Claire Ratliff's latest project is, in every way, one made for a growing family. First, there's the home's very origin: After starting their family in a small home in Dallas, Paige and Marc Sachs bought the lot across the street, where they custom-built the perfect home for their now five-person crew. Ratliff, a Design Partner at Cullman & Kravis who went to college with the Sachs, had helped outfit their first home, and the Sachs again looked to her to develop the next one—with a very clear mandate. "She wants her kids to be able to live in every room," says Ratliff.
Behind the home's elegant look, Ratliff employed a slew of clever techniques and materials to make it surprisingly kid-friendly. Outdoor rugs, vinyl wallpaper, and performance fabric live harmoniously alongside art and antiques; thoughtful seating arrangements invite the kids to eat, read, and converse everywhere the adults would.
A big part of making that happen was developing a layout custom-designed for the family. "They had very specific ways they wanted the house to function," Ratliff says, noting they "love the idea of multi-purpose rooms."
"In the old house, they had a formal living room, formal dining room, and family room. Paige was like, 'we never go in the dining or living room.'" And what's the point of that?
So, despite that old adage about everything being bigger in Texas, the family opted for combination rooms, working closely with architect Jerry Coleman on an open, flexible concept. "She wanted everything to feel like almost an apartment where people combine living and dining to activate the space," explains Ratliff. "So they'll actually use it."
And use it they do—every inch. The kitchen is "the hub of the home," Ratliff says, and its open connection to the breakfast area and family room means kids are often traveling between the three, all of which are outfitted with an assortment of new and vintage furniture—much of it reupholstered and repurposed from the old home, adding to the house's sense of familiar ease.
The flow, in fact, extends even beyond the house itself. The doors in the family room open up onto an enviable outdoor living space and pool area, which feel like a true part of the home. "The property wasn’t big enough for a pool cabana, so the kitchen and breakfast room kind of function in that way," Ratliff explains. "In the old house, they did have a pool in the backyard, but it just felt separate from everything, so they hardly used it. Now they use it all the time." Now that's a true home.
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