As urban dwellers will attest, one of the biggest drawbacks to city living is the lack of private outdoor space.
It’s a shortcoming that prompts many to pack up and head for the suburbs—a migration pattern that could be intensifying in the coronavirus era, as fresh air and space to stretch out become more precious than ever. These days, there’s no shortage of stories about urbanites fleeing for greener pastures.
For those craving suburban amenities, but who aren’t quite ready to give up their urban lifestyle, a new single-family housing development in Dallas could serve as a good example of how to get the best of both worlds.
"This is unlike anything that’s ever been done in the city," says Brent Jackson, who heads the real estate firm behind the project, Oaxaca Interests.
Called Haciendas, the speculative development is located in West Dallas—a long-neglected area that has undergone significant investment in recent years, leading to an influx of new residents and a budding cultural scene.
The project is being constructed on a patchwork of vacant parcels near Interstate 30, in an area dotted with modest, older dwellings. The site is just two miles from the center of downtown.
While duplexes and apartment buildings are sprouting up in the densifying district, Haciendas offers something a bit different: the chance to own a standalone, modern home on a lot ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 square feet. Each single-story residence comes with a yard and a carport, and prices start at $589,000.
"We want to sell to the buyer who wants to own urban property with a large amount of land, relatively speaking," says Jackson.
In addition to a piece of land to call their own, buyers will get a home designed by one of Texas’s preeminent studios, Lake|Flato Architects.
A practitioner of regional modernism, the award-winning firm—which has offices in San Antonio and Austin—is well known for infusing its buildings with a high level of craftsmanship and respect for context.
For the Haciendas project, the firm created three separate floor plans, all of which share a contemporary design vocabulary and an emphasis on indoor/outdoor living.
The dwellings, which range from 1,550 to 1,850 square feet, are intended to attract first-time homebuyers, along with empty nesters and down-sizers.
"The Haciendas were designed as a new type of adaptable urban infill that can appeal to a variety of lifestyles," says Grace Boudewyns, an architect at Lake|Flato. "The primary goal is to promote outdoor living as an extension of the home."
Each floor plan holds a minimum of two bedrooms, along with two bathrooms, a laundry facility, and an open-concept living/dining area.
One plan is roughly T-shaped, while another is comprises offset bars joined at the center. The third features a trio of volumes neatly organized around a central courtyard.
The plans are configured to make the most of deep, slender lots.
The dwellings look nothing like a traditional cookie-cutter home. Austere, boxy volumes are topped with gabled or hipped roofs that are flush with exterior walls, creating a crisp silhouette; the roofs are covered in metal panels coated with Kynar, a type of plastic that provides extra strength and protection.
For the facades, buyers can choose between corrugated metal in shades of white and gray, or stucco with a hard-troweled finish that resembles concrete. Glazed apertures are carefully placed in response to the region’s intense summer heat.
Inside, one finds a bright and cheerful atmosphere: Concrete flooring is paired with creamy walls and white trim. Tall windows and glazed doors enable natural light to stream in while also providing a connection to the outdoors, including that vast Texan sky.
At the heart of the dwelling is the living/dining area, where vaulted ceilings help the space feel particularly expansive.
Physical and mental well-being were key concerns for the project.
In turn, the team used non-toxic materials and added special features such as ultraviolet-light air purifiers—a nice perk during a pandemic.
The inclusion of outdoor space is also part of the wellness strategy. Private yards give owners the chance to plant a garden, install a fire pit, or set up a playground for the little ones.
Enclosing the yards is greenery-laced, mesh fencing, which affords privacy while maintaining a sense of openness. Outdoor areas were conceived by Hocker, a Dallas-based landscape architecture firm.
So far, interest in the Haciendas development has been promising. The first four houses have been completed, two of which are under contract. Jackson said the healthy living elements have been a big draw.
"It was really important for us to incorporate wellness into the home, and it’s proven to be of great interest," he said. "These homes give owners the chance to focus more on quality of life."
More by Lake|Flato Architects:
Civil Engineer: Westfall Engineering
Environmental/Health Consultant: Jesse Arter
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