Stormy and Rick Skogg had only been to Texas twice when they purchased a 6,000-square-foot ’90s contemporary in a gated Frisco neighborhood—they knew they would be staying awhile after their first visit. “We love the heat and hate the cold,” Stormy says. But there was a catch: They were leaving behind a large home they had long enjoyed in mountainous Castle Pines, Colorado. “We went from lush, green foothills to the flatlands of Texas,” Stormy says. “We wanted to make this home an oasis that we didn’t want to leave.”
But converting a contemporary with interiors that had been glossed over with traditionalism into their suburban paradise proved to be challenging. The Skoggs, who have four children, hired not one, but two interior designers—neither of whom quite understood their vision—before they met Dallas designer Faye Nielsen. Initially, the Skoggs approached Nielsen to renovate their daughter’s room and a bathroom. But once they knew she was the designer they’d been searching for, they practically handed over the keys. “I trusted Faye and told her to do whatever she wanted,” Stormy says.
The Skoggs did have a few ideas, though. “I envisioned a home that exuded elegance and was one that didn’t just have a ‘wow’ factor but was rather one that would never be forgotten once seen,” Stormy says. “But I also needed it to be kid-proof.” What’s more, they hoped the aesthetic would blend their varying tastes. Rick leans uber-modern and loves bright-hued furnishings, while Stormy prefers “smooth lines and elegance,” she says. “We need it to be toned down, with the color in art and accessories.”
It was everything Nielsen, who founded namesake design studio The Nielsen Collection in 1999, could execute. Inch by inch, room by room, she transformed spaces with often elaborate renovations and additions.
Even key features of the home were changed. The entryway’s formerly traditional, curved wrought-iron staircase was replaced with sleek stainless steel trim and bent glass secured by polished stand-offs and topped with a polished stainless handrail. The newly designed formal living room fireplace is now framed by a 10-foot-tall water feature, and the family room’s pie-shaped fireplace is fabricated of steel and will include smoked glass. Over-the-top lighting fixtures are in nearly every room—in the dining room, Nielsen designed a laser cut double S-shaped light fixture of steel and attached the sheeting to a complicated metal grid.
Her customization goes to new lengths, as illustrated in the home’s master bath. Nielsen gutted and removed windows to create a therapeutic respite reminiscent of a spa. The shower, complete with LED-lit rainheads, opens into a separate steam shower that offers chromatherapy and aromatherapy. Nielsen had ergonomically correct chaise lounges engineered from metal as bases for the molded and shaped Krion seats. When the 12-foot ceilings proved challenging for steam shower limitations, Nielsen had a dropped glass ceiling made, keeping the beauty of the mosaic ceiling.
The bath’s entry door is an original piece, too. The Skoggs were married July 7, 2007, at 7:07 p.m., and had commissioned a piece of art to reflect the timing. Nielsen had it made into a rolling barn-style door.
“They really live in their house—and that’s why we wanted to make it everything they could want,” Nielsen says. “They can enjoy a steam shower, play pool—they can just enjoy being home.”
But the highlight is son Ty’s room—or really, bat cave. Nielsen tapped an architect to create attic space above the son’s second-floor room that she would later design into a Batman-inspired cave. She covered the surround of a keyhole shape in faux leather and added LED-lit stairs. They papered an entire wall with a large-scale image of Batman, painted the interiors black, added rubber flooring and inserted lights to mimic a star-filled ceiling.
From top to bottom, no space in the home—which became lighter, brighter and more open—was left untouched over a two-year process. “You have to look room by room and see the entire house as a canvas, and then start picking out the features,” Nielsen says. “It was so important for everything to be cohesive and copasetic, and it was designed to paint that picture.”
The picture it paints is one that the Skoggs never want to leave. “Everyone who enters our home says it looks better than a five-star hotel,” Stormy says. “I could never have done this without Faye.”
Jessica Elliott is a Dallas-based freelance writer and can be reached at jessicalaneelliott@ gmail.com.