The living room is the epitome of Mike’s architectural expertise and Donna’s eclectic design. Mike designed the living room to overlap the kitchen, but in order to keep the rooms distinct, he dropped the kitchen ceiling. “From the entertaining standpoint it has worked out perfectly, because we can use the whole space,” Mike says. Photo by Marissa Robles
The home of Mike and Donna Webster poses on a corner in Lakewood Heights with striking confidence. It has both a simplicity and elegance that mid-century modern architecture seems to capture so well.
The Websters wanted their home to embrace the street yet still offer some privacy. By pushing the front door away from the street, they were able to create a serene courtyard area. “We’ve always wanted a really gracious entrance to the house with a place where we could sit,” Mike explains. The Websters enjoy the view of the courtyard from their formal dining room, which overlooks the yard through a large window wall.Photo by Marissa Robles
When the Websters bought the property three years ago, building such a home wasn’t even on their radar.
“We were going for more of a rustic modern, Hill Country style,” Donna says, “but it took us a while to develop the floor plans, so we started to go to home tours. We went on the Dallas Modern Home Tour, and we fell in love with modern architecture. So we switched gears.”
The Websters chose Lakewood Heights because there isn’t a conservation or historical district in place to cramp their architectural urges.
However, they wanted to be respectful of the neighborhood.
“There are some really pretty cottages here, so we didn’t want our house to overwhelm the neighborhood,” Donna says.
Mike has an architectural background and Donna is an interior designer, so between the two, they had strong opinions about the end product. They sought modern builders and found Tom Grieco to help them “wrap their ideas in his mid-century modern style.”
>>“The really rewarding thing about all this is, we’d have people come by all the time when we were building it and say, ‘This house is great. This is the kind of style we need around here.’ ” Mike says. “We were just so grateful it was being so well received.”
Once construction was complete, Donna added her interior design touch, mixing and matching old pieces of furniture and decor with new pieces to make the rooms look sleek and modern yet still comfortable.
“I don’t really care for contemporary,” Mike says. “It’s too stark. It’s too stiff. These things are warm. They have meaning to us.”
Donna was determined to find the perfect fireplace for the living room because she wanted that to be the focal point of the room, rather than a TV. An old French country table the Websters use to separate the kitchen and living room has become an unexpected guest favorite. “We probably get more compliments on this table,” Mike says. “It sort of offsets and complements some of the more sleek design pieces.” Donna is “a big white wall person,” she says. “Some people think it can be cold.” But she cozies it up by utilizing large, colorful abstract paintings. Photo by Marissa Robles
Mike’s “man cave” is more of an art studio than a stereotypical land-of-no-return, but even still, Donna isn’t allowed to comment on the nature of its tidiness (or lack thereof). The room has tile floors, so Mike can “roll the carpet up and spill anything he wants on it.” It also has a sliding glass door that lets in plenty of natural light and lets out paint fumes when open. Photo by Marissa Robles
“We didn’t want the kitchen to feel … kitchen-y,” Donna says. “We wanted it to feel architectural.” One aspect that was especially problematic was deciding whether to place the sink or the stove on the island. They would have preferred not to put either one on the island, but they wanted the space to be symmetrical, so — in order to spare themselves the issue of overhead vents blocking the view of living room — they bit the bullet and installed a sink, but they made it as discreet as possible.
Photo by Marissa Robles
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.