Wednesday, May 22, 2024 May 22, 2024
77° F Dallas, TX

The North Dallas Lake House

When Peggy Levinson saw the view at this waterfront home, she knew she had to have it.
photography by Stephen Karlisch

Peggy Levinson and her husband didn’t need a new house. She wasn’t even looking for one when she happened upon the home where she lives now. Her dog simply had to go for a walk. How was Peggy supposed to know there would be an open house along the way, an open house with a lake she couldn’t resist? The lake, one of a series that meanders through the area, runs from Hillcrest Avenue to Boedeker Street, and its rural-beauty-in-the-big-city charm enchanted Peggy. “I couldn’t believe I was in Dallas,” she says. “It seemed like it was out in the country.”

Peggy convinced her husband, Dana Fuller, that they did, in fact, need the house, which sits just east of Preston Hollow. She sold him on it by promising him it was perfect as is, that they didn’t need to do a thing to it. That’s not exactly what happened, however. With the help of architect Bentley Tibbs and contractor Larry Hartman, the couple embarked on a yearlong renovation.

But that’s not the point. The point is Peggy got her house. And her lake.

After all that pesky remodeling, Peggy went to work on the most important part of new home ownership: decorating. “Our old house was very busy, with lots of stuff,” she says. “I wanted the new house to be serene.” So she got rid of most of the “stuff.” The furniture, on the other hand, made the move with Peggy and Dana. “Everything is pretty much leftovers from the old house,” she says. “Nothing goes together. I don’t like things that go together.”

The couple collected much of the artwork and accessories on their travels through China and Europe. And they purchased most of the furniture from showroom auctions and warehouse sales. Order mistakes, showroom models, discontinued pieces, and going-out-of-business specials fill the house, giving it an eclectic flair.

That mixing of styles is true of Peggy’s home furnishings as well as her choice of designers. Before she was D Home’s design and style editor, a position she’s held since 2005, she owned showrooms in Dallas for 25 years. During those two-plus decades at Boyd Levinson and later Hargett, Peggy met the likes of Neal Stewart, George Cameron Nash, and Stephen Dunn—three markedly different designers who contributed their expertise to her lakefront retreat.

Stewart is known for his modern, streamlined taste; Dunn for his decorative touches and eye for accessorizing; and Nash for his classic, refined, and sophisticated style. You can find the designers’ influences throughout the home. Stewart helped with the floor plan of the house, Dunn helped design the custom headboard in the master bedroom, and Nash suggested adding a mirrored back to the wall-size bookshelves in the main bedroom.

There’s another part of Peggy and Dana’s lives that requires varied styles to mix and mingle: their five grown children. Though they’re all quite different and spread out across the country—from Seattle to Philadelphia—there’s one thing Peggy says they have in common: they all want to come home at the same time.

Five kids—two with spouses and children of their own—means Peggy’s house has to morph into a dormitory-style abode during holidays and special occasions. With nine extra bodies, every room must become a bedroom, she says.

Good thing about that lake. If any more grandchildren come along, maybe Peggy can buy a boathouse.

Styled by Cliff Ellman