The Mondara is a 35-unit luxury home community on Abbott Avenue between Knox Street and Armstrong Parkway in Highland Park, Texas.
Far back on a lot in Preston Hollow is a house that appears to levitate above the earth. It is at once light, even ethereal, while also being unquestionably natural, solid, and unmovable.
The Sunnybrook residence was designed for owners who requested a clean, uncluttered plan with warmth and texture as rich as their Texas history. Because of the deep site setback, the structure appears to be suspended in and above the gently sloping lawn, which glides under and through the house.
Massive windows create a light, open interior and allow the eye to flow through the residence from the exterior, while the stacked stone and cut Leuders anchor the residence to its natural environment. Careful placement of the fireplace and adjustable louvers allow the owners to screen the private portions of the house from the street, while the clerestories allow light to fill the living spaces.
Shadywood is first and foremost a celebration of natural light. The house is long, thin, and divided into wings, allowing visitors to stand at its front and see through to the backyard. A courtyard and gated entrance at the front ensure privacy, while still allowing for an incredible sunset glow to illuminate the interior toward the end of the day.
The interior uses traditional forms and materials as a canvas for modern décor, creating an overall transitional effect. A pool, tennis/basketball court, and pool house complete with a gym are featured in the back exterior.
The pristine setting of this single-family residence and the owners desire for a direct connection to the surrounding landscape was the primary consideration that drove design of the home.
Situated on a large lot in an established neighborhood, the entry sequence begins with public spaces gathered around a large entry courtyard. The home becomes more private toward the rear, with living spaces that spill out onto a deep covered loggia and garden overlooking a lush, tree-filled backdrop. Carefully placed expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass, flood the home with natural light – often from two sides in a room– and framed views connect the interior to the surrounding landscape.
The second level of the home capitalizes on the elongated nature of the design by giving the upper bedrooms daylight and views into mature tree canopies.
Naturally textured details including a board-formed concrete fireplace surround, douglas-fir ceiling accents, and cut lueders limestone surrounds give the home a sense of warmth and stability as it relates to the outdoors.
Native stone, reclaimed brick and subtle, quiet, yet refined masonry details are accentuated by the thin lines of some locally fabricated steel windows and doors and a mixture of modern, yet warm Italian wood windows. The mix of cut Leuders limestone and rough Leuders limestones (of the same quarry) define a casual yet refined palette. The variety of coursing in the field stone (intentionally saw-cut top and bottom) allowed the opportunity for an intentional connection between different materials and a precision more often seen in a more contemporary architectural style. A mixture of roof masses with two piece barrel tile and standing seam metal help to break down the scale of the house as if its construction had evolved over many years. Board-formed cast concrete headers contribute a richness that blends with the field stone.
The simplicity of the exterior materials are pulled into the interiors. Mud-set limestone floors pour out onto the covered loggia from the living room. Twenty-four-foot lift and slide doors pocket fully into the surrounding walls to even further blur the lines between the exterior and interior rooms. Wide plank, European white oak floors and reclaimed antique beams warm the neutral color scheme of the interiors and allow opportunity for a casualness that still compliments the more formal areas of the open plan. The interior spaces are visually connected to one another and the outdoors while retaining their own boundaries and character through cased openings and unique ceiling treatments – from the barrel vault ceiling of the dining and the antique brick vaults in the wine room to the reclaimed antique timbers in the kitchen and family rooms.
This home is warm, welcoming, and full of surprises. This home carefully invites natural light and always invites extended family and guests. This home is refined while casual, warm while clean-lined, traditional yet modern, and both formal and comfortable. This home is an appropriate contextual response to an older established neighborhood that fortunately transcends the word style.