May/June Issue of D Home: The Builder Files

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The Builder Files
Three Dallas homeowners share their experience working with local builders. What they learned—and how it can help you.

By Margaux Anbouba, Jessica Jones, and Laura Kostelny

Client: Meredith Needleman Builder: MORE Design + Build The Project: A midcentury update in University Park

For us, it was love at first tour for our house. The Glen Allen Galaway creation was always something we had admired while driving by, and when it went on the market for a second time, we decided to go check it out.

All the details in the house were amazing, even though it was only 1,900 square feet—much smaller than what we needed. While the house couldn't be torn down, it could be remodeled. We always knew we wanted an older house with some history behind it, and this house appealed to us because of its modern design. It's a unique look and definitely not a house that everybody would want or could appreciate. I think we were the first people who had a vision for it.

The details we loved about the original design of the house were the floor-to-ceiling windows and the international look of the front. It's a very private home from the outside, but once you step inside, the floor plan unfolds. The house is build in the shape of a U, and we have a very private backyard that nobody can see into, which is unlike most homes in the Park Cities. The location is also fantastic—we can walk to restaurants, shopping, SMU, and more.

This was the first home we had remodeled, and the project took 11-and-a-half months. I feel like most people are noncommittal when asked if they would use their builder again, but we absolutely would. We chose MORE Design + Build because of their dedication to detail. Every space in the house is thought out to be both functional and beautiful. They wanted to restore and enhance the home. We chose them because we knew they were going to work with our vision and what we wanted, rather than presenting a plan to us that was already formulated.

We originally planned to add an addition and clean up a bit of the existing home. But that evolved into us taking it down to the studs. What you see now is a brand new house, except for the front façade and the original bones. We increased the square footage from 1,900 to 3,400. The house is now five bedrooms and 4.1 bathrooms. I never felt like I had to compromise my vision—everything turned out exactly as I wanted it.

My biggest piece of advice for anybody considering remodeling or building is to know what you want before you start the project. It's also important to build smart—don't create a lot of wasted space that you never use. Our house is very smart, and we built rooms we needed to use every day, without all this square footage that is going to just sit there and be idle.

There is nothing I would do differently when it came to remodeling my house, and I would do it again. But I think we will be staying put for a while. My kids love our home and are tired of moving!