City View: Dallas Design Corrals a Range of Styles

City View: Dallas Design Corrals a Range of Styles

In honour of the return of the Ewings and South Fork Ranch popularity to prime-time television this week, I hunted out design professionals in Dallas to learn about design styles and trends in their own city. I asked interior designers, designers, architects, architects and other specialists to explain at least one of the following:
Something that produces a design distinctly DallasA trend that’s on the development in DallasA misconception concerning design in DallasInterior designer Janelle Steinberg’s answer to number three captured the almost unanimous opinion best: “A huge misconception about design in Dallas is that it is one of 2 things: 1. Large and glitzy, or 2. About rustic leather, nailheads and wrought iron. There’s, naturally, some of that available here, but Dallas is a town with a level of sophistication that goes beyond nation themes and the heavily adorned, supersized proportions of their conventional ‘Texas’ look.”

The stark reality is that Dallas design falls in the range somewhere between the two, and just like in the rest of the nation, many residents want to know more about living smaller, brighter and more efficiently, in addition to stylishly. Check out what Dallas professionals need to say about designing in their fair city.

“Dallas” airs at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central time) Wednesdays on TNT

CDA Interior Design

Catherine Dolen of Catherine Dolen & Associates says, “Dallas is known for stunning traditionally styled insides — especially with a French influence …

CDA Interior Design

… however, there is definitely a move toward a transitional, cleaner look. The refreshing combination of simpler lines, less eclectic and pattern furnishings is definitely making its mark”

Abbe Fenimore Studio Ten 25

“Dallas is known for getting the over-the-top design aesthetic. Tons of ‘bling’ and sadly, most men and women believe Dallas design could be gaudy,” says Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25. “I believe many people are surprised to know that Dallas also has a fantastic side that could be refreshing, nicely styled and approachable. With design-forward books like DHome and Modern Luxury, there is something for everybody here in Dallas.”

Beth Dotolo, ASID, RID, NCIDQ

Interior designer Beth Dotolo of Pulp Design Studios says, “One misconception about design in Dallas is that it’s distinctly Texas conventional, with Western themes and thick wrought iron. To the contrary, Dallas inhabitants are diverse, forward thinking and embrace a modern way of interior design. Our Dallas clients are moving towards an upgraded interior design approach that’s attainable, flexible and functional to their lifestyles, while still beautiful, bold, and modern.”

Jeffrey Design LLC

“I find the trend in Dallas is about incorporating cultures and regions from around the globe,” says Jeffrey Johnson of Jeffrey Design. “In addition, the modern-contemporary design is on the rise for many ages. Clients want to flaunt with elegant, design, including off-the-wall artwork or unique furniture pieces”

ds design studio

Ann Sacks Recycled Ceramic Tile, Koi

“There’s quite a little new-home building going on in Dallas, which is a really good indication for the economy,” says Dona Rosene of Dona Rosene Interiors. “Dallasites want their homes to be unique from the details, such as backsplash designs and bathroom tile designs. Everybody wants a lighter, cleaner aesthetic, even if they are still traditional in design”

Valerie McCaskill Dickman

I believe “distinctively Dallas,” to be truthful, ends up being the blend of the two general stereotypes of Dallas. You have got Larry Hagman/Sue Ellen, big hair, big cash, Neiman Marcus Dallas, which will be all about opulence, ritz and glamour,” says writer and photographer Valerie McCaskill Dickman. “Then you have got the rustic, classic, gypsy, cowboy, ranch-style Dallas, which is a little more earthy, masculine and easy. Then, somehow, you receive the merger of the two, which I think is perfectly represented by this imperial, gold hand-carved, hand-painted classic seat, which was reupholstered in — you guessed it — Texas cowhide.”

Valerie McCaskill Dickman

In terms of rising trends in Dallas, Dickman has her eye to the hot art scene. “There is a major art movement occurring in Dallas, from a bustling and ever-expanding downtown art district into the resurgence of some grittier but much-loved areas, such as Deep Ellum and Bishop Arts,” she says. “A particular interior design I’ve noticed is a lot more private, self-expression pieces featured that span artistic mediums as well as hybrids of several.”

“For example, here I did a fairly wild DIY paint job in an old piano to perform off a map motif in my workplace. It manages to function alongside more pastoral antique bits, like the entry bench to the right along with a rusty metal wheel near the top of the stairs. It is a complementary blend, like the house — a new-construction house that has historical Craftsman style. That is similar to how most of Dallas believes itself : the best of the two worlds, blending modern with pastoral.”

Modern Craft Construction, LLC

“Dallas inhabitants are trending towards smaller, more usable spaces; the times of their McMansion are coming to an end, and many clients are requesting for space-cautious design,” says Wiley Gilliam, president of Modern Craft Construction.

“In this case, my customer desperately needed an office at her house,” says Gilliam. “The alternative was to bring a small space in her master bedroom that could be shut off to seem like a cabinet”

The Virginia House

Jillian Woods of The Virginia House blog says, “I believe one big misconception is that Dallas is country western. Though cowboy pride runs deep and wide here, there is still room for some other styles and influences. Vintage cottage design has taken hold here like everywhere else in the nation.” (The blog name comes out of Woods’ middle name, by the way. She resides in Texas.)

Kim Hoegger Home aka Cottage Girl

Simultaneously offended and entertained by an over-the-top tacky Dallas design TV show I will keep nameless for now, interior designer and store owner Kim D. Hoegger would like to set the record straight. “Dallas is reserved and quite conventional in its approach to style, not flamboyant and glitzy as portrayed that dreadful TV show. It gives Dallas designers a bad name”

Janelle Steinberg Interior Design

“My Dallas clients are a little more studied, a little less in-your-face about how they go about introducing their lifestyle. They don’t possess a desire to build the biggest or most expensive house they could possibly manage,” says Janelle Steinberg, of Janelle Steinberg Interior Design. “They value architectural personality in their homes and are not interested in cookie-cutter McMansions. They want classic, classic and upgraded conventional design fashions — sensible refinement that’s timeless and tasteful.”

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

D Home magazine’s creative director, Jamie Laubhan-Oliver, attracted up Dallas’ unique geography as a consequence, stating, “I believe one of the pluses to living in a rural-urban town is that we can discover and experiment with unusual interior materials, and we are not afraid to do it. We will mix French, modern and farmhouse all in the exact same room”

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

“A trend that’s on the development in Dallas? Glamour. Glitz and sparkle. Lush layers. When most men and women believe ‘Dallas,’ they think of boots and jeans, cattle and oil. Dallas is an extremely wealthy city with a high sense of design,” says Laubhan-Oliver.

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

In terms of a misconception about design in Dallas, Laubhan-Oliver says, “Oversized furniture. Southwestern style. Antlers in every area. I think it’s fun to have a modern approach to all those things with artificial deer and empty taxidermy mounts”


“A misconception concerning designing in Dallas is that we’re all nation. We’re up-to-date with the remainder of them,” says Jenna Denson of JDS Designs. “Something that produces a design distinctly Dallas are our obsession with all our sports team; we decorate spots round our love for the game.”

There are a number of components that will always be distinctly Dallas. Make certain that you’re not overwrought. “Dallas would not be Dallas without wrought iron,” claims blogger Melinda Faranetta. “Artisans who work with steel are observed across the community and make it easy for designers like myself to use our imaginations.”

What’s the style where you live? If your town has a distinct style you want to see featured, please allow me to know in the Comments section.

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