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The Hills Are Alive
This Westlake home strikes a balance between European minimalism and Texas traditionalism
by Hannah J. Phillips
Photographs by Casey Dunn
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Nestled in the Stratford Hills neighborhood above Redbud Trail, this beautiful home tells a story of connections and contrasts. Dark steel and handcrafted plasterwork balance natural elements like wide wood floors and gilded branches of the dining room’s Paul Ferrante light fixture. Connected in a seamless flow by exterior and interior glass details, each room creates a subtle interplay between light and dark, organic and industrial, minimal yet curated.
First built in 1998 by Dalgleish Construction and updated in 2012 by Mark Ashby Design and Dallas-based architect Jessica Stewart Lendvay, the same powerhouse interiors team was tapped a few years later when the home was once again sold to its current owners.
The clients, a Texan and his Danish-born wife, wanted to create a European midcentury modern look that wouldn’t seem out of place in Texas. Also from Europe, specifically Switzerland, Ashby’s senior designer Michele Lorenz understood the sources of their inspiration and worked to incorporate that European sensibility without fighting the home’s natural Texas setting.
“We always start with honoring the architecture,” says Christina Simon, who assisted Lorenz on the project and is now a senior designer at Ashby. “We don’t like to push a house; we want to maintain its personality while still incorporating the client’s vision.”
Details like limestone in the dining room create a link to the Stratford Hills setting, while an overall effect of visual restraint allows the clients’ art collection and furniture to take center stage. The bleached European oak floors are one of the best examples of that interplay, adding a Scandinavian touch in width and color but with a Texan functionality. Custom-made and hand-brushed, the 10-inch planks were specially engineered to expand and contract according to the often-temperamental Texas climate.
The minimalist floors also allow the couple’s furniture to shine, showcasing pieces like the special Jens Jensen chairs in the lounge. Likewise, the clean white walls highlight the clients’ eclectic art collection of modern prints and traditional oil landscape paintings: The Ashby team worked with Dalgleish on the plasterwork above the fireplace and on the handrail of the stairs. The material alone stands as a work of art.
“The decision to put more-classical pieces together with modern ones — especially in a space that’s already so restrained with white walls and tall ceilings — allows you to relax,” says Lorenz. “A lot of decorating is in the details that you don’t notice but you experience.”