Designer Meredith McBrearty and architect Ryan Street reprise the suburban swagger of the American 20th century—and its mastery of the wondrous, wide-open lawn.
he Dallas neighborhood of Greenway Parks is a century-old, leafy enclave that’s barely a five-minute drive from downtown but feels like a world away. It’s a place where families tend to put down roots, so when Katie and Kyle Oudt began to feel like they’d outgrown their traditionally styled 1940s house, they didn’t stray far. For several years they’d lived on a lot abutting one of the shared green spaces that helps give the community its distinctive character, and when the opportunity arose to buy two adjacent parcels just a few streets away, they jumped. Though not next to one of the parks, the site did have the benefit of being right across the street from Kyle’s parents.
“They were ready to live in a different, more contemporary way and were looking for a total one-eighty from their other home,” says Meredith McBrearty, the Atlanta-based designer who oversaw the interiors of the Oudts’ previous residence as well as their current one. “At the same time, they didn’t want a steel-and-stone box that was painted hospital white on the inside. The home needed to be warm and comfortable.”
With that in mind, McBrearty advised the couple to bring in as her collaborators Austin architect Ryan Street and landscape architect Bill Bauer, whose firm, Garden Design Studio, has offices in Austin and Dallas. During the initial consultations on what turned out to be a four-year project, the clients expressed admiration for some of the modernist homes in Greenway Parks, which was developed gradually over decades and features a diversity of architectural styles. “When we drove around the neighborhood, they pointed to examples of pretty pure midcentury architecture, homes that look like Richard Neutra
or Rudolph Schindler could have designed them,” says Street. “And so we took that as inspiration—the horizontal lines, very clean, with deep overhangs.”
In Street’s two-story, four-bedroom design, those overhangs are lined with warming planks of honey-hued Douglas fir that extend into interior spaces, as do the walls of dry-stack gray Lueders limestone used throughout. “The aesthetic is consistent: clean and simple lines, natural materials utilized in a very sophisticated, modern way,” says the architect.
From the outset, it was clear that one of the defining elements of the house would be an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living, with strong visual and physical connections between the interior and exterior. Expanses of steel-framed glass provide abundant light and views and, in the family room, the door slides wide open for free-flowing access to the spacious covered terrace, the fire pit and swimming pool, and the tract of flat lawn beyond.