Lakewood Heights Modern is a “Big Wabi-Sabi Texas Welcome” on The White Rock Home Tour

The landscape and harsh landscape leading up to 6325 Vanderbilt Ave. in Dallas hints at what’s inside the contemporary home of Taylor and Nick Thurmond, one of five stunning homes on the 15th annual White Rock Home Tour.

Their Lakewood Heights residence in East Dallas stands out in a neighborhood of architecturally eclectic homes. One of the reasons is that it is relatively new with clean edges, free-form landscapes and artistic elements.

“We don’t want to build anything basic and normal,” Taylor said with a characteristic smile, referring not only to the family home, but the homes she and her husband built in Dallas. “We love differently.”

Unique architecture on The White Rock Home Tour

The Thurmond home, which will be part of the 15th annual White Rock Home Tour, is no cakewalk. Completed in 2021, the home was built around 100-year-old trees where a former house that the Thurmonds said was “past rescue” once stood.

Flagstone, what Nick referred to as “Oklahoma Brown” was chosen — in part for its reference to where the couple met at the University of Oklahoma — to create a wide, flat entrance that could serve as parking or an outdoor patio.

Oklahoma Brown slate and native Texas plants greet visitors to the Thurmond home.

The plantings Taylor chose for special reasons. All perennials were chosen because they are native to Texas, adapted to Texas, or especially fragrant. Grass, sage, rosemary and Japanese maple adorn the front of the home.

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“I’m kind of picky,” Taylor said. “The grass softens the hard lines of the architecture. I don’t like anything normal.”

A few steps lead to a concrete porch with specifically placed circles that pull to the front door, hidden from the street.

“It’s trying to bring the natural into the interior,” Nick said. “When you walk up to the front door, you have this experience of going from the outside to the inside.”

Blurring the boundaries between inside and outside was one of the couple’s goals. Light pours in from 10-foot windows throughout the house with its four bedrooms, five full bathrooms and two half bathrooms. Oversized sliding glass doors separate the dining area from the backyard, making indoor-outdoor living easy.

“Why have a wall when you can have a window?” Taylor wondered.

An Asian aesthetic saturates the house, characterized by the Noguchi light hanging from the living room ceiling. Circles also continue, from the concrete balls in the fireplace to the spherical cushions on the sofa to the circular marble cocktail table.

“It’s my big wabi-sabi Texas welcome,” she said.

Concrete floors are underfoot, and white oak cabinets and cupboards provide plenty of storage space throughout. Many of the walls are hand-kicked waterproof plaster. Vertical design dominates with tiles and wood laid in direct opposition to the norm.

“We sometimes say we like warm modern,” Nick said.

A perfectly imperfect house and family

Neutrals rule except in the children’s wing where the personalities of Oliver, 12, and Eleanor, 10, dictate their rooms. Shelves display Oliver’s Lego creations and his shower lights in different colours. Eleanor chose lavender walls, iridescent bathroom tiles and a confetti-coloured rug, the family’s three-legged dog’s favorite place to lie.

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“She’s like our house,” Taylor said of Penny the dog. “Things are not perfect.”

Neutral tones and natural materials give the home its warm and modern edge. A Noguchi candle draws the eye upward in the living room of the Thurmond home.

The home easily lends itself to entertaining. A grandchild baby, rescued from an abandoned country club, sits in the corner where the neighborhood children are invited to play. An outdoor kitchen is ready for use in good weather. The upstairs games room has welcomed birthday parties with a big screen, arcade, ping pong table and an ever ready game of Monopoly.

Thoughtful partnership with Far + Dang

The Thurmonds built their home with architect Bang Dang of the firm Far + Dang. They sing his praises.

“He’s so thoughtful, and he honors the neighborhood and gets you what you want, within your budget,” Taylor said.

The most important aspect of the Thurmond home is the neighborhood. Their Vanderbilt Avenue home is their third in Lakewood Heights. Halloween, snow days and birthday parties with their friends are more important to them than bricks, mortar and concrete.

Halloween candy is traded among neighborhood children on the Thurmond Terrace.
Visitors from other countries are treated to a meal of American Thanksgiving fare at a long table in Thurmond’s backyard.

“It’s about the neighbors,” Taylor said. East Dallas is where the Thurmonds thrive.

“We love it,” she mused. “You’re kind of free to be whoever you are here. I think people are welcoming, free and sociable.” is a proud media sponsor of the 15th Annual White Rock Home Tour to benefit Hexter Elementary from noon to 5pm on the 22nd-23rd. April. Tickets are on sale now for $25. See the Thurmond family’s “big wabi-sabi Texas welcome” and four other amazing properties by purchasing a ticket here.

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