THE LUXE LOUNGE
By Babs Rodriguez
Photos by Aaron Dougherty
What was once intended to be a workout room evolves into an inviting gathering space with a wraparound deck and spectacular views
Amy Naughton and Emily Frame met at a Southlake CrossFit gym, but a different set of compatible strengths led to their recently completed collaboration on an addition to the Naughton family home.
Amy and husband Brian bought their hillside home knowing there was remodeling — a lot of remodeling — ahead of them. But after the couple reinvigorated the 1991 house that had been marketed as a teardown, tamed the slope of their lot to install a pool and expanded their Lake Grapevine view with walls of windows, they were ready to build a free-standing garage.
The project had been on the couple’s wish list from the day they realized they would have to sacrifice a three-car garage to create additional bedrooms for their daughters. An even larger garage was desirable, as was a first-floor workout area, second-floor en suite bedroom, a wine cellar and basement storage. But there is some disagreement today about how soon Brian came to share Amy’s point of view that the stellar treetop vista needed to be enjoyed more frequently than just during a workout.
Once she saw how the project was developing, Amy says, “I knew that room, with that really pretty view, wasn’t going to be where Brian put his Peloton.”
But first things first. In 2019, Amy reached out to CrossFit pal Emily, project manager and co-owner — with husband/architect Marc Frame — of TexMod Homes, to wrangle the design/build of a garage-cum-gym and guesthouse. They wanted the same clean midcentury vibe that the Naughtons embraced for their home. The immediate challenge for Marc was how to site the addition, then build it solidly on perhaps the steepest slope of the 2-acre property.
“Everything depended on pouring a continuous deep perimeter concrete footing at varying levels and setting integrally poured, tall, perfectly straight concrete walls tied into the concrete foundation, with each wall calculated exactly to compensate for the incline at a height needed to level the main level’s floor,” Emily says.
The goal for the exterior design of the stand-alone addition was to visually merge it with the adjacent home, a task accomplished with black-painted tongue-and-groove cedar siding, aluminum Milgard windows and a standing seam bronze metal roof. The garage doors, the most visible section of the guesthouse from the street, appear to be cedar, but are in fact aluminum with a wood look compatible with the siding.
The siting of the L-shaped structure with its second-floor bedroom demanded both design and engineering chops. But Emily notes that, ultimately, the hardest thing Marc had to do was connect the lounge area to the main house via a floating deck cantilevered off the slope. Getting the planks of the lounge’s new Trex composite decking to line up with the home’s extant decking was a challenge. Today, the seamless flow suggests both home and addition were constructed at the same time.
As for the finish-out of the living area now known as the lounge, Emily worked closely with Amy, whose vision was the driving force for the interior design. The homeowner envisioned the space now dedicated to entertaining family and friends (the gym has been installed in the basement) with a clean, contemporary feel. TexMod installed ultra-smooth modern walls, two sets of oversize sliding glass doors and a glass front door. During the build-out, it was determined two additional floor-to-ceiling windows, flanking the glass sliders on the lake-view side, would further blur the lines of indoors and out.
A 10-foot modern electric fireplace stretches horizontally beneath clerestory windows that admit a glimpse of treetop greenery. The surround’s handmade black subway tile has an artisan feel that appeals to Amy. A wet-bar kitchenette with a wine fridge has a glamorous wink, thanks to a mirror tile backsplash with gold accents. Both fireplace and wet bar are in sync with the palette Amy defined for the room with what she considers its pièce de résistance: a terrazzo floor poured in place, with each brass-edged segment of its intricate geometric pattern filled with customized percentages of black, rose, gold and ivory flecks.
“It was a massive undertaking,” Emily says, “with materials from all over the country, but Amy knew exactly what she wanted, down to what percentage of each color within each triangle.” Of her intricate design, Amy says, “Marc gave me a piece of paper, and I sketched out what I wanted.” Brass-edged terrazzo also faces the risers of the oak stairsteps leading to the guest suite above the lounge.
The same interplay of muted and shiny colors and textural fabrics in earthy colors inspired Amy to order the Italian-made Kardiel walnut-framed black leather sofas and chairs, and acrylic tables from West Elm (the better to see the floor).
For the Frames, the graceful fit of the furnishings and the lightly elegant touch of the finishes are icing on the cake to a project with many challenges, each successfully conquered. For the Naughtons, the intricate infrastructure of the space, its comfortable appeal and the floating deck line up with just what they wanted. “It’s fun to sit out here anytime,” Amy says. “Whether the doors are open or closed, it has the treehouse view that sold us on this property.” And, yes, Brian is satisfied with his fitness room in the basement. “We have a lot of family fun in the lounge. We play cards, watch games and hang out with friends. It’s actually much better than having a gym with a view.”