By: Malcolm Mayhew
Bryan Braswell has built his home seven times. He’s echoed a near-exact replica of his family’s spacious, single-story floor plan enough times to know it’s a good one. “We found we entertain more than we ever have,” says Braswell, owner of his namesake company, Braswell Homes. “It’s open and inviting; we enjoy every space in the house.”
An established Fort Worth-based homebuilder, Bryan creates beautiful high-end spaces — a craft he’s honed since he was just 20 years old and a friend asked Bryan to build him a house. At the time, it wasn’t exactly a project in the young entrepreneur’s wheelhouse — though he’d been doing remodeling and roofing jobs since high school and had started his own roofing business when he was just 18.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing so I read some books,” says the Arlington native. “I built him a house, and we did it really cost effective. Then we built five houses over the next year and a half and sold them all.”
Bryan’s drive and dedication eventually landed him at David Weekley Homes, managing as many as 20 builds at a time while learning vast amounts of industry knowledge. From there, he joined Village Homes as a project manager before starting his own business just three years later in 2001.
Chuckling at the memory of his teenage-driven ambition, Braswell leans back on the plush white Lee sofa in his living room. His wife, Christi, is taking a phone call in their second living area that doubles as a playroom. Their five-year-old son, Roman, is busily occupying himself with toys while the family’s beloved clumberdoodle (a cross between a clumber spaniel and poodle), Winston, looks on.
For his personal home, Bryan Braswell worked closely with fellow Fort Worth local Scott Watson of Flynn + Watson Architects. A clean, crisp white cement stucco exterior with a dark gray slate roof and simple landscaping sets the tone from the outside. Natural light brightens the front door entry with its expanse of windows on either side. Painted Benjamin Moore’s 1603 Graphite, all the window and door trims have the look of steel but are completely wood for energy efficiency and less heat transfer. And the added effect is a more modern style that aptly frames the home’s sweeping views.
One can look through the front door, across the living room and straight into the scenic backyard. It’s the living room’s oversized sliding door — a 20-by-10 foot Marvin door, to be exact— coupled with the equally large set of windows in the adjacent dining area that give an almost panoramic view of the lush tree line and blue sky across the back of the house. Situated on one of Tarrant County’s highest points, their La Cantera neighborhood enjoys lush green forested lookouts and pond and lakefront homesites.
For all things design, Christi tapped senior designer Candace Salazar from Jessica McIntyre Interiors. Together, they created a style that’s “simple, modern and organic while still being livable and kid-friendly,” says Salazar.
The living room’s clean-lined, tidy appearance remains inviting with ample seating and stylish furnishings, like a set of round faux Shagreen coffee tables from Four Hands Home, a bubble glass Made Goods lamp and a sophisticated fish tank built in next to the large stone masonry fireplace.
For a dose of fun, Salazar implemented tall framed artworks of the Lone Ranger and Tonto on either side of the front door. They’re perfectly illuminated at night by art lights, a feature Bryan incorporates in his more modern homes. The art meshes with the dark brown tones found in the glass-enclosed wine room next to the front door, which has two colossal-sized pieces of stone slab as its interior walls.
Modern fixtures are careful not to hinder any line of sight. A round, copper-toned Arteriors chandelier hangs in the living room, and two Fulton glassless cage chandeliers by Hinkley Lighting anchor the kitchen space. A sitting area occupies the space between the living room and kitchen, set with a trio of gray-blue Gabby swivel chairs and a simple gold three-tiered Noir coffee table. “I love how open and bright it all is,” says Christi.
Keeping their abode neat and orderly is evident in every aspect of the Braswell’s style. Painted in Sherwin-Williams Origami White — as is most of the home — the kitchen is a veritable clean slate. There are no upper cabinets, and the refrigerator, coffee machine and storage compartments are neatly camouflaged with a bespoke piece from Mike Conkle’s Custom Cabinets.
All the appliances are Wolf, like the impressive six-burner range top anchored by a very large piece of quartz slab backsplash from KLZ Stone Supply. Faint icy-blue ridges on the slab seem to almost depict an image of a smoking volcano. “It’s a work of art from Mother Nature,” says Candace.
The counters are matching quartz, one with a small built-in planter that Christi keeps filled with fresh flowers or succulents. It’s directly behind the undermount apron sink for easy watering by a very luxe, high tech-looking pulldown faucet by Waterstone Faucets from Expressions Home Gallery. Other signature Braswell details include waterfall counter edges on the island, self-closing drawers, a countertop air switch disposal button and hidden outlets.
Behind the kitchen is a butler’s pantry, outfitted with everything from a dishwasher and microwave to a built-in ice maker. And it’s pretty to look at too, with four coats of high-gloss dark Westcott Navy paint by Benjamin Moore and a chic gold Strada flush mount chandelier from Kelly Wearstler.
On one side of the butler’s pantry is an exercise room, powder bath and the playroom. It’s modestly appointed with a comfortable sofa, kid-sized table and chairs for Roman and built-ins to house his toys. A set of French doors leads out near the pool deck, and a large window allows ample natural light. “I love for everything to have a clean, uncluttered space,” says Christi.
On the opposite side of the home, a hallway grants access to a chicly decorated guest room. The adjoining bathroom touts a bold cream-and-blue, agate-patterned wallpaper by York Wallcovering.
Bryan’s nearby study takes on a more masculine tone with black Venetian plaster walls. A bronze and antique brass light fixture hangs above a custom-made conference table. “Bryan now has a space he can lay out plans and have client meetings, but it also becomes a game table with friends and family,” says Candace. “It was fun designing an office that wasn’t your typical layout.”
And the study’s bathroom is just as stately, with a remote-controlled steam shower and a beautiful cedar countertop over a dark steel chassis that Bryan crafted. “I had to build this three times because it wasn’t easy!” he says.
But it’s what is just outside his study that makes Bryan beam with pride. An unassuming closet houses all of his technical equipment for the house from their cable TV to Apple services. And even more impressive is that he has the system so streamlined, there’s still plenty of space left in the closet.
Christi seems to share the organizational talent, as her “mud room” consists of custom built-ins down the hallway, blending perfectly with the white walls. Across from those is the laundry room, which is just as neat and tidy. There’s a wrapping station, plenty of Silestone quartz counter space and a work area for Christi, who’s serving on the a Wish with Wings’ Kitchen Tour committee this year. White walls and blue-gray cabinets are anchored by gray-toned, hexagon-shaped floor tiles, and an acrylic-encased aged brass chandelier from Hudson Valley Lighting adds a touch of glam.
A large set of windows overlooks a small patio just outside with volcanic tile flooring, a pine ceiling and speaker system. It’s situated near the garage with a view of Roman’s two-story backyard playhouse his father built. So the couple often sit and watch their son play or ride his bike around on the driveway while listening to their favorite music.
Beyond the patio, an infinity edge pool and hot tub overlook a grassy hill that stretches down to meet a pond. There, the afternoon sun glitters across the top of the water. “It’s like being in the country,” says Bryan. “We see geese in that pond often, and cranes land in there nearly every night.”
Their backyard also has a spacious, covered patio occupied by a dining table, stone fireplace and comfortable seating area. (The swivel chairs by Lee Industries, with upholstery from Simple Things, are arguably the most popular of the house.) An exterior powder bathroom, painted in the exact shade of Hermes orange per Christi’s request, is accessible from the pool and patio. The patio’s supportive metal columns were custom-made by Christi’s father, John Stevens. The retired Fort Worth fireman has been welding since he learned the craft in high school, even earning an Industrial Arts student-of-the-year award for the Fort Worth Independent School District. “I grew up in Springtown on a farm, and he was always having to weld fences and things,” recalls Christi. “He always does something special for us at each of our homes.”
Once the house is quiet for the evening, the Braswells retreat to their master bedroom. It’s polished and serene with neutral tones. A cream-colored Stark rug lies beneath the bed, set on either side with nightstands from Made Goods, a pair of mirrors from the Jessica McIntyre Interiors Shop and teardrop glass-shaped pendants from Arteriors. A brushed brass chandelier, also from Arteriors, hangs from the vaulted ceiling — each light covered by a mouth-blown glass bird silhouette. A cozy fireplace and large flat screen take up the wall opposite the bed, and a simple seating area resides nearest Christi’s doorway to the double-entrance bathroom.
A pass-through shower — with clear glass walls that run floor-to-ceiling — white marble countertops and limestone flooring keep things light and bright. A sparkling Regina Andrews chandelier hangs above a large soaking tub, and there are his-and-hers vanities and latrines. “I love having separate bathroom spaces within our master bath,” says Christi. “A lot of Bryan’s clients are doing that now as well.”
The space touts so many personalized extras, like hidden outlets, under-cabinet lighting and even a built-in fridge on Bryan’s side. For the master closet, Christi had a few ideas in mind for her builder-husband. “I definitely asked for the dry cleaning unit in there,” she says of the tall, upright appliance. “And I love having the stackable washer and dryer in there too; that’s a game changer.”
Roman’s bedroom isn’t far away, a fun-loving paradise with a custom-designed bunk bed complete with a slide. Bryan drew out the plans for the maple wood bed, which coordinates perfectly with the stained-to-match vaulted pine ceiling.
When it comes to reflecting on the home he’s built for his family, Bryan is proud of what he’s accomplished. “Some people just do whatever is normal. I like different stuff,” he says. “Making a home is an expression of who we are, and I like what I’m doing now more than ever.”
By: Malcolm Mayhew