Driving up to the Hewett home in Lake Highlands, guests are greeted by a crunchy gravel motor court. White trellises arch over the manicured gardens, and hydrangeas bloom in the front yard. Babbling fountains mute the city’s hustle and bustle, and French doors open to views of a sparkling pool and a charming pool house. You almost expect to peek out a window and see a Cape Cod–style marina or hear waves crashing on the rocks. “I just wanted this house to be calming,” says homeowner and designer Emily Hewett. “I needed this to be my retreat.”
Hewett is the principal of A Well Dressed Home, a Dallas-based interior design firm consisting of 18 employees, all of whom collaborate on the packed roster of projects the firm has at any given time. Hewett added her own project to the mix in early 2020, when she spotted a home and an adjacent vacant lot for sale just down the street from her house. “Every morning, I would turn left at this corner and see the sunrise,” she says. “I would think, ‘Oh, the people that live on this street are so lucky.’ The skies were orange and purple. It was always a truly unbelievable sunrise.”
With a rare double lot in the middle of such a desired neighborhood, one might think a massive McMansion would fit the bill. But Hewett held strong to her design credo. “I did not want to overbuild,” she says. “I see so many houses with unused space. I wanted to be able to furnish every nook and cranny and to be able to layer.” After trading plans with architect Jerry Coleman for eight months and hiring builder Coats Homes, she landed on a New England–inspired exterior (thanks to her muse, Massachusetts-based architect Patrick Ahearn) with a 4,400-square-foot floor plan and a large outdoor living and entertaining space. That’s in addition to a side courtyard, which Hewett playfully refers to as the “champagne garden.”
Hewett came up with a U-shaped design, which allowed her to create intentional sightlines from every angle—beginning the moment you walk in. “I started with the front door, knowing that the pool would be right in the center of the backyard,” says Hewett, citing the ocean-centric views of resorts in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico—one of their favorite vacation destinations—as inspiration. The primary bathroom looks out to a spa with fountain features. Even the laundry room and powder bath have pretty views of the champagne garden. And when she hosts parties, her guests like to sit at the custom round burl wood table in the dining room and look out. “I wanted it all to be windows so we can sit here and see everything that is going on outside,” she says. “When it’s storming, those views are worth a million bucks.”
As for the interiors, she laughs when describing her personal style as “granny chic,” pointing to her affinity for layering a room with floral wallpaper, fabric drapes, chinoiserie vases, and upholstery trimmings. “My team makes fun of me because I love floral fabrics and fringe details,” she says. For instance, in the living room, she custom designed sofas and chairs with indestructible Perennials fabric that holds up to her 11-year-old twins, Beckham and Stella, and two dogs, but she added a touch of Samuel & Sons fringe to the bottom of each piece. A floral wallpaper by Thibaut covers the walls, and Quadrille throw pillows add on more pattern.
And she wasn’t kidding about wanting to design every inch of the home—most of the walls are covered in wallpaper, trim, and molding details. Most recently, she added a lattice design to the primary bedroom’s ceiling for a touch of Palm Beach. But if you ask her, even though her home is as close to a resort-like escape as you can get, it’s still missing one thing: “My dream house,” she says, “has an ocean view.”