Beauty in Simplicity - Design Bureau

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Beauty in Simplicity

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Featured Company: Olsen Studios - Location: Dallas, Texas - Project Type: Residence - Project Name: Rosa Road residence

Photos by Sean Gallagher,

By Risa Seidman

The Rosa Road residence may appear uncomplicated in its minimalism, but a closer look reveals a deliberate tension in its design. “The very simple house is stunning in its careful study of proportion and balance of masses,” says Jamie Olsen Ali, owner of Olsen Studios, the team responsible for designing the Dallas home.

Olsen put every aspect of the residence under a microscope, from the pattern, size, and amount of limestone on the exterior walls down to the precise shade of white paint for the interior.

“Choosing the right color white is one of the most difficult tasks set before designers,” Olsen says. “Colors look different in every light and at every time of day. It took at least 25 white paint samples to find the interior color at Rosa.”

In the end, each of Olsen’s agonizing design decisions satisfied her clients, who were looking for a house that takes full advantage of the ample trees on the lot. “They sought a house that would feel very modern and current,” Olsen says, “but still have a timeless style that blended into a rural-feeling street.” The house’s minimalist interior aesthetic also was a deliberate choice, made to showcase the clients’ collection of local art.

Though her clients are happy with their new home, Olsen’s pride in her work is telling of its quality. The designer sums it up perfectly: “Rosa Road residence is a beautiful example of a simple palette of materials—white painted boards, metal, gravel, and stone—organized in a simple way that creates pattern, texture, and interest from the street. It is really a delightful house to see.”

A Good Match

The Rosa Road project was a first-time collaboration for Olsen Studios and S&H Design Development, a small custom builder in the Dallas area. S&H owner Mark Siepiela notes that Jamie Olsen "has a great modern philosophy that is easy to execute but very specific"—reflected in the vertical siding that created a "farmhouse modern look."

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