By Babs Rodriguez
Photos by Meda Kessler
Painting this 1924 house black was a gamble, but an inviting nesting spot on the reimagined front porch makes it more cozy than scary
In a row of dove gray homes in Fort Worth’s historic Park Hill neighborhood, the black-painted brick 1924 bungalow stands out — in a good way.
Homeowner Heather Finks says the decision to take a dark turn was inspired by interior designer Tarin Wallace; it was the only idea the designer brought to the home remodel that gave Finks pause.
“I was nervous. The idea of a black house scared me a little. I had lived just up the block for a long time and loved the character of the street. When I found a house to buy, I didn’t want to unsettle the neighbors with my changes.” In fact, the black brick had an unexpected appeal that contributed a desirable coziness to the front porch, which stretches the width of the home. “I liked how unique it was,” Finks says.
Finks and Wallace met through a mutual friend, and the homeowner immediately trusted the owner of Haute Home with the house’s redesign.
“All credit to Tarin for understanding what I wanted and understanding me. I can’t handle too many options. That’s a bad thing for me and my ADHD,” Finks says, laughing. “She knew never to give me more than three choices.”
From the beginning, Finks and Wallace agreed that the porch should be an extension of the home’s living space. “I wanted to furnish it with a look that was appropriate to the age of the house but also to the modern edge that Heather wanted everything to have,” Wallace says. “I wanted it to look and feel like a living room.”
Finks had one ask: a porch swing. She says Wallace met and raised her expectation with a custom swing bed — a deep, thickly cushioned seat wide enough for the homeowner and both kids. Wallace admits the installation was a challenge. “I had a guy in the crawl space after the construction of the ceiling to brace the swing and hang it safely. Those are the kinds of things that keep me awake at night.”
The lightly stained pine ceiling (now studded with can lights), teak wood side tables, and orange “tile” in the vinyl rug create a warm contrast and welcoming pulse point within the black brick backdrop. Candles also add a gentle glow.
Owner and aesthetic nurse practitioner at Fort Worth’s House of Beauty, Finks says that at the end of a long day, the reimagined home decompresses her. She moved in with twins Olivia and Jackson, now 6, in 2020, and describes life during the remodeling process as a “beautiful disaster.” All was completed in May, and the extended living space beckons as the weather cools. “When I bought the house, I dreamt of sitting out on the porch, listening to music, hanging with loved ones,” she says. Wallace brought her vision to life.
“It’s just what I wanted. It will be an awesome Halloween house — and that swing is everything.”