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2004 Dallas Design Survey

We asked more than 2,800 members of the design community to tell us who inspires them, what they love/hate about Dallas, what’s in, and what’s out. Plus our exclusive list of the best 71 best designers in Dallas.
By D Magazine |

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2004 Dallas Design Survey

Want to know what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s sooooo 1983? Take a look at our exclusive survey of more than 2,800 licensed designers. The hundreds of responses we received were hilarious, thought provoking, sentimental, and catty as hell. Read on for a portrait of this strange—and wonderful—industry.

Who are the best designers/decorators in Dallas?

No honor is greater than the respect of one’s peers. And no voting process could be more heated than to ask members of a fiercely competitive industry to name the best of their own breed. Our method was simple: we asked each respondent to name the three designers who are doing the best work in the city. Some of the winners were no surprise; well-known and often-published designers’ names came up time and time again. More intriguing—to D Home’s staff—were the winners we’d never heard of. (So much for know-it-all editors!) Note to clients: no survey is foolproof, so if your designer is not on this list, not to worry. If he or she is on this list, feel very lucky. Herewith, according to their peers, are the Best Designers in Dallas 2004.

Jonathan Bailey, Jonathan Bailey Associates

John Bobbitt, ASID, Bobbitt & Company

Mil Bodron, Bodron + Fruit

Glen Boudreaux, ASID, Glen Boudreaux & Associates-The Design Collection

Vida Stirbys Brown, Omniplan Architects

Jacklyn M. Butler, Jacklyn M. Butler Associates

David Cadwallader, ASID, Cadwallader Design

Mary Cassidy, Mary Faulkner Interiors

Brandon Castille, AIA associate, Outside the Box

Margaret Chambers, ASID, Chambers Interiors and Associates

Laura Lee Clark, ASID, Laura Lee Clark Interior Design

Charlotte Comer, ASID, Charlotte Comer Interiors

David Corley, ASID, David Corley Interior Design

Carol Davis, ASID, Carol Davis Interiors

Paul E. Draper, Paul Draper & Associates

Paul Duesing, Paul Duesing Partners

Adrienne Faulkner, ASID, Faulkner Design Group

Beverly Field, ASID, Beverly Field Interiors

Sharon Flatley, ASID, Flatley & Associates

Mark Fletcher, Gabberts Design Studio

Deborah Forrest, ASID, ForrestPerkins

Ann Fox, Room Service by Ann Fox

Barbara J. Gaines, The Gaines Group

Paul Garzotto, Green Garzotto

Sherry Hayslip, ASID, Hayslip Design Associates

Bev Heil, Bev Heil & Associates

Jo Staffelbach Heinz, IIDA fellow, Staffelbach Design Associates

Perry Henderson, ASID, Perry Henderson

Kim Hogan, IIDA, Corgan Associates

John Holstead, ASID, John Holstead Interior Design

Ike Isenhour, Jurado Design Group

Raymond Jurado, Jurado Design Group

Pam Kelley, ASID, Pam Kelley & Associates

Louise Kemp, Mary Faulkner Interiors

Cathy Kincaid, ASID, Cathy Kincaid Interiors

Angela Mallick, Angela Mallick Interiors

John Phifer Marrs, ASID, John Phifer Marrs Interiors & Antiques

Jan Martin, associate AIA, Zero 3, Incorporated

Josie McCarthy, Josie McCarthy Associates

James McInroe, James McInroe

Kimberley C. Miller, Duncan & Miller Design

Joseph Minton, ASID, Joseph Minton

Dan Nelson, ASID, Vision Design

Gloria C. Nicoud, ASID, Gloria Designs

Carla B. Niemann, IIDA, Leo A. Daly

Michelle Nussbaumer, Ceylon et Cie

Russell O’Neal, ASID, In Good Company

Paul White Osborn, IIDA, Interprise Design

Lucile Ayres Payne, ASID, Payne Associates, Designers of Interiors

Betty Lou Phillips, ASID, Interiors by BLP

Eric Prokesh, Eric Prokesh and Associates

Jim R. Rimelspach, ASID, Wilson & Associates

Nancy A. Ross, ASID, Dallas Design Group Interiors

Lisa Luby Ryan, Luby Design Associates-At Home With A Past

David E. Salem, ASID, Salem and Associates

Lynn Sears, ASID, Lynn Sears Interiors

Jan Showers, ASID, Jan Showers & Associates

Mary Sorenson, Cedar Hill Design Center

Andre Staffelbach, ASID, Staffelbach Design Associates

Neal Stewart, ASID, Neal Stewart Design Associates

Debra Stewart, ASID, Debra Stewart Interior Design

Emily Summers, ASID, Emily Summers

Charlotte Taylor, Notable Accents

Marilyn Rolnick Tonkon, ASID, Marilyn Rolnick Design Associates

Richard A. Trimble, ASID, Trimble & Associates

Cheryl Van Duyne, ASID, Cheryl Van Duyne, ASID-Interior Designer

Sue Wade, ASID, ForrestPerkins

Dennis Waters, ASID, Dennis Waters, ASID

Trisha Wilson, ASID, Wilson & Associates

Michael D. Wortman, ASID, M.D. Wortman Interior Design

Joanie Wyll, Joanie Wyll & Associates

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What design trends do you currently see in Dallas

 
Natural Fabrics

Silk draperies and ’60s prints.
Global elements and classic interiors.
Green design—earth-friendly products, translucency/transparency, horizontals, and modernism.
Downsizing with high quality pieces and Moroccan/Indian design.
Tropicals, painted fabrics, and color, color, color!
Midcentury furniture and art glass.
Crewel and embroidery.
Red and pumpkin, East Indian influences, and midcentury modern.
Retro colors, refurbished vintage modern furniture, and putting white furniture against rich, colorful walls.
Intrepid color for traditional as well as modern applications, an appetite for modern design, and decorating with fewer objects—of better quality.
Relaxed finishes for furniture and transitional design.
Bright colors and painting trim the same color or darker than walls.
Paisley patterns, architectural embellishments, and mixing metals.
Black furniture.
Stripes, pink, and brown.
Texture, comfort, and simplicity.
Swedish design, clean-lined antiques in good woods, and more traditional, less hard-edged pieces.
Embroidered silks and Venetian glass.
Natural fibers and water features.
Silk, wool, stone, and wood.
Organic forms.
Outdoor living spaces.
Clean walls, minimal accessories, and pale blue and green.
Bold colors on traditional furniture and lacquered traditional furniture.
Quest for one-of-a-kind furnishings and simple, clean, casual living.
Home offices and Asian influences.
Merging eras, a return to Texas Monastery (in Austin), and earth tones.
Moss green, dark brown, aqua, pink, and black.
Purples and blues.
Grosgrain trim.
Opulent comfort and light and bright designs.

 
Antique Linens

Smaller, intimate spaces and indoor/outdoor spaces.
Spa bathrooms.
Candlelit chandeliers, South American antiques, and antique glazed furniture.
Stone masonry; paint, rather than stain; and Arts & Crafts design.
Mixing aqua with chocolate brown and ribbons in decorating.
Watery, luminous finishes and large-scale geometric patterns.
Mother-in-law apartments.
Integrated technology and professional kitchens.
Orange/rust hues and satin metal finishes.
Tibetan rugs and 1940s French.
Classic velvet with new variations, amber, and felt.
Light mustard walls throughout, turquoise and brown, and ’70s contemporary with a 21st-century twist.
White leather and glass tiles.
Color (bye-bye beige).
Crossover between residential, corporate, and hospitality designs/materials.
Lighting is everything.
Do-it-yourself and high-end fabrics on garage-sale finds.
Sisal (still).
Great hardware and larger bathrooms.
Anything classic.
Stone finishes and metal tiles.
Shimmer effects, one bold flower in a vase, and feminine colors (pinks, purples, reds).
Designer carpets.
Toile (still).
Buying quality.
Honed granite.
Media rooms that go beyond the big screen and elevators.
Titanium appliances and security systems.
Do-it-yourself: using a designer for consultation only.
Natural textures on floors and in fabrics, minimal accessorizing, and color-block painting on walls.
Return to the classics—from the 17th century to 1930s contemporary.
Tile—in any material.
Moroccan influences and Asian-inspired colors and motifs.
American antiques, needlework (knitting, needlepoint, etc.), and black and white.
The British West Indies look.
Being conservative, going to bed early, and being healthy.

 
Moroccan

Stained concrete floors, furniture in large baths, and outdoor showers.
Art deco and ’60s designs.
Geometrics and natural fibers for walls and upholstery.
“Green” design and construction.
Indigo quilted batiks, taking the “luxe” away, and refined simplicity where nothing has to match.
Mocha and custom door hardware.
Smaller homes with more amenities.
Antique (or antiqued) mirrors.
Atmosphere lighting; ceilings—painted, lighted, textured, etc.; and human scale.
1930s tile and honed stone counters.
Antique hardware, graphite for kitchen and bath, and polished stone floors.
Natural stone.
Lighter weight and smaller scale window treatments.
Cleaner traditional.
Mirrored consoles and nightstands.
Clean, tailored styling; cool blues and purples; and citrus colors.
Flexible work space and integrated design and construction.
Solid colors, fewer patterns, an increase in textures, and pastels.
Collectible junk.
Texas Prairie and capturing whatever view you can.
Quality over quantity and low-maintenance, manageable homes.
Clean lines, fewer patterns, and mixing antiques with modern.
Modern geometric patterns and tailored furniture.
Black is the new black.
Mohair instead of chenille.
Media chairs and flat-screen televisions.
A residential look in corporate spaces.
Metal surfaces.
Water incorporated into residential and commercial design.
Relaxed refinement.
Any flooring other than carpet.
Russian impressionist art and interesting chairs.
In-town living.
Black with everything and understated elegance.
The acquired look (as if the client has been collecting for years), where nothing
matches.

Natural light or lighting that mimics natural light as much as possible.
Classic design, natural materials, neutrals, and textures. No trend is a good trend!
Clean lines in both case goods and upholstery and softer, more peaceful color palettes.
Japanese soaking tubs and bamboo flooring and cabinetry.
Midcentury furnishing accents and streamlined finish out with simpler moldings.
Less pattern.
Anything Portuguese, Mexican tiles, and quality linens and bedding.
The menswear look. Chintz is back.
Brown with blue, white, or pink and edited interiors.
Exterior cooking spaces and water features.
Art deco furniture.
Retro everything.
Bohemian chic, ranch houses, and British Colonial.
Cinnamon, coffee, and ivory colors and beige-green with brown-golds, which I hate.
Plaster molding.
Softening the minimalist look and simple chintz patterns.
Terrazzo, glass for everything, and Origami white.
Getting organized.
Natural materials and sustainable design.
Blending of inside and outside architecture.
Renewed interest in Empire and Federal styles.
Grisaille (monochromatic paint technique, usually in grey on glass, that creates a relief effect; now seen on wallpaper).

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THE BIG QUESTION

 
Organic

Q. Are you a decorator—or a designer?
In an industry that is infiltrated by nonprofessionals with tax numbers, designers are rightfully keen on communicating what it is that they do. “Too many people think we are
personal shoppers for the house, or discount queens who are all about getting wholesale-plus,” one designer wrote. “We do so much more than that.”

Technically, individuals who have a license are designers. If they don’t, they are decorators by default. When we asked what they preferred to be called, a sizable number of designers didn’t care one way or the other. As one designer-slash-decorator put it: “I have a license, and I’m a designer, but if someone calls me a decorator, I don’t take offense. Billy Baldwin was a decorator. That’s got to be good enough for me.” The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) has mounted a comprehensive initiative to raise the bar for individuals entering and working in the design profession, not only to protect the designers but also the clients who hire them.

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What person—living or dead—has had the most influence on your career?

When we asked our designers this question, the answers that flowed back were fascinating. In the predictable (but no less important) category were mothers, fathers, and grandparents who, along the way, established a certain taste level or standard for doing business and creating good design. Others named professors and employers who, over the years, left an important mark. Christ was frequently named. But the top three muses were Frank Lloyd Wright, Billy Baldwin, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

 
Thomas Jefferson

O’Neil Ford and Philip Johnson.
Edith Wharton and her 1896 book, The Decoration of Houses.
Painter Andrew Wyeth’s ability to capture a moment in time made me want to do that for my clients.
Jeremiah Eck. I love the residences he designs: simple, clean, contemporary, and timeless.
Andre Malraux translates the experience of perceiving art and the visual world to the realm of the soul.
My first boss taught me all about the business, people, and how to sell your ideas.
The Old Masters.
Jerry Nielson, ASID, taught me to always have a reason for what I do, to use elements and principles of design, and to give back to the profession, whether people recognize it or not.
Voltaire and Catherine the Great: their era featured great furniture and design, as well as wonderful art and craftsmanship. (Though I do not admire their personalities.)
Trisha Wilson, ASID, showed me what a woman can do on her own.
Thomas Chippendale.
Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa. His art is in the smallest details.
Richard Meier, a great modernist.
Antonio Gaudi because of his use of free-form, his ability to mix color and materials, and the humor in his design.
Oprah Winfrey’s commitment to be the best she can be.

 
Oprah Winfrey

Henri Rousseau, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Modigliani, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Gauguin.
Charles and Ray Eames. Their extremely innovative furniture design and construction redefined the style of their era.
Dorothy Draper brightened classic elements by painting them boldly and increasing the scale to huge proportions.
Kathy Andrews with David Weekley is tremendously talented.
Louis XIV. I was deeply influenced by the elegant style and rich color of Versailles.
Eileen Gray—a woman with many obstacles who excelled.
Louis XVI style.
Le Corbusier.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed spaces that have passed the test of time. And who wouldn’t love an architect who throws art glass into beautiful and functional projects?
An architect I worked with for 12 years who always asked “why” and “how” about everything.
St. Theresa of Avila, a 15th-century mystic who gave profound insight into spiritual life and is still current today.
Martha Maclay of Wilson & Associates. I learned a lot from her about style and detail.
Bill Blass.
Jackie Kennedy’s exquisite taste and class, which brought formality back into style.
Paul Rudolph: “A building is never finished; it is always in a state of transition.”
Monet’s use of color, balance, visible brush strokes, and real people in his paintings.
 

 
Jackie Kennedy

The work of Henri Matisse influenced my use of color, William Morris taught me about structured interpretation of floral motifs, and Gregg Hlavaty taught me the importance of geometry in space planning.
Florence Knoll was both a strong businesswoman and designer. She was not afraid to take charge.
Alvar Aalto designed a variety of things (architecture, fabrics, furniture, vases, etc.).
The Adam Brothers’ classical styling made me think about shape, scale, and balance; Barbara Barry’s timeless, elegant look also influenced me.
Billy Baldwin gave us great arrangements of comfortable seating mixed with antiques and contemporary clean lines.
New York designer Edward Zajac is a genius of couture design.
Architect Ricardo Legorreta.
Frank Gehry’s sculptural work.
Richard Trimble, ASID; Emily Summers, ASID; Jan Showers, ASID; Rosemarie Rene, ASID; Blane Ladymon, ASID; Sherry Hayslip, ASID; Kay Troutt, ASID; and John Phifer Marrs, ASID.
The architectural details and decorating styles of Sister Parish and Robert Adams.
Mies van der Rohe’s designs were clean and clear expressions of form and structure.
Queen Elizabeth. I love the era: its beautiful furniture and the “pomp.”
Frank Sullivan was ahead of his time.
Leonardo da Vinci because he was able to work from both sides of his brain.
Thomas Jefferson.
Architect Frank Gehry took risks with materials, such as corrugated cardboard for furniture.
Norman Brinker, who gave me the opportunity to do the interior design on his home and changed my life.
Thank you, Norman!

 
Frank Lloyd Wright

Mickey Munir. Just talk to him; you’ll know why.
Peter Marino.
Henry Moore.
Michelangelo, a true Renaissance man who was able to intertwine his many interests and talents.
Michael Wilkov, president and CEO of Cantoni, taught me to differentiate between true style and quality and cheap imitations.
Billy Baldwin.
Tonny Foy and Lionel Morrison.
Bill Reed, who showed me the practical marriage of true creativity, niche marketing, and profit motive.
Bill Gates, who revolutionized all industries.
Joe Chastain and Earl Hart Miller—two early Dallas designers with elegant and timeless taste.
Architect Mario Botta.

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What are Dallas’ design strengths?

 
Renzo Piano’s Nasher Sculpture Center

Dallas residents realize the satisfaction of living in a beautifully designed home.
Trend toward more casual design with more open spaces and not so many individual rooms.
Dallas is high-style and has Third Coast status, the World Trade Center, and a multicultural mix.
The public appreciates good design work.
Access to the World Trade Center and Design District.
Fabulous design district and rich local history.
Dallas is catching on to contemporary design.
Lively, competitive antique market and strong interest in design.
Appreciation of quality and love of color.
Fabulous resources, craftsmen, and artists.
Dallas residents have great taste and awareness, show attention to detail, and are willing to invest in décor.
Endless shopping, great buys, and great educational opportunities.
Diversified talents with a passion for design.
A vital business economy that can afford new, exciting architecture.
Endless possibilities—Dallas is open to innovative ideas.
Sources from all over the world, Mexican influences, wealthy clients, and lots of opportunities for designers.
Hospitality design and leadership.
The network of showrooms, size of the antique market, and longevity of the showrooms.
Constant inspiration and motivation.
The Market Center and Design Center, including Slocum Street, and the fact that the overwhelming majority of clients lean toward classic, long-lasting styles rather than following trends.
Dallas’ eclectic style and sense of Southern hospitality and comfort.
Competition keeps everyone searching for the perfect spaces for their clients.
A designer doesn’t have to leave the city—Dallas has everything you need or want, regardless of the area of design you practice.
Great contractors, custom manufacturers, and material resources as well as strong ASID organization.
Quick to show the hottest trends and great textile sources.
High-society families and international business visitors.
Appreciation of good design.
Centrally located.
There is great opportunity for someone to have a profound impact upon Dallas architecture and urban design.
Great variety of design firms.
Expanding dedication to the arts.
(Finally) attracting world-class architects (Renzo Piano, Ricardo Legorreta, etc.).
Energy and love for the “big” of everything.
Energetic population.
Dallas isn’t afraid to try new things.
Dallas design easily competes with New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.
Great restrained houses from the ’20s through the ’50s, a number of really good contractors, and a number of really good clients.
Entrepreneurial spirit.
Nice people and great periodicals.
Good design doesn’t have to be expensive, but money helps—and there’s a lot of money here.
Some designers take design risks, mostly in restaurant design.
Dallas has a fashion sense that is evidenced in every area.
Dallas is young, bright, energetic, and adaptive.
Cosmopolitan city with taste.
Thinking outside the “today” box, with an appreciation of style and sense of history.
Design awareness is growing with the population.
Geographically desirable location.
What is left of our historic context: Swiss Avenue and Highland Park; area museums; and the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture.

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What are Dallas’ design weaknesses?

 
 Too many buildings by David Schwarz

Fad-driven, bad residential architecture, and too much bad faux painting.
The contemporary market is not as strong as the traditional.
Poorly proportioned spaces with the more-is-more philosophy, especially in the
suburbs.

Clients with no imagination!
Too much traditional and formal design.
Anyone can get a tax number and call themselves a decorator.
Too conservative.
Designers are too competitive—there is enough business for everyone.
There is no Ikea.
Faux chateaux with fake furnishings to match.
Fearful of modernism and regionalism.
Public access to trade-only sources.
Keeping up with the Joneses—it’s so Dallas!
Closes too early.
Too little consistency in the city’s architectural vernacular.
Builders/developers have too much impact on design.
Too many designers design for themselves and not their clients.
Delusions of grandeur and lack of support for the visual and decorative arts.
SMU offers no design program, and there are too many ugly showrooms in the World Trade Center.
There’s too much catering to new money—very expensive and not always in good taste.
Builders who create massive houses with innumerable small, isolated rooms.
Low-balling designers who don’t charge enough for product and showrooms that cater to the public.
Big-box home centers and too few home shows.
We do not preserve architectural history.
Too many inappropriately high ceilings.
Wallpaper sources are weak.
McMansions and overscaled furniture and chandeliers.
Dallas is slower to adopt design trends than the East and West coasts.
Cookie-cutter designs.
Weak sense of proportion and scale.
“Yee-haw” tasteless trends.
Lack of architectural detailing in interior spaces.
Plethora of “Dolly decorators” and wannabes because of Dallas Market Center.
Too few risk-takers, too many big-box houses, and the lack of a distinguishable “here” here.
Too many do-it-yourself “Suzy Q” decorators who give decorating a bad name.
Stuck on Southwestern.
Arrogance.
Being so far from Fort Worth.
Gaudy North Dallas design in new construction and the mishmash that is Old World-style.
Dallas designers are forced to try to use materials and color to bring overscaled spaces conceived by architects back to a comfortable, human scale.
Furniture and accessories made of gilded plastic or faux grained plastic.
There is little understanding of modern and contemporary design; building support for local artists is slow going; and excess has become its own style.
In the quest to become a respected city, designers and inhabitants prefer to import talent rather than develop our own.
Too many discount houses.
Too catty.
Too-small design budgets.
Failure to demand good architecture from builders and failure to build homes responsibly in response to resource consumption.
Everything is so Dallas instead of DFW—remember that the “FW” is for Fort Worth!
Wholesalers selling retail.
Slavish copying of historical styles and the infatuation with Europe.
Poor urban design (with few exceptions) and lack of risk-taking in architectural and interior design.

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