By: Scott Nishimura
By: Gail Bennison
Dream Homes are meant to push the edge and show what can be from the original lot selection to the architectural design to the paint on the walls and the furniture in the rooms. Be prepared to let your mind soar when you tour this home in a natural setting along the Trinity River.
Andrew Curtis, Principal/Development of Powers & Curtis, said the builders are pleased with the finished product.“We feel that the house is going to appeal to a lot of people because of the open floor plan, which allows the house to flow seamlessly from room to room. Even though the house is large at 6,000 square feet, we designed it with efficiency in mind, eliminating any wasted or unusable space,” Curtis said. “Everything from the architectural lines to the paint colors gives the home a very clean yet warm and comfortable style.” There are another 1,500 square feet under roof in the garage and outdoor areas.
Powers & Curtis are betting on a changing marketplace calling for homes that are smaller than the giant 10,000 or more-square-foot house of just a few years ago. “People want a home that they can manage, not one that manages them,” Chris Powers Jr. said. He is Principal/Broker/Development for the company.
Bob Reardon, President /Residential Development, has been in the building industry for more than 30 years. He’s a native of Fort Worth and a man of few words and much understatement. “We’re very pleased with it,” Reardon said of the home. “It turned out just about better than we thought.”
There was a little bit of a rush at the last minute to complete the work, “but we just slid under the radar,” Reardon said. The weather cooperated, and they lost very little time to rain. “We were lucky, but it’s been hot and miserable for the workers — particularly the roofers [from Ramon Roofing].”
Susan Semmelmann did not set out to do this kind of work. She was the 15th person in her family to attend TCU. Both her parents were schoolteachers, so she also became one. But school teaching was not for her, so she went to New York for three years and worked as a flight attendant for American Airlines.
She came home and met and married Marc Semmelmann. Her new mother-in-law, Cindy Semmelmann, was an interior designer and an architect. “I loved what she did, and I just gravitated to her and her knowledge base. My husband wanted to start building homes on the side, and we jumped in it together. We started building homes. I started designing.”
Brenda Blaylock was running an interior design accessory store with a coffee shop when Marc Semmelmann dropped in. He told Susan he thought the two women would like each other because of common interests. They met, did the deal and started Grandeur Design 12 years ago.
They complement each other, Susan said. “I love the take down. I love loading trailers and putting wall art on the wall and getting the furniture in place. Brenda is very detail oriented, and she does a lot on the back end, like the Web site. We are very equal in things that we do, especially in talent and design. Both of us are equally strong.”
At one point, they had a store in Dallas but closed it. They are planning to open a shop in Fort Worth in the near future.
Semmelmann says she doesn’t even want to know how many hours are associated with the Dream Home. They started the work about six months ago with a daunting task — decorating a 6,000-square-foot home “down to the nines.”
Toward the end, getting the house ready for the showings required 16-hour days. But the builder gave them adequate time to do their part of the project. “We’ve had some experiences in the past that we were under the gun a little more,” Semmelmann said.
“I fully believe that Grandeur Design invests more into a home than we’ve ever seen anyone invest into a Dream Home,” she said. “I believe that is why Fort Worth, Texas magazine came to us because they knew we would perform. We don’t just stage a home. We want to make it look like a Dream Home.”
When you walk through the front door at 3824 Riverhills View Drive, you feel an immediate sense of comfort and calm. That’s by design — from the architecture by the Watson Design Group down to the smallest accessories selected by Grandeur Design. The 2012 Fort Worth, Texas Dream Home is in Riverhills — part of the legendary Edwards Ranch, established in 1846.
“The house is beautifully constructed with great views of the city,” says Nicole Zimmerman, director of the Heart Ball for the American Heart Association. AHA is the designated 2012 Dream Home charity. “With the open floor plan, this house is perfect for both families and entertaining. The neighborhood is also a great place for children to ride their bicycles, which is not only fun, but a wonderful way to keep our children fit and heart-healthy.” Tammy McKinney, executive director of AHA-Tarrant County, says heart disease is the No. 1 killer of adults in America and, perhaps surprisingly, the No. 2 killer of children.
The house is what designers call “transitional,” meaning that it is basically traditional in style but shading toward contemporary. There is an age break on traditional/contemporary, says Susan Semmelmann, who, with partner Brenda Blaylock, owns Grandeur Design.
“The young go contemporary. The middle to older definitely go traditional. We’re still in an Old World market in the South, so we do a lot of Old World, but I think it falls more into traditional flair,” she said. “This was a risk because we’re bringing transitional into traditional. But it’s edgy, and I think people are ready for that.
“It is still a traditional home; it’s in a neighborhood of traditional homes; and it’s in a traditional market — Fort Worth,” Semmelmann said. “We wanted to keep it that way, but at the same time, by adding the transitional side, we wanted to bring it all together.” The design of the house and the decoration by Grandeur means that it will appeal across generations to possible homebuyers.
“In a buyer’s market, we want to cater to someone who you can see buying the home. So you want to keep that in mind, but at the same time as a Dream Home, you have to press forward in your creativity. We didn’t want to restrict the look based on a buyer. We wanted to move forward and present to the market and to the area our expertise and what we felt like was cutting edge for today,” Semmelmann said.
Welcome Home – The Entryway
The house opens through a traditionally styled front door into an open area linked together by elegant hardwood flooring and by the design of the metal railing on the stairs and the doors leading to the patio.
Durango Doors of Fort Worth provided all the doors and designed the stair railing, which picks up features of each. The front door establishes the exterior of the house to the style of the neighborhood, but the finish complements the doors to the patio area.
“The stair railing was actually a marriage of the two,” Semmelmann said. “It has the arches from the front door, and then it’s got straight lines for the back doors. We were thrilled with what they came up with. It was awesome.”
The Family Room
The center of the house is the great room leading to the covered patio area. There is no separate living room.
“I personally think a living room is a waste of space,” say Semmelmann. “Today people don’t go to a formal living room anymore. The thing I love about this home the most is that you are able to gather in the great room, in the kitchen, in the breakfast area and you still have room in the dining room.”
There are two focal points to the room — the doors to the patio and the fireplace mantle in a wall of shelves. The mantle is from Advanced Cast Stone Inc.
“We encouraged it to be cast stone over the molding,” Semmelmann said. “We thought there was plenty of molding already in the home with the wainscotings and the transoms above the doors. So we wanted to do the cast stone to bring in something different. And of course, I love the color because it brings in the natural look.”
The doors to the patio are floor to ceiling and open the house to the outside in an almost Roman villa feel.
“The Dream Home presented us with several opportunities to showcase our product spectrum,” said Scott M. Pereth of Durango Doors. “The entry door is our MetalArt 2 ¼ true, divided-light, all-steel door. This product exemplifies beauty and strength in a classic design.
“To maximize the great room’s appeal, [builders] Powers & Curtis chose to use our Millennium product for the back doors leading onto the patio. The installation method used is what we call in the industry a ‘center mount,’ which places the doors in the middle of the wall bridging the two spaces seamlessly by returning the exterior and interior trim to the frames of the door,” he said.
“Our final touch was to team up with Lambert’s Ornamental Iron, a stair railing company in Haltom City, to assist in the design and faux finish of the ironwork so that it blends with, but does not overpower the elegance of the space,” Pereth said. “We are very proud of the work we have done on this year’s Fort Worth Dream Home. We have been part of the Fort Worth Dream Home since 2004. Each year presents itself with new challenges and opportunities that inspire us to create new products that are in lockstep with today’s building trends.”
Masters Flooring of Fort Worth provided the wood floors that link the entire house with a rich, dark brown finish. Bob Reardon, president of residential development for Powers & Curtis, points out that the flooring in the house is of very high quality.
To the right of the entry and off the great room is a study, also with a transitional look. The desk is unique in form, and the room contains a world of accessories and a small seating area. As with all rooms in the house, large windows open it to the outside and the green space available in Riverhills.
The Master Suite
There are large and commanding mirrors throughout the house with the first that captures a visitor’s attention in the short hallway leading to the expansive master bedroom suite. It is almost full length and framed, and is complemented by a similar mirror in the bedroom itself that dominates one wall.
Ajax Glass and Mirror Co. provided the shower doors and the mirrors for the home. “The decorators used some nice framed mirrors and some custom beveled mirrors. There were a lot of custom features. Of course, the home is beautiful, and they obviously matched the accompanying furnishings,” said Arthur Moses of Ajax.
Powers & Curtis used more crown molding in this house than in last year’s Dream Home and switched to a higher quality of other molding that is pieced together rather than milled all in one operation, Reardon said.
The dominant color theme in the master is platinum, complementing the color palette throughout the home.
The master suite takes up the entire north side of the home with two very large closets and his and her sinks. There’s plenty of room for two busy people to get ready to greet the day without getting in each other’s way.
A small sitting area on the west side of the master suite near the private entry to the outdoor patio complements the look of the room. There are a number of wall decorations and accessories everywhere, but not to excess.
Grandeur Design provided all the soft goods such as beddings, draperies and pillows, and many of the upholstery pieces, ottomans, chairs and benches. All were fabricated at their Decatur location.
Dining and Cooking
There is a distinct linear linking of the dining room, the butler’s pantry, the kitchen and the breakfast nook.
The dining room is to the left as you enter the home. It features an elegant distressed wood table and eight chairs. The fabric on the chairs came from Grandeur Design and was shipped to the manufacturer, Semmelmann said. A unique sideboard complements the look. Draperies were fabricated at Grandeur’s facility in Decatur, as were all of the soft goods in the house.
“Kitchen Source did a layout and design and gave us options on cabinet styles and paint colors. We wanted to go very light. The colors are very traditional colors but with a little cosmopolitan flair and I love that,” said Semmelmann. She specifically singled out the lighting in the area and the hardware on the cabinets.
The Kitchen Source, which opened in 1991 in Dallas and Fort Worth in 1993, is a repeat partner in the magazine’s Dream Homes.
“In keeping with the uniqueness of the area, you want to reflect the original style but have a modern feel to it as well,” said Elizabeth Tranberg of The Kitchen Source. “This year our presence in the house has grown beyond the kitchen. Our cabinetry will be featured in the butler’s pantry, the bathrooms, upstairs bar and other secondary rooms including the laundry room and desk area.”
The job was more thought-provoking than challenging. “As you plan for a future potential buyer with the unknown of all the needs and wishes that they may have,” Tranberg said, “you need to switch roles and put yourself in your clients’ shoes. With a specific buyer not involved, you have to think of today’s market and what people are looking for. In most cases, convenience, durability and ease of use are on the top of the list.”
Ferguson Enterprises has been a consistent partner from the very first magazine Dream Home, supplying plumbing fixtures, complete appliance packages and, for the last two years, lighting fixtures.
The Downstairs Guest Bedroom
The headboard is a central feature of the room and is something that Grandeur sells on the national market. “We can make it any size,” Semmelmann said. “It’s called our Rubble Headboard. I actually believe that the name came from a fabric.”
Grandeur used fabrics throughout the house that flow with the wood, the paint color, the brick, the tile, the roof and the doors. “But we kept it very airy and very light, very fresh,” she said. “We used a lot of linens; we used a lot of cottons. We did use some twill, some tweeds. We kept it very natural and along the earthy side but with a designer flair.”
Grandeur wanted to “go with colors of today that will appeal to everybody,” she said. “What’s very current and in the market are very light and airy colors — everything from wheat to mints to grays. We took it down a gray road in a couple of rooms and used platinum in the master.”
The downstairs guest bedroom has a full bath, which it shares with the rest of the house through a door off the hallway. It also features a larger-than-usual closet.
In addition to the headboard, a large wall hanging that enhances the color scheme dominates one wall. The overall effect is calming and peaceful, perfect for that weary traveler. Large windows provide natural light.
The Recreation and Relaxation Area
At the top of the commanding spiral staircase — interrupted by a small landing with bench seating — is an area custom made for relaxation and entertainment. Down a hallway lined with bookcases is the game room and media room area. Grandeur visualized it as a pool room, complete with a table provided by Fort Worth Billiards.
But off that opens to a sunken area with seating for people watching television or just chatting, or enjoying a drink from the full bar nearby or a glass of wine from a bottle selected from the wine closet. Above the media center is a bar on the same level as the pool table, and it’s easy to visualize people watching a football game, movies or television programs on both levels.
Off the game room is an outdoor deck, added in part because of the topography of the Edwards Ranch area.
“To capture some of the views, we filled the house with large windows and built a second-story covered patio — an incredible view to watch the sun rise and have a cup of coffee,” Curtis said. Windows for the house came from OmniView Window and Door of Fort Worth.
But the unusual feature on the second floor is what Grandeur did with an extra room that could have been used for anything from storage to a hobby room.
“When people build a home and they have an extra room like this, they always consider it as a kid’s playroom. We said, ‘You know, this is the perfect opportunity to show something different.’ You’ve got the pool table; you’ve got the men sitting at the bar watching the football game; and all the ladies can come in here and have a gathering area. It’s wired for TV, but we kind of thought we’ve got Desperate Housewives and we’ve got men at the bar and everyone can be together but still separated,” Semmelmann said. “We catered this more toward a ladies’ gathering area.”
Upstairs Guest Bedrooms
The Dream Home has two guest bedrooms upstairs, both with full bathrooms attached and an unusual amount of closet space. In something different from many show homes, the guest bedrooms are designed to fit with the entire house rather than being decorated individually for a specific use such as a baby’s room or a child’s room.
“In the past, we’ve actually done themes for various show homes, but what we want to do is appeal to the customer who will be buying the home,” Semmelmann said. “So in this home, what we tried to do for guest bedrooms was to give them a flair that could go girl or could go boy. We don’t do the juvenile look.”
The bedrooms carry out the color theme throughout the house, and one has a custom headboard designed and fabricated by Grandeur. “We draw everything on a napkin and make it up new,” said Semmelmann.
In the upstairs bedroom closest to the stairs, the headboard was fabricated from shutters made to look old with wrought iron accents added. “We love this room,” Semmelmann said. “We think it is absolutely precious. It’s kind of a French flair, but it’s a country French.”
She’s proud that there are items in the rooms that cannot be seen anywhere else such as the armchair, which Grandeur made on premises in Decatur. There’s also a settee in a small hall leading to the bathroom and facing an expansive closet.
In the second upstairs bedroom at the southeast corner of the house, all of the colors of the home come together.
“We did the bedding in grays and creams to complement the rest of the house. It also has the wheat colors in it with a little bit of a mustard just to make it kind of unusual, and we were able to pull it together with all of the artwork having the same colors in it as the bedding.” Semmelmann said.
The Utility Areas
Behind the kitchen are the side entrance to the three-car garage and another entry to the covered patio. The area is completely tiled with what Semmelmann says is a “great look.”
There’s a desk area so the homeowner can “pay bills or have the computer back here so it is out of the way, and all your junk doesn’t show,” she said. “I love that.”
The laundry area is, well, a laundry area. But it is roomy with a great deal of storage space.
There’s a powder room easily accessible from the patio and the garage.
On the Patio
In the cool of the evening and on many days in autumn and winter, Texans move outdoors when possible.
The covered patio of this Dream Home provides privacy and luxury to those outdoor gatherings. The outdoor cooking area features a grill by Coyote Outdoor Living in easy-to-maintain stainless steel.
And should you desire a fire either for aesthetics or for warmth, there is a gas fireplace just for that. The area offers privacy from nearby houses and should prove as another gathering place for the eventual homeowner.
The patio can be opened to the great room through floor-to-ceiling doors, making the living space one for large gatherings. And there is a private entrance from the master suite and from the hallway leaving to the utility area for easy access to the main kitchen space.
The Riverhills development celebrates the original features of the Trinity River Valley that was the site of the ultimately more than 7,000- acre Edwards Ranch that stretched along the river from what is now 7th Street toward what became Benbrook.
Because the area provides more than 50 acres of parkland with creeks and ponds, the landscaping around the homes needs to blend into that look. Powers & Curtis had more area to deal with than is often the case for their projects.
“It’s a lot more expansive,” Reardon said. “There’s a lot more landscaping and site work than we’re used to on some of the in-city and in-fill lots we’ve been using, but it makes for a nice presentation overall.”
David Rolston, owner of David Rolston, Landscape Architects, did the design, seeking to create a garden look for a house in the city. The landscaping was by Proscapes Lawn and Tree Care Inc. Owner Terri Loddick prides herself on using plants that can withstand the sometimes-harsh North Texas climate. Fencing outside the Dream Home was by Aaron Ornamental Iron Works.
Less is More
The Dream Home is not cluttered. “We have done that in the past. We have put so much in the home that it is very entertaining but sometimes overwhelming,” Semmelmann said. “The more things you put in it, the more you weight a home down. By keeping it relatively minimal, we hope that makes it more inviting to walk in and actually observe the home and actually see the products.”
And the products are worth seeing.
“We put high-end furniture in this home,” she said. “We felt like it required it. In order to be a Dream Home, you need to be special, you need to be unusual and show something that people have not seen.”
She said most pieces are custom designed. “We personally manufactured some of the pieces. We have some headboards that we made. We have some ottomans that we manufactured, and some chairs that we manufactured,” she said. But they turned to high-end suppliers for other items in the house — Ambella Home, Design Master, Feizy Rugs, Lee Industries, Maitland Smith, Peninsula Home Collection Co. and Theodore Alexander. Those are names folk in the trade will recognize, but consumers might not.
“This neighborhood is clearly very high end so you have to take that into account,” Semmelmann said. “We believe fully that furnishings sell a home. Now, you can have a home so amazing as this one is that it can sell on its own, but I do believe that when you put quality furnishing into a home, it will sell.”
Pieces can be beautiful but not so functional for individuals, she said. “We believe that lifestyle is what makes you happy in purchasing a product. You can have something that’s absolutely beautiful and fabulous, but if it’s not what fits your lifestyle, then you’re not going to be completely satisfied,” says Semmelmann. “There’s nothing in this home that is not focused on comfort and quality.”
The 2012 Dream Home is Grandeur Design’s second for the magazine and the fourth of that style of show home.
“Two of our experiences in the past are that the customer walked in and bought everything down to the lampshades,” Semmelmann said. “We get on our knees and pray for that to happen. This is quite an investment for us to do these projects, so what we would like in return is the recognition for what we put into the home.” And they want to show potential customers the quality of their work.
Aaron Ornamental Iron Works
3501 Locke Ave.
Fort Worth, 76107
Advanced Cast Stone Inc.
Crown Roof Tiles
The Meadows Building
5646 Milton St., Ste. 329
2100 Handley Ederville Road
Fort Worth, 76118
J&S Air Inc.
840 Southway Circle
Fort Worth, 76115
Ramon Roofing Inc.
1102 E. Dallas Road,
The Kitchen Source
By: Scott Nishimura
By: Gail Bennison
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