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Hot Property

A Mid-Century Modern with the Most Spectacular Live Oak Tree You’ll Ever See

The East Dallas house has lots of windows looking out into the arbored outdoor spaces.
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A Mid-Century Modern with the Most Spectacular Live Oak Tree You’ll Ever See

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If you ask any of my coworkers, they’ll tell you I have an obsession with trees. Perhaps it’s because I grew up with practically a forest in my backyard. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really been able to shake my hippy Austin roots. Regardless, whenever I’m working on this Hot Property series, I usually dial in on the house’s tree line.

So when I saw the spectacular live oaks at 8712 Rolling Rock Ln., I knew, root and branch, that I had to learn more. The funny thing is, there really aren’t that many trees on the property. There are really only two. In the front yard, a tall live oak towers over the succulents, carport, and roofline. 

In the back, a colossal mature live oak covers the almost the entire yard. Listing agent Brandon Stewart doesn’t know how old it is, but the homeowners have “taken good care of it.” There are support cables to help hold up some of the more-horizontal branches, and they’ve taken care to properly prune it. Plus, the owners built an entire firepit and seating area in the tree’s shade. “It’s just the center point of the backyard,” Stewart says.  

And the trees are a center point inside, too. In true mid-century modern style, the home features lots of windows and skylights, looking out onto the front- and backyard arbors. The homeowner installed wood panels around the windows in the breakfast nook and primary suite, framing the views, “which was a really nice touch, I thought,” says Stewart. 

The house was built in 1956, but not many of its original features remain. While redoing the kitchen, the owners kept the original cooktop and retro vent hood “to kind of throw a nod back to the mid-century modern era.”

Besides the kitchen, the owner updated many aspects of the home. California Closets expanded and redid the pantry and laundry room area. The owner constructed entertainment areas in the front- and backyards and redid the landscaping. They also installed rain chains instead of a downspout as “a more attractive way to get water from the gutter to the ground.”  

While updating the house, the homeowner installed plenty of luxe, custom finishes. There are designer pendant light fixtures throughout—Moooi in the dining room, George Nelson in the primary bedroom, and David Trubridge in the owner’s kid’s room, Stewart says. 

The homeowner also designed the double-sided, open-air gas fireplace in the living room. “It’s very hot,” Stewart says, using fire rocks instead of wood. However, the hearth acts as a focal point and as a divider between the living and dining room spaces. 

There are several thoughtful privacy features throughout the property. During the pandemic, the homeowner installed a screen wall, shielding the front of the house and seating area. The primary bedroom faces the street, and the homeowners “didn’t feel like that was ever a view they really wanted,” Stewart says. So they frosted the front-facing windows in the primary bedroom and bathroom. 

The neighborhood is great, too, says Stewart, who also lives in the area. The far-east Lake Highlands region of the city is a “somewhat obscure pocket” of historic mid-century modern houses. It’s creative and casual, he says, with lots of designers and architects living in the area. 

“I always tell people that I think East Dallas is the most like Austin of any part of Dallas,” he said.

Scroll through the gallery to see more of the home. But don’t get too attached—the house went under contract before this story was finished.

Author

Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…

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