Stadium Drive, only a stone’s throw from Colonial Country Club, is the locus for many a hidden Fort Worth Real estate treasure. This sophisticated Mediterranean villa is a perfect example, embodying so much of what’s great and unique about Fort Worth.
Also known as the Walsh Estate, the house was built as a wedding present for Mary Walsh in 1930. That’s Walsh of Walsh Ranch fame. The manse stayed in the family for generations, growing — and there is some dispute about this — to an astonishing 12,000 square feet. That size is not unheard of now, but it was phenomenally expansive for the time.
Remaking a Classic Fort Worth Mansion
The house was acquired in a private sale in 2012 and the new owners gave the residence a complete makeover.
Taking on the challenging project was a first-class team including architect Archie Crow in collaboration with builder Doug Brooks and designer Mary Lee Proctor. What followed is so quintessentially Fort Worth.
It was contemplated to raze the structure and start fresh (so Dallas). Instead the façade was left more or less intact with the addition of modern windows and the square footage was reduced by 25 percent to a still impressive 8,125 square feet, allowing for the Arcadian garden at back.
The somewhat glacial, marble-floored entry gives a preview of the quality of construction throughout the house. There is a harmonious equilibrium of architectural elements, somewhat of a rarity in contemporary construction. That arched window seems in perfect balance with the stairway pierced by an arched opening leading to a powder bath. The massive chandelier, just visible at top, once hung at River Crest Country Club.
Designer Mary Lee Proctor, something of a Fort Worth legend, has applied a near obsessive attention to detail and finish. The dining room ceiling shimmers with mirror like Venetian plaster. The twin chandeliers are part of the original Walsh Estate now in a new location. The paneled living room below is unexpectedly intimate with walls and coffered ceiling lacquered a delicious French cobalt blue.
The great room is a study in low-key sophistication in both space and material management. Luxurious is the Carrara single slab backsplash and twin waterfall-wrapped islands. Oyster colored beams that echo the veining in the marble traverse the kitchen area.
Though open to the kitchen, the living area is demarcated by a cased opening and given a change in fenestration. Two nearly floor-to-ceiling, arched windows with garden views break through half-moon vaults. Built-in bookcases reprise the gray of the beams in the adjacent space. The baronial iron light fixture brings the elegant seating group into balance.
The powder bath off the entry, one of three, features lovely peacock feather paper that was hand-painted by decorative painter Joey Lancaster.
The master suite is on the ground floor. Four of the of the five bedrooms have ensuite baths.
The sumptuous master bath is a symphony of marble with herring bone patterned floors and counter tops of massive gray slabs. The master bedroom has one of four fireplaces on the property.
Shaving off enclosed square footage made possible the rich repertoire of outdoor spaces.
Again there is an abundance of detail like the arched in-wall banquette. At one end of the pool/spa is a pergola with a fireplace. An arcaded cloister marches towards the guest house. All of this is overlooked by a second-floor loggia with seemingly endless private views.
The lot is nearly one-half acre with dense trees obscuring neighboring houses.