A Modern Dallas Home With Museum-Style Interiors

Details

Neutral Modern Living Room with Mohair Sofas

Designed by Allen Kirsch, the living room sofas, wearing Glant Textiles mohair from Culp Associates, balance the Jill Moser painting over the fireplace. Barcelona chairs, purchased through Allan Knight and Associates and sporting Holly Hunt leather, a pair of Christian Liaigre ottomans, and a rug from Edward Fields create a cohesive space. Opposite: Travertine pavers lead to the front door.

Modern Outdoor Living Space

The 2,800 square feet of outdoor living space, is designed with entertaining in mind.

Modern Family Room With Exquisite Custom Touches

Kirsch designed the white-oak cantilevered sofa table fabricated by Gerlach Construction in the family room. Lounge chairs by Cameron Collection wear Holly Hunt Great Plains mohair, and the custom Boyd Lighting fixture is from Donghia. Ryan McGinness’ bold work resides above the fireplace.

Front Door of White Modern Home

Designed by Allen Kirsch, the living room sofas, wearing Glant Textiles mohair from Culp Associates, balance the Jill Moser painting over the fireplace. Barcelona chairs, purchased through Allan Knight and Associates and sporting Holly Hunt leather, a pair of Christian Liaigre ottomans, and a rug from Edward Fields create a cohesive space. Opposite: Travertine pavers lead to the front door.

Modern Family Room With Exquisite Custom Touches

Kirsch designed the white-oak cantilevered sofa table fabricated by Gerlach Construction in the family room. Lounge chairs by Cameron Collection wear Holly Hunt Great Plains mohair, and the custom Boyd Lighting fixture is from Donghia. Ryan McGinness’ bold work resides above the fireplace.

Seating Area in Neutral Modern Living Room

A second seating area in the living room is defined by four Cameron Collection chairs dressed in Cowtan & Tout chenille. The Holly Hunt sofa, covered in Fret fabric from George Cameron Nash, joins a Baltus coffee table purchased at Allan Knight and Associates. A vibrant painting by Terry Rosenberg adds color.

Neutral Modern Breakfast Area

In the breakfast area, Christian Liaigre chairs in Holly Hunt leather surround a Cassina table from Scott+Cooner. The Louis Poulsen fixture from Architectural Lighting Associates offers a sculptural accent while artwork by Frank Stella injects color. The Corbin Bronze sculpture in the background was purchased at David Sutherland.

Neutral Modern Kitchen

Limestone tile from Ann Sacks forms the backdrop for the custom kitchen cabinets fabricated by Gerlach Construction. Christian Liaigre barstools, featuring Holly Hunt leather and purchased at George Cameron Nash, pull up to neutral Caesarstone countertops purchased through Allied Stone.

Neutral Modern Dining Room with Oversized Art

Boyd Lighting fixtures from Donghia cast a glow over the dining room’s marble table conceived by Kirsch and fabricated by Natural Stoneworks. The neutral Holly Hunt chairs and Christian Liaigre drapery fabric, both purchased at George Cameron Nash, help make artwork by Pat Steir the focal point.

Neutral Modern Master Bedroom

Nightstands designed by Kirsch and fabricated by Gerlach Construction flank the Christian Liaigre leather bed in a guest suite. Donghia table lamps provide soft illumination, and a television pops out of the custom cabinet at the foot of the bed. Artwork by Judy Pfaff jibes with the tranquil hues of this space.

Neutral Modern Master Bathroom

The master bathroom’s neutral floors and countertops, made with material from Walker Zanger, complement the custom cabinets fabricated by Gerlach Construction, which are dressed in TKO Associates hardware. The Kohler tub features a Dornbracht faucet, and the Boyd Lighting fixture was purchased through Donghia.

It’s not everyone who gets to vie with New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for a painting, but architectural and interior designer Allen Kirsch and his client did just that. During an art-buying trip to the Big Apple, they attended a gallery showing of esteemed artist Pat Steir’s work only to discover all the paintings sold except for two. “MoMA wanted one, and so did we,” says Kirsch, noting that the museum ended up getting first dibs. The duo, however, didn’t find out until a week after returning to Dallas that, Kirsch adds, “much to our relief, they opted for the one we didn’t want.” The happy homeowner and designer then began pondering where the 11-by-11-foot painting would go.

Finding a place for the commanding abstract in the house was just one of many art-related problems Kirsch had to solve following a sojourn that netted 39 paintings, including works by Frank Stella and James Nares. “Fortunately, the house was barely out of the ground,” says Kirsch, “so it was possible to do things like enclosing doorways to create more wall space and eliminating the drop ceiling in the dining room to make way for the paintings, many of them quite large.”

But adjusting walls was just part of the solution; determining appropriate backdrops for various pieces in the contemporary collection was an equally daunting task. Kirsch started by introducing rift-cut oak walls that started in the entry before dissecting the entire house and establishing lots of spaces for hanging art. “Rift-cut oak in a blonde finish is my favorite thing in the world,” the designer says. “It’s the tightest cut you can get, and the grain, with its perfectly vertical lines, is just the thing for contemporary art and a modern house.”

For the soaring 17-foot-high dining room—where the Steir painting now resides—and a lofty fireplace wall in the master bedroom, Kirsch opted for hefty stone tiles over more commonplace materials. “That kind of height demands a much stronger statement and a material with honesty and bulk,” he says. It also mandates a master craftsman, such as general contractor George Gerlach, capable of dealing with the unforgiving nature of modern design. “In this style of house, there are no moldings to hide anything,” says Gerlach, who matched the grain in the rift-oak paneling in all the cabinetry and walls. “If you make one mistake in the cataloging of the sequences, it could ruin the appearance of the entire wall or cabinet. Therefore, they are all grain-matched perfectly.”

Although there was never any question that the paintings would be the stars, an array of custom furnishings, many designed by Kirsch, are noteworthy in their own right. In the living room, a pair of chic gray mohair sofas complement a Jill Moser painting; in the family room, a cantilevered white-oak sofa table with a steel frame makes its own sculptural statement; and in the dining room, the marble table surrounded by 18 leather chairs, with room for up to 20, is nothing short of a wow factor. “It took five men and five days to install the five slabs that make up the table,” says Kirsch.

Much like the dining room, the rest of the house, including 2,800 square feet of outdoor living space, is designed with entertaining in mind. “This house really needs to have people in it,” says the homeowner, noting there are four king guest suites that were carefully planned to make visitors feel welcome. “The house may be modern but is by no means cold or uninviting. Everything is beautiful but also incredibly functional. I love that I’m still discovering little nuances that underscore the craftsmanship and detail that went into the finished product.”

Thanks to the measured hand of landscape architect Kevin Clark, every aspect of the landscape design, from the drought-tolerant Palisades Zoysia grass to the oversize Lueders limestone and travertine pavers, enhances both the architecture and lifestyle requirements. “We went with the large pavers because they aren’t too busy and reflect the clean design of the house,” says Clark, who included an unfussy rectangular lawn with steps down to the pool to draw visitors into the outdoors. “The point was to have consistency so the house and the landscape look like they were designed together.”

In the end, the house came together perfectly. “I love that the home has a crisp museum-like quality while simultaneously being warm and comfortable,” says Kirsch. “The project took a great deal of thoughtful planning, but it’s immensely gratifying to have it all come together—like a work of art all its own.”

—Mindy Pantiel

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