The Nowells bring their real estate development skills home.
When it comes to the ins and outs of construction, Lyndi and Jason Nowell are no strangers to the hard work and occasional surprises. After all, their company Ashton Gray specializes in commercial real estate development; building new buildings is what they do. Still, when they broke ground on their home — amid the COVID-19 pandemic chaos — they encountered unprecedented challenges.
“We had lumber covered with tarps for months because we had to hurry up and buy it or we weren’t going to be able to get it,” Lyndi Nowell recalled. “So we were trying to store all this lumber, and we hadn’t even poured concrete. And the budget was just gone because everything had increased. It was rough.”
Fortunately, they had enlisted a dream team to help them overcome obstacles. Talented individuals from Ashton Gray, Durbin Design and Sage Hill Interiors united to build the Nowells’ ideal family home — one with transitional-modern design, lots of natural light and wide open spaces — in the Nichols Hills Suburban neighborhood.
At the outset of the project, Lyndi Nowell asked her close friend Krissi Green to help her outline overall goals. (Green co-owns Ashton Gray, along with her husband Denver Green, and she has navigated the homebuilding process many times before.) Designer Bryan Durbin used those notes to draw up architectural plans, and then Amy Hogg and Taylor Rison of Sage Hill Interiors blended Lyndi and Jason Nowell’s styles throughout the interiors.
“Jason envisioned a Scandinavian, minimalistic look while Lyndi preferred a transitional, modern look with a touch of glam,” Rison said.
“The bones of the house are primarily black and white — black-framed windows and mostly white walls,” Hogg added. “We were then able to work in transitional [and] glam touches by using stained white oak for much of the cabinetry, [adding] light fixtures with lots of glass or crystals and incorporating fun details in the tile.”
Jason Nowell envisioned a staircase in the entry with intricate ironwork, but Lyndi Nowell was concerned too much metal would come off as cold. Their design team merged the two ideas into one, achieving a first impression for the home that is at once awe-inspiring and inviting.
“I am a huge fan of signature staircases, and this project gave us a great opportunity to do something unique,” Durbin said. “Considering the grand entry volume, we decided that a ‘floating’ approach would not only provide the grand design we were looking for but also complement the space without overpowering it.”
Durbin collaborated with Greg Stafford to fabricate and install the stairs’ steel skeleton. Hogg and Rison incorporated white oak to warm up the area.
Another notable feature of the home is the 26-foot ceiling above the open-concept kitchen, dining area and living room. Carefully crafted woodwork by Elite Trim’s Luis De Lara draws your eyes up, and the octagonal pattern surprises and delights. Though the woodwork appears to be an intentional design, it was really Nowell and Green’s solution to hide unattractive can lights. And it worked.
COVID-related challenges aside, Lyndi Nowell says her homebuilding experience was a positive one. She and her husband enjoyed working together in a new capacity and comparing notes every night to move this very personal construction project forward. Jason Nowell, who has more jobsite experience, began to step back and let his wife take the lead as she gained more knowledge and confidence.
The home turned out exactly as the Nowell family had hoped. Lyndi Nowell says the process was transformative in many ways.
“There are rooms that I walk through and — oh my gosh — I remember standing here and it was nothing; I was just imagining what this was going to be,” she said. “Building this house has really changed who I am. Every part of it is something that I poured myself into.”