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Architecture & Design

See Inside Dallas Realtor Nancy Johnson’s Lakewood Home

Builder Kurt Bielawski and designer Chad Dorsey create a distinctly Dallas dream home that incorporates inspiration from around the globe.
| |Photos by Cody Ulrich; Architecture and interiors by Chad Dorsey Design; Built by More Design + Build; Styling by Jenny O’Connor; Florals by Haile Wossen
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See Inside Dallas Realtor Nancy Johnson’s Lakewood Home

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When powerhouse realtor Nancy Johnson decided to build her perfect house from the ground up, she knew exactly what she was looking for. Having toured thousands of spaces throughout her illustrious career, the empty nester had a definite vibe she wanted to achieve from the very start. 

“When I come home, I want my house to be a respite, a retreat,” she says. I want it to be calm so that I can relax and not feel like anything is assaulting my senses. Builders tend to fill the lot with the home, but I wanted to build a house that fits our needs but also has plenty of outdoor space to enjoy, because I love being outside.”

In 2019, she finally discovered the perfect half-acre corner lot in Lakewood. Built in the 1980s, the existing house was in disrepair, yet the yard possessed an array of gorgeous live oaks and enough space for an innovative footprint. Johnson reached out to builder Kurt Bielawski of MORE Design + Build to come up with something that would fit her exacting standards while still blending in with the Spanish-style architecture of the neighborhood. 

Working through the pandemic, Bielawski devised a four-bedroom, 5,800-square-foot abode that feels modern yet classic, eye-catching yet effortlessly Zen. The foundational main floor includes the primary bedroom and living areas. An upper story, which is also accessible via an exterior staircase, allows guests to come and go without disruption. And the L-shaped design left plenty of room for a swimming pool, a bocce court, and a large covered patio. 

“[This house] will age gracefully, like a classic little black dress.” 

— Homeowner Nancy Johnson

“The biggest thing is that we wanted to build something that fits into Lakewood,” says Bielawski of his design. “We didn’t just want to plunk down a new construction, so we started by sourcing a handmade brick that gives more dimension and texture. We knew we wanted to have arches to give the house more character, so we infused more detail.”

When it came to the interiors, principal Chad Dorsey of Chad Dorsey Design was an automatic choice. Dorsey—longtime friends with Johnson and her husband, William “Karo”—has worked with Johnson on several projects, giving him a shorthand into what textures, tones, and materials she gravitated to that could bring the house to life.  

Dorsey spent six months curating clean, contemporary spaces with the right textures and layers to keep things cozy. Drawing from a palette of primarily black, white, and natural wood tones, Dorsey devised a stunning kitchen of Arabescato marble that serves as the heart of the home.

“Nancy wanted an eclectic, artistic, livable interior,” Dorsey explains. “[She] likes a simple palette, yet organic.” 

Dorsey made the most of Johnson’s existing furniture collection, adding vintage and custom-built pieces. Accent fabrics with a tribal leaning were used to bring warmth to the rooms, while white-washed walls show off the couple’s enviable art collection.

The outcome is a welcoming house that embodies what Johnson calls an “eclectic, modern, Mediterranean” feeling, and she is delighted with the results. 

“I’ve been a realtor for a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of homes,” she says. “I wanted my house to be current but have sustainability through multiple decades. It will age gracefully, like a classic little black dress.” 

Adds Bielawski, “I’m not so worried about being trendy; I just don’t want to get pigeonholed into building modern homes or traditional homes. I like to build homes that are timeless, have character, and are chic. They’re going to look great forever.” 

Transcend Time

Builder Kurt Bielawski shares his tips for creating an eye-catching home that will always be in fashion. 

Start with the Essentials

Every client has a wish list, so create a footprint that includes the spaces clients require most, be it a gym, a home office, or an outdoor living space.

Always Go For Timeless Over Trends

“Our favorite word is ‘timeless,’ ” says Bielawski. “If you’re doing modern, you want to leave trends by the side, because trendy modern can look a little tricky down the road.

The Eye Has To Travel

Partners in life and business, Dorsey and Bielawksi draw inspiration from wherever they go. “A lot of times when we’re in Europe, we’ll take great shots and save those architectural details,” says Bielawski. “I have a whole folder of images from Europe we’ll pull from.”

Author

Kendall Morgan

Kendall Morgan

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