Luckily for designer Dan Nelson, whatever Lola want's Lola gets.
The 8-year-old Yorkie belongs to Pat and Charles McEvoy, and over the years, Lola’s chewing habit has led to more than a few mishaps with furniture and accessories at the McEvoy house. (As it turns out, a down silk chaise is no match for a pup who’s mad at the postman.) Each incident has prompted a call to Dan’s design hotline: “Lola’s my little moneymaker,” he jokes.
The design evolution of the McEvoy house is not all Lola’s doing, however. Dan and Pat have worked together to create the look of the Highland Park home that’s been an ongoing project for several years.
“We did it in phases,” Dan says. “We kept thinking we were done, but really we weren’t.”
“We’ve been in the house almost seven years,” Pat adds. “We started working on it then.”
Projects have included such tasks as replacing all the light fixtures, remodeling the kitchen, turning the third floor into a playroom for the grandchildren, and converting a large bedroom into Charles’ closet.
Though Charles doesn’t involve himself too much in the design plans—“He’s very content to do the wait-and-see,” Pat says—the closet was one thing he requested.
“That was a negotiating point with Charles for buying the house—if he could have one big bedroom and make it the closet. That’s what he wanted,” she says.
And that’s what he got. But in addition to shelves and clothing racks, this closet has an adjoining bathroom and boasts a flat-screen TV and a leather recliner. “This is the only Barcalounger I have ever bought for a client,” Dan says with a laugh, “but it’s a really good one!”
While the closet is probably her husband’s favorite room of the house, Pat says she loves the living room. “I think the colors are very soothing,” she says. “I like the light in the daytime, and I like the light at night. It’s just very comfortable. It’s not a formal living room. It’s relaxed.”
When she’s not relaxing, more than likely Pat is in her office, where she keeps herself busy raising money for various Dallas charities, including Crystal Charity Ball, Goodwill, Genesis Women’s Shelter, the Center for BrainHealth, and the Food Allergy Center at Children’s Medical.
But it’s not Charles’ closet or Pat’s office that attracts guests. Visitors, it seems, favor the kitchen. “No matter what kind of party you have, how many people, you want them to spread throughout the house, and everyone is right in the kitchen,” Pat says. The three grandkids, of course, hang out on the third floor, in the playroom Dan designed for the 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old.
No matter which room guests gravitate toward, they should definitely look up while they’re in there. In the McEvoy house, there’s often a surprise waiting up above. In the study, where Pat and Charles have housed treasures from their travels, a map of the world fills the ceiling. In the bar area, the ceiling sparkles with wallpaper made from tiny flecks of mica. And in the master suite, Dan took one large chandelier the McEvoys had in a previous home and turned it into two pieces. “It was big, and we didn’t know what to do with it,” he says. “So we cut it in half and hung the top part in the bathroom and the bottom part in the bedroom—or vice versa.”
Though the major renovations are now complete, Pat says the house is a work in progress. Whether it’s new windows on the third floor or rearranging furniture and art, there’s always a reason to invite Dan over for a project. Plus, it looks like Lola may have recently mistaken a vintage Sally Sirkin Lewis chair in the master suite for one of her chew toys.
Styled by Jenny O’Connor
Flowers by Haile Wossen