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Paul Garzotto’s Pet Peeves, Mama Goetz’ Coffee Cake Recipe, and More

Go inside the Dallas home and design scene, with gossip, products, personalities, shopping advice, and more.
By D Magazine |

FAKE FLOWERS, AGAIN?: Paul Garzotto and his Shih Tzu Rupert Murdoch take out the decorative trash.

Paul Garzotto’s Pet Peeves
Paul Garzotto is reserved. Well-dressed. A man of distinction. And getting him to talk about what he doesn’t like? Well, it’s like getting him to pose with a bunch of fake flowers, which he despises “but more on that later. Paul was the partner of the late Marguerite (Maggie) Green, the doyenne of Dallas design. Green Garzotto is the most venerable firm in the city, with a client list that includes Raymond Nasher, Nancy and Jeremy Halbreich, and Charles and Dee Wyly, to name a few. A New Orleans native, Paul continues Maggie’s inherently romantic style “voluptuous in terms of color and pattern, yet restrained, with an Edwardian sense of seemliness. We recently sat down with the normally reticent Paul and convinced him to share his decorating dislikes.

Fake Flowers Flowers are an agricultural product. They grow, blossom, and die “at least they’re supposed to. Every time I see an eternal arrangement, I have the same sinking feeling I get when I’m served a pale disk of cotton wool impersonating a tomato.

A Valance Too Far This is a peeve that hits me in the face (literally). Many rooms with too-low ceilings suffer from being over-curtained. If you don’t have the height, big valances and swooping swags are out. Put the cost of the extra footage into a fine rod or better lining (and interlining, thank you).

Tarnished Silver If you’re going to have items of silver out, polish them (mercilessly).

Recessed Lighting I know many houses have this spectacle as an inherited problem. But a Swiss-cheese ceiling gives a room an uneasy air. Picture a library without a single ceiling penetration save a perfect lantern hanging from a rosette. Much better.

Overscaled Furniture Scale is a delicate and shadowy art, to be sure. However, even I feel like Edith Ann on much of the seating I see for sale. Let’s hope the movement toward the not-so big house will stem the tide of these chenille Titanics.

Getting Lit Chandeliers hung too low over dining tables are not only ungainly but also dangerous. Two rules of thumb: if a falling chandelier would endanger loved ones (or spouses), it’s too wide. If soot from your dinner candles is collecting on your crystal drops, it’s too low.

Family Photos—Everywhere I’m sure Tiffany will send hit men out for this one. Images of family members have their place: in family rooms. An overly flattering portrait in a prominent spot opens the sitter up to remarks (even under her own roof) as to how far from reality the picture has strayed. Even a factual depiction (over time) opens the subject to remarks of how far she has declined. Either way, it’s not good.

Conversation Pieces Perhaps my strongest peeve is nothing in particular, but many things in general. I always like to follow Chanel’s dictum that one should not be able to tell how well-dressed a woman is upon first looking at her. The overall impression is clear, yet quiet. Only over time and with close inspection do the particular refinements stand out: a delicate color, a charming detail. Beautiful rooms are for living attractively; suitability is their first concern. Comfort is the ultimate luxury.

Green Garzotto, 4445 Travis St. 214-528-0400.

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Have You Heard…
Talk about your power mergers: Peggy Levinson of Hargett showroom and George Cameron Nash are said to be in serious talks about combining their powerful collections. The two showrooms represent some of the most desirable lines in the nation, including de Gournay wallpapers, Old World Weavers and Malabar fabrics, and Michael Taylor furniture at Hargett and Rogers & Goffigon and Bennison fabrics, Melrose House by Rose Tarlow, and Gracie hand-painted wallpapers at Nash. I have too much space, and George has too little, says Peggy. The two showrooms are currently located in the Dallas Design Center, but we hear they’re looking for a freestanding building for sale or rent to house their combined forces We hear that Ikea is finally moving into North Texas. No one will confirm it for us, but one corporate spokesperson said, We’ll be there soon. Some place called Frisco, I believe?A local decorator was hired by a couple to redo their grand Volk Estates house, with one proviso. While the husband loved the decorator’s color combinations and furniture arrangements, he insisted that not one stick of midcentury French furniture come from her storefront. Returning from a business trip, he discovered that the designer had “bonded with [his] wife over a shared passion for Manolo Blahnik shoes and convinced her to fill the house with her furniture.” He ordered the designer to “get that crap out of [his] house” and fired her. Note to designers: the husband is usually the one to sign the checks.

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We Got It: Mama Goetz’ Coffee Cake Recipe!
In June, more than 35,000 buyers will descend on the Dallas Market Center, and with the economy in its current state, there’s no predicting what they’ll buy. Except for one thing: Leon Goetz’ mother’s sweets. Savvy buyers make a beeline for Leon Goetz’ showroom on the second floor of the Trade Mart for Mama’s legendary cookies and coffee cake. D Home contributing editor Kirk Hughett scored the recipe for the coffee cake, and went to really scary lengths to get it. All together now: thank you, Kirk.

Mama Goetz’ Dallas Market Coffee Cake

1  box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
4  eggs
3/4  cup Crisco oil

Combine all ingredients in electric-mixer bowl. Beat 2 minutes. Pour into 13-by-9-by-3-inch baking pan. In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup chopped pecans, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Combine well and sprinkle on top of batter. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

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Happy Birthday!
MAY/JUNE
Pam Garnett 5/28
Bayne Yancey 6/16
David Lyles 5/18
Mikyung Chun 5/9
Brooke Crew 5/10
Romain Delatte 5/24
John Derryberry 5/6
Jan Showers 5/2
George Kornye 5/6
Dan Ballenger 5/15
Dawn Gibson 5/22
Jennifer Davis Tyrrell 6/12

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My New Best Friend
with Kirk Hughett

I’m standing in Plano’s newest Home Depot, opening day. I look across the aisles of do-it-yourself toilet accessories, cabinet pulls, and quick kitchen fixes, and I see her and smile. She flashes a gorgeous-enamel comeback to me, and I know I have found, once again, my new best friend.

Susie Coelho is today’s home and gardening princess. After publishing her first book, Susie Coelho’s Everyday Styling, she went on to star in her own HGTV prime time series, Surprise Gardener. She’s also appeared in lifestyle features on CNN, Access Hollywood, and Oprah. She was married to Sonny Bono. And so on and so on.

KH: You’re always helping people to discover themselves and to create the home of their dreams. Tell me about your own personal home dcor, and how you keep yourself inspired.
SC: I consider my own taste to be very eclectic.

KH:
(Sigh) That’s what everyone says when they don’t really have a point of view.

SC:
Okay. So what about this: I love almost every type of style. My home is clean and fresh, with a lot of tchotchkes.

KH: Better. But I think we should move on. You have the freshest sense of confidence. Have you always had it?
SC: I’m very much the eternal optimist. I’m very happy with where I am at in my life and who I am. Over the last 10 years, I remarried, had children, and we moved out of crazy L.A. to a ranch along the coast. I became antsy, and it was there that I began soul-searching to discover who I truly was. I was always being asked by my friends for advice on their homes and lives. That’s how it all began. One small step “that’s all it takes.

KH: (Whistling I Gotta Be Me) Wow! That’s really inspiring. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
SC: Still dealing with what life throws me. My children will be starting to move away. That’s actually my biggest fear: what will I do with myself when I’m not a full-time mother? When the house is quiet?
KH: I think you have enough frying pans going to keep you busy. I checked you out on www.susiecoelho.com, and my jaw dropped.
SC: (Smiling, self-assured, as ever) Yes, I do keep a full plate.

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Ken Knight’s Book Club
This 60-year retrospective is lovingly photographed by Richard Payne. Texas is fortunate to have a large portion of Johnson’s work, including Dallas own Beck House; the Crescent project; Momentum Place (now Bank One); and Thanksgiving Square. The Architecture of Philip Johnson by Philip Johnson et al. ($85)

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Mo Better Blues
Blue-and-white fabric “in any motif or material” is a perennial.

Matisse from Clarence House is based on the artist’s paper cutouts, and it’s reversible. Clarence House, 105 N. Stemmons Fwy., Ste. 490. 214-741-5600.  –    This 1825 French oil portrait from Donald J. Embree Antiques is almost a window on a perfect day with its background of cerulean skies and fluffy white clouds. Donald J. Embree Antiques, 1115 Slocum St. 214-760-9141.  –   Fauve from Clarence House was first designed by Billy Baldwin, who took the motif from a client’s Matisse drawing.  –   An 18th-century Dutch Delft mantle garniture from Ceylon et Cie. 1500 Market Center Blvd. 214-742-7632.  –   Eaton Check from Colefax and Fowler covers the walls and upholstered pieces in fashion designer Valentino’s London home. Available at Walter Lee Culp Associates. 1025 N. Stemmons Fwy., Ste. 500. 214-651-0510.  –   A pair of French opaline glass finials from the 1870s from Donald J. Embree Antiques.  –   Mula from Malabar in white cotton organza is embroidered with blue flowering vines and is available at The Hargett Showrooms. The Hargett Showrooms, 1025 N. Stemmons Fwy., Ste. 740. 214-747-9600.

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Modern Homes in Traditional Hoods
Modernism is popping up in Highland Park, one of the most deeply traditional neighborhoods in Dallas. We asked three local architects for their views on mixing modern and traditional residential design. Here’s how they weighed in:

WILSON FUQUA of J. Wilson Fuqua and Associates Architects says homeowners should remember that they have a responsibility to their neighborhood, to maintain a traditional neighborhood’s integrity. Some people in Dallas and the Park Cities are too detached, he says. They think they’re just buying a lot, but they’re really buying a neighborhood. A modern house won’t ruin a community, but a bad house will. It’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the neighborhood. Since an architect is a professional, he has a responsibility to the community, the profession, and the client to be forward-thinking enough to justify his work in the big picture.

TED KOLLAJA, president of the American Institute of Architects Dallas, says maintaining a neighborhood’s integrity is important, and that most architects try to do that.There are so many neighborhoods with wonderful character in Dallas, he says. Architects can’t just do what they wish with the property, but, generally speaking, architects are concerned, especially in the Dallas area, with maintaining tradition. The architect can enlighten owners to alternatives that don’t do harm to the neighborhood’s integrity. But it’s both the architect and owner’s responsibility to have that balance.

Modernist Dallas architect MAX LEVY says it’s very important for modern homes to have good manners. Pure modern design can happen anywhere, you just have to tread lightly,” he says. He just built a modern home in a traditional neighborhood in North Dallas, pushing it back on the lot and veiling the front with trees to make it less conspicuous. “Modernism is forced to recede because more stark designs can really overpower,” Max says. Thus, architects must consider placement on the lot, color, and scale to ensure the modern home fits with its surroundings.

But, when it gets down to it, he says, the majority of people tend to be hostile toward modernism because they’ve seen so few good examples.

—Colleen Casey

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Career Options
If the real estate market does go to hell, and I said if, there are a few Realtors well insulated from the cold.
—Mary Candace Evans

REALTORS COMPANY POSSIBLE DAY JOB
Todd Terry Ellen Terry, Realtors Model and actor. Besides theatre, Todd has co-starred in two network-television movies and has guest starred in many TV series. If you see the film Arlington Road, with Jeff Bridges, Todd is in that movie, too; he plays the camp counselor.
Della Lively Lively Realty Artist’s rep. Daughter Anna is a well-known chanteuse, so Della could make a mint as Anna’s booking agent.
Karen Fry Briggs-Freeman Dealer. Karen already has enough antiques to open a showroom.
Marilyn Hoffman Hoffman International Breeder. Marilyn collects Arabian horses, among other things.
Doug McCabe Ebby Halliday Hair stylist. Doug owns a salon at Inwood Village.
Dave Perry Miller Adleta & Poston Realtors Landlord. Dave could start a time-share operation with his multiple vacation homes.
Eleanor Mowery Sheets

Ebby Halliday

Eleanor Mowery Sheets

Ebby Halliday

Lady of leisure. Eleanor can write her memoirs and breed Golden retrievers.

Nashville star. Ebby has been playing the banjo for years—and she is really, really good!