BY DANNY MOGLE // PHOTOS BY DAVID WHITE/WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY // July/August 2017
When adventurous young couple Josh and Stacy Betts began planning their first home, they talked about the possibilities of incorporating aspects of modern design. After learning more about its aesthetics — clean unadorned surfaces, neutral palette as a backdrop to bold color and an open floor plan — they knew, without a doubt, they wanted to go all in.
They embraced the idea of living in a home that was different.
“Anything outside the box is what we went for,” Stacy says.
To help make their vision a reality, the couple turned to the expertise of Trent Williams, a custom home builder in Tyler, Texas.
“We pushed Trent outside his box,” Josh says.
Trent agrees. “This is the most modern (style) house I’ve ever done. … Stacy and Josh did not want what you ordinarily get in East Texas and we made it work.”
From the street, Trent draws attention to the assymmetrical windows across the front of the 4,325-square foot house.
“And the (exterior) metal, stone and stucco work in harmony,” he continues.
A walkway runs in an arrow-straight line from the street to the front door’s large panels of frosted glass. The same type of panels are on the garage doors.
The door opens into the great room, a sun-filled open space with a 14-foot ceiling. A massive, 5-foot-wide fireplace covered in shiny gray tile anchors the room. Abstract pieces of wall art mounted behind acrylic glass flank the fireplace.
Pops of color come from a deep purple sectional shag rug and a side table with a base as bright red as a fire engine.
In the kitchen, marble with streaks of gray cover counters and extend up the wall. The cabinetry is made of alder wood and, in the tradition of modern design, do not have handles.
The stainless-steel refrigerator’s built-in screen allows them to peer inside. Stacy uses the touch screen to keep track of food nearing expiration and generate a shopping list. The screen also can display photos and access satellite radio.
Josh, a self-proclaimed techie, says just about everything in this “smart house” is controlled by a computer system. It takes Josh just a touch of a button to set the temperature, raise the shades or adjust lighting.
Just off the kitchen is a breakfast nook.
“This is my baby,” says Stacy, who insisted on the area with its floating bench seating and big picture window.
In the formal dining room, Josh demonstrates how the glass table’s hidden leaves fold out to add more seating. A funky, statement-making chandelier hangs over the table.
“Our light fixtures are really different,” Stacy says.
The great room opens onto the backyard where a dramatic firewall topped with flames shows off the pool and sunken spa combo.
When Josh and Stacy get tired of swimming, they retreat to the poolside cabana for a little rest and relaxation.
“I wanted this to have the feel of a mini-resort,” Stacy says.
Under the covered patio are a seating arrangement in front of a wood-burning fireplace and the outdoor kitchen. Huge fans circulate the air.
“Being outdoors is a big thing for us. … We are outdoor people by nature,” Stacy says. “We like hiking and skydiving. You name it and we do it.”
The house sits on nearly one acre south of Tyler where pines seem to continue upward forever.
“We like the country, secluded feel,” Josh says.
The backyard is a playground for the couple’s three Labrador retrievers, who, by the way, have their own room complete with individual beds and a doggy shower.
The upstairs satisfies what Stacy describes as the overgrown kid in them.
A billiards table covered in red felt dominates the play room at the top of the stairs. Five colorful electric guitars hanging on the wall create an unmistakable focal point.
Near the wet bar is a retro-looking arcade video game programmed with 55,000 selections and a bold abstract painting of comedian Bill Murray by Dace Lucia Kidd, an accomplished Latvia-born artist who lives in Tyler. Nearby, hangs a poster from Munich, Germany, they acquired on an adventure through Europe.
The play room leads to a two-tiered theater. The two rows of plush chairs, massive 110-inch screen, high-definition projection system and surround-sound audio give any movie theater a run for its money.
Stacy and Josh both work from home offices. In his office, Josh displays a certificate recognizing the achievement of reaching the summit of 16,000-foot high Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Josh confesses that climbing the mountain was a bucket-list item.
The master bedroom suite includes his and her closets with tons of built-in shelving. Josh points out that Stacy’s closet is a bit bigger. Stacy says she needed more space to accommodate her makeup vanity.
In the bathroom are a freestanding tub, large walk-in shower and another funky light fixture.
The master bedroom extends the home’s gray and purple color palette. Tiles covering the wall behind the bed have a grain pattern that mimics tree bark and echoes a design feature from the living room’s fireplace. Two pendant lights flank the bed.
Stacy says their home is everything they dreamed it could be and more. “We wanted modern but not the staleness and coldness that can come with modern. I wanted to make sure that the house has items that also give it a comfortable feel.”
Adds Josh, “And we have tons of that.”
Modern, comfortable and fun. Mission accomplished.