DFWChild / Articles / MomLife / Home + Food / California Dreaming

California Dreaming

Nicole Musselman’s 45-year-old ranch house has everything you’d expect a California girl-turned-fashion designer to prize: great bones, clean lines and an airy vibe. “I walked in and loved all the glass and the sunlight,” says Nicole, who shares the 2,800-square-foot residence with her 8-year-old son, Henry, and their rescue pooch, Murphy. “It’s a happy place.”

After moving in a year and a half ago, Nicole did her best to honor the streamlined sensibility of the home, which the previous owners had gutted and redone with a nod to Mid-Century Modern design. Honest (and family-friendly) materials prevail, from the stained concrete floors to the gallery-style white walls to the cool blue tile accents in the kitchens and bathrooms.

“The only piece of furniture I bought from the owner was the glass-topped table in the kitchen, which had this great ocean color,” she says. The tabletop not only fit the space perfectly, but its gentle hue proves a perfect foil for the expansive stainless steel countertops.

Shades of blue adorn most every room. In Henry’s playroom, which boasts a giant metal table with a yellow top (an ideal surface for building Legos and endless craft projects), nine Lucite-encased photos of the Pacific dominate one wall. “They are by my photographer – Bret Gum, a friend of mine from SMU who lives in Venice Beach and does all my lookbooks for me.” Of particular delight: the mother and baby dolphin in the corner of one photo.

Henry’s bedroom exudes a sense of artistry as well thanks to white shelves filled with his books, collection of snow globes, military knickknacks and his intricate Lego projects. His trundle bed, which came from IKEA, makes hosting friends for sleepovers a breeze. The two large metal bins flanking the bed hold his sports equipment, from soccer balls to lacrosse sticks. Another prized possession: one of the family’s two “Life Vests,” dimensional works by L.A.-based artist James Gilbert that Nicole purchased at the opening of the Dallas Contemporary.

In the master suite, fluffy flokati rugs lend warmth to the dark concrete floors. Nicole commissioned her white leather headboard then covered her bed in a grey comforter and pattern-rich pillows that she bought on a trip to India. A pink leather rocking chair on a metal frame finishes out the space.

Just off the kitchen, the main living area features four large white chairs, glass-top tables and a cushy white beanbag, Henry’s favorite place to crash while watching TV. For the adjacent dining room, Nicole had Again & Again’s Leslie Pritchard lacquer a table in midnight blue. Nicole, a native Californian who came to Dallas to attend SMU, found the stainless steel dining chairs in Los Angeles, then had the leather put on them back in her adopted hometown. One of her favorite items has taken up residence in the dining room:  a “very funny” sculpture by Patrick Page Sutter, which Nicole bid on and won at a Dallas Contemporary auction. “It’s about as tall as Henry,” she says with a laugh. “We call it ‘The Goat.’”

Mother and son log plenty of hours out back, where Henry swims in the pool while Nicole sketches designs for her fashion line, Koch, which debuts four collections a year and is carried by some 200 shops around the United States, Canada and Japan. Under the covered patio, Nicole will stretch out on her leather chaise, or she and Henry might linger in the Bertoia chairs at the outdoor table.

“This is such an easy house to live in,” she says. “Henry can even ride his skateboard through the house. It’s a nice place to be.”