The grand entry boasts a rug that homeowner Gregg Lovell purchased through a coworker. “They harvest hides naturally. The wild game is raised on a farm for meat, so the hides are not hunted,” he says. The Knoll table is home to a Kwan Yin statue that was purchased at Lost. photography by Ann Stratton

Sale of the the (Mid)Century

Gregg Lovell and Eric Bivins didn’t let the fact that their Fort Worth dream home wasn’t on the market stop them from making an offer.

Eric Bivins is not afraid to knock on the doors of strangers. “He has done it a couple of times,” partner Gregg Lovell says. A few years ago, the couple was out running the roads, doing errands. Between stops, they decided to drive through a Fort Worth neighborhood they knew and liked. That’s when they saw it: the perfect house. The couple knew immediately it was the house for them—the midcentury modern architecture, the flat roof, and the large lot on the golf course were ideal. “We’re very big on Palm Springs, and we thought, ‘Man, this looks like it was plopped right out of Palm Springs into Fort Worth,’” he says.

Lovell and Bivins purchased the Milo Baughman table at Vinya. “There are two leaves in it, but when you don’t need them, the leaves slip down in the base and store there,” Lovell says. They found the chairs at Pease Cobb Antiques in Fort Worth and recently had them re-covered. The chandelier is 1960s Italian, and they purchased it in Palm Springs. The vases are from Global Views, where Lovell is a visual director.

They stopped the car, and Bivins headed directly for the front door. “It was not on the market, but Eric made the decision to knock on the door and leave a business card,” Lovell explains. His efforts were rewarded. Not only did the homeowner answer the door, he also expressed interest in selling. A month later, they closed on the house and made the move from Dallas to Fort Worth.

The exterior of Gregg Lovell and Eric Bivins’ Fort Worth residence.

Although the house was built in the 1960s, it had only had two owners—neither of whom had children at home—and was in great condition. It helped that it was exceptionally built. “The  original owners were a merge of two prominent families. George Brandt owned the Brandt Furniture Company. His wife was part of the Childs family, and Childs Construction Company built a lot of the buildings downtown. Because of their contacts, this house is built like a tank. The quality of work here is so high. People from the Brandt factory did all the bookcases and the bar,” Lovell says. “It’s amazing because this house has anything that was considered new technology at the time. All of the draperies are motorized. All of the patios have phone jacks. They were living the high life.”

The black shag rug in the living room came from a Global Views showroom. Lovell says it was being phased out so he bought it and brought it home. The wall-mounted bar, parallel bar cocktail table, sofa, and side table are all Knoll. Lovell and Bivins found the Brno chairs in a trash pile. “We are not above digging in the trash,” Lovell says. The couple found the painting at an antiques store in Galveston. The silver lamp is from Sputnik Modern, the yellow pillows and bowls on the coffee table are from Nest, and the container holding the orchid is from Art of Old India.

The house—with the entry, dining room, and living area all open in one large space—is ideal for throwing parties. Lovell says they entertain more now than they did when they were in Dallas. “This house was really designed for entertaining. It’s 3,300 square feet, but there are only two bedrooms. It’s perfect for large parties,” he says. There are also several side patios and courtyards that are made for cocktail hour. “When the weather is nice, we’re out there all the time,” Lovell says. “We always kind of pinch ourselves. We sit out there, and we feel like we’re on vacation.”

(Left) The fabric on the wall in the kitchen is original to the house. “It’s kind of a throwback to the times. It’s in perfect condition,” Lovell says. The table and chairs are an Eames set by Herman Miller. (Right) The bar is original to the house and was built by furniture makers at the Brandt Furniture Company. In addition to the booze, the bar also houses Lovell and Bivins’ extensive glassware collection.

Furnishing the house was not a problem. Lovell is a visual director at home goods purveyor Global Views, and Bivins works in the corporate offices of Goodwill. Lovell says they’re always on the lookout for treasures. “We find stuff high and low,” he says. The couple found a pair of Brno chairs in a trash pile while driving around Houston. And Bivins found the headboard in their master bedroom at Goodwill for $26. After refurbishing, Lovell estimates they spent about $50 total on the piece. “We shop galleries to Goodwill. We are of the mindset that we don’t care about pedigree. If something looks good and keeps our interest, we get it. We will work with whatever we find and like,” he says. The mix of pieces from Knoll and Baughman with estate sale finds works well with the architecture. Everything seems like it’s meant to be.

(Left) The den doubles as a media room. The flocked wallpaper is original to the house, the artwork is a collection of 1950s and 1960s pieces, the console is by George Nelson, the chair is Knoll, the rug is from Calypso Home, and the lamp was purchased at an estate sale. (Right) Lovell and Bivins added the Scalamandre Shanghai wallpaper in the bedroom. The table is original to the house—all of the lights in the house can be turned on and off from its mate on the other side. The pillows are from Art of Old India.

Lovell and Bivins’ good fortune has inspired many of their friends. When they find a house they like, they’re a bit more likely to take a chance. “We have quite a few friends who are knocking on doors these days,” Lovell says. “If you wait a lifetime for the perfect house to come on the market, you run the risk of losing it. You have to change your strategy.”