The family-friendly neighborhood of Dallas’ Highland Park holds great appeal due to its historic homes and location near every high-end store imaginable. So it makes sense that architect David Stocker would reference famed fashion designers when describing this courtyard estate. “This home is more Armani or Gucci in terms of style,” he says, referring to his pared down version of the traditional vernacular. “These are designers who take the customary form of a suit and rework the materials while keeping it recognizable,” Stocker says. “It’s the same with this house. Introducing contemporary ideas to a more conservative neighborhood can be pretty loud. We wanted to do it in a subtle way that would be welcoming to the neighbors.”
No black sheep here. Rather, this stunning architectural feat blends into its surroundings with discriminating details that make a statement without saying a word. From the exterior’s fine stitching, slate gabled roofs, and hand-troweled cement plaster façade to the interior’s flush baseboards, smooth walls and lightly coffered ceilings, Stocker balances styles with ease. “When you build a home with the principle of less is more, you have to be careful,” says builder Brad Ellerman, who has worked with Stocker and his team on many homes in the area. “Crown moldings, window and door trim, and wall texture hide many imperfections. The lack of these required great precision and attention to detail.”
Of the home’s many fine details, the more than 50 wraparound windows may be the most impressive. Flooding the rooms in natural light—a requisite of the owners—the windows exemplify Stocker’s approach with their modern floor-to-ceiling height and traditional mullions. “We created a courtyard to bring light deep into the house,” says Stocker, who worked on the project with architects Mark Hoesterey and Enrique Montenegro. Another essential for the clients: Proper flow between the inside and the outdoors. And, thanks to interior designer Deborah Walker, who introduced wood, stone and other textural accents, the home possesses undeniable warmth and cohesion.
The owners, a family of five including a globe-trotting husband, wife and three young children, didn’t look far when searching for a lot to build their dream home. Having lived down the street for years, they opted to tear down an existing house on this property and build from the ground up, including new landscaping from front to back. “We brought the landscape into the interior visually,” says landscape architect John Armstrong, who used hibiscus, marigolds and Knock Out roses for their scent and needlepoint hollies and Claudia Wannamaker magnolias for privacy.
To further shield the window-happy home, Stocker positioned the study, living and dining spaces toward the front and the most-used family room, office and master bedroom in the rear. The second floor comprises the children’s rooms and play area and the third floor, a craft room for the wife. “A good house is a tease; it should prompt people who walk by to stop and think, ‘Mmm, what’s happening in there?’” Stocker says.
Inside, the home takes a decidedly modern turn, with its sleek finishes and eye-popping aubergine and persimmon palette. “A client who wasn’t afraid to use color was refreshing,” Walker says. Neutral white walls provide a foil for the architecture, while color comes in through the soft furnishings. “Just because you have white walls, doesn’t mean you don’t like color,” she says. No beige box, the interior is “fun modern,” as Walker describes it, with low-profile furniture, stainless steel accents and durable yet luxurious fabrics. “The children were a huge factor in the material selection,” she says. Together, new and custom-designed furniture, and a few existing pieces outfit the home in comfort and style.
“Our projects are like our children,” Stocker says. “I love to drive by and see how they’re doing after they’ve left us. This one is respectful, unique and it’s a joy to see.” No doubt; this home certainly has good bones.
—Heather L. Schreckengast