Nestled on the far north end of Strait Lane, there’s a slice of property that backs into Bachman Creek. Despite being behind The Hockaday School and on one of the most coveted streets in Dallas, this house makes you forget you’re in the big city. The transitional modern Prairie School home is simply an extension of the tree-lined backyard that slopes down to the creek.

“Once I walked onto that lot, I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, what a beautiful place’ for a main view access for the entire design,” architect Douglas Guiling says.

A floor-to-ceiling Mondrian window is the focal point of the spacious great room and what drove the design of the home. One design principle for the home’s floorplan is guiding people to let them find those views as a surprise. There’s a little bridge on the second floor that allows you to look through the window from 12 feet up. The design motif is picked up in the master ensuite with a similar smaller window. In college, Guiling read Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language,” a book that highlights some 300 patterns. Several of those, including windows that frame a view, stuck with him.

“I think a lot of people are drawn to the multipaned design because you can kind of frame a little view of a squirrel in the tree across the creek,” he says. “If you back up, then you perceive it as a big piece of artwork that really frames the end of that room.”

All In The Details
Design Style
Transitional Modern Prairie School

Strait Lane
7264 Square feet
1/2 acre creek lot
5 full baths
2 powder baths
Outdoor kitchen

Finishing Touches
Rift cut white oak cabinetry
Bronze hardware


Elements of the property are found throughout the house. A small space in the utility room is dedicated as a wash up spot for pets or children.

“Knowing that the creek was going to be so much fun for either a dog or a small or big child, you can completely hose the children or the puppy dog without completely destroying the interior of the home,” Guiling says.

There’s limestone in the creek and there’s limestone in the house. Rather than have a stark modern edifice, stucco and wood in the same palette of the trees and the sand were used for the exterior.

“Even though it’s man-made, hopefully it kind of blends in with the site rather than stand in contrast,” Guiling says. “The other thing we did was put some wide-over sailing eaves on it, so that the house tends to hug the ground.”

The Prairie style, developed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is conducive to the Texas weather. The wide eaves of the home protect windows, and provide shade and water protection, making it more energy and maintenance efficient.  A touch of modern craftsman influence is found in railings through the home.

The 7,250 square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bathroom home is Douglas Guiling Architects’ foray into residential design. Old high school friend Tom Grecio, the late prolific home builder, introduced Guiling to Galaxy Modern’s Janelle Alcantara. She showed Guiling the empty lot and it took him several months to design the spec-to-sell home.  It took about 11 months to build; it sold in three weeks.

“There’s a separate relationship between the designer, the architect and the contractor. In our instance, the architect essentially was the contractor,” Guiling said.

Alcantara helped Guiling in making sure the home belonged on Strait Lane. The $3 million-dollar home has more than 600 square feet allocated to a bar, kitchen with a large island, catering kitchen, a formal dining room and wine cellar, making it the perfect place for entertaining.

His wife Ellen Guiling was designer for the home. They’ve been working as a duo for the majority of the company’s 30 year history and have been part of the neighborhood since they were children. Both of them attended Thomas C. Marsh Preparatory Academy and W.T. White High School. Their current home is less than two miles from the Strait Lane home.

“It’s kind of in the heart of Dallas, you might say,” Guiling says. “And then that has a lot of attraction.”

DGA has one other residential project in Preston Hollow, right next door to its first project.

“We’re trying to put together some more houses that hopefully will be as comfortable and likable as the ones that we’ve just finished,” he says.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.