Fond memories of the Chicago loft they renovated as young newlyweds filled a Dallas couple’s minds when they enlisted interior designer Erin Sander and architect David Stocker, whom they met through builder Brad Ellerman, to bring their new house to life in University Park. “The owners wanted it to feel more urban, with industrial touches and a bit of edge,” says Sander. It was an appealing brief that gave the team a unique opportunity to create a family residence with an edgier feel. “They were shifting from a home nearby where they’d lived when their kids were babies and they had played it safe design-wise,” Sander adds, “to this house where they wanted to take more risks and incorporate finer details.” The couple also envisioned an inviting environment where they could entertain family and friends in style. “We love hosting parties,” says the wife, “so large, open-plan rooms and a dedicated bar area were important.” And, of course, the kids put in a request for a pool in the backyard.
To achieve both a welcoming feel and a citified flair, Stocker blended sleek structural elements with warm, natural finishes. For example, the exterior features a slate roof, cement-plaster faÃ§ade and native Lueders limestone accents–along with steel windows and headers hinting at the industrial-chic aesthetic within. “The windows were key to the loft look the owners requested,” notes Stocker, who collaborated with project manager Philip Pitzer. “We also brought the darker steel color inside to the ceiling beams.” But while the exterior alludes to the interior spaces, it doesn’t reveal too much at once. Instead, the architect’s siting of the L-shaped residence created a side-yard entry sequence, guiding visitors down a path that turns before actually positioning them in view of the front door. “Architecture is like a play,” says Stocker. “It’s more enticing to have a good opening without giving everything away immediately.”
The slow reveal continues inside, where Stocker positioned the more public entertaining areas–a dining and living room with a formal bar–at the front of the residence, while everyday living areas such as the kitchen, breakfast and great room become gradually cozier and more private toward the back. At the same time, the architect strategically placed windows so natural light accentuates the scale and proportion of each area, whether small and intimate or large and open. “This home’s beauty cannot be attributed to one element alone,” the architect explains, “but to how the repeating patterns of privacy, light and contrasting materials combine.”
For her part, Sander often used the exterior elements as a point of departure for the interior selections. A natural stone veneer appears on the great room fireplace surround and kitchen backsplash, for instance, as a nod to the organic-looking cement-plaster faÃ§ade. “The beauty and imperfection of stone is a great complement to some of the harsher lines in the spaces,” she explains. Likewise, walls painted a crisp white juxtapose the steel windows and exposed structural beams, while white-oak flooring instills a sense of warmth. “The repetition of the wood elements combined with dark steel is what carries the palette through,” notes Sander, crediting Ellerman for beautifully executing wood details such as the mud room cabinetry, the surround in the kitchen, and the staircase and wood wall in the entry. “He’s one of the most artistic builders I’ve ever worked with.” At the wife’s request, pops of strategically placed saturated jewel tones appear throughout: In the dining room, a custom blown-glass chandelier injects shades of purple, while the chairs are upholstered in navy velvet. Another example is the living room’s brightly hued Marilyn Monroe painting, which the owners purchased specifically for this project.
While the furnishings share the sleek, urban look of the architecture, they are also conducive to everyday living and frequent entertaining. “Most of the pieces have a sculptural element to them while still being very comfortable,” Sander says. The wife was particularly drawn to the wood-frame lounge chairs upholstered in a patterned material in the living room. “They’re very much her style,” the interior designer notes. “The frame is structured, yet the fabric adds playfulness.” Other standout pieces include the lanterns above the kitchen island, which perfectly underscore the overall industrial vibe.
The owners credit the strong collaboration of their team–which also included Bill Bibb of Archiverde Landscape Architects, who designed the home’s landscaping–for the successful execution of their vision. “Erin attended all the architecture meetings, which was crucial,” the wife says. “They took our ideas and ran with them.” And the children’s request for a pool did not go unanswered, making this residence perfectly suited to both living comfortably and entertaining well. “The kids often swim and spend time in the hot tub, and we’ve been having guests over a lot,” says the wife. “We are very happy here.”