yesAaron Y John Hemphill They are no strangers to the process of building houses. Having built two houses in the past, they knew exactly what they wanted and needed in their new home.
The couple fell in love with the area in 2008 when they moved into a house just three blocks from their current one. “We’ve been looking for a lot or a takedown in that area for a couple of years,” says John. “Our search area was like a postage stamp.”
Sharon found the lot in 2018, and John began designing a house to meet his current needs. “Our family had changed – now we have grandchildren, so we needed a comfortable space for our whole family to come,” says Sharon.
With their previous builds, the Hemphills had worked exclusively with one builder and contractor, but a friend recommended they meet with jason gibsonlead architect and owner of Align Design Group, for this project.
“John approached us with a plan that he and his wife had come up with,” says Gibson. “It was one of the best written plans I have ever received from a client.” Gibson’s team at Align took it from there and built everything beyond that point.
Sharon wanted the space to feel like a Parisian apartment and arrived at her first meeting with a book of inspirational images, several of which she had taken herself while travelling. “The challenge was taking that design request, but still making the house feel like it fit right in with Tulsa,” says Gibson.
To fulfill Sharon’s vision, Gibson and his team added architectural elements such as proportion and repetition of windows, high ceilings, Juliet balconies, extensive molding work, and a dramatic marble staircase.
It was important to Gibson and the Hemphills to make sure the house fit into the context of the historic neighborhood. “We wanted to show Midtown that you can go in and build a new house from scratch, and it doesn’t have to be the biggest box you can build on site,” says Gibson.
It was also important to be street friendly.
“This neighborhood has a lot of walkers, so we wanted it to be more than just a blank wall,” Gibson says of the project, which was completed in 2020. So, Gibson purposefully placed the house beyond what the boundary requires. zoning to match other historic homes in the area. A large front porch and gardens make the house more welcoming.
Inside the house, abundant natural light was one of the main requests. The Hemphills also wanted an outdoor living room outside of the main living room and kitchen space. This posed a problem for Gibson and his team, as covered exterior structures can block light from entering the house, he says. The solution: Add an extra-large skylight in the outdoor living room structure so that the doors in the main living room let in more natural light. He then suggested a light-colored paver for the exterior floor to reflect light into the house, especially in the winter.
The house also features a skylight in Sharon’s closet, perhaps her favorite space. “I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and knew what I wanted,” she says. Two big closet requirements were a place for everything and glass doors to keep clothes from getting dirty. “It has the feel of a high-end retail store,” says Gibson. “It’s almost like you’re shopping in Paris.”
The closet isn’t the only room Sharon was involved with—she worked closely with the team to choose all the design selections, including the herringbone-patterned white oak floors, which she says are reminiscent of a Paris apartment. “We appreciate the way Jason (and his team) were able to marry French style with contemporary style in our home.”
One thing Sharon didn’t want in her primary living space was a television. But Gibson had a solution for that too.
“They’re not the TV-over-the-fireplace type of person, but the best option with the furniture they chose was to put the TV over the fireplace,” says Gibson. The architect worked with Video Revolution to install an integrated drop-down ceiling screen above the fireplace with a projector that also drops down from further back in the room. “He had me on a 100-inch screen,” says John. “It’s absolutely fantastic.”
Gibson is quick to credit Hemphill for much of the house’s design, and John says the architect met and then exceeded his expectations. “What they were able to accomplish for us was incredible,” he says. “We love the house.”