Gated communities in general — and Montserrat in particular — often get a bad rap as the locus of the over-the-top, lavish McMansions. And it’s true there is a little bit of everything in Montserrat, from turreted fairy tale castles to splashy modern spreads. But houses can aspire no higher than the taste level of the builders or the owners who commission them.
This week’s Fort Worth Friday, built in 2005, at 4609 Palencia Drive, confidently epitomizes the best that modern luxury can offer.
The façade avoids the cliché of symmetry, instead opting for balanced blocks. Two “towers” of differing proportions and rooflines sandwich the entrance bay. Instead of using every crayon in the box, building materials are restricted to simple painted brick with decorative under-eave details and a protruding string course to delineate the two stories.
Twin French windows, the one on the right an operational door, offer an interesting and original solution to the entrance. Inside, the interior architecture maintains the elegant restraint of the exterior with nearly 6,000 square feet of masterfully managed space.
To the left is a library and a separate corridor leading to the ground-floor master suite. To the right is an intimate dining room with one of the house’s three fireplaces. Floors throughout are of wide-plank oak (happily unscraped) in a warm chestnut brown. The color palette is composed of subtle variants of whites and creams with the occasional accent like the lacquered dining room ceiling, which flaunts the perfectly floated surfaces or the oyster-painted coffers and cabinetry of the study.
Followers of Fort Worth Friday will probably have detected my bias against open concept floor plans. That probably derives from badly handled, haphazard retrofits in existing structures as well as cavernous and menacingly scaled spaces in new construction.
The “open concept” idea really springs from something warm and humanly innate, however, which is our instinctive desire to congregate around a hearth where food is prepared and shared. And here space is completely human-scaled and livable.
A second — yes second — island under an arched opening defines the kitchen. Silvery oyster tones reappear in the cabinetry. The gas range is a massive six-foot monster with nine burners and a griddle/grill. Among the built-in appliances are dual dishwashers, microwave oven, and a warming drawer.
The lofty, informal living area benefits from the cathedral ceiling given emphasis by by two dramatic, hybrid king post beam constructions. Abundant illumination flows from a trio of floor-to-ceiling windows with views to the back, which echo the dimensions of the built-in cabinets across from them.
The master bedroom is one of five is on the ground floor. The master bath features oversized vanities on opposite walls and a floating claw-foot tub in the center. Notice the clever wedge-shaped, double shower stall behind.
Upstairs there are four more bedrooms and three baths. There are, in total four full baths and four half baths dispersed throughout the house. The second floor also includes a family room with a wet bar. The second floor may be reached by the front staircase or a back elevator. A back balcony, one of three, can be accessed from two of the bedrooms.
The house is sited on a half-acre lot with a pool/spa at back. There are four parking spaces in the garage with additional covered space under the porte cochère. Quarterly HOA dues of $1000 cover the many amenities of Montserrat, including full access to the clubhouse and tennis courts.