The Happy Place
By Meda Kessler
Photos by Jill Johnson
Lisa and Shannon Logan’s backyard has been the site of so many memorable events: a wedding, birthdays, anniversaries. But it’s also special for more intimate gatherings.
For the past 28 years, and most notably this one, Lisa and Shannon Logan’s home — especially the backyard — has been the setting of many happy moments. And some bittersweet ones, too.
Julie Hatch Fairley, a longtime friend, concurs. “That sweet patio has been both a place of celebration and a sanctuary, especially in 2020. We have so many memories — it feels like a major touch space of our lives for the last two decades, even before there was a Shannon.”
Lisa, who works for League Real Estate, originally purchased the 1921 home on Elizabeth Boulevard with her first husband. “It was unoccupied, a bit of a mess, and it took some sleuthing to even find out who owned it.”
While her marriage ended not long after, Lisa’s love (and sometimes hate) affair with the house continued. “Like most old homes, it was quirky and needed a lot of work,” says Lisa.
But she raised her two boys there and built enduring friendships thanks to a pre-real estate career that included corporate and public relations for several Fort Worth corporations.
Shannon, an entrepreneur with a keen interest in building and architecture, brought hands-on skills to their relationship (along with two boys of his own from a previous marriage). Lisa and Shannon opted for a backyard wedding in 2008.
The couple have hosted countless dinners for friends and family, along with opening their doors to the public as a stop on the Candlelight Christmas in Ryan Place tour, a fundraiser for their historic neighborhood. As a host family for the prestigious Cliburn Competition, they welcomed competitor Dasol Kim of South Korea, along with his Steinway practice piano, into their home. The Logans now consider the pianist as one of the family, and he has been back to visit.
The house has a long history of being welcoming, but it is the backyard that draws many in, and its evolution has been dramatic.
While a swimming pool dominates the space, it’s not the center of attention. The Logans most often gravitate to the outdoor dining area and other “secret garden” spots. Shannon oversaw a remarkable makeover that created a more cohesive flow from inside the home into the outdoor space. French doors lead from the sunroom and the kitchen to the patio, which is covered with a vine-topped pergola. The pool deck once extended to the back of the home. Now there’s a defined patio space thanks to the use of old Chicago brick for the “floor.”
Shannon relocated the air conditioning unit and pool’s mechanical equipment that previously had been prominent players in the landscape and replaced them with lush landscaping that includes potted succulents and seasonal pops of color.
The addition of an outdoor gas-burning fireplace — tied into the same wall that houses an indoor version — offers a cozy spot to have a glass of wine or cup of coffee. A once neglected sideyard now feels like an intimate European courtyard thanks to a wall fountain and cinder block walls with a plasterlike finish that is actually troweled-on concrete.
One of the more interesting features in the outdoor space appears to be a seasoned greenhouse. The structure both blends in and stands out in the rear of the yard next to the garage with its second-story guest apartment. Shannon got a deal on a bunch of old metal windows and hauled them to Fort Worth from Kaufman. “I think the drive home broke the few glass panes that were intact,” says Shannon. A local welder fabricated the roof, and the Logans added an old metal chandelier while contemplating what to do next with this particular project.
In the meantime, they’ve hosted a special birthday dinner there by hauling a long antique wood table from the kitchen into the open-air structure. Photos of smiling guests at the event are proof that it’s inviting.
“None of this,” says Lisa, looking around at the backyard, “was ever very welcoming before. But we’ve made a lot of memories here. And it’s been our go-to place during the pandemic, even in the heat of the summer and even when it’s just the two of us.”