Urban Oasis in Dallas


Urban Oasis in TX

A serenely modern Dallas home nestled in an oak grove offers the ambience of a relaxing boutique resort in the heart of the city.

Relaxing Resort

When building their new residence on a wooded 1-acre lot in Dallas, the homeowners sought the ambience and style of a relaxing resort.

Original Art and Design Touches

SmithArc Architects designed the tea room’s steel divider panel, fabricated by Davis Metal Stamping. Holly Hunt fabric covers both the Knoll sofa from Century Design Ltd. in St. Louis and the Knoll lounge chairs from Metro Retro Furniture. In the background, the wall installation is by Lucrecia Waggoner from Laura Rathe Fine Art.

The Furniture that Makes the Room

Anchored by a Persian rug, the tea room features a blue Vladimir Kagan accent chair from Avenue Road in New York sporting Sahco fabric from Donghia, a Minotti coffee table from Smink, a side table from Baker Furniture, Donghia lamps and Pindler fabric-clad draperies by Designer Draperies. The painting from Laura Rathe Fine Art is by Roi James.

A Glass Kitchen

The kitchen’s back-painted glass backsplash from Glasshouse joins Jeremy Cole lighting from Scott + Cooner and Nuevo barstools; Danby marble from Holland Marble tops the island. Coraggio leather-wrapped Brno flat bar chairs from New York’s Gordon International surround a breakfast table from Julian Chichester in High Point, North Carolina. Windows throughout are from J&M Glass Company.

The Great Porch in Dallas

The great porch answered the homeowners’ request for an extended covered patio for all-weather entertaining. The custom bed is by Hernandez Custom Upholstery, with Richard Schultz for Knoll chairs from Scott + Cooner and a Terry Hunziker for Sutherland console from David Sutherland. The outdoor fireplace is from Earthcore.

Infinity Pool and Covered Patio

Featuring Mosa tile from Knoxtile, the infinity-edge pool helps cool the covered patio, allowing breezes to circulate off the water and through an opening in the roof. Architectural lighting by 2clighting ensures views of the pool from inside the home even at night, preventing the windows from becoming mirrors that reflect the interiors.

Echoed Geometric Motifs

The study ceiling’s lacquered wood moldings echo geometric motifs throughout the home. A hanging pendant by Boyd Lighting illuminates a desk from Julian Chichester, while a Holly Hunt lounge chair offers seating near a rolling ladder by MWE. Draperies feature Sanderson fabric from Culp Associates, with Pollack accent banding from Donghia.

A Stand-Out Powder Room

Zoffany flock wallpaper from Culp Associates covers the powder room walls, sharing the spotlight with a Stone Forest sink from TKO Associates. The RH mirror hangs above a custom console designed to resemble a Christian Liaigre dining table.

A Master Bedroom with a Corner Window

The master bedroom enjoys picturesque views through a corner window. A custom bed in Sahco fabric from Donghia features Peacock Alley bedding, complementing the Nobilis grass-cloth wallcoverings from Culp Associates and Holly Hunt wool draperies. A lounge chair and ottoman are Cameron from George Cameron Nash; the chandelier is Fortuny.

A Bathroom with Floor to Ceiling Glass Windows

The master bathroom invites in both light and landscape views through two floor-to-ceiling glass exterior walls and a glass-walled shower—with a retaining wall featuring stucco by Safeway Stucco just beyond the glass for privacy.

Reflections and Patterns

Calacatta Gold marble tops the master bathroom’s rift-sawn white-oak cabinetry by 3L Designs fitted with Du Verre hardware from Westside Kitchen and Bath. Vaughan Designs sconces from George Cameron Nash are affixed to an Ann Sacks Oceanside Glasstile backsplash.

Bathroom with Natural Flow

The master bathroom’s freestanding Victoria + Albert soaking tub from TKO Associates—with Hansgrohe hardware from Westside Kitchen and Bath—sits in a glass-ensconced corner of the space near a custom stainless-steel fountain that the architects designed beneath an open-air oculus cut from the roof.

As engineers, homeowners Al Khotanzad and Sogand Shoja-Khotanzad lead busy lives without time to travel as often as they would like. So when building their new residence on a wooded 1-acre lot in Dallas, they sought the ambience and style of a relaxing resort. “They wanted to live at home with the feeling of being on vacation from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m.,” explains architect Jason Erik Smith, who worked on the project alongside partner Signe Smith. Rounding out the design team, designer Brant McFarlain, builder Barry Baldwin and landscape designers Michael Dickerson and David Hunchik also signed on to help make the couple’s dream of an at-home getaway a reality. 

To create their retreat, the couple envisioned a modern space similar to the one in which Sogand grew up—full of glass, teeming with natural light and well-connected to the outdoors. In the past, the couple had wound up in more transitional spaces. “I would renovate them to be modern, but the homes would lose their identity,” Sogand says, adding that updating within the original structure constrained the creation of a pure modern ambience. The homes they found in their search, however, were “a bit too minimalist and box-like,” her husband notes. While the couple wanted clean lines, a sense of playfulness and sensuousness was also important. In addition, as recent empty nesters, they pictured a cozy and spacious space that would entice their two grown daughters to visit. They also needed to accommodate their love of entertaining and hosting charity fundraisers. 

Meeting all of these needs within a resort-like setting resulted in a plan for a newly built home Jason Erik Smith “intended as a delicate balance: to make it work for both a party of 150 and for just two to four people,” he explains. The design wraps around the backyard, allowing for large expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass while maintaining privacy. The shade from several mature live oak trees and sizable overhangs in front and back creates ample outdoor space protected from the elements as well as interior spaces with a bounty of natural light yet very little glare. "There's a lot going on orientation-wise that subtly makes the interior environment pleasant with those huge expanses of glass," Jason Erik Smith says, referring to the deep roof overhangs and other architectural elements that minimize direct sunlight. "You want that connection to the outdoors, but it shouldn't come at the expense of harsh light or too much heat." 

In addition to the glass that ties in the outdoors and lets in natural light, the home's signature material is a cream- toned Texas shellstone incorporated indoors and outside, imparting a calm and tranquil feeling. "It's a fossilized limestone, with lots of imprints from crustaceans and shells,” Baldwin explains. “It’s a very porous, textured stone. When you have a beautiful material like that, it’s such a centerpiece.” The shellstone influenced the palette for the entire home, from the stain on the floors to the countertops. 

McFarlain wove a similarly neutral and soft palette into the design of the interiors, evident in the rift-sawn white-oak floors and cabinetry, with accents of color complementing the homeowners’ existing Persian rugs. “It’s a light, soothing palette,” he says, pointing to the furniture and surfaces. Within the modern space, he brought in rich materials and textures such as mohair and velvet for luxury, interest and contrast while varying the furnishings to avoid an overly minimalistic design. “Rather than all modern furniture,” he explains, “I tried to mix in different cultures, materials and vintage elements.” In addition to the Persian rugs, for example, he introduced the living room’s vintage Knoll sofa. A gently curving wall near the entry further breaks up the linearity while showcasing a porcelain art installation that echoes the standout geometric yet oral-like pattern gracing the front door and study ceiling as well as a prominent sculpted-steel screen. 

Outside, the landscape serves as a quiet accompaniment to the architecture. Situated on a corner lot, the house is set back from the street amid a grove of mature live oak trees, which—along with a lush array of plantings, from ferns and hydrangeas to flowering dogwoods—contributes to the relaxed setting the owners had envisioned. “This home has graceful, organic yet modern architecture,” Dickerson says, “and we created complementary landscapes with clean, calm and wide-open spaces.” Though the home has proved to accommodate large fundraisers—allowing visitors to mingle around the piano with glasses of wine in the spacious entry area or outside around the pool under the overhangs—it also manages to be snug enough for the owners to gather in the great room or the master suite in the evening surrounded by luxuries typical of a boutique hotel. From having tea in a sitting area outside the bedroom in the morning to standing on the second-floor balcony, “right under the canopy of the trees,” Sogand says, “it really does have a resort feel.”

–Brian Libby