Keeping up appearances: Designers give a suburban Dallas nursing home a face lift

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The Legacy at Preston Hollow
The Legacy at Preston Hollow
Preston Hollow, TX, might sound familiar to those who closely follow the news. In early 2009, former President George W. Bush and wife Laura decided to settle in the posh North Dallas suburb.

But there, at the same time, work was beginning on another home, the Legacy at Preston Hollow, a new senior living residence.

As part of the Legacy Senior Communities organization—a nearly-60-year-old nonprofit group serving the Dallas-area Jewish community—the Legacy at Preston Hollow provides assisted living, as well as short-stay and long-stay rehabilitation services. And design group Studio Six 5 made sure the residents would live in style.

In 2008, the Legacy group finished work on its upscale retirement community, The Legacy at Willow Bend in nearby Plano, TX, and wanted a smaller mid-market facility to go along with it, says Studio Six 5 founding partner Lea W. von Kaenel. When the Legacy group purchased the Preston Hollow facility, it was already an existing nursing home [called Veranda].

But the facility hadn't been updated in over a decade and didn't quite match the design quality of Plano's.

“If you look at pictures of the [Legacy at Willow Bend], it's a very innovative, forward-looking and modern CCRC,” von Kaenel says. “They wanted to bring that same level of feeling and aesthetics to what was going to be the Legacy at Preston Hollow.”

Practical application

At Preston Hollow, von Kaenel says that there were two major things that they wanted to keep in mind.

“First of all, we try to keep the level of aesthetics and design at a commensurate quality throughout all the levels of care,” she says.

“But how those designs are applied depends on the type of care being delivered.”

The technical considerations are very different when designing for assisted living facilities versus skilled care, she adds.

Assisted living units at Preston Hollow are carpeted, and residents are encouraged to furnish the rooms themselves. Located on floors one and two, the assisted living areas maintain a feeling of independence with small coffee and ice cream shops, patios and terraces, as well as bistro-style dining.

The skilled nursing floors—short-stay on the third floor, long-stay on the fourth—employ high quality wood vinyl flooring in each room. And while these areas are geared toward rehabilitation, lounge areas allow for socializing, and the attention to design detail is just as high.

Inspiring landscape

“We draw a lot of inspiration from the landscape,” von Kaenel explains. “Dallas is a more urban area, so they have a more boutique hotel look—more sage greens, blues, with accents of coral and things like that.”

Even the artwork on the walls can change with geographic location. Studio Six 5 used rustic art with a desert theme at a facility in Phoenix. The Legacy at Preston Hollow, on the other hand, is forward-looking, and the contemporary abstract art reflects that, von Kaenel says.