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HOMEOWNERS — Simmie and Linda Cooper


LOCATION — Plano, Texas

STYLE — Italian Mediterranean, a look the Coopers brought with them from their native Los Angeles

PROPERTY — An acre on a hilltop in Kings Gate community offering panoramicviews of the valley and city

LIVING SPACE — 13,500 square feet

BEDROOMS — Ground-floor master suite and maid's room plus three second-story bedrooms, all with their own bath

HER FAVORITE ROOM — The cozy master-suite sitting room, where Linda enjoys curling up with a magazine

HIS FAVORITE ROOM — The study, Simmie's getaway where he retreats when he wants a little privacy

WHY FRONTGATE? — "I love Frontgate. It's a great catalog when you're looking for items you can't find in everyday stores. It's an upscale look for an upscale customer."

Living Room


Cooper Homes

Ronald A. Bogard, AIA

Joanie Wyll & Associates

Media Command Systems

Plano, Texas — Moving to yet another new house was the last thing Linda Cooper had in mind. Since relocating from Los Angeles to Dallas 14 years earlier, she and Simmie had already lived a number of different places. But Simmie, a builder by profession, had other ideas — ideas about building the perfect home for his family. And he'd found the perfect place to build it: a hilltop lot in Kings Gate community, overlooking the city of Dallas.

"With him being a homebuilder, he's moved us around quite a bit," Linda says. "It's the nature of the beast. But I was digging in my heels about moving again." She was reluctant to uproot their son and daughter now that they were getting older, and moving to another neighborhood would mean restructuring all the carpools she'd lined up to shuttle the kids back and forth to school and activities.

"Then Simmie took me up to the lot one evening to see the city lights. It very much reminded me of Los Angeles and the views. I was hooked. I said, 'OK, we can move.'"


Their first task was to assemble a team of experts to ensure the house was everything they wanted it to be: streamlined and uncluttered yet warm and inviting, the epitome of high-level design and high-end electronics yet totally family friendly. Architect Ron Bogard, designer Joanie Wyll, and media whiz Brian Leftin took up the challenge.

One of the first decisions was to panel the back of the house in seamless floor-to-ceiling glass, the better to take advantage of panoramic views. The interior would incorporate elements of classical modernism, while the exterior was to be Italian Mediterranean, a distinctively Southern Californian look very much in keeping with the Cooper style of homebuilding.

"When we first moved to Dallas, we saw brick home after brick home," says Linda. "Simmie brought the Italian Mediterranean look with him, and it has really taken off." All the same, Simmie asked their architect to accompany him to Los Angeles, where they could study some truly outstanding examples of Italian Mediterranean architecture.

The home's exterior is Italian Mediterranean, a distinctively Southern Californian look very much in keeping with the Cooper style of homebuilding. Shop Outdoor Living.

Leftin went to work filling the house with sight and sound while keeping speakers invisibly concealed in walls and ceilings and, even more important, making all systems easy enough for everyone in the family to use. In most rooms, keypads control volume and choice of source. A Crestron touchscreen allows the kids to select and view TV programs by pressing just one icon. It also gives Simmie and Linda access to outdoor security cameras, which can be monitored on three screens located above the family room's 57-inch rear-projection television.

Linda, meanwhile, was concerned with creating a warm environment where people would feel welcome. "The house was so large, I didn't want it be austere and cold." The solution? Ribbon sapelli mahogany, a rich, vertical-grain hardwood used liberally throughout the house as a unifying element. Finished with high-gloss polyester, it appears most prominently in the family room paneling and stainless steel-trimmed kitchen cabinetry.

Linda has only the highest praise for Dallas artist Doug VanVoorhis, who brought elegant design and superb craftsmanship to the project. Though Linda had called on the talents of designer Joanie Wyll when decorating previous homes, they'd never worked together on a house of this magnitude. "I have my own distinctive style, and she'd take me to showrooms to find what I wanted. I'd admire something and she'd say, 'That's not going to work. We have to think big!' We had a heck of a time just finding a vase large enough for the entry table, but we did it."

"The house was so large, I didn't want it be austere and cold."

Having a selection of vases to choose among was important to Linda. She delights in filling the house with fresh flowers each week, composing each arrangement to suit its own particular location. Though she loves flowers of all kinds, she's partial to ginger, curly willow, palm leaves, and Casablanca lilies. "My absolute favorite is the calla lily. It's so elegant and so fragrant. You can smell it the moment you walk in the entry." Any tips she'd like to pass along? "Put oranges, lemons, or crabapples inside the vase to give your arrangements more height."

Linda also expresses her creative side by doing ceramics (the teapots lining the kitchen windowsill are hers), planning fun parties, and designing her own line of T-shirts and baseball shirts. Messages range from "Shopping Is My Cardio" and "Carpool Couture" to "Random Acts of Kindness", which reverses to "Pass It On" (a portion of that shirt's salesis donated to breast-cancer charities). (Linda's shirts can be purchased online at


For all its sophistication, the Cooper residence is above all an expression of Simmie and Linda's devotion to their children.

The emphasis here is on family fun. To pull it off, Linda always kept practicality in the forefront of her mind when decorating, selecting only those materials "that have easy clean-up."

When shopping for leather upholstered furniture for the family room, she did a mustard-and-ketchup test right there in the showroom. "That's how I chose Ralph Lauren. It was buttery soft, and it was the only leather that didn't leave a mark.

"The house is large, but we use every square inch of it on a daily basis, so it's inevitable that things happen. The kids are eight and nine years old, and I didn't want them to feel like the house was a mausoleum. The only thing they can't do is eat in the bedroom."

Toys have their own designated area upstairs in the 1,400-square-foot playroom, equipped with mini-kitchen, snack bar, and entertainment center.

The family often takes their meals outdoors by the tile-bordered pool. Shop Pool & Beach.

The ballroom next door is exactly that: a room stocked with balls of every imaginable kind, plus basketball hoops for shooting them through. The kids and their friends Rollerblade in and out of each room and back and forth between the two.

A ballet barre and arts-and-crafts room nurture creativity. "The kids love to do art projects, and it's also a good place for homework that needs to be painted or collages that need doing. We also do ceramics in there. The gym is right next door, so my husband and I can work out while the kids work on their projects."

Like the house itself, the backyard was designed with each family member's needs in mind. Basketball hoops in the courtyard promote good-natured competition. A cabana creates a shady spot for stretching out in the hammock and reading a magazine, an experience Linda says is "unbelievably soothing."

"We've been here two years, and it's absolutely my favorite home so far, the lot is wonderful...and we have a nice view."

A sheltered area furnished with a sofa and love seat, outfitted with a refrigerator and grill, and warmed by an outdoor fireplace, is a natural gathering place for guests. "It's good for entertaining," Linda says. "We use it a lot for parties." The family often takes their meals outdoors — until summer's high temperatures send them back inside.


The decision to build has paid off handsomely. "We've been here two years, and it's absolutely my favorite home so far," says Linda. "The lot is wonderful, the houses are spaced farther apart, and we have a nice view."

Though she misses Los Angles, Linda expresses nothing but appreciation for their life here in Texas. "Dallas is our home. It's a great place to raise a family. The kids have an active life with their friends, and the education is wonderful. There's even a ranch on the Kings Gate property where we go and feed apples and carrots to the horses."

The Cooper's home "very much mimics the house we'd build if we built in L.A." Simmie and Linda feel certain they'll return to their hometown someday. They dream of living on the ocean, of having the beach as their backyard. "But for now," says Linda, "this is our dream house."

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