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Faye Nielsen transforms a home into a cutting-edge abode


A metal chevron-patterned wall serves as a canvas for the cabana seating area. Fast Lane Metalworks fabricated a bespoke 16-foot grill for the Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances. Metal seating and custom lighted sculptures were fabricated by Casa Chic. Pool lights are by Chris Smith.

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.

Clad in natural stone by Porcelanosa, a statuesque contemporary fireplace is flanked by two Harmonic Environment water features. An elegant Adriana Hoyos seating arrangement completes the room.

Neutral tones provide continuity throughout the home, including in the curved Thayer Coggin sofa. Custom art and handrail, with integrated lighting, are just a few of the detailed elements Nielsen created for the home.

This beautiful dining table required a punch of color to breathe life into the neutral palette, so purple was chosen to complement the homeowners’ existing Phoenix art.

3-D Fusion glass and metal tiles clad the front of the curved bar and complement the beveled metal subway tiles. A crisp white countertop of Krion, with integrated sink, was fabricated by Jose’s Granite and Tile.

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.

The kitchen has lacquered glossy gray cabinets by Porcelanosa, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, and custom Krion countertops. An artful geometric island base, fabricated by Jose’s Granite and Tile, grabs attention. Hexagonal metal ceiling tiles present an interesting complement to the LED strip lighting above.

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.

The custom powder coated gunmetal gray door was lacking pizzazz, so customized brushed aluminum was added to create a showstopping entry. Accents within the room include art by Mary Tomás and a sculptured sphere from Contempo Designs.

A minimalist color palette, featuring white accents, showcases luxury that evokes the senses to enhanced expressions of Zen. Glass and mirror, fabricated by FGM, create an expanse of space.

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@

A custom-designed bed of stainless steel, fabricated by Fast Lane Metalworks and upholstered in commercial grade faux leather by Morris Custom Upholstery, is the centerpiece of the master retreat. The custom-built fireplace is clad in split face stone and accented with diamond fire glass.

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