Penson House Site Gives Rise to Parvin Home

Owner makes modern contemporary estate a place to give back

The eye-catching modern estate at 3756 Armstrong Ave. in Highland Park, recently known for its traffic-stopping 4,000,000-Christmas light display, boasts a storied history right up to the present day. 

The corner of Armstrong and St. John’s was the location of the Penson house, an 8,900-square-foot regionalist wonder designed by Texas modernism godfather architect O’Neil Ford in 1954 for Jack and Nancy Penson. It sold at auction in 2016 for $4.95 million and was subsequently razed by buyer Lute Riley, founder of Lute Riley Honda.

Lawyer and businessman Chris Parvin purchased the lot in 2019 from Riley and hired Bernbaum Magadini Architects to design a home built from the ground up that would respect the history and restore the modern contemporary architecture to the property.

Completed in 2022, the fully automated home features five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and two garages with space for seven cars, and spans 9,100 square feet on 0.85 acre. 

With soaring vertical masonry mass walls that anchor the house to the site, the modernist oasis is complemented by its proximity to the Turtle Creek tributary across the street on one corner and Davis Park directly across the street on the opposite corner.

“It’s been awesome,” Parvin said of living in the house. “I love the warmth. Contemporary homes are generally not all that warm to me. Adding art and warm furniture, it becomes home.”

Architect Patricia Magadini explained the design approach for Parvin’s home.

“Having a family home was important to him,” Magadini said. “That’s why there’s no formal dining room — it’s all open. They wanted to entertain, have family here, and everyone to feel included.”

Parvin added, “It’s a home for our family to live and make memories, but it’s also a tool for fundraising for our charity.”

The 2023 Cattle Baron’s Ball Trailblazer’s party was hosted at the home, among other events.

Apart from his Parvin Group law firm, Parvin’s other businesses include White Rhino Coffee, which is launching the White Rhino Coffee Foundation.

“I am absolutely committed to making sure our company leads by example — a lead charity giver when it comes to north Texas mid-sized companies,” he said. “I’m using this house as an example. We’re going to use that money to fight homelessness, human trafficking, and to help single moms and at-risk kids.”

Perfect for entertaining, the home sports a full bar in the downstairs “man cave,” a wine cellar, a three-floor elevator, and an exterior hot tub and swimming pool. The chic modern interior design is by Robyn Menter Associates, with tree-lined landscaping by Hocker Design.

“There was some apprehension in the neighborhood about what was going to go up,” Parvin recalled, “but the neighborhood seems to have really welcomed it.” 

He also overcame some apprehension of his own.

“I was a little reticent to move to Highland Park,” the Cedar Hill native said. “The people here are just awesome. The people make the place, neighbors who share values — having somewhere that’s pretty to live, that’s safe to live, that’s community-driven. I’m really thankful.”

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