Mary Candace Evan’s On Case Study Homes

Classic modernist Case Study Houses were born in California in the 1950s. They’re back, this time in Dallas and with a whole new aesthetic.


Featuring clean lines, large windows, and environmentally friendly designs, case study homes are popping up around town.

Modernism. It’s sweeping Dallas like a thunderstorm, scattering pockets of clean, uncluttered lines from Main Street to the ’burbs. Case in point: Case Study Homes Inc., developed by Doug Hildinger, AIA, is building modern, affordable, and environmentally friendly homes modeled after the 1940s Case Study Houses. They may just be another nail in the McMansion’s coffin.

Doug Hildinger of Case Studies Homes Inc. is building modern, affordable, environmentally friendly homes around Dallas. photography by Jeremy Sharp

Most architects know Case Study Houses as a building project in post-World War II California. The experimental program opened a new chapter in the erection of contemporary “everyman” homes. Coming off the heels of the Depression and war rationing, the design community was eager to create homes for thousands of returning soldiers. John Entenza, editor and publisher of Arts and Architecture, commissioned eight offices in 1945 to introduce modernist homes and make them affordable and functional for the average family. Almost 400,000 people toured the first Case Study Houses during a time when banks, fearing no resale value, refused to finance them. The designs were avant-garde: glass walls, open plans, no dining rooms, and flat roofs. Times have changed. Some of the most recent sales of Case Study Houses in LA fetched 90 to 125 percent of the original cost.

“We’re not imitating the original designs by any means,” Hildinger says. “This is more about the original idea of living in small, well-designed modernist developments.” He plans to erect clusters of three to six homes in various established Dallas neighborhoods from White Rock Lake to Kessler Park. Each home will receive an Energy Star rating, recycle rainwater for irrigation, and feature gobs of glass, deep overhangs, space-savvy floor plans of 2,500 to 3,500 square feet, and green construction.

“We’ll use environmentally friendly materials,” says Hildinger, a Dallas native and son of two architects who still live in their self-designed contemporary Garland home. “No mahogany in these homes.”

Quinones Goes West
Julio Quinones, fresh from his 10th high school reunion, has been spending a lot of time in Santa Fe, N.M., decorating the 8,000-square-foot second home of a local couple (he did their Dallas home as well) on a 3-acre lot overlooking the Sangre de Cristo mountains. “I feel like it’s right out of Hollywood,” Quinones says. “It has an amazing garden with fresh fruit trees and mounds of fresh lavender, roses, and strawberries.” He would know Hollywood—for more than a year Quinones has been working on a Paul Williams-designed home in Beverly Hills on the same street where Madonna owns a house. The client is a relative of one of Quinones’ Dallas clients. And despite a large budget, he has only bought two items—the client accepts only blue-chip furniture. The kind of stuff where people have to die before you can get your hands on it, such as a Gio Ponti light fixture.

As for his reunion, he says that in school he was not voted most likely to succeed (their mistake), but he was definitely the most outgoing.

Around Town
The next time you step into ID Collection, wear sunglasses and SPF 45. Between the new rock crystal chandeliers from Panache and a new mirror line (APF out of New York City), the showroom is lit up like Armstrong Parkway on Christmas Eve. Also showing: Grey Watkins and Fonthill Ltd.’s traditional fabric lines. Kathryn M. Ireland has also moved her fabric collection to ID.

Up on the Miracle Mile, John Phifer Marrs has added stylist Cheryl Ketner, whom he’s known since their Sanger-Harris days, to work with clients’ existing furnishings, arrange closets and homes, and tweak as her talented eye sees fit. Some clients never buy anything new after Ketner gets inside their houses.

If you notice some designers flashing big bills on Slocum Street, don’t think it’s because they won the state lottery. Cheryl Van Duyne, Julio Quinones, Debra Walker, and Richard Gordon with Marilyn Rolnick Tonkon all won “Slocum Shopping Sprees” at the Slocum Street announcement party in late September at Aldredge House.

A Bush Library
The Bush family is coming to town—former President Bush and first lady Barbara, that is—for the fifth annual Celebration of Reading at the Meyerson Center on Nov. 13. Their visit has kept Jim Williamson at ID Collection burning the midnight oil researching all things presidential, including protocol…and books. ID is charged with designing a presidential library-esque stage set for the event. Authors for the evening include John Berendt, Elizabeth Ironside, Jill Conner Browne, and Greta Van Susteren. Looking down on all the scribes will be a 1928 portrait of the first Mrs. Douglas MacArthur, Standard Oil heiress Louise Cromwell Brooks, by renowned artist Alfred Smith. When ID sent word about the painting to aides of the former first lady, they were concerned that the portrait might upstage Mrs. Bush. But when she saw the the portrait, Barbara was reportedly thrilled and gave her blessing.


photography by Stephen Karlisch

Designer Richard Trimble‘s firm is remodeling the 10,000-square-foot former home of Dallas tycoon Tom Hicks at 3640 Beverly Dr. Trimble is replacing the exterior brick with limestone, installing a red tile roof, revamping the interiors including the stairway, kitchen, all surfaces, and updating some floor plans and the exterior sports court. “The home will be in the style of the Palm Beach Mediterranean mansion,” Trimble says.


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