Earlier this year, we lost Frank Welch. Known as “the dean of Texas architects,” he is credited with infusing modern design to the state’s more traditional architecture style, bringing simplicity and subtlety to his projects. He also fostered a community for his compatriots and those who looked up to him. For decades, he held a table at the Qudrangle on Monday afternoons for those very people to gather and share a chat over martinis and wine.
Earlier this month, his final project hit the market. The home was built in 2015; it’s a peaceful ode to the open design and bright rooms that manifest in his work throughout his career. And now, his own personal Oak Lawn town home is looking for a buyer. Associate Editor Caitlin Clark put together a gallery of images from it.
Here’s how our Peter Simek described it in a profile he wrote for D Home before Welch’s death:
Finding myself in a home inhabited by the man who designed it almost feels like occupying a self-portrait. Welch’s modest living quarters offer a picture of understatement. The layout resembles a railroad-style apartment: long and narrow, with a living room that blurs into the dining area, wrapping around a kitchen on its way toward the back bedroom. Unlike many of the images of homes Welch has designed throughout his illustrious career, which pivot on a sense of clarity and restraint, the architect’s own home is clogged with stuff: antique furniture, piles of books, abstract paintings, end tables and armoires filled with photographs, African artifacts, piles of Broadway and opera CDs. It feels less clean Texas modernism and more lived-in Parisian chic.
Still, I’ve been told that to appreciate Welch’s work, you must avoid seeking out architectural signatures or stylistic flourishes and instead concentrate on the details. They’re here: the flush trim with quarter-inch reveals, the hand-cast St. Joe Louisiana brick, the blonde-white oak floors. These accents, as Max Levy puts it to me later, allow Welch to “stitch the house together.” The details support the broader project, which is to create spaces that are defined by their legibility, sense of proportion, balance, and scale. They are buildings designed so you hardly notice their design at all, and yet you can’t help but feel the effect of understated grace. It all reminds me of Claude Debussy’s description of music as the “space between the notes.”
The home is on the edge of Oak Lawn and Highland Park, tucked between Abbott Avenue and the Katy Trail, which you can access through a private gate on Welch’s property. It’s almost 3,000 square feet, is on the market for $1.18 million.