Not everyone would take on the challenge of custom building a home on a sloping lot. But for Jeff and Cara Jones, that slope was just right. 


ÒWhy not build a semi-basement?Ó was their response. The results: three usable floors that provided some interesting opportunities. Walking into the home from street level, you find yourself on the ÒsecondÓ floor, able to walk out onto a patio balcony perched near the treetops and able to oversee the activities in the fenced-in backyard below. Interior ceilings 12 feet high, or higher, are seen throughout the home.


The imaginative approach to the building only began with the decision to make use of basement space. Cara, an interior-decorator-turned-artist, and Jeff, a pilot for American Airlines, didnÕt want to hand the creation of their dream home over to professionals. Instead, they made drawings of the rooms they envisioned, worked alongside the builders, and painstakingly sought out (or in some cases, made themselves) the decorative accents that would create the desired ÒlookÓ for each room.


Much of the home, with its faux marbeling and detailed pediments, has a neo-Classic feel. That approach is not uniform, however, leaving room for other styles. JeffÕs study, for example, is a cozy enclave of dark woods dotted with childhood treasures and family keepsakes.


Not all the many hours of planning and research went into aesthetics. Building the home to be as low-maintenance and energy-efficient as possible was also important. JeffÕs attention to function as well as form has resulted in average utility bills of $200 monthly for the multi-level home.


From the murals painted by Cara in daughter HannahÕs playroom to the extensive wiring tackled by Jeff, the couple has poured their own time and talent into their home. By doing so they go what they wanted and saved money.


ÒYou can go out and buy most of this, or have someone else do it,Ó Cara says. ÒBut you pay a premium price.Ó


They say the many hours of planning and work were worth it.


ÒWe like to be home,Ó Cara says. ÒWe want our house to reflect us and to be comfortable in it.Ó


This home is also one the family will have for many years to come. Jeff, a 1973 graduate of Lake Highlands High School, was eager to put down roots in his old neighborhood. Cara, too, has grown to appreciate the Òsmall-townÓ feel of Lake Highlands.


ÒI love that family-type closeness,Ó she says. ÒWhenever IÕm at the store, IÕll see someone from school or church.


ÒI want Hannah to be raised in that atmosphere.Ó


If you know of a unique home or garden in our neighborhood that we could include in a story, give us a call at 214-823-5885, ext. 210.