A Plano mother of two’s passions for entertaining, outdoor living, design and family life all find a welcome roost at home – in this case a sumptuous residence on 2 1/2 pristine acres. Dena Miller’s contemporary custom home likewise reflects her energetic personality, with its eclectic array of artwork, bold color palette and fearless finishes.
“I like funky,” she says with a laugh, “and I’ve never been one to go in for matchy-matchy. I love the unexpected, like a traditional chandelier next to an abstract painting. That one-of-a-kind mix is how I want my home to feel.”
Also on her wishlist: a house that not only seems homey for her two sons (Logan, 14, and 4-year-old Aidan) but one that can easily welcome large groups of people, from major charity fundraising events to their legendary Christmas parties, where the Millers host hundreds of guests. “This house has good flow,” she says of the open floor plan, soaring windows and abundance of natural light. “About five years ago, we did a benefit for the Plano Symphony, which Tiffany’s sponsored, and it was such a great occasion to bring all of these supporters together in our house.”
Summertime gatherings often spill into the yard, which showcases the family’s interests. An avid baseball player, Logan hones his game in the batting cage, complete with a pitching machine. There’s a playground for preschooler Aidan. On Father’s Day, Dena surprised her husband, Chuck, who owns an oil and gas company, by installing a putting green. All four Millers enjoy the full-size tennis court.
Inside, the family tends to congregate in the expansive kitchen, a particularly open space that boasts two of nearly everything: generous islands, built-in refrigerators, ovens, warming drawers, dishwashers and sinks. Black granite tops the work surfaces while the cabinetry is made of Italian sapele wood with its distinctive striping (a favorite of Simmie Cooper, who custom-built the home). Floors of Turkish travertine run throughout the main floor.
“I love the light color of the travertine and the holes in the stone,” Dena says. “I’m not a fan of everything looking too perfect, so I like the fact that there are holes in my floor!”
Nearly two dozen paintings by Dallas artist Carole Shainen hang throughout the residence, including the five-foot work – based on a photograph of Dena – in one of the downstairs guest rooms.
An abstract face hangs over the master bed, a platform piece that Dena and her decorator, Michael Reese of Gary Riggs Home, helped her acquire. “I’m definitely into the ’50s retro-glamour look,” Dena says of her bedroom, done in purples, greens, blacks, grays and white. A pair of low-slung mid-century chairs covered in green and purple fabric anchor the sitting area, which also features a chocolate sofa with a fur throw and a delicate Italian coffee table.
Logan seems to have inherited his mother’s style savvy. Around his 13th birthday, he requested orange walls adorned with two bold purple stripes. The color scheme complements his transitional black bed and orange sectional, which the family found at Crate and Barrel.
Young Aidan’s room reflects a bit of “safari chic,” with simple furnishings and bedding that highlight the riot of pictures on his wall.
The 1,100-square-foot playroom serves as the upstairs epicenter, fashioned to entice boys of all ages. iFlor’s famed carpet squares in reds, greens, blues and orange cover the floor. Dena brought in a comfy sectional for the teens and fold-out sofas for the little ones. An entertainment center for video games, ball pit, three-level gymnastic mat, retro-kitchen and train table offer an abundance of activities.
The four walls, meanwhile, tell the family’s story. Framed photos of the four Millers, snapped by their longtime photographer Kimberly Wylie, are arranged by season. “We’ve taken pictures at the park during the snow, and we’ve been out enjoying the day at the Dallas Arboretum,” Dena says. “They’re why the playroom is one of my favorite places in the house.”
Flowers for the house: Peonies and lilies
Interior designer: Michael Reese – Gary Riggs Interiors
Design TV shows: Million Dollar Decorators or Flipping Out (hard to decide on just one)