When some people think of contemporary homes, they think of a stark white box with a white interior — perhaps like the Rachofsky Residence by Richard Meier in Preston Hollow – essentially an art-museum-house-hybrid.

Enrique Montenegro, a principal at SHM Architects, says contemporary is really anything that’s not traditional in architecture, but it’s not necessarily a “classic white box.”

“Contemporary doesn’t have to be cold,” he says.

CandysDirt.com sat down with Enrique Montenegro of Dallas-based SHM Architects to discuss how to design a contemporary home that feels warm and comfortable.

CandysDirt: Let’s start with the criticisms. What are the stereotypes people have of contemporary-style homes?

Enrique Montenegro: Everybody’s got a different idea of what contemporary means. Clean lines is a term that people use a lot when they’re referring to contemporary homes, where everything’s super straight, with minimal details, and very crisp.

But we’ve all been in these kinds of spaces where you feel like you can’t put your feet up. They are rooms full of furniture that make you feel like you’ve got to sit straight up. The way the space is furnished and how the walls are finished can make it feel very cold and too formal. (more…)

Thomas Phifer Dallas

Thomas Phifer’s Dallas projects include the Klyde Warren Park Pavilion and Savor Restaurant.

Thomas Phifer

Thomas Phifer

Thomas Phifer has been called the “master of meticulous modernism,” whose work ranges from the Corning Museum in New York, the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, and the San Francisco corporate headquarters for LinkedIn, to Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park Pavilion and Rachofsky House. The New York City-based architect will be in Dallas to speak to the Dallas Architecture Forum.

Phifer is the Dallas Architecture Forum‘s featured lecturer at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the Dallas Museum of Art. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for DMA members, and $5 for students.

That modernism is evident in his use of light “within a deceptively simple yet elegant design,” Forum Executive Director Nate Eudaly says, describing Phifer’s ability to connect people in man-made environments to their natural surroundings. “His widely celebrated and vast experience spans every scale of design and construction from large public institutions to personal residences,” Eudaly says.


5911 Glendora extCindy and Howard Rachofsky are about the most art-zealous couple you can find in Dallas. They literally live art, now perhaps more than ever. Howard built the Rachofsky House on 8605 Preston Road in 1996 just north of Northwest Highway, the home being a complete collection of art from the lawn to the architecture by renown architect Richard Meier:

The Rachofsky House is the private home and contemporary art collection of Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. The house aims to offer a unique experience with contemporary art and architecture through Richard Meier’s building, the rotating installations inside and the outdoor sculptural works, most of which are site-specific.

Howard is a lawyer and former Wall Street hedge fund tyke. In 1986, Financial World magazine called him one of the 100 highest-paid people on Wall Street, even though he was working from a Dallas office. A lot of the money he made was invested in art, contemporary art, as well as philanthropy, which he then loaded and displayed in the Preston Road estate which he unveiled like a canvass in 1996. For a year, Howard lived there — the home has only one or two bedrooms. Then he married Cindy and they bought a family home at 5911 Glendora in Preston Hollow east of Preston, about a mile from 8605 Preston. Glendora was built in 1997 by Lionel Morrison — very famous locally, The Art House, One Arts Plaza, 6645 Northaven, and much more.6645northaven-58h-575x387

And just yesterday, Claire Dewar, one of Briggs Freeman’s tip-top agents, listed 5611 Glendora. Amazing house. Asking $2,695,000.

5911 Glendora LR 5911 Glendora foyer 5911 Glendora FR 5911 Glendora master bathThe Glendora home is 5,800-square-feet of thoroughly clean modern with four bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, chic swimming pool and deck, covered patio, and “Art collector owner installed state of the art lighting.” Translation: lighting you’d find at The Rachofsky House is here.  As expected, the home has lush, large windows viewing the 1/2 acre of soothing, manicured gardens. The master is upstairs and divine: his and her baths, office & terrace in the master suite, plus two more bedrooms. There is a second master downstairs. The grounds have matured over the years and you are getting a home with huge magnolias and other ripe trees, a gated driveway into a courtyard, and a three car garage.5911 Glendora kit

5911 Glendora office 5911 Glendora poolAccording to Curbed, a great deal of the Rachofsky’s collection is settled in a new space, known as The Warehouse, and the Rachofsky’s plan to live at 8605 Preston Road full time.