In my last blog I shared the fresh new kitchen we designed for our Dallas Historic project. After over 2 years of gutting, planning, framing, furnishing and accessorizing, I am so pleased to share more of this house with you. My clients fell in love with the charming house on first sight. It’s on a sprawling lot in one of Dallas’s most lush & hilly neighborhoods. Tasked with the historic home’s restoration and interior design, our team honored its roots while integrating modern comforts and fresh livability.
Like my clients, I also loved the house on first sight. It was undeniably classic; Built in 1941, much of its original character had been maintained. Unfortunately, as in most older homes, its idyllic allure came with a share of pitfalls. I’m proud to say we addressed these in stride. After brightening the rooms, building functionality, and adding traditional furniture & architectural details, the house looks every bit as classic as the day it was built. Just now with added luxury and comfort!
Family Room and Formal Living Room
The house is not large and sweeping like Texas dwellings of the 2000’s – There is no great room or family room. The home has just one primary living space for entertaining, relaxing, and family movie nights. Furthermore, it happens to be the first space guests see upon entering the foyer. For this reason, it had to be ultra-functional and equally aesthetically elevated.
To provide enough seating for the family, I brought in a large L-shaped sectional – key in maximizing the space available. Two generous armchairs flanking the fireplace allow for conversational seating when the clients entertain. All are classic shapes with rolled arms, complimenting the home’s traditional architecture. I specifically chose performance fabrics knowing that children would be active in this space. But, the durable fabrics allowed me to introduce creams and light tones, adding an elevated sophistication to the room.
In this multipurpose room, we could not avoid having a TV. The spot above the fireplace seemed the best location. Due to the television’s prominence, I added a Samsung Art TV with a custom silver leaf frame so it appears to be artwork when not in use. I designed a custom sisal area rug to cover the entire footprint of the room. This is a big visual improvement from the original rugs that broke up the already tight layout. The new, large sage green leather ottoman is streamline in style and functional as well. Tones of beige lend the space a quiet feel, and we incorporated texture and contrast by layering rugs, using subtle patterns and introducing rich woods.
I brightened the space with crisp white walls, and the fabric choices also contributed to an overall brighter interior design. Bringing in cream draperies made a huge difference. I opted for no tie backs for a fresher, updated look on the windows.
Finally, I added details to make the space distinctly reflective of the clients. First, a zebra hide from their travels in Africa. Then, an oversized photograph of the Rialto bridge, where the couple became engaged. Lastly, antiques and accessories, like a hand dyed leather screen, warm up the room with a collected feel.
Prior to the historic home’s restoration, several rooms in the house were lazily converted porches – smaller rooms with exposed exterior stone and no architectural intention. During the restoration, we leaned into the idea of these small, separate spaces. Now, each of them has a distinct purpose and interior design.
The husband sought a private place to entertain friends and colleagues. Until we decided to add a bar, this forgotten space off the dining room was a lost opportunity. Given the room’s plentiful natural light, I felt comfortable choosing Farrow and Ball’s Down Pipe to darken the window casings and millwork for a more masculine, clubby feel.
Texture is the heart of this space, with grasscloth on the walls and marbled wallpaper on the ceiling. We swapped the cheap parquet flooring for a rich herringbone oak. A schoolhouse pendant nods to the home’s traditional architecture while drawing your eye up to appreciate the intricate patterns. I reinforced the earthy, African vibe with another zebra hide and African keepsakes from the family’s collection.
To add functionality without eliminating natural light, we designed a glass shelving unit in front of the rear window for liquor storage. The durable zinc bar top, rare to see in residential properties, is super durable and reminiscent of classic English pubs, as are the studded oak bar stools. A tufted saddle leather banquette extends the pub vibes to the opposite wall and allows for additional seating. This is the funkiest space we designed during this historic home restoration!
Below, we had more “porches” to address. And ultimately, a getaway for him begged the balance of a sanctuary for her. A sun porch sharing a wall with the bar was the natural place to start. When she told me she wanted a quiet space for reflection, I immediately pulled inspiration from English solariums. We maintained the classic feel of a sunroom while adding major visual appeal by designing the glass encasement to better align with the home’s elevated, classic architecture. Here, the style has a gothic arch detail drawing from classic cathedrals.
I love the oversized walnut Dutch doors we added to this space and how they compliment the furniture pieces in the bright space. The subtly patterned tile floor is heated for comfort. Good lighting is a necessity, so I selected understated, but still intricate copper pendant lights for the ceiling. Finally, antique Italian seating and a biblical oil painting set the scene.
Lastly, below, we had a third enclosed porch to address. This dark, forgotten space off the kitchen was collecting clutter and had no clear purpose. We turned it into a breezy multi-function space, where the kids share arts & crafts time beside their parents enjoying coffee. Thus, we affectionately call it the Morning Room.
Hiding the brick, adding drywall and pastel paint brought in extra light. Embracing the natural exterior stone corner columns and views to the garden, we used a complimentary palette of blues and greens. Now, this room feels nicely connected to the outdoors. At left, we designed a custom walnut open etegere with felt bins for visually appealing kids craft and game storage. This easy access storage eliminated the clutter issue once and for all.
I opted for classic furniture pieces here for charming appeal. Rattan chairs at the game table sit opposite two moss green antique leather Bergère chairs and an antique Spanish drop-leaf table. A floral Schumacher fabric is carried from back pillows to cushion ties, a thoughtful detail that brings the space together.
A Proper Dining Room
The dining room before was very dark. I painted the walls in a crisp white, and we restored the original dental moulding to its former glory. I like the old-fashioned formality of closing the kitchen off from view. This traditional home’s layout aligned with this direction. We added a classic swinging door that can be closed during formal meals. To learn more about the custom door and the kitchen design, see our blog post here.
The dining room is defined by antiques, which fit so nicely within the traditional house. We sourced a French chandelier for above the table, and it works so nicely with the existing plaster ceiling medallion. A graceful rounded edge extra long dining table seemed the right choice for this room. With two removable leaves, it is flexible for the family and makes better use of the space. The extra length allowed us to bring in two antique French head chairs. I reupholstered the existing side chairs in a performance horizontal striped fabric for a bit of modern interest, and we carried the same stripe into small bolsters for the head armchairs.
Finally, for a pop of color I brought in a carved antique Irish pine china cabinet with glass doors and a tiffany blue interior. Sitting opposite the sunset image on the left wall, this adds a great balance of interest in the space. Two Italian ceramic topiaries ensure the stately look of the dining room is maintained between table settings.
Masculine Office Suite
The husband, who likes the flexibility of working from home, requested we add a proper office space to the house. The guest bedroom downstairs was rarely used, and with its plentiful natural light, seemed like an ideal place to work. With an ensuite bath, the office door can be closed for uninterrupted focus.
At the start of the historic home restoration, we installed a coffered ceiling which honors the home’s heritage. Painted white, the room remains bright with our addition of textured woven paper on the walls. Sheer cream roman shades allow the sun to pass through during the day. The motorized sheer shades also add the option of privacy when necessary. I designed a custom armchair in embossed leather and wool boucle for a textural, but timeless look. Paired with a modern floor lamp, the reading corner is unmistakably masculine.
To add warmth and personality, chambray woven wallpaper and a geometric jute rug echo the African textures in the bar. A custom executive desk with drawers, old leather trunk and updated shelving unit all add function and storage. For a bright finishing touch, I hung a crisp leather and white linen drum pendant light above the desk.
Seeing the final “after” images of this historic home restoration brings me great satisfaction – it is wonderful to see that all the goals we set at the beginning of the project were met. The rooms are brighter and more functional, the classic architecture is truly highlighted, and the furniture is as timeless as the home and there are touches of the clients’ personalities throughout! Working closely together with the architect, builder and client, we all agree that we did a good job of honoring the home’s historic roots while integrating modern comforts and fresh livability.
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