This house, with its smooth white stucco walls, circular auto court and blood-red metal sculpture at the entrance, is a love letter to international modern design. It’s also a psalm to minimalism and open-concept living.
Surrounded by more traditional homes, this 8,000-square-foot house sits on a quiet cul-de-sac in a prestigious gated enclave in southwest Fort Worth. It is the dream and design of homeowner Wail Majeed, a man with an unabashed devotion to geometric form and a romantic who appreciates the power of symbolism.
The wide glass-and-steel front door opens with a whisper on a pivot hinge, and Majeed, 54, is there. Tall. Smiling. Dark hair shot through with silver. Red and white glasses, kind eyes. Black jeans. Behind him seven enormous sheets of glass, representing the seven seas, frame spectacular views of the surrounding golf course and the ever-changing heavens.
“The sky is the artwork here,” he says as he leads the way into the gleaming white living room. Sunlight fills this room, and outside glints the blue water of a large negative-edge pool that hugs the base of this enormous wall of glass. The grand space is defined on either side by matching, chimneyless, linear fire burners installed in raised black granite hearth stones. Powered by biofuel, these “eco fires” are a sleek and green replacement for a traditional fireplace.
The fire element is essential to the way Majeed hopes the space is experienced.
Earth. Sky. Water. Fire.
It is meant to be a visual concert — each a separate instrument, but together a comforting symphony of the familiar, and a reminder that within even everyday elements there is potential for the spectacular.
A music room with a baby grand is on one side of the living area, a dining room on the other. The dining space flows into a kitchen with glossy white lacquered cabinets, a breakfast area and a family room where a few family photos are displayed on otherwise almost empty shelves.
Beyond the music room, on the other side of the living room, is a guest suite, a powder bath with stunning red fixtures and offices for both Majeed and his wife. Of course, she had input on this house, but she shies away from talking about it. Her office, with its low ceiling and etched glass door, still has an outside view, as do almost all the rooms in this house. And yet, this cozy space feels like a place where the creative spirit snuggles down and memory lives. Somehow it calls to mind a child’s much-loved playhouse more than a grown-up office.
An elevator and two grand staircases, one from the east side of the entryway and one from the west, serve the top floor. The garage is below the house, and the third level is devoted to bedrooms and baths for this family of four, as well as a game room. The blue silicon sink with LEDs in his son’s bath is the sort of unique find the Majeeds appreciate.
They have lived in this house about a year, but it has been a part of their conversation and central to their dreams for much longer. They bought the oddly shaped, sloping lot in 2007, and began the hard work of planning the home they imagined. Majeed holds a degree in architecture but isn’t yet registered in the United States. Now with Cornerstone Projects Group, a design build organization, Majeed was then associated with Schaumburg Architects.
He relied on his friend and then-employer, Ken Schaumburg, for project support. “Wail and I worked together on the design and the production drawings,” says Schaumburg.
As they explored floor sketches, the house began to wiggle out of its cocoon of imagination and into the world of possibility. And then one day it came to life. From that moment on, Majeed says, he called the house by a name: Villa Quantum.
Schooled in London, Majeed knew that substantial houses often have defining names. He liked that idea. “Nothing was accidental, but it was a design intent. …” he says.
His friend and collaborator agrees. “This is a unique house with everything … radiating off one point in the motor court,” says Schaumburg.
That center is marked now by that defining red metal sculpture set in the approach to the house. “It’s called ‘Couple,’ ” says Majeed. He likes the idea that he and his wife are the couple at the creative center, the quantum point, of this home.
But an elegant home is more than walls and windows. The Majeeds recognized that they’d need help selecting furnishings and appointments to complete the sophisticated, minimalist home they envisioned.
Because they’d been Cantoni customers for more than a decade, they turned to Cantoni for help, and began working with Nicole George in the Dallas showroom. Cantoni is not only a showcase of modern and contemporary furnishings, art, accessories and lighting curated from design houses around the globe, but also a turnkey design service proficient in kitchen and closet design.
George calls it a treat to work with an architect, but this was even better. “This was more of a collaboration,” she says. “Wail was so passionate about this project. … It’s so special to him and his family. We had a mutual respect. He trusted me and allowed me to lead in the furniture design.”
She was also invaluable in the kitchen creation, says Majeed.
The Majeeds envisioned a brilliant white interior for the entire house: floors, walls, ceilings. Working within that dream and with a list of how Majeed wanted upper and lower kitchen cabinets to function, George forged plans for an ultra-modern kitchen: Italian-made white lacquer cabinets, electrical outlets hidden in pop-up towers tucked into the Caesarstone countertops, a generous roll-out spice rack, refrigerator and freezer camouflaged by this gleaming custom cabinetry, and more.
These lacquered cabinets curve around one wall of the breakfast area as well. But to keep the space always an uncluttered centerpiece of the house, Majeed, who likes to cook and entertain, wanted a small catering kitchen, too. Adjacent to the main kitchen, behind a bank of glossy cabinets, this second kitchen is outfitted with more ovens and warming drawers and with two walls of tall cupboards.
“There’s no walk-in pantry. … This is a European pantry,” he explains.
He opens one cabinet door and then another, showing off well-engineered space for such things as a toaster, a mixer, food storage and more. “And this is where we make coffee,” he says, nodding to the coffeepot, the only item on the counter.
While George is proud of this kitchen installation, her favorite space is the living room, where the graceful curve of custom white leather couches balances the sharp angles of the architecture. Because Majeed’s favorite color is red, the color of life and passion, she added red pillows and a bold red stripe at the back of each linear fire burner.
“Throughout the house there is a mark or stripe of red. It starts outside with the sculpture and moves into the entry and into the living room and radiates through the rest of the house,” she says. In the dining room, that signature splash of red is found on only one leg of the otherwise white dining table.
Now, after a year in the house, a year of transparent living, the Majeeds are considering installing a few window coverings — currently all windows are coverless. But aside from that, they are supremely happy with the house.
“It’s everything we intended it to be,” the architect says, “because it was truly form-following-function design.”
Mary Rogers is a freelance writer, email@example.com.