When architect and custom homebuilder Mike Slusser
built his family’s northwest Arlington home in 2001, he held nothing back. From an underground wine cellar to a push-button bathroom shower switch (which he patented), the house has it all.
It is a dream home for entertaining, hosting, and just plain enjoying life at the top of the beautifully wooded estate. It is not only a showcase, but it was the perfect environment for he and wife Judi to raise their two daughters; Kelsey, 27 and Kerbi, 23.
The 12-plus- acre property has the feel of a country resort, right in the heart of Dallas-Fort Worth, and experiencing the drive onto the property is a treat in itself.
Upon entering the security gates, visitors see a canopy of trees hovering over the narrow, curvy road that leads up to the house, which sits at the top of the hill overlooking Tarrant County. Halfway up the quarter-mile- long driveway is a stunning view of the horse arena and stables.
In the blink of an eye, one feels magically transformed from the hustle and bustle of busy city life to a far-away retreat.
Mike, an Arlington resident since 1958 and a University of Texas Arlington graduate with an architecture degree, has been building custom homes for 45 years in Arlington, Fort Worth, Southlake and Colleyville. He purchased the property back in 1999 and began designing the home himself.
Over a two-year period, he constructed the family’s dream home.
Inside, the multi-level structure reflects a combo traditional-eclectic style. The 21-foot- high vestibule in the grand entrance is spectacularly complemented by detailed custom trim and triple and quadruple crown molding. This elaborate millwork is also present in the cabinetry, casements, and columns throughout the rest of the home.
The view from the formal living room is quite exquisite. Looking out the wall of windows is a sea of trees. A few steps away from this majestic room is the heart of the home: a comfortable, wide open family room, breakfast nook, and a glass window seating area that overlooks the wooded property.
In the distance are the greens at Waterchase Golf Course. Directly below, through the trees, is a partial view of the winding driveway that leads up to the home. The double-sized gourmet kitchen is a chef’s dream. It features both an electric and gas-burning stove, a wine cooler, a huge island, and enough granite countertops to feed a large banquet.
Nearby is a glass-walled wine-tasting area, the formal dining room, and the library.
Also on the main level is the master bedroom and bathroom suite, complete with separate his and her walk-in closets, a hidden TV in the full-length mirror, a bedside coffee bar and a soaking tub. And, of course, there is the unique bedside shower switch, which has been perfect to help Mike get his day going. Just a flip of a switch and the double-sized shower starts warming up!
On the opposite side of the house is where Mike conducts business in his private study, with a wood-burning fireplace, adjoining bathroom, accompanying smaller office and private entry.
The back of the home is where
the fun happens. The entertainment area boasts a huge game room with a table shuffleboard, billiards table, media room with seating for eight and a bar perfect for any social event. Tucked away beneath the wide spiral staircase is the wine cellar, featuring Greek-style pillars at its entrance.
Just outside the house is another area fit for entertaining friends and family. A deck shuffleboard game, horseshoe pits and a gazebo are situated in the shade of the mature oak trees, just a few steps from the back of the home.
A glance at the bedroom decor on the upper level reveals the Slusser daughters’ love for horses. Treasured family photos of the girls with their horses in days gone by align shelves on each spacious bedroom, both of which have adjoining private bathrooms.
A laundry room is conveniently located between the bedrooms, as well as a unique, art deco bathroom for guests who stay in the upstairs guest room.
Outside the massive home
is 12-plus acres of private land that is home to a variety of migratory birds, native plants, and animals. A horse stable with seven stalls, a tack room and a wash rack is situated down the hill next to the horse arena that can be lit up at night.
“The horses played just as important a role in our daughters’ lives as their mother and I did,” says Mike. Both girls spent most of their time during their school years riding and developing a love and appreciation for animals. Both are hunters, who shot their first bears before they were even in high school.
Older daughter Kelsey has earned degrees in wildlife biology and resource conservation at the University of Montana, while her younger sister Kerbi obtained a wildlife ecology degree from Texas A&M. Both have won many impressive awards with their prize animals throughout the years. “The only trophy I ever got is one I bought,” jokes Mike.
One of his favorite places is the workshop, located next to the stable. This haven is large enough to fit cars, tractors or other “toys,” and it is also a favorite of his male friends and family members.
Nearby is a pasture for the horses, and also a sports pavilion that opens to the outdoors – the perfect place for fun gatherings such as dances and barbeques. “This has been a great place to raise a family,” Mike says. “Everything we could ever want or need is all right here.”
Yes, indeed it is – a true haven in the middle of the Metroplex.