Every item in Rick Janecek’s house has a story. Whether it’s the 1760s Wedgwood bowl he lucked upon in an Omaha antiques store, the pair of swan chairs he pulled from a trash bin in Atlanta, or the salt cellar that belonged to one of the country’s first female executives, each piece adds flair to the decor as well as the conversation. And he’s not scared of mixing and matching.
“I love nice things, but I don’t collect specific things,” Janecek says. “I want everything to go together and look good, but if I find something I really like, I’m going to get it and figure out how to make it work. I’m not going to not get something I really like because I’m afraid it won’t work in the house.”
After stints with Waterford, Lenox, and Neiman Marcus, Janecek is now creative director and lead product designer at Global Views. That means the North Dallas house he and his partner bought five years ago and completely remodeled serves as a kind of test home for potential Global Views furniture and accessories. “I use the house like a laboratory for work,” he says. “A lot of the lighting fixtures, I designed them.”
But Janecek was thinking like a creative mastermind long before the gig at Global Views or the remodel of the house on Hughes Lane.
“I’ve always been interested in design, ever since I popped out of the womb,” he says. “I didn’t play with toys when I was a kid. I drew. I had some bricks that I would build houses with, and I would sit and draw Rickville, my little town. Then I’d draw the houses in it, and I wanted them all to be different. I had major control issues always. And then I would draw all the furniture and what I wanted it to look like.
“From the time I was really small, I’d beg my parents to take me to auctions or to go look at furniture. I would work any kind of odd job I could to make some money. Some of the stuff I bought as a kid, I still have.”
Now Janecek lives in a life-size Rickville. He designed every aspect of the house, providing detailed drawings to the remodelers. When they bought the place, it was a den of swinging-’70s clichés. So out went the swan faucets, dark wood, and sponge paint. And in came 30 skylights and a somewhat monochromatic color scheme.
The bulk of the remodel took about nine months and included gutting the house down to the bare frame. The staircase was designed and built on-site. The kitchen, which is now open and airy, was originally three rooms with three hallways, and the master bathroom was once four rooms. “This was the house of doors,” Janecek says. And those doors were too small for such big rooms. So he put in much larger doorways and designed doors with custom hardware.As for decor, it’s a mix of estate-sale finds, Global Views prototypes, custom pieces, and long-held favorites.
“Even though I always see something new that I love, and I want it, I do hold onto things for a really long time,” Janecek says.
He’s had the John Dickinson twig mirror in the master bedroom, for example, since the 1970s, back when the designer’s pieces were made of plaster instead of fiberglass. And in the sitting room, there’s a love seat he bought when he was an odd-job-working 14-year-old.
“I refinished it myself,” he says. “I didn’t have any money to have anybody do anything like that. And I’ve had it re-covered four or five times.”
And, as luck would have it, a few years ago, Janecek stumbled upon the love seat’s mate at a friend’s antiques store in Connecticut. So he bought it, had them both refinished and re-covered, and now he can’t tell which is the original.
“They’re identical,” he says. “I don’t know which one I bought when I was 14 and which one I bought from my friend.”
Janecek’s love of art is also evident in the home. From a collection of portraits in the sitting room and a Zapata painting that hangs over the tub in the master bath to charcoal drawings in the entry and an Austin artist’s plywood deer head in the living area, every room has at least one artistic focal point.
Though the house is lovely, and every design detail was chosen with precision, the place is meant to be lived in—and partied in. Janecek and his partner entertain frequently, so they made sure the house would be conducive to get-togethers. In addition to a laundry room that doubles as a caterer’s kitchen, Janecek also installed built-ins that he stocked with vintage glassware and dinnerware.
“I try to make the table different every time I set it,” he says. One night visitors might dine off plates from the 1870s; on another, it might be the 1970s.
The couple has thrown parties for as many as 120 guests, but for more intimate affairs, the formal dining room gets to shine—more specifically, the dining room table, which was painstakingly created using goose egg shells. “It took forever to get that thing made,” Janecek says, “and very high cholesterol.”
Their next shindig, whether it be big or small, is likely to be a going-away party. The Hughes Lane house is on the market, and they’ve already chosen its replacement. How many custom doors Janecek will design in the new place and how many rooms he’ll convert into a kitchen remains to be seen. But there’s one thing that’s certain about the next Rickville: it will be a nice place to visit, and you’d definitely want to live there.