Michael Duwe

Owner, Restoration Homes

It was the first day of the Fort Worth Invitational when I chatted with Restoration Homes owner Michael Duwe at one of his latest projects — a remodel on what he calls “a quirky and heroic lot” on Lynncrest Drive. The desirable location was immediately apparent, as tournament goers flocked to the street to find parking. It sits just a chip putt away from Colonial Country Club.

“It would have been way easier to tear it down, but I’m a glutton for punishment,” Duwe says, standing in the middle of the gutted home while holding extensive architectural plans.

Those plans include adding another level and around 2,000 more square feet. “It will be somewhat Scandinavian or Hugh Newell Jacobsen-looking.” Newell’s known for traditional and modern barn-like architecture found in places like The Hamptons and Napa Valley.

So what caught Duwe’s eye about this home? “The garage was below grade and had a couple of really old cars parked in it,” he says. Those are the odd kinds of things you notice when you’ve been remodeling homes for nearly 20 years. We caught up with him to learn a little more about all of it.

One side note: In the spirit of full disclosure, Restoration Homes remodeled this editor’s home in 2016.

First, I want to get some advice out of you. What can one do to a home to make it look really expensive? I really like dark painted windows on the interior of a home. It helps make the surrounding walls look so rich. I did it on a whim 12-13 years ago just because I liked it, and I still haven’t tired of it.

What's your best piece of remodeling advice? Go for it. You’re going to spend a decent amount of money. Don’t let what you see on TV fool you. And clearly, money doesn’t buy taste, so hire someone that has some.

What’s the most difficult project you’ve ever worked on? Working for a magazine editor and trying to appease her. Kidding of course.

Tell us about the office building you did for Ken Schaefer of Schaefer Advertising. My sister, Ally Arlington, was the interior designer, and Ken’s sister, Kim, was the architect. We set up many design meetings at The Usual and became friends with a great homeless man we designated the mayor of Magnolia. That area was in the infancy of what it is today. At one point we had the entire back of the building open as we constructed an elevator shaft. I could stand up there with the building entirely open and see the traffic become heavier and heavier each month.

What remodel project took you the longest to complete? A historic remodel on Avondale in Colonial. The idea was to start small, but as most jobs go, we kept saying, “While we’re here, let’s do this, and this.” The house was already a masterpiece. We added on to the outdoor area and added a Dolby-approved theater. I believe it’s the only one around.

One of your favorite parts of a remodel is the design and details. I want to know your opinion on a few design trends. 

Matching trim and wall color? I’m a big fan. I never understood why walls were one color and trim was always white. Boring to me. Tone on tone pops because the materials and textures are different so the sun reflects differently.

Wallpaper? I really can’t get enough. I want to do a project where the entire house or business is covered completely in wallpaper, much like the British would do. You can actually learn a lot about someone by the wallpaper they choose — animals, patterns, colors, etc.

Brass fixtures? It’s pretty awesome when they’re great, but they’re not all great. It’s kind of like marble — it has looked good forever and will always if mixed with the right design.

Favorite paint color? Sherwin-Williams Urban Bronze. It’s dark and looks black, gray and deep brown at times. I painted an entire room and trim in flat, and I love it. Colors pop off of it, and dark or bright art looks great with it.

What’s next for you? I (along with some partners) have multiple ground-up contemporary-style homes in the works on a unique parcel of land. The homes will be about 4,000-plus square feet and cater to those who want a home for entertaining on gamedays and weekends.

Restoration Homes
1228 S. Adams St., Fort Worth, Texas 76104, 817.938.1114