Things couldn’t be better for Bonnee Sharp. She and husband Marc Fuller are entertained daily by their 2-year-old daughter Georgia. Her business, Studio Bon Textiles, is booming. High-end textile supplier Schumacher will carry her designs in its New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas showrooms beginning in August. And she has loved being able to bring her style to the 1924 M Street cottage she and her family call home. “We’ve had a contrast with the structure and the style inside,” she says. “There’s a real push-pull juxtaposition that makes it interesting.”
The Austin native met her husband at SMU, but after graduation, they took off for separate coasts. Fuller attended law school at Stanford University; Sharp headed to New York City, where she toiled as a copywriter for an advertising firm. Eventually, “we got back together, got engaged, and we moved to Los Angeles for a few years,” Sharp says. It was in L.A. that she began exploring her interest in design at a UCLA extension program.
The couple moved back to Dallas five years ago—Fuller took a job as a litigator at a local firm, and Sharp began working for noted designer Emily Summers. “I had read about her, so I got in touch with her, and I began working for her full time,” she says. Once the jobs were secure, they began what was supposed to be a cautious house hunt. “We were not ready to buy,” Sharp says firmly. But as fate would have it, they drove by the gray cottage and noticed an open house. Once they toured the home, it was over. “It really was love at first sight. Marc and I just looked at each other and said, ‘Uh-oh.’”
At the time, the interiors were anything but modern. “It was definitely a country cottage,” Sharp says, laughing. “There was stenciling. There was a turkey painted on the wall.” But they loved the open floor plan—so unusual for Tudors—and immediately saw the house’s potential. They made an offer, moved in, and went to work. The bones of the house were solid, so they didn’t have to live in a construction zone. “The changes we made were primarily cosmetic. We changed hardware, lighting, fixtures. We painted.”
Sharp is hard-pressed to choose her favorite room. Initially, she goes with the living room. And then she moves to the large kitchen. “I really do love our kitchen. It has a big breakfast area, and the room just has a lot of character,” she says. Then, she amends that—“The floors are actually my favorite thing in the house.” She explains that the wood floors have been a challenge with a baby—“It’s not a quiet house,” she says. The original wide-plank pine floors were ebonized, which gives an almost two-tone effect where the wood resists color in some places and absorbs it in others.
Also adding character and absorbing color in the house are the bright, contemporary textiles found throughout—most of which are Sharp’s designs. She began focusing her attention on fabrics while working for Summers. “I spent a lot of time speccing fabric,” she says. “I knew what I liked, and I had trouble finding it. So, I thought, why not create a line that fills that hole?” She went on maternity leave, and after her daughter was born, she opted not to go back to her old job. Instead, she formed her own company, Studio Bon Textiles, and has enjoyed great success in two years. “For all those years that I was a copywriter, I was so excited to be doing something visual. Designing textiles lets me create something that is really my own,” she says. When Schumacher came calling, she narrowed her 36 patterns down to 20. “We’ll grow from there,” she says.
With success, of course, comes change, and the Sharp-Fuller home is on the market. Someone has even placed an offer on it. As with most moves, it’s bittersweet. “I’ll really miss this neighborhood,” she says with a sigh. “We love our neighbors. It’s such a great place to live—so urban and close to downtown.” They plan to move into a contemporary home, and just as they created a contrast on the M Streets, they’ll try to do the same in their new digs. “We might bring in some more traditional furniture,” she muses. Sharp hopes the new owners get as much enjoyment from the house as her family did. “This house is not perfect. But it was perfect for us.”