January 24, 2013
The West Highland Park home of designer Gonzalo Bueno is a mix of sleek furniture, exotic collectibles, and exciting art.
As with most Dallas stories, this one starts with shopping. Monterrey-based architects Gonzalo Bueno and Mauricio Lobeira began traveling to Dallas in 1996 to shop for their Mexican clients. Their focus soon shifted to interior design when they realized that their clean, modern style was highly coveted in a sea of traditional decor in Monterrey. They started Treceavo Plano in 2004. The name was conceived by legendary architect Ricardo Legoretta. “He told us, ‘What you are offering [designwise] is ephemeral or even nonexistent—like the 13th floor in many buildings,’ ” Gonzalo recalls.
Because of their growing Dallas-based clientele, they later launched sister company Ten+3 for American projects. Business was so good here, in fact, that Gonzalo bought a home on Abbott Avenue in 2002 so that he could handle the demand while Mauricio and co-owner Victoria Rubíes took care of business in Mexico. “I moved here permanently for the Design District,” Gonzalo says. “But I also much prefer the lifestyle here. I work out at 7 a.m., go to the office early, and have my evenings free. Unlike in Monterrey, where you go to work about 9 or 10, break for lunch at 1:30 until 4, and then work again until 10 at night.”
When friend and real estate agent Faisal Halum showed Gonzalo a “hidden jewel” in West Highland Park, he wasn’t looking to move. And he was far from immediately sold. But Gonzalo couldn’t help but begin brainstorming. Then he began playing with the plans— until finally he realized how perfect the house could be with his vision and some hard work. He and partner Michael McCray decided to move forward with the purchase. First step list their townhouse. Faisal deemed the listing unnecessary— he and his partner, Forty Five Ten’s Brian Bolke, had been eyeing the house. They bought the old place, Gonzalo bought the new place, “and everything was wrapped up, all neat and tidy”—just as Gonzalo likes it.
The designer’s vision is now a reality. He has created a sleek and sexy environment that is anything but cold. It’s filled with personal treasures from Gonzalo’s family, as well as his home in Mexico. He has a selection of unique gifts from many friends, including a collection of Santos and other “dolls,” as he calls them. There are many elements to Gonzalo’s design style, but it often capitalizes on his architecture background and incorporates walls into furniture. His custom designs can be found throughout the house—combinations of rift-sawn oak, wrapped leather walls, and a surface called Chemetal, which is a custom metal veneer that he uses liberally on walls and tabletops. He also uses an acrylic resin that mimics sandstone. It was developed by his friend, Mexican artist Sonia de Santos. Each piece is designed specifically for its particular use, such as the pop-up television stand at the foot of his bed. A custom bar incorporated into a wall partially closes the Bulthaup kitchen from the living area.
Gonzalo describes his style as a mix. His interesting and highly eclectic art collection is a testament to that. A life-sized piece by David LaChapelle from the Goss-Michael Foundation makes a statement in the living room, and a Nicola Bolla crystal-encrusted skull stands guard on a custom acrylic pedestal by Allan Knight. What appears to be a doll’s dress in an acrylic box is really an unusual sculpture made from the blood and hair of artist Paula Santiago. And the pastoral landscape by Francisco Larios in the breakfast room isn’t what it appears to be. All those swirling autumn leaves are actually rats.
Note that “mix” does not mean “disorder” in this house. Any doubts about Gonzalo’s meticulousness can be dashed after one look at his custom closet. Friends and family drool over his highly organized, highly functional, incredibly beautiful walk-in-closet. It’s filled with white lacquer, Macassar ebony cabinets, and leather-wrapped shelves, which are piped in Hermés orange.
In addition to providing the perfect closet, the house is also an ideal place to entertain. Dinner party invites are coveted, but the party environment is relaxed. Friends and clients alike are invited to mill about the house freely, and the menu often features Mexican food. “The kitchen was a point of disagreement between us,” Gonzalo says. “The American-style kitchen is open to the entertaining style, but the Mexican style has the kitchen closed. We compromised with the bar wall that hides the kitchen but allows access.”
The blissful backyard is also a great place for entertaining. In fact, it is part of the reason his house has become a highly sought-after vacation spot for his two sister, four nieces, and two nephews who like to visit from Monterrey. Gonzalo prefers that they visit separately, however. “I would take one niece at time for two weeks in the summer, but not before they are at least 10 years old,” he says. “they could take cooking classes in the morning and win in the afternoon. No that they are teenagers, all they want to do is shop.”