Sunday, February 3, 2013

Take a White-Hot Tour of a 1920s Dallas Mediterranean Mansion

Last spring when Dallasites Greg and Susan Baten put their 7,000 square foot Turtle Creek mansion on the market, it caused my heart to go a flutter.  

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News 

I am positively mesmerized by this gleaming white home, featured in The Dallas Morning News and photographed in even further detail by Dallas blogger, Hilary Walker. Hilary’s carefully consideration of every angle within this home unfolds a new surprise from space to space.
Hilary was gracious enough to allow me to borrow her images, which can be found on her website here.  I cannot stop analyzing the amazing details found in every nook and cranny of this magnificent home. A Texas-sized thank you to The Dallas Morning News and Hilary Walker for providing this tour… and because everything IS bigger in Texas, this is a long one, so get comfy!
Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Susan Baten is a self-taught, serial renovator, described as “a Hitchcock blonde with a raspy Texas twang.” This is my kind of gal. Her last project was a pink stucco in Dallas’ upscale University Park “swanked up to evoke her favorite LA haunt, the Beverly Hills Hotel - palm trees included.”  Ummm…. I am starting to think we might be related! 

When the Batens found the crumbling Mediterranean manse on Turtle Creek, friends had encouraged them to tear it down, an unfortunately popular trend in my beloved Big D. But for Susan, a lady of my own heart, this advice only served as further inspiration to bring the masterpiece back to life.  
After a year and a half of renovation, today the Turtle Creek mansion is positively stunning. The interior is saturated in Benjamin Moore's iconic Decorators White. Providing a counterbalance to the extreme white, wide-plank hardwood floors were stained to Susan's exact color specification: "Chocolate Lab - not black, not brown, but chocolate Lab."
Image Courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

One of the home's most dramatic architectural features was a coincidental find by Nick Brock, a Dallas antiques specialist, whose shop Susan regularly frequents.  Brock found grand staircase wrought-iron railings, salvaged from a 1920s Pittsburgh home and signed by artisan Hyman Blum, whose handiwork is in Paris' Louvre. Brock mentioned the railings to Susan, who had been trying to find a solution to the home’s crumbling original wood railings.  Serendipitously, there were exactly enough spindles to reassemble the railing on site. 
Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Brock's North Henderson antiques shop is a regular haunt for Susan, who has scored everything from '40s French tables to brass-and-marble sconces there.

FLAMINGOS!! Image courtesy of Hilary Walker
Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

In the dining room, a large encaustic abstract by Brad Ellis looks like pale, almost pearlescent dots. Craighead studied the piece in the room at different times of day to "make sure it looked as spectacular during coffee at 7 a.m. as it did during candlelight dinner at 7 p.m."

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

The dining room holds another Baten commission. Dallas artisan Brad Oldham (designer Todd's brother) crafted what he dubs the "bird's nest table" for Susan, who had fallen in love with a bronze-and-glass Ralph Pucci but couldn't justify the $75,000 budget hit. Oldham reinterpreted the piece as a rounded base of crisscrossing steel limbs with a laboriously hand-worked patina.

  Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

  Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Vintage acrylic chairs play well with host chairs Susan has had "forever" and redone in "about 25 different colors."

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

Oldham's work is also on eye-popping display just outside the breakfast-room window, where three smiling round faces attached to long stalks gaze in from the garden. Oldham says the concrete sculpture was inspired by a "melodic mass of cypress tree roots" he'd seen jutting from the ground near Fair Park. The Batens love the back story, but Susan says the "worm men" mostly just make her smile. There is methodology behind Susan's particular brand of cuckoo (her word) decorating. "I just kind of yin-yang it so you don't get sick of anything," she says. "I put the contemporary with the traditional and antiques with things that aren't so precious."

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

lacquered table and gilt French mirror found at The Mews. The antique chandelier was a gift from Susan's mother-in-law.

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

Rustic tree-stump tables from West Elm (sprayed white) share the living room with French side chairs and palm-tree torchieres. "Most of my stuff is reworked," Susan says. "I have an expensive piece here and there, and some new things, but most of it is found at estate sales, vintage shops, auctions, and then made over." 

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News 

The vase looks like a Jonathan Adler piece, but is actually much older.

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker
Susan has practiced her philosophy of reuse, recycle and reimagine since age 20, when she bought a yard sale kitchen chair for $1 and painted it (surprise!) white. Her budget and ambition level have risen considerably since then. "She buys well, both in design and price," Brock affirms. "I'm glad she's not a dealer." Floral photos on Plexiglas by Sibylle Bauer.

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

A new Moroccan-style stone fireplace in the living room looks as though it has always been there.

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker
Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

Furnishings collected over time, including a midcentury Lane "Rudder" coffee table found at Nick Brock Antiques and vintage armchairs from Again & Again, have been reworked in white for elegant unity.

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

Susan deems the entire project "meant to be" and says she and Greg aren't afraid to really live in the house, white furniture and all. "I love red wine and having parties. We are sloshin' and doin' all the time. And I don't worry about people spilling things, so we actually have fun."

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

That fabulous writing desk in the living room was a humble piece now dressed up with antique-mirror inlays and new brass pulls, and paired with an acrylic chair.
Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Checkerboard marble floors in the music room are a nod to husband Greg. "We had then in our old house and he loved them," says Susan. A pair of vintage chairs lacquered white now roar in leopard-spot upholstery. The '50s chandelier by Tommi Parzinger for Lightolier was scored at Henderson Avenue's Sputnik Modern.

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

In case you hadn't noticed, Susan is the self-professed Queen of Lacquer. She never met an ornate chair, regal table or sunburst mirror that didn't look better slicked-up in cream or white high-gloss. "If you stand still long enough, she'll lacquer you," Greg warns.

 Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

A sitting area around the den's marble fireplace is cozied by a zebra rug and deco chairs upholstered in "something fuzzy" from ID Collection. The art over the mantle is by Dallas' Christopher Martin.

 Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

"The only thing Greg wanted for the den was two comfortable chairs," recalls Susan Baten. She answered the call with two modern leather recliners from Cantoni that "flip back, rear up and who knows what else." The sofa is Nancy Corzine and Susan had it upholstered in a nubby, gray fabric from Scott + Cooner. The glossy black '80s cocktail table is from James McInroe and she had a mate knocked-off for the other side of the sofa. The side table is from Art of Old India. The large blue painting is by Dallas artist Susan Sales.


A Barry Dixon pewter table with acrylic ball-and-claw feet is paired with old Jan Showers chairs recovered in chocolate "Liquid Leather" from Culp Associates in the upstairs landing. The artwork is by Christopher Martin.

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

The upstairs lounge was either "going to be another bedroom or something fun," says Susan. She clearly chose the latter with a Moroccan-style corner sofa that she designed and had Donna Fadal Designs on Dragon build. The embroidered pillows are by Schumacher and the side table is from Art of Old India. The shapely white cocktail tables are Jonathan Adler. Side chairs are vintage garden furniture that Susan had lacquered white and reupholstered. The chandelier was also once an outdoor piece until it was replated in nickel and brought inside. The Murano lamp is from John Gregory Studios on Slocum.

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

Susan glamorized a nothing guest-room dresser with zebrawood veneers. The pink Murano lamp is from John Gregory Studios. Greg Baten chose the midcentury tub chair (one of a pair) and, on a dare from his wife, coordinated the chis leather redo himself.

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

She relies on accessories for pops of color: "All I have to do is throw lavender pillows in the room and, suddenly, I have a white and lavender scheme - or raspberry, or orange, or whatever I'm feeling right now."

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News
 
 Image courage of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

The master suite is admittedly "girly-glam," says Susan. The custom headboard is white leather and the bed is flanked by vintage lamps purchased in Palm Springs. The nightstands are custom and include tooling details by Larru Leathers near the Design District.

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

A small sitting area adjoining the master bedroom is filled with two vintage swivel chairs "that looked awful" says Susan until she had them recovered. They also rock. The sprayed-white cocktail table is from Stella Dallas on Lovers Lane. Susan fell in love with the bird print at a World Trade Center gallery and had it framed: "I thought he just looked cute."

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtest of The Dallas Morning News
Susan asked permission to salvage this vintage Deco glass door from a University Park house slated for tear down. This is now the second home she's installed it and it's a perfect fit with the marble-clad master bath.
Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

A cozy upstairs study departs from the solid "Decorators White" theme with walls covered in honey-hued Kravet Grasscloth.

Image courtesy of Hilary Walker


Image courtesy of Hilary Walker

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News 

In a bold move, Susan had the tattered red Spanish tile roof replaced with aqua tile.  

Image courtesy of The Dallas Morning News


Treetops glow at night in the side garden with metal lanterns inspired by pieces Susan saw at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. The 1960s white wire patio set is Russel Woodard's "Sculptura" sourced by Nick Brock Antiques.


Susan Baten with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Rudy.

And that concludes our Dallas tour! Apparently, things are equally sunny at the couple's midcentury Palm Springs vacation home, where Susan is stockpiling Saarinen Womb chairs and Tulip tables, and a pair of lamps once owned by Nancy Sinatra. I hope to get my hands on pics someday!!  Susan is obsessed, positively obsessed with reworking things: vintage gowns, furniture, houses.  Yes, I do think we must be related.

What does fate hold next? "Here's the thing about redoing houses," said Susan. "The more you do, the more you do, the more you do…"

All interview commentary from The Dallas Morning News. 

9 comments:

  1. Lovely tour, Andrea, and beautifully presented!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary, thank you again for sharing your pics!! You are so very talented!

      XOXO,
      The Glam Pad

      Delete
  2. Oh my yessss! Love all the white! Especially for Dallas when it's so freaking hot. I love the mix of styles and textures too! I grew up in HP so I know exactly where this house is and I'm so glad to get such a substantial peek inside!!! Thanks so much Andrea!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, I knew you would love those white walls!! ;) I lived in Dallas for 16+ years, and it will always be home in my heart.

      XOXO,
      The Glam Pad

      Delete
  3. So fun to see this! I've seen this house many times and loved getting to see inside!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it! It's a Dallas treasure for sure!! :)

      XOXO,
      The Glam Pad

      Delete
  4. “a Hitchcock blonde with a raspy Texas twang.” Oh wouldn't you love to be referred to by an epithet like that?
    I've always loved houses with white exteriors, I would love to come home to one every night.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for sharing. Susan is such a talent. The house is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. THis is such a beautiful home! Could you tell my what paint you used on the walls and trim? Also, what stain was used on the floors? Absolutely, stunning.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your lovely comments. They absolutely make my day!

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