This North Dallas Home Exudes the Brilliance of Brazilian Modernism

05.31.24 | By
This North Dallas Home Exudes the Brilliance of Brazilian Modernism

The masterful renovation of an 8,000-square-foot north Dallas home has turned this exemplary piece of late 1970’s architecture into a time capsule packed with vibrant artworks set against a minimalist backdrop in a testament to the physical joy of Brazilian Modernism. Marc McCollom, Joshua Rice, and Temple Shipley – the architect, interior designer, and art consultant, respectively – synthesize their expertise to transform a rambling conglomeration of rooms into an organized, sprawling space plan reflective of the expansive exterior surfaces and bold visual language of its time.

A modern living room with eclectic furniture including wooden coffee tables, armchairs, and a patterned rug that hints at Brazilian Modernism. The room features a large window and a living area with a black marble island in the background.

Entry space and sunken parlor \\\ Cast bronze size table by Jojo Corvaia through Garde. Vintage Presidencial armchairs, Petalas coffee table, and Onda bench by Jorge Zalszupin. FAO sofa by Christophe Delcourt for Collection Particulière. Ciranda side table by Ricardo Fasanello. Bedsa chair by Aequo through Garde. Turned walnut pedestal by Chris Lehrecke. Vintage Oushak rug through Esmaili Rugs. \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

Modern interior with a marble counter, abstract chandelier, wall art, and a contemporary sculpture exuding Brazilian Modernism. Light-colored drapes cover large windows, and a dining table with chairs is visible in the background.

View through entry space and sunken parlor into dining room \\\ Photo: Nathan Schroder

Modern living room with a mix of wooden and metal furnishings, beige walls, and a light-colored patterned rug. Features include a minimalist kitchen in the background, contemporary art reflecting Brazilian Modernism, and indoor plants.

View from entry space through sunken parlor into raised living area \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

Brazilian modernism is inherently organic, informed by challenges or opportunities the natural environment presents in a reliance on locally sourced materials to strike a balance between mid-century sensibilities and tropical flair without the pomp and circumstance. This single-story structure hugs a creek native to the site encouraging the unusually wide linear layout, which is anchored by a split-level sunken living space.

Modern living room with light grey couch, black marble fireplace, abstract decor, and wooden accents, exuding a touch of Brazilian Modernism. Decorative wooden ornaments are displayed on the mantel.

Raised living area \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

A modern living room with a fireplace, a gray sofa, unique armchairs, and a round rug. Large windows offer a view of the outdoor greenery. Inspired by Brazilian Modernism, this space features minimalistic decor and hardwood floors.

Raised living area \\\ Vintage Alta lounge chair by Oscar Niemeyer. Vintage rosewood Diz chairs by Sergio Rodrigues. Sideways sofa by Rikke Frost for Carl Hansen through Garde. \\\ Photo: Nathan Schroder

Modern living room featuring large windows, wooden floors, a gray fireplace, a sofa with throw pillows, two wooden lounge chairs with white cushions, and a central round coffee table that exudes Brazilian Modernism.

Adjacent to raised living area, view through sunken parlor to kitchen \\\ Photo: Nathan Schroder

Vast sightlines and spatial dynamism yield high-impact views as guests have an uninterrupted vista from the entry through multiple lounge areas, the kitchen, and dining room, until it spills outdoors. An office, guest suite, primary suite, and three additional bedrooms bookend the core with clear delineation to retain privacy. The property also boasts a large pool with an adjacent outdoor living space, a public park sized playground, and its own tennis court.

A modern living room inspired by Brazilian Modernism featuring gold abstract wall art, two wooden chairs, a wooden coffee table, a round green chair, a black grand piano, and large windows with sheer curtains.

Dining room adjacent to raised living space \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

A modern dining room features a wooden table with white chairs, a large abstract painting on the wall, geometric light fixtures inspired by Brazilian Modernism, and a vase of white flowers.

Art and large-scale lighting in dialogue over the dining table \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

A modern dining room featuring a rectangular table, eight upholstered chairs, a contemporary chandelier, and floral centerpiece. The space is adorned with abstract wall art and large windows with sheer curtains, allowing light to dance on the wooden flooring, embodying elements of Brazilian Modernism.

Dining room \\\ Palindrome light fixture by RBW. Jorge Zalszupin guanabara rosewood vintage dining table. Vintage dining chairs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Vintage mirror by Joaquim Tenreiro. \\\ Photo: Nathan Schroder

The homeowners, a family of four originally from Mexico City, bring a sense of warmth and whimsy to the residence, as well as an extensive collection of art and design objects, which grace the interior. Certainly not an exhaustible list, some notable design pieces include those by Faye Toogood, Jojo Corvaia, Oscar Niemeyer, and Jorge Zalszupin, as well as artworks by Joaquim Tenreiro and Sol LeWitt. From freestanding to wall-mounted, vibrant collectibles stand out against a neutral backdrop in a careful curation for museum-like movement through the house that is equal parts circulation and choreography.

Modern kitchen with wooden cabinets, a kitchen island, and large artworks on the walls, reflecting Brazilian Modernism. A black sculpture is placed on a dark countertop in the foreground.

View into kitchen from central space \\\ Outfitted in teak veneer and bronzed textured panels by Forms + Surfaces. White oak flooring. Fiberglass Roly-Poly dining chairs and table by Faye Toogood through Garde \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

A round wooden dining table with a plant centerpiece is surrounded by four matching sculptural chairs, exemplifying Brazilian Modernism. Large windows reveal a view of a tree and green outdoor space.

Breakfast nook \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

Modern kitchen and dining area with wooden flooring, wooden cabinetry, large windows, and contemporary furniture. The dining table has two beige, sculptural chairs and a green plant centerpiece, reflecting the elegance of Brazilian Modernism.

View from breakfast nook through main living spaces \\\ Photo: Nathan Schroder

The extensive renovation makes sense of the once chaotic interior through thoughtful material interventions, hierarchical programming, and expertly scaled formal additions for a renewed architectural clarity. “Because the ceilings were so high and the spaces were so grand, we presented some huge light fixtures for several rooms,” Rice says. “I kept expressing the point that we needed something that took up a lot of volume, while still being somewhat diaphanous and not taking up visual space.” Rich tones of rosewood, reddish woods, and pietra grey stone provide striking accents in harmony with the white oak floors.

A brightly lit room with a large window, wooden floor, a dining table set with chairs, and colorful artwork and paintings on the walls exuding Brazilian Modernism.

View into breakfast nook \\\ Photo: Nathan Schroder

A hallway featuring colorful abstract paintings on white walls, wooden flooring, and recessed lighting exudes Brazilian Modernism. A skylight illuminates the area, complemented by sleek wooden cabinets on the right side.

Gallery-style walls \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

A modern bedroom showcasing Brazilian Modernism with a fireplace, large windows overlooking greenery, a seating area with a round table and four chairs, a wall-mounted TV, and a bed with a grey blanket on a wooden floor.

Primary bedroom with seating area and fireplace \\\ Floatation lamp by Ingo Maurer. Vintage angled sofa by Edward Wormley for Dunbar through Sputnik Modern. Vintage Model 83 Nanna Ditzel lounge chairs through Sputnik Modern. Coccoloba rug by Atelier Agahzadeh. Blackened steel FP surround. Blade bench and Buni chat table by Jader Almeida. \\\ Photo: Nathan Schroder

Guided by an artistic ethos, the collaborators formed the tendrils for connection between visitors, art, and architecture. The contemporized style here is stripped back, trading decoration for artwork and sculpture, with a particular focus on dialogue between precious personal belongings and surface treatment. “We wanted these design objects to be an important feature to the overall design, but not completely dominate the spaces they inhabit,” Rice adds. “That’s why the materials in the architecture and surrounding design were deliberately selected to be complementary.“

A modern home office inspired by Brazilian Modernism features a large window, abundant natural light, a desk with a computer, a painting on the wall, a pouf, a chair, and ceiling pendant lights.

Private office space \\\ Aim lamps by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Flos. Vintage Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm model FK84 Swivel chair through Sputnik Modern. Desk by Poltrona Frau. Rug by Atelier Agahzadeh. Vintage bronze TG-15 lounge chair by Katavolos, Littell and Kelley through Sputnik Modern. Linen pouf by Pauline Esparonthrough Garde. \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

Modern bathroom with dark marble walls, rectangular mirror, black vanity, and two narrow windows on each side. Light wood flooring contrasts with the dark color scheme. Minimalist lighting fixtures hang above, embodying an essence of Brazilian Modernism in its sleek design elements.

Primary bathroom vanity \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

A modern shower inspired by Brazilian Modernism, featuring a large marble wall with graceful gray veining patterns, a sleek glass door, and a floating wooden bench.

Steam room-inspired walk-in shower \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

Image of a modern outdoor patio with a seating area, dining table, bar, and kitchen. Reflecting Brazilian Modernism, the space overlooks a pool and is covered by a wooden ceiling. In the background is a brick house with large windows.

Rear facade \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

A modern outdoor patio with wooden flooring and a shaded seating area exemplifies Brazilian Modernism, set adjacent to a pool surrounded by greenery and lounge chairs under a clear sky.

Side elevation and yard \\\ Photo: Robert Tsai

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Photography by Nathan Schroder and Robert Tsai as noted; Production by Karine Monie.

With professional degrees in architecture and journalism, Joseph has a desire to make living beautifully accessible. His work seeks to enrich the lives of others with visual communication and storytelling through design. Previously a regular contributor to titles under the SANDOW Design Group, including Luxe and Metropolis, Joseph now serves the Design Milk team as their Managing Editor. When not practicing, he teaches visual communication, theory, and design. The New York-based writer has also contributed to exhibitions hosted by the AIA New York’s Center for Architecture and Architectural Digest, and recently published essays and collage illustrations with Proseterity, a literary publication.