When this dramatic modern home was built in Highland Park, it upset some of the neighbors, which I found puzzling. Highland Park was the launchpad for modernism in Dallas in the 1930s, so give me a break.
A Legacy of Haute Homes
This is the neighborhood where architects try new things. If you want cookie-cutter, move to the suburbs. I’ll take innovation and drama any day, especially if it’s designed by Mark Domiteaux, one of America’s leading architects.
Do a tiny bit of research, and you’ll find out the neighborhood has had a variety of styles since its inception. In 2008, Great American Suburbs: The Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas, listed 16 different styles. Cutting-edge architects like O’Neil Ford, Bud Oglesby, Frank Welch, Dan Shipley, and of course, Antoine Predock, have designed award-winning homes here that create a buzz and draw people to Dallas. Domiteaux has simply continued the architectural legacy and done so beautifully.
This dramatic modern home was a custom build, and the clients had specific ideas that included creating a statement home with a great deal of privacy, an engaging interior, and unexpected elements, because, as Domiteaux said, “Elements of surprise add delight to a home.”
“This home is as minimal as I’ve ever done,” Domiteaux said.
“There are a tremendous number of traditional homes that invite you to look inside with large windows on the façade. This is the antithesis of that. You will never know what’s going on in this home from the outside. With that in mind, I wanted to make it not leap out like a white box. It’s tucked into the site and creates a little bit of a surprise without calling a lot of attention to itself.”
The entry to this 6,233-square-foot, dramatic modern house is through two blocks that appear to almost float.
“How you enter a house is important, whether it’s a reveal, a gracious invitation, or a surprise,” Domiteaux said.
It’s a great transitional procession through the house to the reveal of massive windows looking out on the backyard. And while you experience a purposeful density at the façade, once you enter this home, the light pours in from not only a vast number of floor-to-ceiling windows but also sculptural triple skylights inside coffered boxes at the top of the staircase.
“The light is sublime, and it’s unexpected,” Domiteaux said.
The house is not just dramatic. It’s also totally sexy. You do feel as if you’ve entered a different world.
“When you get that first look at the wall of windows to the outside and the living area and the kitchen, it stops you dead in your tracks,” Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s listing agent Pogir Pogir said. “You just want to bask in it. But then every decision Mark made shows he considered every line in the house. What blows me away more than anything is you see new details all the time, no matter how often you’ve been in the house. The attention to detail, the proportion, and how he puts things together are so extreme and beautiful you are always getting wowed.”
One of the sexiest elements to me is the hot-rolled steel linear fireplace that divides the great room from the intimate dining space. The tile accent that runs up the middle was a bit of kismet. Domiteaux told me Ann Sacks had come out with this beautiful Japanese inspired tile that looks like charred wood.
“It was the perfect metaphor for a fireplace,” he said. “We added gold leaf randomly spaced to relive the black and symbolize the embers of the fire flying up in the sky.”
Pogir called on the team at George Bass Stage and Design to create the right ambiance and a bit of whimsey in this dramatic modern home.
“This house is about the architect and his vision of how you are supposed to live in this magnificent unique dwelling,” Bass said. “This is a special property. There is nothing like it out there. It’s for a discriminating buyer with a sophisticated palate when it comes to privacy, textures, and natural light, so it was our job to facilitate that mood without interrupting the interiors. We did not want to interfere with what the house wanted to tell us.”
The success of any home comes down to the way it feels. Is it a place that has the right scale and the right amount of light? Does it create a mood? Is it comfortable?
“It’s only when you occupy the space that you know how it feels,” Domiteaux said. “Those are the hardest things to design. When they happen, people do occupy the space in the way you saw it happening. There is nothing you can point to that made it happen. It’s a lifetime of being in spaces that informs that. I’m always going to try to imbue a space with those qualities. It’s about finding yourself, at the end of the day, happy in your surroundings.”
And this dramatic modern offers such an abundance of those comfortable, happy spaces that create just the right mood, from the engaging informality of the open-plan kitchen and family area to the intimate dining room and the reading nook in the owners’ suite. There are five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a powder bath, a home office, a game room, and a couple of the best closets you’ve ever seen.
“It’s not just a home. It’s a living piece of art,” Pogir said.
Pogir has this dramatic modern at 4340 Fairfax Avenue available for $3.95 million.