Midcentury Treasures

Famous midcentury treasures from landmark Dallas home surface at antique shop

Midcentury treasures from famous Dallas house surface at antique shop

Kitchen of Mayrath House
This little set of cabinets is nationally renowned. Photo courtesy of Dave Perry-Miller

A prized set of rare vintage cabinets from a landmark Dallas home has been saved and has popped up at an antique shop in Dallas' Design District.

The pale blue cabinets are stainless steel and date to the glorious '50s. They were inside the Mayrath house, a temple of midcentury modern style built for the Mayrath family in 1956 and sadly torn down. Preservationists may have lost that war, but the rescue of the cabinets and other one-of-a-kind fittings from the house represents a smaller battle won.

The house, located at 10707 Lennox Ln., went on the market in January. With no buyer in the wings to preserve it, the property was purchased by builder Tatum Brown for its 2.29-acre lot, with a teardown planned. Nonetheless, an effort was made to salvage some of the more collectible fixtures via an estate sale scheduled for April.

However, news of the sale sparked controversy among preservationist types across the country, and the event was canceled at the last minute.

Teardown of the house began on July 10, first spotted by archivist Scot Dorn, then documented by nonprofit group Preservation Dallas. The teardown was a lengthy process since the house was constructed of aluminum, glass, concrete, and Austin stone.

Though the home is gone, the entire cabinet set can now be viewed at Lost, the antiques showroom and vintage gallery that recently moved into new digs in the Design District. According to an employee at the store, an employee of Tatum Brown was charged with retrieving the fittings. That includes the brass and glass-paneled "floating" staircase, etched shower doors, and a padded, tufted bar.

The transfer to Lost occurred with relatively little damage to the merchandise. "We were just glad to be able to provide a place for them," says a manager at Lost.

The cabinets were made by Geneva, one of the "big three" names in vintage metal kitchen cabinets, along with Youngstown and St. Charles. The set from the Mayrath house is exceptional not only because of its pale blue color but also its pristine condition. Stainless steel cabinets from the '50s have become a sought-after item, but most are pitted with rust and decay.

The entire set is arranged in a vignette at Lost. In addition, there are two more Geneva cabinet sets from the bathrooms, one in pink and one in blue, with matching pastel sinks and toilets.

Donovan Westover of Preservation Dallas says he's "never seen a set of cabinets in such pristine condition — it's amazing." A similar set of cabinets by Youngstown is on display in a museum at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center in Ohio.

According to the staff at Lost, prices are still being determined, and the entire collection will be on display on July 21, when the store hosts a grand opening party to celebrate its new location.