photo by Cody Ulrich Cody Ulrich

Home Tours

Take a Tour of This Feel-Good Bluffview Estate

A home envisioned for one big happy family.

Seth the rescue dog loves to smile. Sure enough, he smiles on cue for his human mom—the warm, personable homeowner of his well-loved home.

And why wouldn’t he? He lives with two adoring teens; sister pooch Sugar; two rabbits; two indoor birds; and a veritable menagerie of bluebirds, owlets, purple martins, and more outside. He’s the eldest child’s sprinting partner on the backyard trail and generally has the run of the 14,000-square-foot home.

“She really wanted a very comfortable, livable, inviting home.”

—Designer Cynthia Collins

One big happy—that’s how the homeowner envisioned the home eight years ago when she assembled the talents of architect David Stocker, builder Brad Ellerman, and interior designer Cynthia Collins.

“She really wanted a very comfortable, livable, inviting home,” Collins recalls. “She used a lot of adjectives that were more textural. She didn’t know exactly what she wanted it to look like; she just wanted everyone to feel good there.”

(Photo by Nathan Schroder)

The house is Texas modern with stone arches, antique wooden beams from Pennsylvania, antique heart pine floors, stately antique maple paneling in the library, and a deep front porch outside with a half dozen rockers—think iced tea and lemonade (spiking optional). As expected are all the design chops befitting the team: a fluttery Swarovski chandelier in the living room to balance the textures of stone, wood, and thick rugs; custom furnishings, including a blue mohair sectional; and a sun-washed palette of vivid citrus, as well as a growing modern art collection.

“She didn’t know exactly what she wanted it to look like; she just wanted everyone to feel good there.”

—Designer Cynthia Collins

In the master bedroom, serene blue rugs, seating, and bedding provide a retreat for the busy mom, co-owner of a thriving small business. And my, the playroom—swings, sling hammock, disco ball, and more. Both children’s suites have a sleeping loft and balconies for sliding down a fire pole into the playroom. Birds living and inanimate are part of the decor, and everywhere the homeowner’s desire to bring the outside in is on careful display.

(Photography by Nathan Schroder)

Etched into the stone at each of the entrances is a verse from a traditional Welsh blessing for the home: For example, “May each room resound with laughter,” reads part of the verse leading to the backyard loggia, pool (complete with a jumping-off wall), gym, and sport court. “We all play and work out together,” the homeowner says.

“This is an open house. Nothing can really hurt it.”

—The Homeowner

The walls are lined with photography taken by the older child, a rising high school senior, and his sister’s paintings. Together, the family created a manifesto drawing that hangs in the sitting area facing the kitchen that includes the words “faith,” “abundance,” “gratitude,” and more. Chalkboard markers find their way to mirrors where mom and daughter write inspirational quotes for each other. In addition to the permanent residents, the homeowner frequently offers a room to those in her circle that may be in need of a place to stay for a couple weeks to several months.

It’s a house where you are drawn to the sheer beauty, design, and craftsmanship, but you hang around for the love. “This is an open house. Nothing can really hurt it,” the homeowner says.