Inside This Mid-Century Modern Dream Home

A mid-century love story like no other

Photos by Jason Page

This home is one of Glenda Kane’s great loves, second to her late husband Jerry. When she was just 15 years old and visiting Corpus Christi from San Antonio, Kane was driving with her mother through Hewit Estates. Every time they visited, they would drive the winding street, admiring the unique architecture of each home. On this visit in the early 1960s, Kane spotted the house of her dreams.

The striking 7,200-square-foot mid-century modern masterpiece was the newly built home of famed oil titan and self-made millionaire Oscar Wyatt and his wife, Lynn, an international socialite and philanthropist. When Kane laid eyes on this home, she knew it would be hers one day. “I looked at my mom, and I said, ‘I’m going to live in that house.’ My mother balked, ‘You’re getting delusions of grandeur. You’re never going to live in that house,’ and I thought, ‘Watch me.’”

A spiral staircase makes for a functional art piece in the Kane home.

A few months later, she met Jerry Kane. She went on a date with his friend, but instead hit it off with Jerry. Glenda and Jerry had much to talk about. Jerry mentioned to her that he lived on Hewit Drive, and Glenda promptly told him, “My house, the one I want to live in, is three doors up.” Jerry said, “That’s Oscar Wyatt’s house. I love that house.” And that was the beginning of their love story.

The Kanes were together from the time they were 15. Every step of the way, they worked toward their dream of owning the Wyatt house. Finally in 1988, they made their dream come true. The home had been vacant for years after Oscar and Lynn Wyatt moved to Houston. Glenda’s first order of business when they purchased the home was to plant the statuesque oak trees across the sprawling lawn. Little by little, they added their personal touches to the home.

An antique silver tray is the perfect catchall for crystal vessels filled with cooking accouterments.

The current den used to be a covered patio, but an accidental barbecue fire in the early ’90s led to converting the patio to a den and expanding the kitchen. “I thought, ‘This is my chance. We can fix up this part of the house,’” Kane recalled. The formerly monotone Formica kitchen hadn’t been updated since the house was built in 1958.

Kane was ahead of her time opting for deep green lacquered cabinetry to bring the outdoors in; she and her contractor hand-mixed the paint to get the exact shade of green to match her vision.

Throughout the years, Kane made it a point to stay true to the home’s aesthetic and to the mid-century ideal of honest materials, minimal furniture and integration of indoor and outdoor motifs. She has spent years thoughtfully curating and collecting iconic furniture pieces and art to fit the home’s style.

Commonly called “America’s Favorite Chair,” the Eames Lounge Chair was designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1956. The molded plywood shell was unprecedented in design at the time.

Framing the modern marble fireplace in the den are two original chrome Platner for Knoll armchairs, while a Milo Baughman burlwood and chrome console table sits behind a deep blue sofa. A Herman Miller Eames chair with an accompanying ottoman is set against the immaculate walnut paneling that is repeated throughout the home.

Each bedroom has its own sense of style. Kane opted for a monochrome palette in the first guest room, with an upholstered headboard wall that makes for a stunning and functional focal point. A second guest room, off the living room, has a more serene, coastal scheme with silk chinoiserie motif pillows and coverlet. The smaller bedrooms are contrasted with large scale living spaces — perfect for entertaining.

Each bedroom in the Kane home has its own sense of style.

The double-height living room with its floor-to-ceiling windows and terrazzo floors is breathtaking. In the height of the home’s party days, this was the room where hundreds gathered. Many a politician, oil tycoon and international corporate executive attended soirees in this space. Dudley Moore, the famous actor and musician, even played a set at one of these parties. Past the spiral staircase leading to the loft is the intimate and warm dining room — Blue Heron wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries covers the walls and perfectly coordinates with the rich blue in the adjoining solarium.

The real star of the home is an enormous Art Deco chandelier salvaged from a theatre in San Francisco.

The solarium may be the most special room in this home. Opposite from the zen water fountain sits a petite teal sofa with a sweetheart back and pleated base. This is the perfect vantage point to take in the stunning view above. During golden hour, the sunlight streams in and hits the vintage Asian screen mounted overhead.

But the real star is an enormous Art Deco chandelier salvaged from a theater in San Francisco. This is the jewel of the room; one of just a few available for purchase.

I wanted the larger one,” Kane said, “but Johnny Depp bought it instead.”

These thoughtfully curated details are not what truly make the home special. The Kanes poured their love into this home, and it is evident. Jerry passed away a couple of years ago, but Glenda has carried on their legacy breathing love and soul into every corner of the home.

The Kanes spent 30 years working toward their dream to own this iconic estate, and another 30 filling it with love. But the greatest love story is not the home itself — it is the one that Glenda and Jerry created together therein.