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Architecture: A Sense of Place

By Debbie AndersonApril 24, 2019April 25th, 2019No Comments

By Meda Kessler
Photos by Dror Baldinger

Architects Randy Gideon, Ibañez Shaw Architecture
Architect of record
Builder Babek Custom Homes,
Interior design Elizabeth White,

When an architect designs his own residence, the results typically are spectacular.

The two-story contemporary home on the banks of the Trinity River is Randy and Beth Gideon’s off-the-beaten path hideaway and is a showcase inside and out. It’s also the first house Randy has designed for himself.

From the street, the metal-roofed structure clad in Texas limestone and Brazilian hardwood appears to be one story. Due to the sloped lot, the lower level isn’t visible until you approach the boardwalk leading to the front door.

The functional rock creek beds are landscaped with buffalo grass and other native plantings. Old-growth trees provide ample shade.

Tucked above the Trinity Trails as the river begins to bend eastward, it’s sited to take advantage of the views. Even as the rapidly growing River District neighborhood takes shape, their location remains rather secluded.

Enter the home from an elevated bridge over the man-made dry creek, and you feel as if you’re miles from the city as you take in uninterrupted views of undeveloped flood plain visible through a wall of glass. Step out onto the deck, and you can watch the joggers and cyclists on the trail below.

It’s only fitting that the Gideons live so close to the river as Randy’s long career as founder of Gideon-Toal, a Fort Worth architectural-engineering firm, involved several projects along the river. Randy’s business partner, James Toal, lived in the house next door long before developers arrived. After his death, the couple purchased the empty overgrown lot from his family and built this home in 2017.

Randy’s goal, with Beth’s input, was to design a contemporary home that allowed them to entertain yet be comfortable and cozy for the empty-nesters. The split-level design allows them to live on the top floor and use the ground-level space with its pair of bedroom suites for guests. With a separate entrance, large living area and small patio, visitors have their own private sanctuary and their own views of the river.

On the main floor, the open kitchen is sleek but beautiful and quite functional, with a wall of custom cabinets and a concrete backsplash. A small catering kitchen is available for big events and provides even more storage. On the opposite end of the room is a steel fireplace, the focal point of the living room. The expansive walls feature a stellar art collection, suitable companions to the views outside.


Design The living room’s “floating” ceiling helps keep the space from feeling too cavernous as there’s a visual break between it and the walls. Special lighting gives the edges a glow, too. Randy’s custom-design skylight and the wall of windows provide plenty of natural light.

Details Note the concrete tiles used for the kitchen backsplash and the steel used on the fireplace on the opposite end of the room. Both add texture and complement the neutral color scheme. The concrete floor on the lower level contains leaf patterns made during construction.

Things you don’t see A water containment system is built under the dry creek bed in the front yard for rain runoff. The house features geothermal heating and cooling.