Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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INTO THE WOODS

“It’s like getting to know a calm person,” says Dallas architect Max Levy about a house he designed for Anne and Ethan Underwood, “and discovering they are more interesting than you thought.” The couple’s new two-story residence radiates serenity—an aura due in part to the pink hue of its St. Joe brick exterior and in part to the elegance of the siting under the benevolent watch of five mature oaks. The house is composed of two long rectangular buildings connected by another—horizontal—rectangular volume.

Levy is a native Texan is known for the eloquence with which he connects buildings and nature. That was a bond the Underwoods were eager to cement: “Their number one priority,” says Levy, “was to preserve the trees.” The couple was also long-time friends of interior designer Wendy Konradi—this project is her first solo effort after working for designer Emily Summers for 13 years.

The study is just off the entry and is also Ethan Underwood’s office. His desk doubles as a serving station for parties; architect Levy provided an option for introducing a breeze into the room (see below for a detail of the little window).

Detail of window.

Detail of desk and chair in study.

The study doubles as a gathering spot where cocktails can be served while guests lounge on the curvy Vladimir Kagan love seat. The method Konradi used to acquire furniture was familiar to Ethan and Anne. “I was collecting one-of-a-kind, vintage, and limited edition furniture for them,” says the designer, “and they understood that process from collecting art.” In the study the Prevat Lampe II, is wrought iron chain link and lights a Vladimir Kagan Boomerang sofa purchased “as is”. The aqueous pattern in the grey blue rug anticipates the view of the pool just beyond.

One of Konradi’s decisions was to opt for a diamond finish plaster on walls throughout the house. Although it is glamorous, plaster is durable and offers a luminescent backdrop for the homeowners’ art collection. The plaster-covered cylinder contains the powder room and also creates a private area where the couple can display art.

Just off the kitchen, the private nook is a place to contemplate art and nature.

Konradi embedded a rack system at the intersection of ceiling and walls so that the Underwoods can hang art without damaging the diamond finish plaster on the walls.

Two photographs by Robert Longo mark the juncture between living and dining rooms where the sculptural Michelangelo Pistoletto table and stools adds seating for 8.

In the kitchen, cement pendants light the island topped with soapstone. Formal and informal dining occurs at the table, where banquette seating in the bay window is like sitting in the middle of the garden.

The hand-painted linen headboard’s ombre pattern refers to the pool just outside the master bedroom; indigo confetti-patterned linens with chartreuse threads seem to float above the bed.

The diamond plaster walls reflect the luminosity of the pool just outside.

Wool Holland & Sherry wall-to-wall carpet in the master bedroom and floor-to-ceiling window treatments are a soft contrast to the view of the steel-and-oak staircase framed in the doorway.

The striations in the Silvertone Travertine marble in the master bath suggest you might be bathing in the middle of an exotic archeological dig.

Architect Levy made the only access to the screened porch via an outdoor staircase as a way to set the place apart from the rest of the house.

The shower in the outdoor bathroom that serves the pool.

The screened porch tops the entry to the house like a crown.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT YU

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