The Mediterranean-style modern home in Fort Worth stands like a sentinel, its smooth white walls and large expanses of glass reflecting the sun. Wide gallerystyle porches offer a view of surrounding acreage as well as a pool and waterfall. With a lowpitched roof and stucco exterior, the home transitions smoothly to the clean, modern interior.
Gallery is a fitting word to describe the interior. Its linear, open floor plan, dramatic soaring ceiling and interior balconies pay homage to contemporary museums.
“The owners wanted a clean, modern line. They used the phrase ‘museum-like.’ It’s a backdrop for art and accessories,” says Joanie Wyll, ASID, owner of Joanie Wyll & Associates, in Dallas.
The Fort Worth couple, previously owners of a contemporary ranch-style house, sought a new home where they could display art and entertain family and friends and host charity events. They discovered Wyll’s name in a design publication where it was associated with a featured custom home.
To achieve the ambience of a modern art museum, Wyll selected a color palette designed to create dimension within each room. Black, white, gray and taupe sit in opposition to the white walls of the residence.
“I started with the color palette. We wanted contrast between lights and darks. When we presented it to the owners, they loved it and were excited about the concept,” says Wyll.
Each room was planned to meet the specific purpose outlined by the owners, who wanted large open spaces that would accommodate a flow of guests.
“We talked about the function of each room and how the design would work. Then the owners told me to do the entire design and show it to them all at once,” Wyll says.
Unifying features were chosen to fuse the atmosphere. Flooring throughout the first level is Absolute Z black granite, an ebony stone mined in Zimbabwe.
“That was part of the museum look. Black creates drama and contrast. It has a dramatic visual effect,” says Wyll.
Judicious use of lighting adds to the minimalist appeal of the residence and creates harmony throughout. A lighting designer enlisted by the owners added discreet LED ceiling and accent lighting in each room.
“It’s all indirect lighting. There’s no decorative lighting with the exception of a few carefully placed sconces,” Wyll says.
To add visual interest and warmth, Wyll utilized a variety of natural materials. A wall in the family room is covered in ribbon sapele mahogany, which frames the fireplace. The same elegant wood graces a wall of the master bedroom and forms custom European-style cabinetry in the kitchen.
Four slabs of book-matched granite, called Silver Wave, anchor a wall in the television room, a favorite gathering place for family and friends. “We repeat elements. You don’t want to have many dissimilar elements and finishes in a home,” says Wyll.
Natural materials also are evident in Wyll’s selection of upholstery fabrics, including leather, wool and silk. Black mohair covers a sofa in the living room while the same fabric in a rust hue brings life to club chairs in the television room.
In keeping with the contemporary environment, the interior designer integrated smooth, reflective finishes on furniture and accessories. Polished nickel accent tables, blown glass accessories and high-gloss cabinets capture attention. Gleaming staircases draw the eye upward.
“High gloss finishes are part of the modern look. They make everything sleek. It has depth and richness,” Wyll says.
Color punctuates halls and common areas through the use of contemporary paintings. Wyll was asked to select and curate a collection of canvases. “The house is very monochromatic except for the art,” she says. Fresh and inventive, each piece adds to the minimalist ambience
of the residence.
“While they were travelling, we installed everything: all the furniture, all the art, all the accessories, everything. They came back, walked through the house and said they loved everything!” the interior designer says.
Nancy Baldwin is a Dallasbased freelance writer and editor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.