A few years ago, designer Anne Williams enlisted Nashville-based architect Jonathan Torode to work on her Dallas home. Not long after, Ben Coats of Coats Homes drove by Williams’ house and was struck. “He liked that it wasn’t the sort of typical Dallas house,” recalls Torode. “He knocked on her door and that began the collaboration between Anne, Ben, and myself.”
Their first project together, located on Windsor Avenue in Highland Park, is a 6,000-square-foot home that blends Dutch Colonial and Cape Dutch architectural styles, a move which helped Torode get creative with the neighborhood’s small lots and zoning ordinances. “This style allowed us to play with the form of the house and create some dimension in what would otherwise be just sort of a plain box,” says Torode. “The loggia across the front porch was a way to present a welcoming gesture like a Southern front porch.”
Neutral colored bricks were carefully finished to create a natural weathered look, and topped with a Ludowici terra cotta tile roof, which the team felt matched the character of the home. Inside, Williams drew from the façade’s shapes and forms to create custom furnishings, cabinets, and fixtures. From the master bedroom’s headboard to the breakfast room’s arched banquet, practically everything is informed by Torode’s exterior.
In the backyard, a porch and fire pit create a casual, more intimate place for the home’s family to gather. “In Highland Park, people live across those front yards because it’s such a class, family-friendly neighborhood,” says Torode. “Backyards are a more private place.”
And though Torode’s firm has offices in Nashville, Tennessee and Montgomery, Alabama, the architect has come to enjoy designing for Dallas, particularly Highland Park. “I really do like these little postage stamp lots because it becomes a puzzle,” says Torode. “I think designers are instinctively looking for something to respond to. Those parameters inspire us to reach for new ideas.”