An Architectural Gem in Highland Park

Using statement slabs from Ann Sacks, homeowners Adam Saxton and Dan Murphy blend old and new in the "Beverly Casa".


Written by Juno DeMelo
Photography by Pär Bengtsson



It was December of 2021, and Adam Saxton and Dan Murphy had been casually looking at homes for about a week. They figured they’d end up in a new build, like the house they were living in at the time. And then they toured a nearly 100-year-old home in Highland Park, Texas—and put in an offer the next day.

“We didn’t know what to do with it, but we really fell in love with the location and the promise of being able to add what we needed to but still maintain the home’s style,” says Adam. “I knew that we could probably figure it out because Dan and I have tackled other projects before, and our strengths complement each other really well.”

The front half of the house was built in 1929, and a one-story addition was tacked on to the back sometime in the 1960s or ’70s. With the help of a local architect, Adam and Dan decided to remove the addition and replace it with a two-story one that would allow them to maintain the home’s footprint in the front. “We wanted it to look like the whole house was built in 1929,” says Dan.

After about six months of making architectural plans and drawings, they were ready to renovate. They visited the Ann Sacks Dallas Slab Gallery, where they chose a Brecca Capraia slab for the kitchen. “We wanted to have a backsplash that would really highlight the stone in a pretty way,” says Adam. He and Dan also decided to put sconces on the range wall. “That atypical choice lent itself to curving that slab up the back wall and having those curved lines connect with the hood,” says Dan. 

Connecting the kitchen to the formal dining room is a pass-through butler’s pantry, “which is a fancy name for where people used to store all their china,” says Adam. “Ours has that look and feel, but behind the cabinets that run all along one wall are things like granola bars and kids cereal. We put antique mirrors on the cabinet fronts to make it feel a little more glamourous and less utilitarian when we’re getting our Froot Loops out of the cabinets. And then the opposite wall has a beautiful integrated stone sink made from the same Ann Sacks slab that’s in the kitchen.”

In the powder bath, they wanted something “cool and dark and moody,” says Adam. “You can take more risks with a powder room, and the Ann Sacks Arabescato Orobico slab feels kind of classic and traditional but with a little bit of a twist.” To make a custom vanity, they mounted the slab on sink legs—one of many opportunities Adam and Dan took advantage of to collaborate with the pros.

“Our builder had a lot of good trade resources, but even with that, we had to learn a lot of stuff from our vendors and suppliers,” says Adam. “We used the internet and kind of got a construction degree at night after our day jobs. Dan learned how to draw plans in Excel and PowerPoint. He’s a banker, and he understands how to manipulate the cells to translate to an inch.”

They also customized an Ann Sacks Bardiglio Scuro slab for the wet bar. “When we went to Ann Sacks, that’s not what we had in mind for the wet bar at all,” says Adam. “But we saw that beautiful stone and said, ‘We have to find a way to use it.’ Then we asked ourselves, ‘How can we highlight it in a slightly unexpected way?’ Most fabricators are happy to help, but a lot of people don’t think to ask, ‘What else can we add with this countertop?’” The answer: Their stone fabricator was able to hand-carve a fluted-edge detail into the marble.

Adam and Dan used the same slab as the countertop in their primary closet. “We have a sitting area in the back that is sort of like a little sanctuary. It has a seat, a built-in coffee bar and a small refrigerator we keep stocked with mini bottles of champagne,” says Adam. “It’s not entirely unusual to see a sitting area or small office connected to a primary bedroom, and we just put that same idea in a slightly different location.” In their primary bath—which Adam says might be his favorite room in the house—they did a full-slab Bardiglio Scuro wainscot in the steam shower and used the slab for the countertops as well.

Throughout the process, Adam and Dan not only asked the pros questions, they also leaned on their community, creating an Instagram account for the house (@thebeverlycasa) and using it to solicit feedback on design decisions. “Because the home was being renovated and not torn down, we kind of developed a little bit of a following, and that ended up being a big part of the process for us, particularly early on,” says Adam. “It was refreshing to realize that if you just ask questions and talk to people, you can learn a lot.”

Today, they’re still learning. After two years of construction—during which they lived in an apartment after they sold their previous home—Dan, Adam, and their two sons moved in at the very end of 2023. “It’s so nice to finally have our own space again, and a backyard for the dogs and kids,” says Dan. “Neither of us is particularly handy, but we like to tinker, and just because we can’t do something individually doesn’t mean we can’t figure out how to get there together. This house will always be a work in progress.”

June 5th, 2024

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