AIA Dallas Tour of Homes Features Kessler Parkway Modern Built For Family Life

Kessler House. Dallas, Texas. Image license: RG/D+B, Inc and Gayla Interiors Inc. © Copyright 2017 Benjamin Benschneider 

When Rene Gracia bought his Kessler Parkway home, everything was completely wrong with it. The floor plan didn’t work for modern family life, and the home itself didn’t take full advantage of the hilltop lot and treetop views it afforded. Not wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, Gracia enlisted his firm, RG/D+B, and set to work to make the tired 1950s-era ranch into a modern home fit for family life.

The results speak for themselves, as Gracia’s work has netted his family’s home a spot on this weekend’s AIA Dallas Tour of Homes, the only citywide tour in Dallas curated exclusively by architects. The tour, which is slated for Saturday and Sunday, October 20-21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will include seven residences in neighborhoods all over the Dallas area. Oak Cliff, the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, Lake Highlands, and East Dallas will host the stops of this two-day, open-to-the-public tour highlighting the work of some of the city’s most talented architects and the area’s most innovative and outstanding residential design. 

Want to win one of two pairs of tickets courtesy of CandysDirt.com? Keep reading!

Gracia’s approach to design is refreshing. His out-of-the-box thinking gave new life to an old home in ways that have given his family new perspective.

The Gracia family (Courtesy Photo)

“One of the things that you have to think about when you’re moving to a more modern design — with floor-to-ceiling glass and clerestory windows — is that it really transforms your overall way of life.” Gracia said. When the house was completed four years ago, his family took a little while to adapt to the open floor plan and new views. His son was 10 at the time. “As soon as we moved into the new house, his personality changed completely,” Gracia added. “The house itself is a transformational home. There’s really an emotional connotation for us with this house. ”

For his family, Gracia says that being able to see across the house, from the inside and outside, keeps them all connected in a way. “In all the windows in the home, you can walk through and see straight through to the backyard.”

Kessler House. Dallas, Texas. Image license: RG/D+B, Inc and Gayla Interiors Inc. © Copyright 2017 Benjamin Benschneider

Kessler House. Dallas, Texas. Image license: RG/D+B, Inc and Gayla Interiors Inc. © Copyright 2017 Benjamin Benschneider

That’s not to say that there aren’t serene, private areas of the house, allowing for Zen moments and solitude, or just a relaxing spot for a book and to be alone with your thoughts. One such space is the front room of the house.

“The front room of the house is one of my favorite rooms in the house for a couple of reasons,” Gracia said. “First it transforms throughout the day. It’s more of a sensory experience in the evening time. And it engages the exterior and interior of the home.” 

Kessler House. Dallas, Texas. Image license: RG/D+B, Inc and Gayla Interiors Inc. © Copyright 2017 Benjamin Benschneider 

Kessler House. Dallas, Texas. Image license: RG/D+B, Inc and Gayla Interiors Inc. © Copyright 2017 Benjamin Benschneider

Of course, living in a home with so much glass unfettered with window treatments, Gracia often fields some questions. 

“People ask me all the time, ‘How can you live in the house that has so much glass in the front? Don’t you feel exposed?'” he said. Once you’re inside this stunning Kessler Parkway modern, you can see for yourself how private it feels. Thanks to its elevated perch, you can’t see inside the home from the street level. And the views from inside the house? They’re absolutely arboreal.

“You can look at the trees and treetops, and the sound from the water feature in front grounds you,” Gracia said. “You want to feel comfortable and safe in the home, and we do.”

Kessler House. Dallas, Texas. Image license: RG/D+B, Inc and Gayla Interiors Inc. © Copyright 2017 Benjamin Benschneider

Gracia’s firm does more than just beautiful modern architecture, though. Interior design is a huge part of their team’s litany of services, and the Gracia’s Kessler Parkway home really speaks to the level of talent they possess. Connecting the interiors of the home with the landscape was a goal of the overall design.

“With the materials that we wanted to have in there, we wanted them to be beautiful of course,” Gracia said. “All of the elements that we wanted to incorporate, we wanted them to feel real and have a connection from the outside that surrounds.”

Naturally, Gracia is looking forward to seeing how tourgoers react to his design this weekend. This project, his family’s home, was a labor of love from beginning to end.

“I know what the home represents for us as a family, and I just want people to see it for what it is,” he said. What is that, exactly? “We wanted to create a place that has modern in aesthetic, but that would feel comfortable and not like a museum for us. We wanted to create a comfortable environment for our children, for them to learn and grow.”

You can see Gracia’s Kessler Parkway rebuild this weekend along with all of the other incredible properties showcased in the AIA Dallas Tour of Homes, which includes an example of the “Missing Middle” concept — a way to provide diverse, affordable housing options and support walkable communities with access to public transportation. 

“We are really proud of this year’s selection of homes, which spotlight significant trends in residential real estate and architecture,” said Eddie Maestri, AIA, Principal, Maestri, LLC, and 2018 AIA Dallas Tour of Homes co-chair. “The group of diverse homes on this year’s tour are particularly unique, including the Trammel house, which exemplifies a ‘Missing Middle’ home, and the Casa Loma residence whose homeowner went to extraordinary lengths to protect it instead of tearing it down.”

Tickets can be purchased online or can be purchased during the tour at any of the homes. Tour-only tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the weekend of, and $10 to visit an individual home. The catered Premiere Party is Thursday, October 18, set in a home exclusively available to party attendees and not on the tour. Tickets to the Premiere Party are $100 and include one ticket to the home tour.


Want to win a pair of tickets to the AIA Dallas Tour of Homes on Oct. 20 and 21? To enter you must:

1) Comment below telling us which of the seven homes on the 2018 AIA Dallas Tour of Homes is your favorite
2) Repost this post on Instagram or Facebook and tag @candysdirt

The deadline for entries is Friday at 9 a.m. CT. Completed entries will be included in a drawing for one of two pairs of tickets to the AIA Dallas Tour of Homes on Oct. 20-21. Good luck!

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