The homeowners wanted a more contemporary house but not necessarily an extremely modern one,” says architect David Stocker of the transitional-style abode he designed for a young family in the Bluffview neighborhood of Dallas. “We used traditional forms and materials, but reinterpreted them in a fresh way.” But before breaking ground, Stocker had to determine the optimal orientation for the angular C-shaped house conceived around an inner courtyard. Its overall design incorporated a lot of glass, so avoiding direct sunlight was a priority.
The resulting north-oriented inner spine of the C-shaped configuration is a 53-foot-long glass gallery running parallel to the courtyard. From the gallery, case openings flow into the public rooms—foyer, dining and living—which all front the home’s south-facing street side. The floor-to-ceiling windowed gallery also connects the private wing, with its master suite, to the family wing, with its kitchen and family room. “Circulation is often buried in a traditional hallway,” says Stocker. “Here, it’s part of the experience. The gallery isn’t just to get from A to B, but to walk along the edge of this pretty courtyard.”
“It took great precision to get the frameless corner windows just right in the gallery,” adds Brad Ellerman, who helmed the build. “We also had to put in concealed steel structures to support its roof.” In addition to glass and steel, other conventional building materials for the house included cement plaster on masonry, as well as slate shingle and standing seam metal. Stocker, however, transformed them into something different. “I used them in their simplest forms, yet with architectural theater,” he says. “So you get a hint, or tease, of the inner courtyard from the front of the house, but you don’t see it all. I used this layered technique throughout.”
Stocker’s interesting architectural approach creates the illusion of a small village, which he achieved by combining varied rooflines and roof heights on the individual block forms that become the whole house. Despite this assorted technique, the residence feels seamless. “You can’t tell where the architect’s work ends and mine begins,” says landscape architect Bill Bauer. “I wanted the landscaping and hardscaping to be boiled down using a minimalistic approach.” This was achieved, not just by rectilinear plantings and elements, but also by using bold materials, such as Cor-Ten steel.
“There’s also a firm symbiotic relationship between the architecture and interior design,” says designer Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt, who worked on the home alongside Dee Dee Hoak. “The paint for the public areas was important because the space flows through open rooms into the bright gallery. They’re all seen at the same time. We picked a warm white because we didn’t want to compete with the exterior architecture and courtyard.” The color further served as a backdrop for the homeowners’ collection of artwork as well as their existing furnishings, which the designers blended into a relaxed interpretation of Hollywood Regency style.
“Though we used elements from the architecture to dictate what was going on with the interiors, balance is equally important in our design process,” says Tripplehorn Hunt. “It’s a family home and needed warmth.” The kitchen reflects this philosophy well. Though the cabinets and countertops are sleek laminate and cool stainless steel, the clean-lined butcher-block island is made of warm wood. Furthermore, the rounded shapes of the breakfast area chairs counteract the right-angled barstools.
In the end, the modernist structure imbued with a warm and welcoming palette gracefully blends into its setting. “Dallas is usually very traditional,” says Stocker, “but this transitional style of home works well here, too. The homeowners really enjoy it.”