We’d like to introduce you to our recently remodeled house in Dallas, Texas. My partner and I moved here from San Francisco so that I could take a tenure-track job as a U.S. historian at the University of Texas at Dallas. My partner works in design and K12 education; she moved from her work at Stanford University’s d.school to Southern Methodist University. As transplants, we knew it would be important to craft a sense of home. As West Coasters, we also brought a California design sensibility with us.
After looking for the right house for nine months, we were attracted to this house because it was a 1925 three-bedroom one-bath home (1,470 sq ft) that had been only slightly altered over its long life. Part of what that meant, however, was that the kitchen and bath sorely needed an update. Although there was a lovely yard, there was no place from inside the house to see it: the original doors and windows in the back of the house had long since been paneled over.
We worked with an architect based in Oak Cliff, our neighborhood in South Dallas, who specialized in sensitive and creative remodeling of historic homes. Our remodel aimed to make our space more efficient and to modernize the house while respecting its historic design. Without adding square footage and while preserving the overall layout, we completely redesigned the kitchen and nook to dramatically increase storage including built-in benches. We also repurposed space in the hallway and mudroom to add a laundry nook and half-bath, and we made the pre-existing bathroom more functional and beautiful. The kitchen, bath, and fireplace now have tile from Heath Ceramics, a Bay Area company that we loved from our old home. And my partner has the Julia Childs-inspired pegboard she’s dreamt of for years.
We also added a screened-in porch that extends the back of the house by 240 sq ft. Coming from the West Coast, being outdoors is very important to us. When we moved to Dallas, we were shocked by the mosquitoes, which prevented us from being outside during warm summer nights. We built the porch to maximize our time outside, in the cool of the winter and the heat of the summer. With a cathedral ceiling that mirrors the roofline of the house and a salvaged clawfoot tub to soak in during the summer, it truly feels like a getaway attached to our home. (And our three cats and little dog love it too.) Now the two back bedrooms have glass doors where the original doors once stood before being covered up; they open onto the porch.
We wanted to use a mix of old and new materials throughout the house. Through our architect, we worked with a craftsman builder who was committed to maintaining the integrity of the house. Our house is built entirely of shiplap wood, and he salvaged the old hardwood from the walls he demolished to rebuild the new structure. We also worked with a local woodworker to build our kitchen and bath cabinets with 8-ply birch; she also built a peninsula and bookshelf that now partially separate the kitchen from the nook.
When we went through our design process, we used Dwell extensively for inspiration. We think our home fits well with the modern-but-homey spaces we found in its pages, and we hope our ideas could help other readers as well.
Dining Room, looking into the nook
Nook and Kitchen
Mudroom (you can see the barn door set-up solution for putting a half-bath into the repurposed space where the water heater used to be)
Office, looking onto the screened porch
Office (with neon art from a local fabricator)
Salvaged 1910s clawfoot tub in screened porch
1970s Preway fireplace in screened porch
Our two chickens (the porch is visible in the background)
Kitchen, viewing from table in nook
Front exterior of our home