david stocker

The Sunnybrook Residence by architects David Stocker and Stephen Lohr of Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro. Photo: Nathan Schroder

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the last one here). This column was originally posted on April 20. 

In Dallas, architect David Stocker, AIA, is well-known for his residential, commercial, and sacred spaces. He approaches his work theologically, he says, creating beauty in a broken world, one project at a time.

David Stocker

David Stocker, AIA

“I see beauty as largely objective—in a sense we are ‘hardwired’ to experience beauty,” Stocker said. “It is a common trait in our humanity. The creative process is really discovering, or in most cases re-discovering, these timeless patterns of what is known as beauty.”

He is a principal at Uptown-based Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro Architects, a firm he co-founded with Mark Hoesterey and Enrique Montenegro almost 11 years ago. As the firm profile states, “We consider ourselves ordinary people who are extraordinarily good at our work. We care deeply about our craft and who it affects, and it is our desire to be always conscious of our design principles and core values, regardless of project type, scope, style, or location.”

Their portfolio on Houzz is a testament to the beauty they create. In fact, they’ve received the “Best of Houzz” design and service awards 2014-2015, and a design award this year. We sat down with Stocker and asked him about his background, philosophy, favorite projects, and more.

CandysDirt: You grew up in Central Illinois between St. Louis and Chicago. How did that influence you?

David Stocker: It gave me great access, at an early age, to the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, and others and began my love of architecture. I began my move towards Texas by going to architecture school at the University of Arkansas. I was fortunate that E. Fay Jones was active at the school and professor at the time. I loved the school and the program (my daughter is attending now). I graduated in 1984 and decided to make Texas my home and begin my career at HKS [Architects].

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david stocker

The Sunnybrook Residence by architects David Stocker and Stephen Lohr of Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro. Photo: Nathan Schroder

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the last one here).

In Dallas, architect David Stocker, AIA, is well-known for his residential, commercial, and sacred spaces. He approaches his work theologically, he says, creating beauty in a broken world, one project at a time.

David Stocker

David Stocker, AIA

“I see beauty as largely objective—in a sense we are ‘hardwired’ to experience beauty,” Stocker said. “It is a common trait in our humanity. The creative process is really discovering, or in most cases re-discovering, these timeless patterns of what is known as beauty.”

He is a principal at Uptown-based Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro Architects, a firm he co-founded with Mark Hoesterey and Enrique Montenegro almost 11 years ago. As the firm profile states, “We consider ourselves ordinary people who are extraordinarily good at our work. We care deeply about our craft and who it affects, and it is our desire to be always conscious of our design principles and core values, regardless of project type, scope, style, or location.”

Their portfolio on Houzz is a testament to the beauty they create. In fact, they’ve received the “Best of Houzz” design and service awards 2014-2015, and a design award this year. We sat down with Stocker and asked him about his background, philosophy, favorite projects, and more.

CandysDirt: You grew up in Central Illinois between St. Louis and Chicago. How did that influence you?

David Stocker: It gave me great access, at an early age, to the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, and others and began my love of architecture. I began my move towards Texas by going to architecture school at the University of Arkansas. I was fortunate that E. Fay Jones was active at the school and professor at the time. I loved the school and the program (my daughter is attending now). I graduated in 1984 and decided to make Texas my home and begin my career at HKS [Architects].

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Serenity, The Woodward Project, by Classic Urban Homes. Photo: Barrett Woodward Photography

“Serenity House” by Classic Urban Homes. They are one of the 2016 Best of Houzz winners. Photo: Barrett Woodward Photography

It’s no secret that North Texas is home to some seriously talented home construction and design pros. So when Houzz announced their 2016 award winners, it was no surprise to see Dallas-Fort Worth professionals making a huge splash.

The awards are based on an annual survey and analysis of more than 35 million monthly Houzz users, and are awarded in three categories: design, customer service, and photography. Design winners can boast photos of their work were among the most popular on the site.

Customer service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews received in 2015, as well as a firm’s interaction with the public on the site.  Both awards have stiff competition, with about 35 million active homebuilding, remodeling, and design professionals on the site.

We’ve rounded up ten 2016 Houzz winners for your viewing pleasure. Take some time to let your eyes delight in their work!

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Barbara Gilbert fairview living-room-interior

A cabana living room in Fairview designed by Dallas interior designer Barbara Gilbert. All photos: Michael Hunter Photography

Dallas interior designer Barbara Gilbert is an expert in the psychology of color, creating carefully curated spaces that not only work visually, but positively impact function and use.

Her attention to detail means you’ll find every inch accounted for in her designs in ways that often surprise and delight. One exampleL LED toe kicks in the kitchen, bringing illumination to the floor.

Barbara Gilbert

Barbara Gilbert

“Details are what make a room beautiful—it’s the mixing of patterns, textures, and colors and placing them strategically in a room,” Gilbert said. “We will mix two patterns on a chair and add contrast welt for variation. We make sure that the height of an end table is the right size for the furniture it sits next to. We are very particular about scale, so when we source artwork we make sure it’s the perfect size for the wall it adorns.”

We mentioned Gilbert on CandysDirt in 5 Dallas Interior Designers to Watch in 2015 this January. We noted her work on an eco-friendly home in Highland Village that earned her two 2014 ASID Legacy of Design awards, as well as the Dallas Builders Association ARC Award for the kitchen. She’s a Best of Houzz winner from 2012-2015. Additionally, Gilbert just won five 2015 ASID Legacy of Design awards, including first place for transitional living areas and first place for a transitional singular space.

Gilbert and her team at Barbara Gilbert Interiors specialize in high-performance, sustainable new construction and full service luxury residential interior design. It’s work she loves and in which she excels.

“We interpret our clients’ needs and dreams and use all of the principles of design to create their spaces,” she said. “Excellence is the standard for us and we don’t quit until we think it’s perfect! Thinking outside of the box is normal we love challenges.”

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Margaret Chambers downtown Dallas highrise study

The study of a downtown Dallas highrise, designed by Margaret Chambers. Photo: Dan Piassick

Interior designer Margaret Chambers is a pillar in the Dallas design community. She formed Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. 23 years ago after dreaming of having her own business, becoming known for her ability to confidently mix different styles, techniques, and cultures for her clients.

In those years, she’s come to regard Dallas as the ideal place for her thriving business, which employs five professionals, with every designer in the office having a degree in interior design.

Margaret Chambers

Margaret Chambers

“It is really a perfect place to practice interior design—people are very aware of interior designers and appreciate their ability to transform their home or office into a wonderful place to live and work,” Chambers said. “In Dallas, people can see a difference when a professional interior designer has created a space. In addition, Dallas is an international city and is continuing to grow, making it an exciting place for design to serve a wide range of people.”

Chambers’ work is award-winning, and has been published in more than 20 industry magazines, including Traditional Home, Texas Home & Living, and D Home. She is also a friend of CandysDirt, telling our readers about everything from kitchen design and investing in antiques to picking a chandelier and the best strategies to use to get your home on the market and sold.

You’ll find Chambers’ work in Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Plano, and other North Texas homes of discriminating clients, spanning a range of styles.

“I always try to make my work as classical and timeless as possible, whether I am doing a contemporary, transitional, or traditional home,” she said. “I want each project to have its own unique style that reflects the client’s unique taste. I also love to add in furniture, art, and accessories that are handmade. I feel these add warmth and a soul to the interior; they bring with them a history that enriches a space.”

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outdoor living

All photos: Devin Miller

Transforming backyards into additional living spaces is a growing trend in North Texas. Even the hottest summer day turns into a pleasant evening, and the other three seasons are mild.

Upgrading outdoor living spaces can range in investment. A higher-end renovation and finish-out could include utilizing a professional designer and contractor to implement adding structures like cabanas, swimming pools, built-in kitchens, and covered patios. A DIY project could include updates to existing structures and surfaces that homeowners can implement themselves.

We talked to Nicole Arnold, who owns a full-service Dallas interior design firm, Nicole Arnold Interiors, recognized as a Dallas Top 10 Design firm and a Best of Houzz in 2014 and 2015 for customer satisfaction.

Nicole Arnold

Nicole Arnold

She’s worked with many homeowners to create cool, comfortable outdoor living spaces that work with the rest of their home’s design.

“In a lot of cases, these outdoor retreats are visible from a main living area inside your home—therefore, make sure they look on par with the rest of your home, and, ideally, a natural extension of your interior style,” Arnold said. “Of course there’s a wide spectrum of upgrades and accouterments available to personalize your particular space, make it aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and functional.”

Read on to see her top 5 tips for accentuating an outdoor living space, regardless of the scope of your project.

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The living room of a Meadowood Estate designed by Mary Anne Smiley.

The living room of a Meadowood Estate designed by Mary Anne Smiley

Mary Anne Smiley had big plans for herself as a young woman. During childhood, she began drawing house plans and dreamed of a career in architecture.

Several years later, she tried to begin architecture studies at Oklahoma State University. But it was the 1960s, and the dean informed her, “Women do not enroll in architecture.”

Mary Anne Smiley

Mary Anne Smiley

That unfortunate turn of events led her to a different kind of adventure—she decided instead to study interior design and fine art. This began a successful career as an interior designer, and today, Smiley is recognized her as one of the top designers in Dallas. She received a Best of Houzz 2014 award for service, and a Best of Houzz 2015 award for design.

“I went to college with the intention of being an architect, but I am so glad the dean told me women could not enroll in architecture, as I think that would have been so limiting for me,” Smiley said. “I also wanted to be an artist so bad, but realized I did not have the raw talent required for that at that time—during the 60s, if you were not angry, and interested in phallic symbols, you did not have what it took! I think all-in-all, I landed just where I needed to be.”

Smiley’s love of bright color made her a pioneer of its use in Dallas interior design, and a signature of hers is bright spots of pure color against soft pearl-finish backgrounds. She’s also known for her ability to mix antiques and lavish textiles with cutting-edge products, from metallics to recycled plastics.

“I love to mix elements,” she said. “For instance, in the Highland Park contemporary study, for the desk, I used two contemporary chrome bases for a custom acrylic ‘tray’ top with honey onyx insert. The unique thing about this desk that you do not see, is that the onyx has a hollow space that encompasses an LED light grid that lights the onyx top without any evidence of a light source or wiring, as the wiring is concealed inside the chrome base, running directly into the floor, with the transformer for the lighting mounted beneath the floor.”

Today, she brings her talents to clients with her company, Mary Anne Smiley Interiors, creating carefully curated spaces for a range of clients. Her work is simply stunning.

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Stephan SardoneParting is such sweet sorrow. At least it is for us at CandysDirt when one of our favorite homebuilders puts his sensational reno on the market.

Stephan Sardone, owner of Sardone Construction, took the L-Streets house at 10229 Linkwood Dr. in Lake Highlands to the studs and reimagined the space entirely. What emerged is extraordinary—we’ve written about it twice, here and here.

“We essentially demolished its entire insides and redesigned it into an open concept that maximized every inch of the home,” he said. “We were able to fit three full bedrooms and two full bathrooms—and the master bath is really large—as well as an incredible open living space and nice-sized kitchen.”

Stephan SardoneTo make this house happen, Sardone partnered with Larry Paschall of HPD Architecture in Oak Lawn. Together, they totally overhauled the 1,320-square-foot interior. They moved all interior walls, changed the layout of the space, and created a vaulted ceiling with wood beams by pushing out a gable on the roof.

Sardone’s abode served both as a home for him and his wife, and as a contractor showcase to show potential clients just how to create a smart, efficient design. It was a no-brainer to choose it as today’s Thursday Three Hundred. It was listed Friday by Michael Cassell at Gilchrist & Company Real Estate for $379,900.

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