Given a rare opportunity to build within view of prime parkland in Dallas’ University Park neighborhood, a couple with three young boys wanted their new house to be just as special as its verdant setting. Achieving that required the efforts of a tried-and-true team, with designer Leslie Jenkins’ classically minded interiors pairing with architect David Stocker’s signature steel-framed windows and doors. “The owners wanted a modern, fresh element running through the home,” Jenkins says, “but with a traditional feel, so it would be a little more timeless.”
Keeping that balance in mind, the designer incorporated ceiling trim and crown molding in areas such as the living room, dressing its floor-to-ceiling windows in thick linen drapery. Throw in curvaceous furnishings and a marble- patterned replace surround, paired with a Claire Crowe Collection replace screen, and the space achieves a salon-like effect. “In the back of my mind, I always aim for a fresh take on Parisian style,” Jenkins says. A few steps away, in the open kitchen and family room area–which overlooks the pool terrace and a park entrance–she continued the crown molding around the kitchen cabinets and added a beam-like detail on the ceiling over the family room. “It’s an expansive area with seemingly no beginning or end,” says the designer, who kept the materials white to produce a clean look while also breaking up the space.
Stocker sought a similar past-present mix, blending familiar gestures such as a gabled roof and a center-hall entry with huge glass doors that lead from the front yard to the pool terrace. “David uses modern materials but never abandons traditional elements,” says builder Robert Elliott, who applied smooth-troweled cement plaster on the home’s exterior and limestone trim on the windows. Elliott also engineered a slider gate that opens to the park so the owners’ children can easily come and go.
“With the fountains and the kids shing or playing soccer, the setting is beautiful,” the builder says. “That gave us a unique opportunity.”
The architect strived to capitalize on this idyllic locale by orienting every space outwards while maintaining privacy where necessary. “The homeowners have a nice view of the park, but outsiders could also have a nice view of the family if you’re not careful,” Stocker jokes. Thus, the second oor has glass-enclosed niches that bump out from the core to take in the scene, while the views below open to a patio, pool and covered terrace, all enclosed within a tree-lined fence. The structure’s L shape also ensures the residence is just one room deep at any point, meaning every space feels connected to the outdoors.
Further bridging inside and outside, the doors between the family room and the terrace are rarely closed. “This house makes us spend more time outdoors,” the wife observes. Yet the sophisticated interiors are also a pleasing incentive to remain inside, where the couple can keep an eye on the children while they play in the backyard. “Our home feels so fresh and comfortable,” the wife says, referencing the aqua-, cream- and melon-hued rooms. “Amid all the craziness with our young sons around me, the soft palette is soothing.” She need not worry about spills either, as Jenkins covered all the seating in durable Perennials indoor-outdoor fabric. Colorful antique Oushak rugs in the high-tra c entry, too, are easily cleaned.
Jenkins and senior designer Haley Powell looked to the wife’s personal aesthetic for direction as they selected the home’s furnishings, art and lighting. “She is very feminine and informal,” Jenkins says. This translated into geometric patterns over oral prints as well as abstract paintings in lieu of romantic landscapes. For the artwork, the duo turned to Blue Print, a home furnishing store Jenkins co-owns, measuring each space and trying out pieces that would fit until finding the right ones–eventually settling on works by artists like Arienne Lepretre and Joey Lancaster.
The lighting options, on the other hand, posed a particularly unique challenge. “It’s a puzzle, especially in an open house like this in which you can see all of the light fixtures so easily,” Jenkins says. She overcame the challenge by selecting pieces that tell a story and complement each other, particularly by mixing metals where possible, with brass and black uniting many of the elements. Above the kitchen island, for instance, the brass pendants feature a hint of blue, while the entry lighting has a black finish to echo the front-door frames and custom stair rails.
Jenkins and Powell kept the homeowners in mind every step of the way while out fitting the interiors, and the couple gave the designers a wide berth to do what they saw fit–an arrangement that worked beautifully. “I didn’t want to lead them in any direction,” the wife says. “I trusted them, and they totally wowed me.”