Architect-designed homes make for stylish living, and our Thursday Three Hundred is a rare treat. This updated contemporary two-story condo was designed by renowned Dallas architect Lionel Morrison, inspired by the work of German-American modern architect Mies van der Rohe.
Located at 3920 Travis St. Apt. 16, this Uptown condo is awash with natural light, designed to feel spacious and bright with big windows, doors, and skylights. It has two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, one half bathroom, and 1,262 square feet, built in 1985. The tony location is just blocks from the West Village, Katy Trail, and Cole Park.
It was listed June 17 by Faisal Halum with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty for $375,000. Monthly HOA fees are $320 and include blanket insurance, exterior maintenance, gas, management fees, sprinkler system, trash, and water/sewer.
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).
Alicia Chandler Quintans, AIA
Alicia Chandler Quintans, AIA, is an Oak Cliff-based architect, interior designer, and preservationist. She founded JQAQ Atelier in 2012, a small design firm focused on solving modern design challenges for residential and commercial projects.
She graduated from UT Arlington School of Architecture in 1991, where she met her husband Joel, a collaborative partner for JQAQ Atelier and the Creative Director for UTA.
The summer after graduating, they stayed at a professor friend’s home in Oak Cliff, and fell in love with this southern borough of Dallas. The couple found a small, 1947 minimal traditional house in Beckley Club Estates.
“After almost 25 years, the house has transformed into a laboratory for ideas,” Quintans said. “We’ve updated the kitchen and bath, installed energy-efficient features, and added a studio on the property to serve as a workshop and guesthouse. The property evolves to suit our needs and interests.”
“By learning the history and sharing stories of collective memory, we better understand the sense of place in our community and provide an emotional connection, represented in form by our built environment,” she said.
Twitty creates original, inspired interiors and shows tremendous ambition and attention to detail in his work. He seems to have an intuitive nature that helps translate a client’s wants and needs into beautiful, functional spaces that serve as the stage to create their memories.
Since I published that post, I’ve wanted to talk to Twitty and find out more about his background, influences, design process, and upcoming projects. As I suspected, he’s a genuinely likable guy with a great story, incredible passion, and a general joy of living that he brings to his work.
All photos courtesy of Kevin Twitty
Twitty got his professional start following his first semester at Stephen F. Austin State University, where he was an accounting majoring. On winter break, he took a job at a small showroom at the Dallas Trade Mart helping with visual displays.
“Day one on the job was a 12-hour marathon of learning, creating, and refining new designs and it left me yearning for more,” he recalled. “When I returned home that evening and shared my day with my mother, tears started to run down her face as she told me, ‘You’ve found what you are meant to do. I’ve never seen you this happy.’”
Upon return to college, he changed his major to interior design and never looked back. That showroom job lasted for seven years.
“My time there was invaluable to my growth as a designer and I was able to hone my skills and better understand scale, space, and balance,” he said. “I’ve now spent the better part of a decade making spaces of all kinds beautiful and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
It makes perfect sense: you live in a house of glass, so everyone can see you. Therefore what you wear becomes supremely important and let’s face it — no hauling your butt to the fridge bare-ass naked. So it is smart, very smart indeed that the folks at Highland Park Village trekked out to New Canaan, Connecticut to shoot the fashion spread for the premiere issue of Highland Park Village Magazine. What you say, another new corporate magazine? Yes indeedy, that is the trend. And this one is on the web, too, gorgeous, slick, and brimming with design — kind of like The Glass House. The fact that HPV even got to snap a camera at this architectural landmark is HUGE: apparently Highland Park Village will be supporting the preservation of The Glass House.
With it’s perfect proportions and gleaming simplicity, the Glass House by Philip Johnson is considered one of the most brilliant works of modern architecture. Completed in 1949, the one-story house has a 32′x56′ open floor plan enclosed in 18-feet-wide floor-to-ceiling sheets of glass between black steel piers and stock H-beams that anchor the glass in place. Inspired by the architect’s mentor, Mies van der Rohe, Who built Farnsworth House. The structure, however, did not impress Mies when he visited. According to legend, Mies stormed out of The Glass House in fury because of what he interpreted as a lack of thought in the details of the house.
Still, it’s a great place for a photo shoot, and I would think a challenge for any photographer. The clear glass panels create a series of reflections, including those of the surrounding trees, and people walking inside or outside of the house, layering them on top of one another and creating everchanging images — very cool, but a photographer’s nightmare?.
I have visited Farnsworth House, it is in the vicinity of where I grew up. The Glass House is similar, the interior completely exposed to the outdoors except for a cylinder brick structure with the entrance to the bathroom on one side and a fireplace on the other side. Not open, exposed. The floor-to-ceiling height is ten and a half feet and the brick cylinder structure protrudes from the top. The floor is also made herringbone patterned red brick and is ten inches off of ground level. The only other divisions or solid walls in the house besides the bathroom are discreetly done with low cabinets and bookshelves, making the house a single open room. This provides great ventilation and incredible lighting.
The house is the primary attraction on the site, but Johnson built thirteen more structures that include a guest house, an art gallery, and a sculpture pavilion. In contrast to The Glass House, the guest house is a heavy brick structure, contrasting the extreme lightness and transparency expressed in the Glass House. Interesting: the art gallery is buried underground in order to not take away attention from the house, making it a windowless gallery. (The house reigns supreme here as the art!) There is also a a sculpture gallery, an “assymmetrical white-brick shed with a glass roof… conceived as a series of interlocking rooms that step down around an open, central space.”
The Glass House was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997. Now, who is publishing this magazine (again) and why are they jetting all the way to New Canaan to take these photos in an historical landmark? Well one, we do not have a Glass House in Dallas and maybe Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois was a long drive from O’Hare in Chicago. Two, the publishers would be the owners of Highland Park Village, Ray and Heather Washburne, and Stephen and Elisa Summers. Because magazine advertising is so costly, many companies are opting to forgo it and just create their own publications, like Ebby Halliday’s Grand Vie and Erin Mathews’/David Nichol’s MN Home. The circulation is controlled, and you only hit up folks who can afford to buy your products — make sense?
And I remember a few years ago when some people said luxury was dead. Ha! Now the fine folks at HPV are so busy selling luxury items to luxury buyers, they are extending their hours: the shops that were previously open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. will stay open until 8 p.m. so we won’t have to race like hellions to get there anymore.