By: Malcolm Mayhew
Jennifer Kostohryz, co-owner of Fort Design Studio, discovered a hidden gem with sweeping views on Autumn Drive in the Tanglewood area. Truly a labor of love, this contemporary ranch-style wonder has been totally transformed over the last two years to represent Kostohryz’s designer style.
| photography by Alex Lepe |
Attending events or parties hosted in covet-worthy homes owned by some of Fort Worth’s most prestigious residents, one often gets a sense of déjà vu. While lovely and stylish, most living spaces possess similar safe choices and tame designs. This isn’t the case with the four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath Kostohryz house. Due to the homeowner’s design prowess, every last nook of her 6,000-square-foot domicile possesses thoughtful touches showing creativity and intent.
Narrative of a Home. Beaming with curb appeal, the Kostohryz residence sits at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac on a lot that is slightly larger than an acre. Muted colors on the one-story brick home convey classic elegance without pretentiousness, and immense concrete pavers create a path from the street to the dramatic dusky-blue wood and glass door. A rope swing hanging from one of the property’s shady oak trees gives evidence of the presence of little ones.
A modest entryway opens into the family’s kitchen, formal and casual living rooms with direct visibility to the backyard through a bank of windows and the back door. Warm lighting emits from a grandiose Brutalist-style chandelier, embellished with leaves and flower blooms cradling each bulb, which Kostohryz bought from Scout Design Studio in Dallas. She admits that it’s one of her favorite things in the house.
In the formal sitting room, modern Asian-inspired furniture and accents harmonize with the Japanese landscape mural adorning an entire wall. “That mural was a complete surprise. The previous owner didn’t even realize it was there. The wall in that room was upholstered in a yellow silk, so the mural was completely protected by the batting and the silk. Unfortunately, we do not know anything about the person who created it,” Kostohryz says.
An awe-inspiring kitchen is grounded in the large open space by an oversized island topped with black soapstone. Minimal wood and metal industrial stools provide bar seating, and three copper orb pendants spaced evenly above the island illuminate the area. Professional-grade Thermador appliances include a stainless steel double oven, gas six-burner plus griddle cooktop and a 5-foot-wide, side-by-side refrigerator. White cabinets accented by dark cast bronze hardware are timeless, and the mint green tiled backsplash in an arabesque pattern provides a pop of color.
A butler’s pantry and food pantry occupy the spaces behind each side of the kitchen and carry the same elegant style as the kitchen cabinetry.
Directly across from the kitchen is the den. “This, by far, is where the family spends the most time. Except in the summer…then everyone is in the backyard and in the pool,” Kostohryz says. Two sizeable Western paintings by Fort Worth artist Kim Robbins pulsate with color and flank the large-screen television. A Waterford crystal bowl filled with marbles sits under the TV. It was Kostohryz’s collection from elementary school. “My teacher would give us marbles for memorizing poems,” Kostohryz says. Eclectic accessories are tied together with neutral couches, and the base of a cozy fireplace all along the back wall provides additional seating for guests.
Diagonal-laid, basketweave parquet floors unite this shared area, as does the continuous gray color scheme on the walls. “I don’t know what you call it. It’s this perfect gray that’s not too warm and not too cool. It’s inviting and calming,” Kostohryz says. Hand-planed white oak beams in the vaulted ceiling add an ethereal quality to the expanse.
A round decorative piece hanging in the master hallway above a turquoise cabinet is a single broom from a retired street sweeper. Kostohryz says that she enjoys searching antique and vintage shops for accessories and art - those are the pieces that make a home unique.
Above the bed in the master bedroom hangs another vibrant painting by Robbins. A wall of windows allows ample natural lighting and affords views of the backyard. Doors and knobs to the bedroom are original to the house. “They were originally upholstered in fabric, so my kids and I spent one Saturday removing the old fabric and batting. Our painter sanded and painted them. I think they are great statement pieces,” Kostohryz says. Two deep-seating, cream-colored armchairs create a cozy spot for the couple to enjoy the two-sided fireplace that is shared with the master bath. A large distressed Oriental rug unifies the two design configurations within the room.
An en suite bathroom dramatically showcases a modern, stand-alone soaker tub with solid brass construction hardware in a matte nickel finish. Kostohryz selected 12-inch by 18-inch Rue Pierre calacatta marble tiles to complement the original marble around the fireplace. Portraits of her children’s silhouettes and handprints adorn the wall, and the double-sided entry and three-head shower with bench seating is stunning.
Off the master bath is Kostohryz’s walk-in closet with a center island for additional storage. Mounted sconces with flattering lighting on either side of the mirror hang above the built-in vanity.
Kostohryz’s office, with an entry from both the hall and the master, merges design styles with a modern desk, dark blue walls, white accents, crown molding and louvered wood plantation shutters. Three shelves behind the desk hover above a refurbished cabinet that was originally housed in the existing laundry room. Pantone color swatches decorate the wall. A retro-inspired spacious guest bedroom is anchored by a bright orange headboard and accented by three framed vintage music posters from the 60s hanging above the bed.
Making way to the other side of the house, hallways are filled with the children’s framed artwork and photos of the family.
A powder bathroom, wallpapered with a Gaston Y Daniela design from Brunschwig & Fils, features a faucet and sink from Sherle Wagner and P.E. Guerin. They were originally in the home’s master bath, and they were polished but still show some discoloration. “I feel like that gives them character,” Kostohryz says.
Kostohryz had the wallpaper in the children’s playroom created using an old map of Fort Worth. “I love that you can make out the TCU campus and the railroad tracks. We really wanted to include the location of our house, but it’s way down behind the couch,” Kostohryz said. Crown molding is painted a vibrant orange, and ample toy cubbies keep clutter under control in this fun space.
Avery and Thomas both occupy whimsical rooms within the house. Two twin beds with matching navy-and-white striped bedding in Thomas’s room are perfect for sleepovers, and a large green backpack, tennis ball and lantern hanging in the room were once signs in a 1950s sporting goods store. An en suite bathroom continues the navy-and-white color scheme in its playful wallpaper, and lighting sneaks out from under a large silver tortoise shell fixture.
Avery’s room is every little girl’s dream comes true. Fantastical papier-mâché animal heads are mounted above her bed, and a deep window seat, ideal for daydreaming, has the best view in the house. Kostohryz found the white throne-like wicker chair, stationed in the corner of Avery’s room, at Serena & Lily. Bumblebees buzz brightly on Avery’s en suite bathroom wallpaper from Austin-based Katie Kime, adding a contemporary twist, but the retro hex porcelain mosaic and subway tiles keep with the classic design.
Flooring transitions from parquet to brick laid in a herringbone pattern in the mud, laundry and wine rooms. Complete with aesthetically pleasing, built-in dog kennels, the laundry room boasts plenty of storage and counter space. Kostohryz kept the original porcelain laundry room sink but had it refinished. “It looks brand new, and you would be hard pressed to find a sink that size these days,” she says.
With the capacity to hold 700 bottles, the climate-controlled wine room was a must for David Kostohryz’s prized collection of fermented grape juice. A mudroom features custom built-in closets, shelves and cubbies for messy or wet shoes and coats. It also acts as storage for Kostohryz’s many orchid plants.
The mudroom door leads out back, where the focus turns to the breathtaking panoramic views. Perched high above the treetops, Kostohryz says it was possibly the biggest factor in purchasing the home.
Light-colored pavers mimicking the ones out front are set in black landscaping gravel, creating an attractive contrast. They provide decking from the covered back porch to the pool as well as a walkway to additional patios at the far end of the yard. An enclosed bathroom in the backyard makes this outdoor space ideal for entertaining neighborhood kids and adults during the summer.
Lady of the House. Turning a house into a home comes naturally to Kostohryz, not just personally but professionally.
After graduating from TCU with a degree in Interior Design, Kostohryz moved to Houston while her husband, David, completed his residency. There she worked as a design assistant at Design Works and for two years after that at David Sutherland Showroom. Once her husband accepted a job at Fort Worth Oral Surgery, the couple packed up their two children, Avery, 7, and Thomas, 5, and furry friends Addie, a 12-year-old Catahoula, and Oliver, a 2-year-old Aussiedoodle, and moved back to Cowtown.
Putting her skills to practice, Kostohryz began her own design company in 2011, JSK Interiors. Wanting to enhance her ability to grow her clientele, she recently partnered with fellow TCU grad Hillary Colia to form Fort Design Studio. Colia opened Baby by Design on Camp Bowie in 2012, where she focuses on all things baby – furniture, clothes and design. She says her nursery design services naturally progressed to the entire home. Primarily devoted to residential projects, Fort Design Studio currently does office design as well.
“Our styles complement each other. Hillary encourages me to not be so conservative, and I can help rein her in on some things. It’s incredibly beneficial to be able to pick each other’s brain on a project,” Kostohryz says.
When Kostohryz approaches a new space, she can be inspired by a myriad of things. “I always make sure to keep the client in mind and design a space that mixes their needs and my expertise. That can be expressed through color, texture and lighting. It’s easier some times than others because certain homes just have more character and personality,” Kostohryz says.
That sentiment certainly rings true at this charming residence on Autumn Drive.
Fort Design Studio
4806 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Fort Worth, Texas
By: Malcolm Mayhew