On a chilly winter day two years ago, Dallas-based interior designer Faye Nielsen stood on the back patio of a 6,000-square-foot Highland Village home and admired panoramic views of Lake Lewisville. The homeowner had given her only one directive for renovating and redesigning every room and corner in his newly acquired house—he wanted it to be “cool,” an awe-inspiring space for hosting parties and gatherings. In freezing temperatures, Nielsen was searching for inspiration.
That’s when it hit her. “Hazy grays and blues, hints of silver glistening in the sun over the water and the grayish-brown tones of deciduous trees created this beautiful palette,” she says. The fun-loving, energetic brunette and owner of award-winning namesake firm The Nielsen Collection instantly had her concept—a sleek, ultra-contemporary space with plenty of wow factor for visiting guests and a color palette reflective of the surrounding nature.
She also had a blank slate. “The homeowner truly allowed me to have creative rein,” she says. It was every designer’s dream. She turned to her decades- long team of fabricators, woodworkers and artists, as well as interior construction and painting expert Rahn Stanovsky, to create an incomparable home that now reads more W Hotel than suburban retreat, with an upscale-trendy vibe that starts at the entry.
An immediate statement comes in the form of a massive front door, which Nielsen designed to include a metal sunburst stemming from the handle. The 6-foot span was so large she had the interior landing expanded. In the living room, Nielsen removed the built-in bookshelves that flanked the fireplace—which she had redesigned and clad with stone— and installed not one, but two LED-lit Harmonic Environments water features. She had Stanovsky coat interior walls in base shades before spraying them with a metallic glaze from Sherwin-Williams for a visible, powder-soft sheen.
Lighting is an integral part of any design, so Nielsen enlisted lighting designer Jean Smith of Jeanious Lighting to help incorporate unique and appropriate lighting throughout the home.
With full creative authority, Nielsen worked room by room, translating much of the home’s design straight from her imagination. “If I couldn’t find it, I had it made,” she says. In the kitchen, she sketched out her concept for a graphic, LED-lit ceiling before emulating the design with lasers so the metal fabricator could replicate the pattern.
She sourced all floor tiles and cabinetry—including the kitchen’s glossy gray scheme— from Porcelanosa. A geometric base at one end of the massive Porcelanosa Krion-topped island was crafted of the same material after Nielsen spotted a shadow with a similar form in the space’s two-dimensional rendering and liked the way it looked. “The homeowner really wanted it to be special,” she says.
She further played to her ingenuity in a sixth bedroom, which now serves as an ideal space for a game room. A custom 13-foot-long bar topped with cobalt blue resin was built by Irving-based Luminexa, and Fast Lane Metalworks, based in Waco, created barstools that light up in different shades. Nielsen selected Porcelanosa Linkfloor tiles made of mop-safe rubberized vinyl planks. The closet was knocked out to make way for a full bar complete with a martini glass-shaped sink and a cobalt blue metal backsplash created by Highland Village artist Michael Broussard. A stucco wall was removed and replaced with glass to allow ample views of the lake.
But perhaps the home’s most dramatic space is found outdoors, where the expansive pool and patio could easily hold 150 partygoers. “We wanted it to come to life at night,” Nielsen says.
Energy and style were injected under the cabana with metal laid in a chevron pattern by metalworker Rich Houston— who also created numerous metal bowls with ascending blue lights—a plethora of LED lighting, a TV that rises from a planter and the first outdoor application, in this country, of Dekton slabs from Cosentino. A 16-foot stainless steel vent hood with integrated LED lighting is the outdoor kitchen’s focal point, alongside cabinets clad in Porcelanosa Air Slate.
Throughout all of Nielsen’s work one thing is certain: There’s no shortage of space for entertaining, or that hip factor. “It’s one of the most unique houses I’ve ever worked on,” she says. “It’s contemporary and elegant, yet it’s whimsical and fun. I feel good knowing the homeowner has a space that can be equally quiet or come alive for entertaining.”
Jessica Elliott is a Dallas-based freelance writer and can be reached at jessicalaneelliott@ gmail.com.