sophisticated philanthropists, business titans and art patrons filled the party. Entertainment included a magnificent opera singer that preceded the guests singing Happy Birthday to the celebrant whose favorite color is orange.

An architectural observation that I often note when I am in an architecturally significant home like this one designed by architectural firm Greene, LaRoche & Dahl, one can see into five or six or in this case seven separate rooms while standing in one room of the home. Also in one room, one can see sunlight or nature illuminated in all four directions. Besides allowing sunlight to flow in from several different directions, at a party one can easily see guests one would like to say hello to several rooms away. It is worth mentioning that this estate home is very large, but since it is just one or two rooms deep, each room feels intimate and connected to nature while being part of a grand architectural gesture. There is so much to love about Dallas, but when one is surrounded by wonderful people who love Dallas, one’s affection for the city continues to grow. This is how I answered the question above. I elected to wear a Savile Row bespoke double-breasted linen jacket by tailor John Coggins, an Hermes orange tie, a pocket square also by Hermes, boutonniere by Park Cities Petals, trousers by Incotex, and orange tinted glasses selected and created by Reece Barton of Barton Perriera in the meatpacking district. *Tribute in Orange
#VolkEstates #GreeneLaRocheDahl #orange #boutonniere #DallasParty #ParkCitiesPetals @Reecebarton #SavileRow #Architect #ArchitecturallySignificant #EstateHome #Dallas

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Architect’s Home

Hal Thomson, the godfather of Dallas architects, designed this home at 3925 Potomac Avenue for himself and his family. Soon I will be offering this home for sale. Homes that architects designed for themselves always fascinate me. Which location, neighborhood and site did they select? What style did they choose? After Hal Thomson earned his architecture degree at MIT, finished his tour of Europe and became the society architect for Dallas patrons, it is easy to understand why he selected for his own home Highland Park as the location, Mount Vernon as the neighborhood, and the second lot up the hill from Hackberry Creek on Potomac Avenue for the site. This was the perfect site for the home he designed for himself and his family as the forested hill was perfect for a New England style home that blended into the neighborhood and in the interior of the home reflected the architectural grandeur and detail of the majestic homes he designed in Highland Park. A front facade easement will maintain the architectural magnificence of this home. *Architect’s Home
#3925PotomacAvenue #ArchitecturallySignificant #HighlandPark #MountVernon #Architect #Architecture #ArchitectHalThomson #HackberryCreek #DallasNeighborhood #Dallas

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Looking Forward

From the year 2023 platform of confusion, uncertainty, and also some major successes, we can look forward in Dallas to many great and favorable things that will propel the city in 2024, including:

The completion of the best collection of architect-designed eclectic and modern homes in Dallas in decades.

A greater number of architect-designed historic homes preserved as both sellers and buyers have a greater interest in architecturally significant homes. Preservation deed restrictions that have successfully worked for my clients for many years will be more prevalently utilized in 2024.

The trend and devastating silliness infecting cities that allow ADUs and apartments in single-family zoned neighborhoods will be thwarted in Dallas. Dallas has a strong history of supporting single-family zoned neighborhoods that Dallas residents understand contribute to the stability and vibrancy of the city. Fashionable urban policy promoted by itinerant planners and a minority of City Councilmembers will be resoundingly rejected by the homeowners in Dallas.

Dallas will double down on its historical vision of Dallas being a city for residents to enjoy and prosper. Parks, trees, safety, and wealth creation for every resident will resonate with people from other cities who will continue to move to Dallas. Dallas is now third in the country for Family Offices. One could say the smart money is on the future of Dallas.

#2024 #ArchitectDesigned #ArchitecturallySignificant #HighlandPark #HighlandParkVillage #SingleFamilyZoning #Density #Architect #HistoricHomes #PreservationDeedRestrictions
#Dallas #ADUs

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Holiday Connections

Cafe Pacific naturally attracts family and friends to connect during the holidays. People congregate at church, sacred spaces and each other’s homes, but part of the holiday tradition is connecting with those important in our lives at Cafe Pacific. Cafe Pacific is the inspiration of Jack Knox, who curates the look, feel and staff at this iconic restaurant that provides the elegance of a special occasion and the warmth and familiarity that makes it feel like a family restaurant for all generations. In December, Cafe Pacific becomes even more alive. The entire month is filled with gift exchanges, selfies, toasts, connecting and reconnecting with friends, family and clients. Pictured is Terry Cook, an incredibly talented chef, and Dieter Krappl, the best restaurant manager in Dallas. They have made this December the best Christmas month in 45 years at Cafe Pacific. Every server, busser, hostess and assistant manager have contributed to the Cafe Pacific magic. Scroll through and you can see examples of tranquility and elegance, diligence, and even the occasional light show at Cafe Pacific, and party drinks being served. Looking forward to another year at Cafe Pacific, which represents the best of Highland Park, Highland Park Village, and the incredible people who enjoy this special place. Congratulations to Jack Knox on his great success. I am looking forward to more of Cafe Pacific triumphs in 2024. Thank you! *Holiday Connections

#CafePacific #HighlandPark #HighlandParkVillage #DallasChef #TerryCook #DieterKrappl #DallasRestaurant #HolidayRestaurant @CafePacificDallas

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Christmas Sweater

With a day after Christmas 9 o’clock in the morning meeting with a buyer, their architect and contractor, I instinctively reached for a Christmas sweater I had just received. Books, bikes, art represent the kinds of Christmas presents I am nostalgic about, but it is surprising how many Christmas sweaters I received as a child or an adult that I recall–some elaborate, some hearty, some delicate. This is just a simple cotton sweater, but it still provided me a holiday punch for the morning. The meeting at a listing of mine, a historic home in Preston Hollow, also brought back some memories. The contractor Taylor Stark introduced himself as having met me when he was six months old. I told him I recalled perfectly the event. I had originated and every year sponsored the Restoration House of the Year Award. That year his parents had won the award for a home they had restored. Four television stations and print media covered the presentation by Mayor Starke Taylor of this restoration award. This was Mayor Taylor’s first official ceremony as mayor. When the recipient Jerry Stark was receiving the award, he said it was even more exciting to be presented this award by Mayor Starke Taylor since he and his wife had named their 6-month-old son Taylor Stark. And then at the December 26th meeting, architect Jay Smith reminded me we had met 13 years ago when I sponsored the Dallas Arboretum AIA Tree House Exhibition. Jay had independently submitted an entry, and his tree house received first place over all the large architectural firms that had entered. You can see many of these fabulous tree houses on my website ( Jay’s tree house was pictured on the front cover of Texas Architects. Adding to the fun, he reminded me that I pulled out his name in a drawing for a one-week stay at a tree house resort in Oregon.

Sentiment and past experiences can launch worthwhile new experiences and relationships. A new Christmas sweater always adds vibrancy to the day. *Christmas Sweater

#DallasArchitect #JaySmith #TaylorStark #StarkeTaylor #RestorationHouseoftheYearAward #Treehouse #ChristmasSweater #MungerPlace #Dallas

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Christmas Tradition

I love how Christmas trees express Christmas traditions. The lead image is of a tree in a 115-year-old historic home. The image of the second Christmas tree is in one of my favorite modern homes, designed by Wernerfield Architects. It is in Northern Hills and is the same size and distance from downtown as the first home but is only 15 years old. The third home is in the Loire Valley and several hundred years old, owned by friends I first met on a sidewalk in Northern Hills. What links these home is the art. The first image is in a room with the art of Tremont artist (artist that lived or spent time on Tremont Street) David McManaway, David Bates and John Alexander, and a piece by artist Thierry Diers acquired at a Parisian art gallery. The second image shows a painting by Tremont artist Bill Komodore. The third image of a tree is in a room with a painting also by artist Thierry Diers.

Another thought that crosses by mind when I am making this Christmas post is that even at a glance, one thinks of all of these homes as single-family homes, whether they are on a standard city lot or on a vast amount of hectares. The current crazed movement of reducing the number of single-family homes with apartments is more than just about the detriments of density. The density movement takes away individual expression homeowners convey in their homes and replaces it with generic functionality. I love good homes of all ages, styles and sizes. I enjoy homes even more they express the personality of the owner. Hoping you will continue to celebrate your aesthetic, Christmas tradition and have much holiday joy. Merry Christmas. #ChristmasTradition @ThierryDiers #TremontArtist #Christmas #ChristmasTree #MungerPlace #ModernHome #HistoricHome #LoireValley #NorthernHills #singlefamilyhomes #MerryChristmas

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SMU Departs Conference

Most of SMU’s opponents are schools which I never can remember, properly identify or that invoke the sense of a collegiate powerhouse. Ed Ruscha has a series of paintings at his MoMA Retrospective that looks like he had taken a campus tour of SMU opponents. If you scroll through, you will see the schools as I imagine them – Tech-Chem Tigers, Trade School Exterminators, Urban Tech Guardians and the Fargo Fat Boys.

I am pleased that SMU will begin playing collegiate powerhouses that will make it feel like a real football season – Stanford, Pitt, Florida State, Duke and other iconic universities. The exhibition also included magnificent paintings of Standard Oil gas stations reminiscent of Edward Hopper, other paintings that explore onomatopoeic words that add another layer with his expression of lettering and paintings using many unimaginable materials. But his greatest contribution for me was memorializing what I will always remember as the former opponents of SMU. *SMU Departs Conference
#MoMA @TheMuseumofModernArt #EdRuscha #SMU #CollegeFootball #ACC #Art #Paintings #Design #architecture

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The Cradle of Dallas Architecture

Swiss Avenue is the cradle of Dallas architecture and architecturally significant homes. Hal Thomson is the godfather of Dallas architects. Henry B. Thomson (Hal Thomson), a society architect, after he took a grand tour of Europe, made his mark on Swiss Avenue. The Aldredge house and this Georgian style home at 5323 Swiss Avenue that I just sold, quickly comes to mind when one thinks of Hal Thomson. Just look at the detailing on the brackets under the soffits and on the fascia. The detail here is more elaborate and intricate than what is found on most fireplace mantels.

Twenty-five years ago, I sold this home for the Fraser family that had owned it for 50 years. The property had been maintained but otherwise untouched, accentuating the genius of architect Hal Thomson. After that sale, the home was remodeled, but fell into a state of disrepair. The next owner rescued it, preparing it for my friends and fabulous clients, Elise and John Willding, to purchase and continue to restore and refine the home.

The homes on Swiss Avenue continue to be improved, and the importance of these homes become even more pronounced as homes by Hal Thomson, Fooshee and Cheek, Lang and Witchell, and others continue to be torn down in Highland Park. Congratulations to John and Elise for acquiring one of the best houses on Swiss Avenue and one of the most significant homes in Dallas. Many thanks for their appreciation of historic and architecturally significant homes. Scroll through to see additional photographs of this home. *The Cradle of Dallas Architecture
#SwissAvenue #HistoricHomes #DallasArchitecture #ArchitecturallySignificantHomes #HalThomson #DallasArchitects #SocietyArchitect #AldredgeHouse #5323SwissAvenue
#GeorgianStyle #HighlandPark #JohnWillding @johnwillding #EliseWillding

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High-Low style, fashion, and interior design can be quite pleasing. I find the State Fair of Texas to be an example of High-Low culture being pleasing. The State Fair is held at Fair Park, which is almost an art gallery of architecturally significant buildings spread through the park. These buildings were designed by the best Dallas architects from the first half of the 20th century. They included architect Mark Lemmon, architect John Danna, and architect George Dahl. These architects also designed architecturally significant homes in Dallas that I have sold. The State Fair also provides what some might consider low culture, like country music, fair food, fireworks, amusement rides, midway games and the parade. Since my fourth grade 40-page handwritten report on fairs, I have always been fascinated by fairs of all types. The Texas State Fair has special appeal, I think, because it is not just in a convention hall or on sawdust covered grounds, but it is placed in a very elegant park of architecturally significant structures. On opening day and evening, the fair goers and fair workers share high spirits. The fairgrounds are fresh and clean, not too crowded, and there is a flow of contagious excitement and joy. I have included a couple of parade pictures just to remind me of the carefree fun that emanates from the State Fair of Texas. *High-Low
#StateFairofTexas #Fair #Dallas #StateFair #Architecture #Architect #ArchitectMarkLemmon #ArchitectJohnDanna #ArchiectGeorgeDahl #ArchitecturallySignificant #Fairgrounds #Parade #CountryMusic #statefairoftx

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