Clean lines, good bones and a quintessential midcentury apartment roof attracted James and Cindy Stolp to their Dallas house, despite its poor state. “The home was in horrible shape, but we knew we wanted it the moment we stepped inside,” Cindy says. “We definitely had on our ‘possible’ glasses when we bought this home,” James adds.
James, a designer and cofounder of smart-home-technology firm Smart Things, and Cindy, a freelance interior designer and stylist, each have a strong personal aesthetic. Their love of contemporary design, pop art, kitsch, graphic and typographic layout, architecture and midcentury design informs each inch of their property. “We’ve got a sense of humor,” says Cindy. “Modern design could be so uptight, but we wanted our house to be warm and approachable — a place where our kids would like living.”
at a Glance
Who lives here: James and Cindy Stolp and their sons, Jack (age 5) and Mike (3)
Size: 2,000 square feet: 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms
Location: Highland Meadows neighborhood of Dallas
Kitschy art, midcentury furniture and contemporary light fixtures make for an eclectic yet cohesive combination from the dining area. The Heywood Wakefield dining place and two midcentury hutches placed side by side keep the room grounded with honey-colored wood.
Table, chairs: Strictly Hey-Wake; pendant lighting: West Elm; art: We Are 1976
The Stolps bought many of the furnishings online. “Cindy isn’t afraid of getting furniture shipped,” James says. Some of her favorite sites are Furnish Me Vintage, Etsy, eBay and Fab. The pair looks to Lula B’s for furniture and accessories and We Are 1976 for art when shopping locally.
Paint: Iced Cube Silver, Benjamin Moore
A badly constructed remodel in the 1980s divided up the house into little spaces. The first thing that the Stolps did was remove the walls and open the main living area to a fluid space.
They also installed a bank of windows across the rear side of the home. The rectangular window theme repeats throughout the home.
Club chairs: Fab
“Some of the significant design challenges in this home was furniture placement,” says Cindy. “I wished to keep the house from feeling like a giant bowling alley.” Therefore the Stolps created separate seating areas while still maintaining ample room for visitors flow.
A blue-gray tile fireplace, circular shag rug and midcentury sofa make another comfy seating area at the far end of the main living space.
“The watch artwork is titled ‘A Mother’s Love.’ It is by Oklahoma artist Matt Goad and has been a present from James to me for our 15th anniversary,” Cindy says. “The baby bears are such precise representations of the boys. It is difficult to surprise me, but I was shocked by this bit, and it remains the funniest present James has given me.”
Before going into their house, the Stolps dwelt in a loft apartment in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of downtown Dallas. “We’re so accustomed to attic living we re-created the attic feel in our house,” says James. Wide-open spaces, light walls and lots of natural lighting are hallmarks of this home.
Sofa: Lula B’s
A little half bath close to front door pops with dim gray walls, a wall-mounted sink and thematic travel art.
Paint: Rocky Coast, Benjamin Moore
A little anteroom is the best spot for a TV, sofa and classic movie posters. “We had such a hard time locating a sofa that would fit in the space we ended up using one custom made,” James says.
Sofa: custom, Cantoni
Space tends to be lacking most midcentury houses, so the couple use an oversize Italian kitchen unit referred to as a schränke to carry things in the eat-in kitchen. “No loft, no garage and terrible storage means we must find creative,” says Cindy.
Pendant mild: FL/Y Suspension Lamp by Kartel
The kitchen includes a glowing smattering of orange, blue, gray and wood accents.
Fiberglass bar stools and a trio of pendant lights bridge the space between the kitchen and the dining space.
Bar stool foundations: Modernica
The Stolps maintained the wood cabinets but updated the space with stainless steel appliances.
Backsplash tile: ModWalls
They created a play area off the kitchen for their own sons, Mike and Jack. “I wanted them to get their very own play space where I could watch on them,” Cindy says. The carpeting floor tiles specify the area and make the sensation of a room within a room.
The conical pendant lighting in the corner of this room is original to the home. Cindy rewired many of the original fixtures with assistance from Royal Touch Lamp & Fixture Service.
Table, chairs: Area; storage device: Stuva, Ikea; place carpeting: Flor
Wall-mounted shelves and a Herman Miller desk chair keep the house office tidy and stylish.
Shelving: Lula B’s
Cool aqua and daring green brighten Jack’s bedroom. The Stuva storage system from Ikea keeps toys, games and clothes tucked away.
Paint: Hazy Blue, Benjamin Moore
Mike’s area comes alive with bright green with blue accents. “Kids deserve good layout, and our boys are extremely happy with their bedrooms,” Cindy says.
Paint: New Grass, Benjamin Moore; storage: Stuva, Ikea
Sugar cube tile in a double sink from Kohler create the boys’ bathroom a showstopper.
Simple furnishings and ice blue walls make for a calm main bedroom. Each of the home’s three bedroom doors includes a tiny rectangular window on top. “We were planning to put frosted glass in the doors, but then I decided against it when I realized that I could glance in at the boys while they were sleeping,” Cindy says.
Paint: Hazy Blue, Benjamin Moore; bed frame: Russel Wright Studios; bedding: Draper Stripe, DwellStudio
“When we first saw the home, we fell in love with the apartment roof. But horizontal roofs are high maintenance,” says Cindy. “Whenever it rained, I’d start pacing through the house looking for leaks.”
“The roof was also badly insulated,” James says, “along with the Texas heat would beat down on it. We could not keep the home cool.”
A brand new roof with appropriate insulation, ventilation, furnace and drainage operate ran the Stolps $17,000. “It was worth every cent,” says James.
Roofing: Tillery Roofing Service
James and Jack high-five from kitchen. “When we moved in, nine years ago, the neighborhood has been in transition,” James says. “Our friends thought we were mad, since the place was economically sad and sort of beat up. But Cindy and I had faith in it, and it feels like the sun is shining on Highland Meadows.”
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