Affordable Urban Architecture with the "Away from it All" Feel (Dallas, Texas)

Located 5 min from Downtown Dallas & Bishop Arts, overlooking the Dallas Zoo. Featured on the 2017 Oak Cliff Home Tour.

ABOUT THE HOUSE | A Letter from the Designer

I studied architecture with the goal of making elegant, eco-friendly homes something every family can afford. After years of designing homes that cost as little as cars ($10K - $40K), I realized there’s not enough focus on innovating and improving homes for everyday families.

This home was designed to bring luxury architecture into a price range many families can afford ($250K to $350K). I designed it as the “dream home” I would love to live in myself. Then my clients took the dream and made it their own. We focused on quality of space over quantity, sought constant connection to nature, considered ways to use common materials creatively, and challenged ourselves to make every space a special experience—and each space better than the last.

People often think this house is much larger than it really is (1,888 S.F.), and wonder why such a home was built in a low-income neighborhood surrounded by $50K to $75K homes. It was built here because it belongs here; among everyday families on affordable land immersed in natural beauty that’s difficult to beat.

You enter through an almost hidden front door and immediately, it all makes sense. You find yourself immersed in the trees with soft sunlight shining through walls of glass. Art ushers you in. As you consider where to sit around the table or in the living room you realize each seat has its own special view. No one is left out. Entertaining in the home is cozy with 5 guests—but with the outdoor patios as expansion space—comfortable with 50.

Cut off from everything outside but beauty, the weight and stress of the world outside wanes. Gravity begins to disappear as you realize the house is hovering above the ground immersed in treetops and sky. Even the structural parts of the house disguise themselves as sculpture. The glass turns corners where columns should be. Certain walls curve or angle slightly—softening the strong lines that make modern homes cold/harsh, and blurring borders between spaces so that each can be small but special by sharing square footage and vistas.

It may seem like you’ve seen it all, but as you begin to leave you notice there’s still more. The stairs which were hidden as you entered the home now beckon upward as you leave. Unlike many homes whose beginnings are grand but whose private spaces and bedrooms are bland, this home was designed with the hope that no space would disappoint: even the oft-mundane ones like bathrooms, bedrooms, and stairs. Isn’t it true that many of the best experiences in life come from making the most out of the little things?

That’s what I hope more houses can be. Not boxes that people must squeeze their lives into, but spaces full of special experiences, small joys, and sunshine. I dream of every family on earth being able to afford their own home—and not just any home, but one that makes them truly happy and doesn't burden them with debt.

- T. Lukas Petrash, eco-architect & founder of Adia | Affordable Design Innovation Architecture