Rick Hibbs considers that great homes aren’t about storage or shelter, but about creating chances for encounters. Directed by this sentiment, Rick, an architect, and his wife, Susan, patiently spent two years renovating their 1959 midcentury home, constructed by architects Lyle Rowley and Jack Wilson of Ju-Nel Homes. Theirs was the first home built at the Lake Highlands area of Dallas from the Ju-Nel team.
During that 20 decades, Rick and Susan remained focused and busy. They upgraded the kitchen, bathrooms, windows, floors and surfaces; enlarged the principal bedroom and living room; added a family room; and constructed a pool in the backyard, doing much of the work themselves. Their decision making that was slow allowed them to approach each phase of renovation. “We’ve always made our conclusions just for us,” Rick says. “That is, we built it to our own way of life rather than based on traditional ideas about what a house should be.”
at a Glance
Who lives here: Rick and Susan Hibbs; sons Wesley (age 14) and John (11); Jessie that the Jack Russell mutt; Robo dwarf hamsters Larry, Moe and Curly; along with some fish
Location: Lake Highlands area of Dallas
Size: 2,900 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
The first phase of remodeling the home, which occurred from 1994 to 1996, consisted of cosmetic upgrades into the kitchen and installing new surfaces in the living and dining rooms. “Opening up the walls of the kitchen allows us to participate in everything that’s going on, while preparing a meal,” Rick says.
Sofa: Florence Knoll; coffee table: Noguchi; feces: Herman Miller Eames Walnut Stool B
Rick installed custom wood windows . From the living space, they run the whole length of the rear wall, offering a great view of the yard and pool area.
After viewing countless ranch homes in the area during their first home search, the couple asked their Realtor to find something much more interesting. That’s when they found that the Ju-Nel home. “I walked straight through the house to the yard and explained instantly we’d take it,” Rick says.
Lounge seat: Womb Chair, Eero Saarinen; artwork: giclee canvas print, Copralux
Floor-to-ceiling maple shelves highlight the ceilings and provide space for artifacts and books. “Modernism is all about honesty in using materials, allowing them to express their usage and ease without extra ornament,” Rick says. “I think our home is an extension of those ideas. We have spaces, finishes and furniture that reflects the way we live: open, flexible and functional.”
Theater seats: Eames Lounge and Ottoman
“I was not going to get a preservationist approach,” he states. “I followed the model that was set but also desired a 21st-century sensibility.”
Bar stools: Delta by Mart Stam; counter area paint: Renoir Red, Sherwin-Williams
As an architect, Rick takes inspiration from a broad swath of modernist designers and artists. He loves Charles Rennie Mackintosh from the 1890s, German Bauhaus from the early 1900s, American and Danish performers from the 1950s along with the Italian modernists of the 1980s. These influences come up all around the home, particularly in the dining room, where converging lines, natural surfaces and organic forms unite.
The oil painting on the far wall is a spectacle of the Trastavere area in Rome, purchased at the Piazza Navona when Rick and Susan were there in 1998.
Dining seats: Brno Tubular Chair, Mies van der Rohe; pendant lights: Le Klint 172 by Poul Christiansen; trio of prints: Wassily Kandinsky
Rick designed the front doorway, mail slot and sidelights; his father built all of them. Slate flooring reflects the original entrance layout, which was terrazzo tiles. Rick designed the handrail around the descending stairs into the right and had the steel frame fabricated. He along with his father carved the cherry handrail, made the maple panels installed them at the frame.
“We spent the first 3 years in turmoil, under construction from the moment we moved in,” Rick says. “When you perform the job yourself, it is a part of you, and you have the choices and the results from the very beginning.”
Print over stairs: Picasso; Persian carpet: Irani Hamedan routine
This is one of Rick’s favorite views in the home. The accent wall gives a beautiful backdrop for a George Nelson platform bench plus a Willem de Kooning print. The pottery on the bench, a present from Rick’s parents, has been created using the horsehair raku method.
Wall paint: Renoir Red, Sherwin-Williams; area carpet: Iranian prayer rug
The principal bedroom, which was enlarged in 1998, has a different tree house feel on account of the wall of windows framing the canopy of a massive pecan tree in the backyard. “I’ve a love-hate relationship with the pecan tree,” Rick says. “The foliage is amazing, but it seems like there is not a month from the year if its not dropping pecans.”
An accent wall, inset and painted red, acts as a headboard for the platform bed.
Chairs: Wassily, Marcel Breuer; accent wall paint: Renoir Red, Sherwin-Williams
The Wassily Chair, a modern classic, pairs well with a Persian rug woven in a Chechen pattern. Pictures taken by Rick to a family trip hang at a trio within the seat.
Since Rick is an architect, he and Susan were able to purchase most of their furniture straight from producers. The Hibbs also like to shop for home goods at Collage, a secondhand modern furniture shop in Dallas.
The bath has one on the opposite wall along with two closets, one envisioned here. Rick designed and constructed the habit hinged mirrors. He used exactly the same style in all of the house’s three baths. The watercolor over the bath was purchased in Rome from a street artist.
Credenza: Florence Knoll
Son Wesley’s room is a well-appointed space using a twin bed and leather Poäng chair from Ikea. The couple bought the mobile, designed by Alexander Calder, from the Art Institute of Chicago. The window treatments are custom-made room-darkening Roman shades.
Pendant lampshades: Skimra, Ikea
Son John’s room is comparable to Wesley’s, using a twin bed and workstation. The artwork print over his desk is “Zero to Nine” by Jasper Johns. The mobile is the Mondrian Mobile from Greenberg Kingsley. Both pieces were purchased from the Art Institute of Chicago.
Pendant lampshades: Skimra, Ikea
The grass-green hall bath, shared by both sons, includes limestone floors. The framed artwork is a print of “La Joie de Vivre” by Henri Matisse.
Countertop: granite, Gallo Veneziano (used throughout home)
Formerly a large storage space and an unfinished bathroom in the garage, this remodeled room was designed to function as a playroom, an office, a guest room and a living room. Eleven-year-old John states, “This is my room — the guy cave” The Hibbs bought the charcoal drawing over the green loungers at an auction.
Ju-Nel homes are commonly constructed on oddly shaped, heavily wooded lots and located around a tree. Rick designed and constructed the pool, spa and deck at 2011. The garden has low-voltage landscape lighting plus a lawn made of artificial turf.
Sliding doors off the living room open into a broad deck and steps that lead down to the spa and pool. “My dad is a lawyer, and all I could see was that the liability issue,” Susan says of the pool. “But ultimately it’s been great for our family.”
The deck also boasts an outdoor kitchen with a built-in stainless steel Jenn-Air gas grill, refrigerator and sink. Outdoor-rated ceiling fans, two ceiling-mounted gas patio heaters along with also a remote-controlled mosquito misting system keep the family comfortable during Dallas’ hot summers and cold winters.
“I love how our house enhances our experiences with our family and friends, how it accommodates our little household and 60 people because of my parents’ 50th-anniversary celebration,” Rick says.
Rick recently constructed and constructed a pool theater with surround audio. (Susan lounges here with boy Wesley, while John swims near Rick.) “Our proudest times are if we have family parties for vacations, or family and friends come over to watch a soccer match, or celebrate birthdays,” says Rick. “The home simply works for anything is occurring.”
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