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Grandeur and grace come to life with views to kill for


When considering the attributes of a prestigious home—a spacious and comfortable dwelling designed to showcase peerless design and demonstrate one’s station in life—formal principles and plan arrangements are always a key factor, as is the careful use of window fenestration.

In the North Dallas enclave of Preston Hollow, neighbors have surely been wowed by a palatial Santa Barbara-style contemporary home that utilizes glass to create a striking mixture of visibility and vastness.

The expansive and scaled arch-topped Portella steel and Jeld-Wen metal-clad wood windows, the centerpiece of nearly every room in the 11,850-square-foot home, are part of a carefully curated design aesthetic that Clint Howard Pearson, principal architect at Dallas-based Symmetry Architects, LLC, crafted to synthesize natural light and openness.

A clean-line interior, a gorgeous open kitchen, and a blend of brick walls, brick groin-vaulted ceilings and wooden beams in different rooms all work perfectly to build the home’s feeling of sophisticated presence.

“No matter what room you’re in, you have views in two directions. When you’re on the porch, you can look all the way through the house,” Pearson says. “There’s a certain mode, a perceptual transparency as you approach the house. We envisioned Versailles’ formality with parterres, where your eyes would be drawn all the way to the periphery of the grounds. All of it adds a peaceful and tranquil quality.”

The sweeping driveway reveals views of the understated, elegant entry, which is clad in cast stone and accented with exposed rafter tails and gas lanterns.

The Portella steel doors and windows create a transparent entry hall, allowing guests to see through the house to the back of the property. The barrel-vaulted ceiling in the adjoining gallery creates a stunning first impression as one enters the home.

Expansive windows on two sides of the room offer multiple views of the property while providing an abundance of evenly balanced natural light within the space. The overall sense of tranquility is enhanced by a vaulted ceiling with timber beams.

A brick arch adds color and texture, in contrast to the overall soft, contemporary feel of this space, and delineates the kitchen from the family room. The informal dining area of the kitchen connects to an inglenook with an antique limestone fireplace, creating a cozy space for mother and daughter conversations.

The home, completed by Phillip Jennings Custom Homes, Ltd. between 2012 and 2013, was Pearson’s second project for the homeowner, who had lived in a speculatively built house Pearson designed in 2005.

“They discovered a really great parcel of property, a double- wide lot in fact, and later purchased the lot behind them, which makes for great backyard living and entertaining guests,” Pearson says.

Pearson’s objective for the home was to create a design with a strong axial orientation to the pool in the back and a balanced sense of symmetry and vertical scale. It’s all successfully organized around the main space, with progressions logically flowing out and the living room, dining room and library all carefully hanging in place.

“Really, we weren’t trying to make it look that gigantic. Though it’s a two-story home, we set the plate heights and roof rafters at 14 feet and at 18 or 20 feet at the entryway. In a way, I think we were very successful in making it appear as a one-story house by controlling volume, massing and geometric composition,” Pearson says.

That grand and gracious height represented the potential for grandeur of a bygone era.

“Just as it was getting framed up, the owner hesitated and was concerned that the walls were too tall,” Pearson says. “We walked and talked, and I showed him the way a barrel-vaulted ceiling creates that special space and form, with spatial quality.”

Fast-forward four years and Pearson says, “They marvel at the final results, the bold clarity throughout. It is always a conversation piece.”

On first approach to the home’s valet-styled sweeping driveway, five-car garage and two-car porte cochere, visitors are often struck by the sculpture at the front door as well as the polished and curated feel the home presents. Cast stone and three-coat stucco exterior walls exude a quiet solidity, while the red concrete tile roof connotes that California flair in a tastefully subtle fashion.

The home’s eastern edge is the more private area of the property, containing the study and bedrooms. A terrace with an elongated linear fire pit, facing east off of the family room, has become the owner’s favorite spot to relax and answer emails, Pearson says.

The spacious kitchen continues the theme of understated elegance, which is achieved with clean, simple lines. An oversize island topped with Calacatta gold marble anchors the 12-foot-tall ceilings and stained timber beams.

The cool limestone floors by Exquisite Surfaces and cast stone walls are juxtaposed with a warm wood plank ceiling, making this outdoor living area, with its oversize lounge chairs and cushions, a great place to relax on a breezy afternoon.

Interior designer Laura Lee Clark was entrusted to complete the home’s décor, flooring and finishes, which she spun together in an urbane mix of soft-colored furniture, light-gauge wrought-iron chandeliers and even an airy four-poster bed in the master bedroom. In the common areas, the emphasis is on casual, comfortable seating for those many nights with friends and guests.

No matter what room you view in this home, the result is always the same: jaw-dropping. From the architecture to the interiors, this home epitomizes contentment, commitment and spectacular design.

Andy Stonehouse is a writer and editor based in Greeley, Colorado, specializing in automotive, recreation and shelter stories. He can be reached at rossandrew

Equal attention was given to the design of the rear facade. Arcades along the periphery of the residence provide shade for a variety of social gatherings. The strong axial view across the pool and walkway ties the outdoor living area to the backyard and cabana.

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