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A Flea-Infested Former Convent: How Could They Resist?

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Allison and Fernan Rodriguez thought they have been able to construct a home from the bottom up.

The couple have been longtime residents of the Kessler Park neighborhood of Dallas, and needed to remain within the space. They had moved as soon as already, after they started having youngsters — Luca, now 7, and Coco, 4 — however have been quickly in want of nonetheless extra space. They additionally longed for a house that higher mirrored their style.

“We wanted to build new construction, and we wanted a transitional Spanish-style house,” mentioned Ms. Rodriguez, 38, who helps handle an orthodontic follow established by her husband.

The couple put their house in the marketplace in 2018, instantly discovered a purchaser and commenced planning to construct a brand new home. But then they seen a list for an outdated home: a former convent owned by the Catholic Church.

It wasn’t the Spanish-style house they have been dreaming of, and it was removed from good. The red-brick 1926 constructing was listed “as is,” for $599,000. With the exception of an altar space, it appeared as if it hadn’t been modified for the reason that Sixties, and it wanted new techniques, together with plumbing, wiring and home windows. It was additionally infested with fleas.

Still, they appreciated the general really feel of the place. “We saw the potential of this neglected home,” mentioned Dr. Rodriguez, 45.

“Her bones are so beautiful,” Ms. Rodriguez mentioned. “We just really wanted to bring her back to her glory days.”

They weren’t the one ones who felt that manner. The property impressed a bidding warfare, and the couple finally paid $650,000 after they closed that October. Then they discovered a rental to reside in a few blocks away and turned to Maestri Studio, an structure and inside design agency, to supervise the constructing’s transformation.

“We wanted to respect the bones as much as we could, but give it our personality,” Ms. Rodriguez mentioned. The plan, Dr. Rodriguez added, was to faithfully restore the outside however add some daring components to the inside to present the house a contemporary sense of favor.

When their architect, Eddie Maestri, toured the home, “one of the things that jumped out at me was that it had really beautiful plaster picture molding and interesting period details,” he mentioned. “We really wanted to build upon those things.”

At first, he hoped to protect them. But many partitions wanted to be opened up, and the plaster needed to be torn out. “We had these beautiful details throughout the house that were gone,” he mentioned. “So we recreated them.”

At the identical time, Mr. Maestri needed to inject some new vitality into the venture, so he labored with Katie Paulsen, an inside designer at his studio, to remix the moldings, which now zig and zag in sudden methods, and he added arched doorways and outsized dentil molding above built-in cabinetry for extra architectural element.

He additionally made strategic floor-plan adjustments to raised serve a busy Twenty first-century household, increasing the kitchen right into a former porch to help its function as the guts of the house, and creating higher entry to a breakfast room. The area above the porte cochère was enlarged to accommodate a full rest room and beneficiant closet for the first suite. He turned the attic right into a playroom and designed a indifferent storage.

Finally, Mr. Maestri and Ms. Paulsen riffed on Art Deco particulars, in a nod to the constructing’s age, introducing repeated geometric shapes and loads of brass.

The kitchen is the household’s favourite room. “We wanted to go bold,” Dr. Rodriguez mentioned. The designers delivered with black-and-white concrete flooring tiles in an uneven sample, black-and-brass cupboards, and doorways that swing open to disclose a coral-hued walk-in pantry. The related breakfast room has partitions lined with inexperienced grasscloth, evoking the free-form shapes of malachite.

But the brand new powder room, which Mr. Maestri tucked beneath the staircase, is likely to be boldest of all of the areas, with Christian Lacroix wallpaper resembling collages of taking part in playing cards, emerald-hued star-and-cross flooring tiles and a giant brass sink atop a black marble vainness.

By the time they have been completed remodeling the three,950-square-foot home, “we pretty much got a new build,” Dr. Rodriguez mentioned, within the shell of a century-old house. “Everything except the exterior walls is new.”

Including the landscaping and pool, the venture price about $1.2 million, and the household moved into their new house in July 2020.

“We love it,” Dr. Rodriguez mentioned, although now that the venture is full, they miss the fun of renovating.

“We enjoyed the process,” he mentioned. “It wasn’t one of those things, like, ‘Oh, what a nightmare.’”

That’s why the couple is now working with Maestri Studio on a brand new workplace for his or her orthodontic follow, and why they gained’t rule out renovating once more, in the event that they encounter one other dusty treasure.

“We’re ready for another project,” Dr. Rodriguez mentioned.

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