The Tom Ferris house is located in old Highland Park and was designed and built by renowned architect Hal Thomson in 1922. Ferris was a successful cotton trader in Dallas at the cotton exchange.
This home is an Italianate design and was one of Thomson signature designs. One of the treasures of a Thomson house is the details. In lieu of any one particular style—Thomson, in fact, seemed to dabble in all of them: Tudor, Georgian, Neoclassical, Italianate, Spanish, and French—his signature is evident in the sophisticated details. In 2008, the home went under major renovation and upgrades, features such as an Italianate loggia with stone balustrades, ornate carved wood doors, and magnificent stone fireplaces are his hallmarks. Many of the wood, cast stone, and leaded glass additions result from a collaboration between Thomson and a Swiss-born woodcarver named Peter Mansbendel. The new owners took care to find period light switches, hand-cast period decorative tiles, and wood workers able to hand-carve and match Mansbendel’s craftsmanship. “The expansion of the original home from 9,000 square feet to 14,000 under the same 1920s detailing requires the sourcing of elements and materials, most of which are no longer available,”
Hal Thomson, the grandson of an early settler who came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin, attended both the University of Texas and Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to Dallas in 1907 to open his architecture firm, Thomson and Swaine. Thomson was known for working in a myriad of styles: Tudor, Georgian, Neoclassical, Italianate, Spanish, and French. “[He] traveled widely in Europe at the turn of the century and, judging from his houses, he never met a façade he didn’t like.” Thomson left his unique mark on Swiss Avenue, which includes the famed Aldredge House, and houses throughout Highland Park, particularly on Bordeaux Avenue, where Thomson’s own home is located. His wife, the daughter of prominent Dallas bank president, (Nathan Adams) helped seal his status among Dallas’ elite, a set that included his many prominent clients.
Featured in Architectural Digest magazine, this stately mansion is built in an L-shaped design, allowing the first floors rooms to open up to the rear terrace and garden.