Tour features 8 homes in historic Greenway Parks
When Jim Pusateri’s best friend, John Solis, died two years ago of AIDS, Pusateri knew he wanted to find a way to honor his friend. What he came up with was the “Summer Strut Home Tour,” an event to benefit the Resource Center of Dallas.
“John did not have a lot of money, but he was always willing to give whatever he could to help his friends and his family,” Pusateri said. “I wanted to do something that would honor his memory by giving something back to the community.”
The first home tour last summer was a resounding success, with all of the 250 tickets available sold, according to Catherine Mouton, special events coordinator for the Resource Center of Dallas.
This year’s tour will be even bigger and better, Mouton said, featuring eight homes from the unique Greenway Parks neighborhood, and with 400 tickets available.
A 150-acre Dallas neighborhood designed in 1927 by David R Williams, Greenway Parks was the first pedestrian-oriented community in Dallas, according to a website devoted to the area.
It was designed in the “English commons” tradition of clustering houses around a series of open private parkways. Most of the homes were designed with their main entrances facing the park in the center of the neighborhood, rather than the bordering streets.
The neighborhood, bordered by University Boulevard on the north and Mockingbird Lane on the south, is home to about 300 families, the website said.
“All eight of the homes on the tour are absolutely amazing,” Mouton said. “All of these homes have been restored to immaculate condition, and most have the most gorgeous views of the park through their windows. It’s almost like being in a tree house and looking out.”
One of the highlights of the tour will be the house located at 5381 Nakoma St. It was designed by Howard Meyer in 1950 for Ben A. Lipshey and was restored to its original character in 1982 by Jim and Carolyn Clark.
Meyer had met Frank Lloyd Wright while working in New York and had taken much of his inspiration from the famous architect.
In its original form, the house on Nakoma was appointed with rich natural materials and streamlined modern details. Subsequent owners altered the interior with appointments inappropriate for the architectural style of the residence. But when the Clarks became the house’s fourth owners in 1982 they sought Meyer’s assistance in restoring the house to its original character, the Greenway Parks website said.
In his zeal to restore the house as closely as possible to its original condition, Meyer brought a metal worker out of retirement to stamp replacement pieces for the casement windows and insisted that all of the rounded switch plates be replaced with the proper 45 degree bevel, the website noted.
The house received the Dallas/American Institute of Architects’ 25 Year Award in 1996, which honors structures more than 25 years old. It is considered to be one of Meyer’s finest designs and was named as one of the most architecturally significant homes in Dallas by D Magazine.
“It is an absolutely unbelievable home, and we are thrilled to have it on the tour,” Mouton said.
Pusateri said a central social tent will be set up in the neighborhood’s park area where those attending the event can gather to talk and to enjoy the entertainment and refreshments that will be provided. Pusateri and other representatives of the Resource Center will also give a brief talk about the center and its programs, he said.
Mouton said that parking is available on streets throughout the neighborhood, and that a check-in tent will be conveniently located. A Resource Center staff member will be on duty in each house on the tour and docents will be available to answer questions. But, Mouton said, the tour is not guided.
“We will have maps available with descriptions of each house, and there will be people there to answer basic questions about the houses,” she said. “But once you buy your ticket, you have three hours to spend going through the houses, and it is up to you to decide how to spend that time.”
Tickets for the Summer Strut Home Tour are $50 per individual or $90 per couple. Tickets are limited and are available online at www.rcdallas.org.
The event takes place Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 2, 2006.