Best Whole Home

A Tanglewood Contemporary  |  Norman D. Ward Architect
Architect Norman Ward, FAIA, loves working with light. It’s an unwavering passion of his for every project he encounters, and this particular renovation for Deborah Freed and Pat Higgins’ home in Tanglewood was no exception. “We took the center part of the house as the design project,” says Ward, who was just elevated this year to the College of Fellows with the American Institute of Architects. “The original layout was similar to most houses in that area, it was very compartmentalized. All the rooms were cut off from each other and dark in the sense of natural light.” Though they had to contend with load-bearing walls and hide new structural beams in the ceiling, Norman worked closely with Brian Bogle of Bogle Constructs to transform the home’s main areas into a fresh open concept space. “They wanted to live in the house, not the rooms,” says Norman of the drastic change. The entryway opens into a clean-lined, contemporary setup, the view broken only by the double-sided Isokern fireplace. It features a slight recess at the top to create the illusion that it’s floating, when in actuality it’s one of the main load-bearing walls in the revised floor plan. A wood wall of rift-cut white oak — meaning it was cut with all the grains running vertical — stands next to the fireplace. On each side is some of the homeowner’s favorite artwork, an oil on canvas dubbed “Balinese” by Texas artist Sara Sosnowy and “Red Trike,” an original watercolor by Linda Ruth Dickenson. Bright pops of color reflect Deborah’s lighthearted, relaxed personality, like a TKTK chair and TKTK rug in the living room. There are also several pieces of vibrant pottery, all by Fort Worth ceramic artist Pamela Summers, who owns Cliff House Studio with her husband and glass artist Raymond Rains. The two are close friends with Deborah and Pat and actually share a bit of history when it comes to the home’s piece de resistance: the glass billets. Now featured on the wall at the west end of the kitchen, they had been in Deborah’s garage for nearly 10 years. “Pamela and I bought the blanks at an estate sale of a man who did huge pieces for churches and cathedrals all around the world,” says Deborah, who called on Raymond for his glass expertise to create the colorful renditions. Norman then installed them to represent a “musical illumination, fixed on the wall as implied notes set within an invisible stave.” Throughout the day, chromatic channels of light dance and play on the chef kitchen’s white Bulthaup cabinetry and countertops — the result of an artistic collaboration for a home to love.

A Fresh and Rustic Contemporary  |  Urbanology Designs
"Themed looks trend out so fast,” says Urbanology Designs owner Ginger Curtis. “We don’t like to do themes; we like to do a cohesive look pulled together. If you look at really great designs, you see there are very opposite unique things paired together that make the entire space.” And the entire space is exactly what Ginger and her team brought together for this Flower Mound rustic contemporary home. The homeowners had tired of their previous Old World-esque style and all the dark tones and heavy furniture. “They literally gave a bunch of things away to friends and just started over,” says Ginger. The original tenant that built the 6,500-square-foot new build house never even moved in, so Ginger’s client purchased it and tasked Urbanology Designs with tweaking the place to their newfound style. “We put in wood floor upstairs and changed out every single light fixture in the entire house,” says Ginger. And that meant also incorporating some statement-making fixtures, like the trio of Orion metal pendants by Noir in the main living room. “The client loves beautiful focal things. I knew immediately that they would do the job because it scales so big.” They create a warm contrast with the raw wood beams on the vaulted ceiling, but find a cool balance in the calming color palette below like blush pink leather poufs and gray blue hues in pillows, rugs and throws. For such a large home, Ginger ensured the spaces were still cozy and inviting with earthy tones and easy pieces. “You embrace the openness, and part of that is furniture that scales really well,” she explains. In the equally light-filled master bedroom, a custom-made floating platform bed crafted from alder wood takes center stage. It’s softened by more gray-blues like the linen bedding and Roman shades on the double set of French doors. Texture abounds from the cowhide rug and rabbit fur throw to a row of baskets and touches of brass for a luxe, yet rustic feel. “There’s so much interest in each room, but if you just look at one thing, it’s simple,” Ginger says of the home’s overall aesthetic. It flows so seamlessly from one room to the next, yet never feels repetitive or boring, but always fresh and slightly rustic with just the slightest touch of opulence. In the transitional modern kitchen, white cabinets are perfectly contrasted by dark, oversized pendant lights from Restoration Hardware; for the girl’s boho-whimsical bedroom, a soft color palette and platform bed set on oversized railroad beams are a highlight; and in the boy’s room, vintage boxing gloves are slung over the corner of a black powder coated custom trundle bed. It’s all easy, breezy design in the best possible way — one that doesn’t follow a single trend at all. “The rooms that get the best results,” says Ginger, “are when you take different styles and blend them well.”

A Masculine Loft  |  Wrare Design
It all started with a bar. The homeowner, who lives on the 31st floor of the Omni Residences in Downtown Fort Worth, wanted to create a sleek bar addition to his 4,000-square-foot condo and reached out to Wrare Design owner Doug PlesKovitch. A few months later, they discussed adding a new sofa, and the renovation spiraled from there. “It’s been a fun couple of years,” says Doug. “He appreciates my aesthetic, and I appreciate that he is willing to take some risks and some chances. Not everyone is up for painting their walls and ceiling dark gray!” The most recently completed project included 600 square feet of outdoor terrace space that Doug furnished with custom-made pieces by William & Wesley, including planters of beautiful faux greenery from Robert-Lawrence Designs. Aside from the sky-high views, other stunning condo visuals included the entryway — a conglomeration of 600 porcelain tiles in 10 different hand-painted designs from Eleganza Studio in Dallas. Each tile is turned a quarter turn, offset by one and turned again. “I believe this nearly killed the contractor who laid them,” quips Doug. “We wanted to add a little color in an environment that was otherwise gray.” This includes the kitchen with gray flush front cabinetry and an 18-foot-long white quartz countertop island — which is only disrupted by the sink and quickly became ideal for entertaining — that blends seamlessly into the rest of the home for a clean, streamlined appeal. Engineered wood floors add a slightly masculine touch, as does the hand-laid brick veneer wall in the bar area — a design detail the client first loved at Doug’s furniture store, Wrare, which reopens in its original space on West Seventh Street this December. In the living room, a lounge space is notated by a patchwork Persian rug from Fayze and plush oversized chairs and a metallic table from Wrare. And for the dining area, nothing traditional would do when the client can have a custom-made table crafted from bowling lane wood from his wife’s hometown of Philadelphia. But Doug’s most acclaimed work on the condo thus far actually took place below ground, in the Omni’s basement. The designer combined the client’s four storage rooms and transformed them into a soundproofed, super-luxe, single wine room complete with faux beams and moody lighting. A high-back banquette occupies one wall, behind a wood table made from reclaimed pieces of the Stockyards at the city’s old Swift Armour Meat Packing Plant. And at one end of the room is custom-crafted insulated glass and Swiss steel storage space, which holds an impressive 750 bottles of vino. “They love being there,” Doug says of his clients. “Everywhere they turn, they enjoy it. And that’s very gratifying to me.”