Inside Kevin and Cheryl Vogel's Art-Filled House in Dallas

At home with the Vogels' collection of great art and classic furniture

Living Among Art . . . in 1953, artist Donald Vogel and his wife Peggy purchased six acres of undeveloped land off Spring Valley Rd, in what was then far north Dallas. They built a contemporary glass and brick house, which was initially a combination artist studio, gallery, home, and frame shop. Dubbed the Valley House, the Vogel's home became an enclave for artists, musicians, and writers, who gathered over meals and drinks to exchange ideas and inspiration. The sculpture gardens which I wrote about on this blog a few years ago, are spectacular.

Fort Worth architect John W. Jones and artist
Donald Vogel designed this mid-century masterpiece.

Donald's son Kevin Vogel and his wife Cheryl inherited the 3,5000 square foot house and the operation of the art gallery in 2004 after Donald died. Having grown up in the house and worked in the family art business since he was in high school, the ensuing renovations were a labor of love. "I almost lived in the creek down in the back," says Kevin. "We had heat, but no air conditioning, and the fans were going 24/7, with the windows open all the time. The house was weird to my friends, because no body else had ceilings that were almost 14 feet or big open rooms like this." Kevin and Cheryl met in 1978 when she was at grad school at SMU and Donald hired her as the gallery's secretary.

The Vogel's backyard is actually a sculpture garden,
which they allow the public to visit.

The first phase of renovations shored up the home's crumbling infrastructure. Built on a flood plain, the house survived a major flood in 1964. "We had 54 inches of water in the house, it was above my head," he says. A second phase of renovations included updating the kitchen and bathrooms, with the help of Arthur Johnson and Scott Hill of Square One Furniture.They replastered the walls, but kept the original wire-cut antique brick floors (originally sourced from a building in Colorado by interior designer Earl Hart Miller) and dark-stained ceiling beams in the living room. "We tried to do things that Donald would have liked," says Cheryl.

They're still making changes, but most of the new furniture was moved into the house a little over a year ago.

A pair of iconic Vladamir Kagan sofas are as sculptural
as any of the artworks in the house, and create an intimate space
for the Vogel's gatherings, which often include artists, writers, and musicians.

"The house is like living in sculpture," Cheryl says. "It's beautiful without one stick of furniture." When it came to choosing furniture, though, decisions weren't made entirely on looks. "I like a bold piece of furniture that makes a statement, but the conversations in the room need to be more important. We didn't buy anything just because it was pretty, it needs to be comfortable too." Her first purchase started with a collection of black leather Matteo Grazzi chairs from Scott + Cooner for the dining table.

"I love the way four people can sit on one of these sofas
and have their own private space," says Cheryl.
People can seat themselves on the hearth if they like,
and the room spills out onto the terrace." The tripod table is from Brant Laird.

After spotting this antique wing chair at Nick Brock Antiques,
Cheryl decided to leave it in its unfinished state. "It looks so skeletal
without its upholstered arms," she says.

The house has no hallways, and virtually all of the rooms are utilized all of the time, says Cheryl. "Everything happens off the main room, kitchen, and living areas. It's a place for us to show large scale paintings and to have a comfortable conversation and watch movies.

"We have five or ten events for charity a year here, and parties for artists or friends," she says. "The piano, an old Steinway built in the late 1800s, drives the party," says Cheryl, who had the piano reconditioned to concert-level status so that musicians could give performances at the house. The Vogels also host many charitables events in their house each year, and Cheryl, who loves to cook, gives dinner parties for artists and friends almost every weekend, such as one she gave for Tary Arterburn, founder of Studio Outside, who is the consulting landscape architect for the gardens now. "It's a wonderful kitchen for everyone to be cooking together," because it opens onto the main room.

After mounting a show by SMU professor
Barnaby Fitzgerald, the Vogels were enchanted
with this painting so they bought it for their house.

The Vogels have a large collection of 19-c. watercolors and drawings, but because of all the potentially damaging sunlight that floods through the house, they keep them stored away. "We bring them out one at a time and display them. It's very Japanese to do that, I think."

They fell in love with the Barnaby Fitzgerald painting, above, after an exhibit of his works several years ago at the gallery. Says Cheryl: "It didn't sell, and so of course we didn't hesitate in buying it. We just brought it in and put it on the backs of chairs until we knew where to hang it. It was one of the first things we bought that made me feel like I was at home."

Plaster hand remnant is from a sculpture by Frederick William Sieveres.

The white sculpture in foreground is actually a naturally occurring
mineral formation, which was excavated from the
Fountainbleau area of France. "I bought it because it reminded
me of sculpture by Jean Arp," says Cheryl. The terra cotta goat is
by Charles Umlauf, and the painting is by Donald Vogel.

Donald Vogel's former art studiois now a conversation area
and repository for the Vogel's personal collection of canvases.
It still includes many of the artist's original furniture and art.
The paper lantern is Noguchi; the tall wood sculpture is by Phil Evett.

Despite the home's mid-century design, "I'm not a modernist person in the real sense," says Cheryl. "I grew up in Florida with lots of color and pattern. I do like to shop for modern furniture though. There's a great store on the Rue du Seine in Paris that has great modern furniture that inspires me. And I'm always looking at magazines. In the construction phase, I got some good advice from Paul Draper, a friend and designer who urged restraint. He said 'You can't just fill up your house with all your favorite bold furniture.'" She also credits photographer David Gibson and architect Bill Booziotis, also friends, for informally helping them redesign the house.

Artist Donald Vogel's original desk includes his old paint brushes.
In the top photo, the figurative wood sculptures are by Phil Evett.

"I'm very influenced by the homes of artists I visit," says Cheryl. "It's about people being together in a space, rather than fussy objects. It should be a space that is amiable for conversation, and there should be books everywhere. I'm always running out of book space. But this house is very demanding. the more we live here, the more we take out and the better it looks." Like a temperamental artist, "The volume of the rooms has a special quality that demands to have its own way," she says.

A version of this story first appeared in Modern Luxury magazine, here.