Real Estate / Home + Design

Dallas’ Private Lake House

This Rare One-Story Wonder Wows Thanks to a Design Star’s Worldly Touch

BY // 03.08.17

Interior designer Julie Lloyd may have been born in Dallas and educated at Parsons School of Design in New York, but her style springs from her time living and working abroad, exporting antiques from the world’s cultural epicenters — Florence, Paris, and London.

It was in these cities, surrounded by old-world architecture and rarified furnishings, where her aesthetic first developed, naturally leaning towards the traditional. But when she and husband Stefan Lloyd, a financial advisor from Sweden, moved to Dallas in 2009 with daughter Elin, the time came to shake things up.

“I was very interested in mid-century design,” says Lloyd, co-owner of Tompkins Lloyd Interiors in Dallas. “I’d done it for clients, but never for myself.”

She fell for a one-story house near Hillcrest Avenue and Royal Lane, built in 1966, with 20-foot cathedral ceilings, skylights, and an organic palette of wood, Mexican brick, Saltillo tile, and glass. Designed by the late Lyle Rowley, who was an architect with the mid-century firm Ju-Nel Homes, it was a dramatic contrast to the Lloyds’ previous London home — an 1851 terrace house behind Harrods that offered little in the way of space or light.

“In London, we’d been living vertically on five floors with tiny windows,” she says. “We were excited to have a yard and outdoor space — and we got that in spades.” The house, which backs up to one of the city’s rare private lakes, is stocked with bass and Japanese koi. They keep a boat at the dock and share the grounds with Canada geese, turtles, and the occasional bobcat. There’s also a pool and a large terrace.

“We spend more time outside than inside,” she says. “It’s like being on vacation all year round.”

The Lloyds’ multicultural, well traveled orbit is reflected in their domestic life. Stefan and Elin speak only Swedish together, and the family spends a few weeks every summer in Sweden.

“His upbringing is very much a part of our lives,” says Julie, whose design style now borrows from Swedish mid-century’s organic, pared-down aesthetic, along with hits of classic Gustavian blue and white. The house is decorated with a significant nod to its 1960s architecture, of course, but the details are all over the map.

“A lot of the things in the house have been back and forth across the ocean a few times,” she says. “You cull and get rid of things … I kept the ones I truly loved.”

Circa-1970s sofa from an estate sale. Tabriz rug. Karl Springer goatskin table, circa 1970s. Pair rattan chairs from the estate of Marguerite Green, from Again & Again. Plates by Pablo Picasso. Nineteenth-century gilt Italian altar candlesticks. Connie Chantilis custom fireplace screen covered in minerals and semiprecious stones. (Photo by Shayna Fontana)

Her collections of tortoiseshell boxes, vintage china place settings, and Picasso ceramics go back decades and span the continents. Some of her most prized possessions are blue opaline glass vases, bowls and other objects, which were inspired by her aunt’s vast collection of green opaline glass that she displayed in a striking black-and-white room.

“My aunt had incredible taste,” Julie says. “She inspired me to go into design.”

Julie loves color — freshly out of Parsons, she worked for legendary Dallas designer and colorist Marguerite Green — but this house demanded a quiet palette that wouldn’t compete with the neutral mid-century architecture.

“I gravitate to bright colors,” she says. “So it was hard to stay neutral.” Soft browns and creams dominate, energized by occasional bits of color, such as the orange sofa in the entry, and collections of blue-and-white china. Warm bronze and brass play off the house’s organic architecture and materials, including a decorative hammered bronze wall in the entry.

Understated layers are important in subtly colored rooms: “To make any room interesting, there need to be several different textures going on,” she says. “I’ve balanced out hard surfaces with soft, and matte with reflective.”

A massive mid-century yarn wall sculpture in the living room adds texture, but like the wood architectural details, it also absorbs light. As an antidote, she bounces light with a 1970s mirrored credenza, brass lamps, high-polish tortoiseshells, a fire screen studded with pyrite and Herkimer diamonds, metallic Gracie wallpaper, and gilt furniture. “In another house, it might be too much, but the nature of this house seems to want this yin-yang, push-pull.”

A leggy marble-topped Italian table that belonged to a favorite aunt in Wichita Falls resides in the living room and holds a sumptuous collection of giant clamshells, coral, crustacean shells, and minerals. In the entry, a series of bird prints bought at an antiques fair in London’s Battersea Park hangs above a chrome zebra bench — a souvenir from her time in Florence.

The chrome living-room sofa is also from London, and the massive 1970s leather sectional — “It just makes the room,” she says — was discovered at a Dallas estate sale a few years ago. A pair of tiger velvet slipper chairs, which she had made 25 years ago, has traveled with her everywhere.

“My house is like my diary,” she says. “I remember where I was when I got each piece.”

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