When Lori and Rick Golman found their 1950s North Dallas ranch-style house, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. “It had orange walls and blue moire draperies,” Lori says. But the couple had three children, so practical issues took precedence over romantic matters. “It’s a basic ranch house. It was affordable, but you wouldn’t drive up to it and go, ‘Wow,’” she says.
But the Golmans looked past the 1970s decor and realized the house was exactly what they needed. It had good bones and a great floor plan. “It was a layout that worked really well for our family,” she explains. “The previous owners built a wing on the back with two bedrooms and a bath, and then there was a bedroom in the front by the master. It worked perfectly for our two sons and daughter.”
That was 17 years ago, and pretty much the only thing that hasn’t changed during that time is the Golmans’ address. Lori began showcasing her unique gift for mixing antiques with modern pieces. It helped that she knew her way around the Dallas Design District. “I pretty much grew up there,” she explains. “My father was in the antiques business here for years. He was one of Trammell Crow’s first tenants at the Dallas Trade Mart in 1958.” And though she didn’t necessarily share her father’s passion for antiques, she and Rick treasured the many gifts he gave them through the years. “I’m very sentimental about all the pieces I have. Dad would give us different things for different occasions,” she says. “He gave us a Baccarat Versailles chandelier for our anniversary. And he gave Rick a liquor set because my husband is in the liquor, beer, and wine business.”
While their antiques collection grew, Lori and Rick began purchasing art. The couple worked with art brokers Chris Byrne and Becky Bruder in their pursuit of modern, contemporary works. “They help me find a lot of the art, because as much as I’m around it, I still get intimidated by it sometimes,” Lori says. “So Chris and Becky give me a good comfort level. They find new artists with pieces that are priced really well—and that’s really important, too.”
Eventually the house evolved into a place where contemporary art mixes with really ornate pieces. And Lori’s ability to combine her clean, sleek, modern style with a number of special antiques made her friends take notice. They urged her to go pro with her design gifts. So with her husband’s blessing, Lori signed up for classes at the Art Institute of Dallas. “My husband baby-sat the kids three nights a week.” She hasn’t looked back since. “I love what I do,” she says. “I feel truly blessed to be able to do something like this because when my kids were growing up, I was able to be where I needed to be with them but also work and make my own hours, too.” She now has a steady flow of four to five projects at any time. When asked if she ever finds items for herself when she is out shopping for clients, Lori laughs. “I think you should ask Lori’s husband about that,” she says.
Lori’s career change wasn’t the only transformation. The kids grew up and eventually out, and Rick opened his own business, the chic wine bistro Cork in West Village. The house went through two stages of remodeling. “In 1999, we lengthened skylights, remodeled the kitchen and bathrooms, and redid the pool area,” she says. And they lived there the whole time. “We had a little kitchen upstairs in our playroom, and we all slept in the back area,” she says with a laugh. “The kids were a lot younger then. I don’t know if I could do it now.”
By 2007, the couple had forgotten the pains of the last remodel—much like childbirth—and decided to take on even more challenges: extending their master bedroom and redoing the entire backyard—the patio, the landscaping, all of it—so that it could become more of an entertaining oasis. “I realized the patio was visible from every room and that it could be a wonderful part of the house and almost add physical square footage to it,” Lori says. “I worked with Mark Domiteaux. He put these very large sliding glass doors in. We can open them all the way.” Lori had the idea to use the same outdoor fabric on the chairs in both the living room and the patio to make the indoor/outdoor transition fairly seamless. “I think of it like one big room,” she says.
Obviously, the combination of Rick’s wine business, Lori’s love for cooking, and their cool backyard makes the Golmans’ house the venue of choice for parties. And not just for their own friends. The kids enjoy the resort-like atmosphere, too, and return often. “They will call and say, ‘Mom, I’m coming home next weekend. Have everybody over.’” For most occasions, Lori prefers to keep things simple. “I like to mix casual with a little elegance,” she says. “So we will grill and maybe do all salads and cold things and serve them outside.”
So, did the Golmans ever consider a move rather than a remodel? “We thought about it,” Lori answers. “But we really liked our home. And I had this vision for what I thought I could do with it. You know, the designer in you never dies.”