By Marilyn Bailey
Photos by Ralph Lauer
Some fixer-uppers take a lot of mundane work, others require heroic vision — especially when there’s a view to capture.
As home buyers go, put Amy and Brian Naughton in the brave category.
When the couple looked at a 1991 house on a lake-view property in Southlake, it was being promoted as a tear-down. The agent had a demolition price quote at the ready. The house had hints of midcentury style, which the Naughtons love, but the fit wasn’t quite right. There were only two real bedrooms, and the family has three teenage daughters. The home featured closed-off rooms typical of its era and too many small windows that failed to capture the view. One sign might have warned them off completely: On their first viewing, they peered into a back window and saw a scorpion on the floor.
Surely, someone would scrape this house off its wooded 2-acre lot and build a proper up-to-date manse of some kind. “The listing agent was surprised when I said no, I want to keep the house,” Amy says.
“Amy really wanted to redeem this house, especially after everyone else wanted to tear it down,” says Brian.
The word “redeem” comes up a lot when the Naughtons talk about their now spectacular house. Redeem it they did, with two major changes. They opened up the main level to a back wall now dominated by glass and a wide view of Grapevine Lake. And they created a pair of new bedrooms and a bath where the garage used to be.
A couple of factors led the Naughtons, who lived in a roomy house in Colleyville, to do what they did. They had been thinking about buying a lake house or a ranch when a trip to Napa Valley helped focus their dream.
“We like the midcentury modern look, and a couple of the wineries that we visited had similar architecture that we loved. We wanted to re-create that,” says Brian. “We decided if we were going to build a lake house, that’s [the style] we would build. When we saw this house, we saw the potential to turn it into something that could resemble that type of architecture.”
They figured out what they wanted to do and called in Southlake’s Lambert Home to execute their vision.
The house already had a beautiful vaulted and beamed ceiling in the living room, but the back wall of the space had just two normal-size windows. In the way of so many older houses, the kitchen was walled off from other living spaces, and so was the dining room. They set to work removing two walls to create a big, open space with an even bigger view. Now windows stretch from one end of the house to the other. “The whole point of this house is the view of the lake,” says Brian.
Every surface and fixture in the kitchen are new. The room had bay windows with a water view, but now there’s a pass-through window to the large deck on this level. The kitchen’s most dramatic new feature is a 13-foot-long island topped with quartzite — site of many casual family meals and central to any party. “We love to entertain and have get-togethers,” Amy says. “We’ve had 60 people in our house, and everybody is around the island getting fed. We really do have people over a lot — that’s kind of our thing.”
Guests can spill out to the deck (lake-view decks on all three levels total 2,100 square feet) or into the main living area. A new custom-made spiral staircase with ornamental iron work is another focal point of the space. The original living-room fireplace was resurfaced and now stands as a 360-degree feature, enjoyable from a great-room sofa, from one of the several dog beds lying about or while dining at the midcentury vintage table. “I always love a fireplace in the dining room,” Amy says.
Brian, who founded and sold a marketing-software company and now works from home, wanted his office, which is not on the water side, to have a great view. “I wanted to be able to sit at my desk and look at the lake.” To accomplish that, he searched for months for someone to make unusual custom doors.
Adooring Designs of Keller came through with two sets of accordion doors that, when closed, form one corner of the office but fold up completely to reveal the view across the newly wide-open center of the house.
The transformation on the home’s lowest level was essential in turning the lake house into a family home. Daughters Maggie Mae, 17; Macy, 16; and Marley, 14, needed bedrooms. Each girl had her own room and bathroom in the family’s former house. In the new place, Marley called dibs on the only existing secondary bedroom, which came with bay windows overlooking the backyard and an en suite bath. Her bathroom got a glam makeover that included glittery grout between the subway tiles.
Nearby, with the sacrifice of the three-car garage (a new one is in the plans), the older sisters now have bedrooms that share a Jack-and-Jill bath and have a touch of college-dorm style. The girls chose different accent colors for their doors (teal vs. dusty pink), but the rooms are almost identical. Inside the bath, they’re twinning in a more surprising way with dual showers that allow them to get ready for school at the same time. A single large shower stall is divided with a cleverly constructed partial wall; inside, each girl has privacy, with a separate showerhead and her own world of products at hand.
Downstairs isn’t all kid world. The three bedrooms surround a new family room that has a big TV, a comfy lounging area and an attractive bar, with liquor bottles lining open shelves next to a full-height wine fridge.
Even the three family dogs got a thoughtful amenity in the makeover: a doggie shower in the mudroom is lined with chic subway tiles. The dogs get quite muddy outside in their wooded paradise. “I was surprised by how much we use it,” says Amy.
Outside, the lot slopes sharply down toward the water. A sleek rectangular pool, a pergola and a fire pit were completed last fall. “Claffey said [the pitch made it] the most difficult pool they ever built. They didn’t tell us that until they were finished,” Brian says, laughing.
Beyond the pool, the property extends not quite to water’s edge but to the hiking and equestrian trails along the lakeshore. “You can walk straight out to the trails, and there’s a beach back there, which was a selling point for us,” Brian says.
It’s a reminder that all this was inspired by the indoor-outdoor living the Naughtons experienced in Napa.
“We didn’t do window coverings on the back side of the house except for one of our girls’ bedrooms, because there’s so much privacy,” Amy says. “We just wanted it to be open, light and airy — minimal and clean.”
Design/build Lambert Home, 817-251-0303, lamberthome.com
Interior folding doors Adooring Designs, 817-745-0522, adooringdesigns.com
Patio folding doors Panoramic Doors, 760-722-1300 panaoramicdoors.com
Pool Claffey Pools, 817-416-0064, claffeypools.com
Roofing CLC Roofing, 972-304-4431, clcroofing.com