Lost in Space

Atomic Ranch - - Contents - By Les­lie J. Thomp­son Pho­tog­ra­phy by Guadalupe Garza/ Twin Shoot Pho­tog­ra­phy

A rare find, this Dallas home’s unique past plays into its present, with space rock­ets and more nod­ding to its Sput­nik era prove­nance.

First owned by a de­sign en­gi­neer who worked with NASA, this 1958 Dallas home pays homage to the Sput­nik era.

“We like to mix orig­i­nal fur­ni­ture with some of the newer stuff, be­cause you can get great quality now, and all these MID­CEN­TURY LINES have come out.”

In the late 1950s, work­ing men across Amer­ica would come home in the early evening and kick back with a cock­tail be­fore din­ner. Sit­ting in high-back chairs and sip­ping on bour­bon, they lis­tened to record­ings by Frank Si­na­tra, Etta James and Ella Fitzger­ald as the cares of the day melted away.

Home­own­ers David Hag­gard II and his part­ner Tommy Sawyers carry on this tra­di­tion, re­lax­ing most evenings in the hi-fi lounge of their 1958 Dallas, Texas home sur­rounded by the crea­ture com­forts of a by­gone era.

“We’ve al­ways been crazy about Mid­cen­tury Mod­ern and col­lected mid­cen­tury fur­ni­ture,” says David, who 10 years ago moved with his part­ner from Ken­tucky to the Lone Star state to fur­ther

their ca­reers in health­care. Af­ter building a cus­tom home on the lake in Fort Worth, the cou­ple re­ceived a pur­chase of­fer they couldn’t refuse just 10 weeks af­ter mov­ing in, and soon be­gan their quest for a house that fit their retro style.

David kept re­turn­ing to Spark­man Club Es­tates, a cozy neigh­bor­hood in north­west Dallas with dozens of pic­turesque, ranch homes built in the late 1950s. Although well main­tained, few have the clas­sic mid­cen­tury style of David’s res­i­dence, which was de­signed by Arch Swank, Jr., an in­no­va­tive fig­ure of Texas ar­chi­tec­ture.

“The house was fea­tured in the 1958 Pa­rade of Homes,” David says proudly, ad­ding that the pub­li­ca­tion high­lighted its de­sign con­ducive to “in­door/out­door liv­ing for the mod­ern fam­ily.”

Hag­gard’s col­lec­tion of model rock­ets is on a 1:72 scale. A re­pro­duc­tion of the Saturn V Moon Rocket stands next to the mid­cen­tury bar in the Hi-fi Lounge.


The prop­erty was one of only a hand­ful of res­i­dences de­signed by Swank, who is bet­ter known for his com­mer­cial projects, in­clud­ing the Pre­ston Cen­ter branch of Neiman Mar­cus (1952), the semi­con­duc­tor com­plex for Texas In­stru­ments in Richard­son, Texas (1958), and the Great Southwest Cor­po­ra­tion’s in­dus­trial park in the neigh­bor­ing city of Ar­ling­ton (1958). Draw­ings for the Spark­man Club house are on file amid Swank’s works at the Univer­sity of Texas–austin Li­brary, and David has a copy of the orig­i­nal blue­print.

To learn more about the home’s his­tory, David tracked down the orig­i­nal res­i­dents, two of whom still live in the area. Mar­i­anne Ed­wards Mon­toya was only 18 months old when she and her fam­ily moved into the prop­erty. Her fa­ther de­signed cock­pits and

fre­quently trav­eled back and forth be­tween Dallas and Hous­ton for projects with NASA. He re­mar­ried af­ter his first wife passed away, and in 1967, he built an ad­di­tion as a pi­ano stu­dio for his new bride, which to­day is the master bed­room.


The re­main­der of the house re­tains its orig­i­nal foot­print, with sky­lights and floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows flood­ing the space with nat­u­ral light. How­ever, the in­te­rior has been twice re­mod­eled, with the most re­cent owner tak­ing it down to the studs to cre­ate a more open floor plan be­tween the kitchen, din­ing and liv­ing spa­ces. “It’s like hav­ing a brand-new house with ev­ery­thing we like,” David says.

The things he likes in­cludes a col­lec­tion of Sput­nik-era mem­o­ra­bilia, from framed prints of LIFE mag­a­zine fea­tur­ing the first as­tro­nauts and their wives to model rock­ets that sit atop a tall mid­cen­tury bar. The rest of the home is metic­u­lously dec­o­rated with vin­tage and re­pro­duc­tion fur­ni­ture and home

“The house was fea­tured in the 1958 Pa­rade of Homes for Dallas.”

ac­ces­sories, in­clud­ing loungers by Eames and Mul­hauser, Ma­jes­tic Z boomerang ta­ble lamps, rare 1950s Mirro Medal­lion can­dle­sticks, and an orig­i­nal paint­ing by Mod­ernist artist Char­lie Harper. On the back pa­tio, a vin­tage Ames Aire pa­tio set and chaise lounges pro­vide a place for guests to re­lax by the pool.

“We like to mix orig­i­nal fur­ni­ture with some of the newer stuff, be­cause you can get great quality now, and all these mid­cen­tury lines have come out,” David says, ad­mit­ting that his affin­ity for ac­quir­ing new finds bor­ders on ob­ses­sive. He quips, “We keep wait­ing for it to not be pop­u­lar, so we can ac­tu­ally buy the things we love.”

"It’s like hav­ing a brand-new house with ev­ery­thing we like.”

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