Brian Roughton was in a tux. She was in a car. When Kayla pulled up to the driveway to pick up a friend, Brian was on his way out to a black-tie affair. “I saw him and said, ‘I know you.’ And he replied, ‘You don’t, but you should,’” she recalls. “He got my phone number from his neighbor, and we never not dated after that.”
They married, had children, and eventually settled in Bluffview. Brian opened the Roughton Gallery, known for its 19th- and 20th-century American and European paintings, on Fairmount Street. All was well until he went in to negotiate with his landlord. “They wanted to redo the lease, and I wanted to buy the building,” he says. When that didn’t work out, he began looking for new digs. That’s when he found a historic building down the street built in 1931 and designed by Fooshee and Cheek, the architects behind Highland Park Village. He immediately talked to the owner, who was willing to sell—but with a caveat. Brian had to buy the adjoining vacant lot, too. “That’s when I came up with the bright idea of building a house,” he says. “Kayla was less than pleased.”
Once she was convinced, they agreed that they needed an architect who could create a house that would complement the existing gallery space. They decided on Dallas architect Christy Blumenfeld shortly after meeting her. “Christy and Kayla hit it off immediately,” Brian says. “We would take her with us shopping in Santa Fe and various places, and she would draw things into the plans. We got a builder from a friend—Jim Manis. Anything we wanted to do, he said it could be done. He seemed to be the perfect fit.”
The construction process was anything but quick. “We wanted to mirror the style of the gallery, and it had natural limestone walls and a basement. We had to get our rock out of the quarry in Granbury, and then it would come by the truckload to Dallas, uncut,” Brian says. “That was the process. Sometimes they would run out of stone or it would rain.” Stone retrieval wasn’t the only issue. The team hit solid rock when they dug to create the basement. “It was almost like granite. We thought we would hit water—this area is called Cedar Springs for a reason—but we didn’t,” Brian says.
The Roughtons devoted a great deal of time to planning and executing the outdoor living areas and found inspiration on their travels. Their charming cabana bath was inspired by a house they rented in the South of France. “The little niches for towels and the candle lights—that’s where the idea for those came from,” Kayla says. A trip to Carmel inspired the water wall by the pool. As for the pool, the Roughtons were clear that they wanted it be a very “adult” area. “We wanted to have a pool that wasn’t like Disneyland. It has a dark bottom, and it isn’t deep,” Kayla says.
Throughout the entire process, the Roughtons shopped. “We took nothing from the other house. We bought as we built. Fortunately, it took three years,” Brian says. “We wanted things that would fit the house. We bought art especially for the house. We had certain furniture made.” Additionally, they bought antiques at auction, and designer Laura Lee Clark Falconer helped select fabrics.
Even with the challenges, the Roughtons look back on the three-year process and proclaim it “fun.” They have created a space that is made for entertaining. The basement is an adult paradise, with media and wine rooms. The great room is lovely for formal affairs. Kayla, a gourmet chef, loves cooking in her large kitchen, and Brian says the family gathers there often. And when the weather is nice, Brian is happy to fire up the Hasty Bake. “We watched the Cowboys game outside last weekend, even though we have the media room,” Kayla says.
But now it is someone else’s turn to host the parties on Welborn Street. The Roughtons have decided to move, so both the home and gallery space are on the market. The couple hasn’t decided where they will head next, but they’re considering a high rise. “I’m looking for something lock and walk,” Kayla says. But they’ll miss this house. “We hope the next owner is someone who loves and appreciates it as much as we did,” Brian says. There are so many nuances here—so much attention to detail.”