Sometimes it’s difficult to discern the reason one gravitates to a particular abode—that intangible quality that goes beyond surface beauty, planting roots into one’s imagination. A Dallas couple experienced that indescribable connection firsthand with several homes they’d come across and admired while out and about. Though each residence differed in style, their shared X-factor soon came into focus. Every one of them was composed by residential designer Ryan Street. “So we knew that when the time came to design ours, we wanted him to do it,” says the husband with a laugh.
Upon closer inspection of these houses, the couple realized they loved Street’s use of contemporary details that still feel warm. “He has a wonderful way of bringing the outdoors in, with large windows and natural elements,” observes the wife. While Street indeed incorporates all of the above into his projects, he also believes thoughtful personalization is key. “Families come to us with a mix of things they love, and we find that common thread,” he says. This process recently became more nuanced with his firm’s new interior design division led by designer Jennifer Sissom. For these clients with four kids in tow, they focused on constructing “a refined yet comfortable family home,” recalls Sissom. With builder Jon David Smith and landscape architect Bill Bauer also on board, the team got to work bringing their ideas to life.
Street, working alongside architect Eran Montoya, translated this elegant ease into what he describes as “a French Provincial house, but our stylized version of it.” With its stucco walls, flat-tile roof, exposed rafter tails and central tower crowned with a bay window, the exterior façade feels “extroverted,” notes Street, “and imbued with decorative elements drawn from that style.” These distilled traditional details continue inside, with the thick walls evoking old masonry as well as the splayed arches and ceiling beams.
The family’s unique rhythms unfold in the home’s layout. An open-floor plan best suited the ebb and flow of life with children, but the owners also treasure intimacy. Street balanced both by unbuttoning enclosed spaces with a procession of archways, preserving distinct rooms with graceful transitions in between. Stepping into the defined foyer, “you enter the house in a ceremonial way, with the stairwell as a deliberate piece of sculpture,” he explains. Additional areas beckon through broad openings. These provide rooms with more than two sides of light, so there’s always a visual connection to outside.
Underscoring this open yet personable atmosphere, “we continued that vision all the way through to the accessories,” describes Sissom. Creating custom features like the game room’s banquette was key to corralling family and friends. Clad in a buttery saddle leather that will grow more beautiful with use, it’s the perfect spot to lounge after pingpong matches. The designer also found slabs of twilight-hued marble for the jewel-box bar, which became the dining room’s festive focal point with cocktails flowing between a pass-through window.
Honoring the architecture’s unvarnished materiality, Sissom used “natural, earthy elements and colors, as it was important everything feel beautiful but humble,” she describes. Woods are warm and patinated, from the long teak dining table to the living room’s twin coffee tables made from reclaimed oak. Their tactility helps new furniture blend with the couple’s existing vintage pieces. To this mix, Sissom also added other special finds, including a set of Henning Kjærnulf dining chairs and the powder room’s 16th-century marble sink, originally sourced from a Belgian castle. The lounge-worthy sectionals, sofas and armchairs are oversize and textural, covered in velvet, leather and casual slipcovers. And for lighting, Sissom favored delicate chandeliers, eschewing brass and crystal in favor of plaster and iron.
Away from the daily flurry of activity in the main living spaces, the couple finds stillness in their bedroom suite, where Street infused subtle romance with towering, peaked ceilings, large windows overlooking the oak tree canopy and a side terrace outfitted with a fireplace. Here, Sissom sought to “create this little oasis that makes you feel like you’ve stepped out of Dallas,” she says. Ensconced in twin oversize wicker chairs, amidst potted topiaries, both owners enjoy lounging “where we can overlook the kids playing in the backyard,” adds the wife.
It’s quiet moments like these that remind the couple how far they have come, beginning with the early days of falling in love with seemingly random houses, to now having a Ryan Street home of their own.