Rising Decorating Star Julio Quinones Shows Off His Duplex

Julio Quinones, one of Dallas’ hottest new decorators, used his treasuring-hunting skills to furnish his duplex with incredible finds from the most unlikely places.

GREAT FIND: “When I found the Cuban mahogany buffet at an estate sale in San Francisco, it was so well priced that I got really nervous. It was clear that the seller had no idea what he had,” Quinones says. He found the beautifully detailed sofa on the curb of Glencoe Street and covered it in J. Fierro upholstery. ALSO SHOWN: 19th-century Chinese stools and silver-plated lamp from On Consignment, Venini lamp on buffet from Buchanan’s Flea Market, Ouchak rug from The Gathering; painting by Texas artist Larry Locke.















Lucky Star
Julio Quinones, fast rising as one of Dallas top young interior decorators, has what it takes – great taste, snob appeal, and a little luck.

Julio Quinones

On a recent tour of decorator Julio Quinones second-floor duplex, a visitor admires a small round table in the study. “I found that at The Salvation Army Thrift Store,” the designer says offhandedly. “It’s Dessin Fournir, but, in that environment, no one recognized it.” He fell in love, he explains, with its sexy, liquid lines. Who wouldn’t, when it’s described that way?

If 26-year-old Julio Quinones is a fast-rising star on the Dallas design scene, which he is, he is also a master of creating a collected look – unabashedly pairing one man’s trash with sumptuous fabric from showrooms such as George Cameron Nash, and marked-down Smith & Hawken vases with black lacquered lampshades from John Gregory. Quinones’ clients run the gamut from young fashionables like a vice-president at Neiman Marcus and a rep for Steve Madden shoes, to movers and shakers like Mayor Laura Miller and her husband State Representative Steve Wolens. Quinones is giving the mayor’s Tudor-style home a classic Regency-style interior with punches of lively color.

PERFECT FIT: Living in a small-sized duplex is a challenge, but Quinones’ look is collected, not cluttered. He found the pair of Klismos chairs on the left at White Elephant  and had Larru Leathers upholster them. The neo-classical console, one of his favorite pieces, is from Richard Hecht. ALSO SHOWN: aqua blue Murano lamp from Ceylon et Cie; late 19th-century Regency mirror from Nick Brock Antiques; Assemblage by Julio Quinones, created with tissues, watercolors, and oil pastels; terra cotta bust by Victor Quinones.

 Part scavenger, part snob, Quinones subscribes to the philosophy that new is not necessarily better and prefers well-crafted pieces with history and character, reveling especially in the found object. Thus, his shopping venues of choice are flea markets, thrift stores, consignment shops, antiques fairs, and estate sales – even the occasional curbside. “Curbside shopping is the best,” he says, “but I can never pass up a deal. Whether or not I know exactly where or how I’ll use something, if it’s a good bargain, I’ll take it. It may end up in storage for six months or a year, but eventually I find its place in my life.” The tuxedo sofa in Quinones living room was such a find. “It was lying on the curb on Glencoe Street in Dallas,” he says, “so I call it the Glencoe.” It stayed in storage for a year and a half – along with six coffee tables – before he moved into his current house and had it reupholstered in a neutral chenille. “I like the juxtaposition of covering formal furniture pieces in more casual fabrics.”

Which is not to say he has an aversion to luxury. His own interior, a 1930s Lower Greenville duplex, reveals that he’s drawn to neoclassical design, Louis XVI and ’60s pieces, clean lines and unusual lighting fixtures. In fact, he is rapidly gaining a reputation as a lighting savant, with an uncanny ability to mix periods, finishes, materials and styles. (Certain chic showrooms often rely on  him to find great lamps and chandeliers.) The lighting is soft, and the feel is quiet and simple. “I don’t like a lot of carving on my furniture or color on my walls,” he says. “A neutral palette and clean lines make any design timeless; they’re always en vogue.”

LEFT: “The dining room table was one of my splurges,” Quinones says. “I knew it would be the first thing you saw when you entered my apartment.” The burled wood table from Nick Brock Antiques is in the Louis XVI style, with bronze rosettes. The chairs are 40s French, covered in chenille. Quinones found the 1970s Venetian chandelier at Lots of Furniture, along with a 1950s American mirror and a 1970s Venetian chandelier. ALSO SHOWN: reproduction mirrored commode from John Gregory, flea-market-find ’60s lamp, candlestick from Montgomery Street Antique Mall.

In his own house, Quinones works with a palette of vanilla, cognac, and black. He employs vanilla as an “enveloping” color, creating warmth and intimacy by applying it to everything – walls, sconces, the floor (in the form of sisal rugs), and using it (in the form of linen) to camouflage problem areas such as an awkwardly situated door in the living room and an outdated kitchen. The vanilla creates a warm and unobtrusive backdrop for showcasing art and furniture. “Color on the wall makes it harder to work in other pieces, so I prefer to work with neutrals and texture,” he says. “And color can easily be brought into a room in textiles, art, flowers, and accessories.”

But Quinones doesn’t shy away from strong color when the situation calls for it. His hallway, for instance, is painted in a beautiful, deep cognac color. “The space was dark, and there wasn’t anything I could do to fix that, so I decided to play it up, to make the space dramatic.” And no room is complete, he asserts, without a touch of black.

The look he’s created is sleek and luxe, but the joy of it, he says, is in transforming the neglected and overlooked into showstoppers. “Every house, every space, every piece of furniture will have something not quite perfect about it,” he says. “I like the challenge of working with those so-called flaws, with castoffs, to create something unique and help a space or a piece find its full potential.”


BRIGHT LIGHT: Quinones’ lighting fetish can be seen in the hallway of his Lower Greenville duplex and is a mere hint of what lies beyond. The Venini chandelier was found at Montgomery Street Antique Mall; the silver-plated sconces were manufactured by Global Views. Quinones paid $20 for the round mirror from Target, into which he installed antique glass. Also shown: Roman shades made of Henry Calvin linen from House of Design, Renaissance Collection rug.

Julio Quinones’ Decorating Advice

eBay is a great place to bargain hunt, but it’s more competitive than ever these days, so Quinones also shops www.1stdibs.com.

If you love something and feel it’s worth the price, buy it. Chances are someone else will love it, too and buy it out from under you if you hesitate.

If you don’t like a lot of color and pattern, buy old textiles or throws with color and pattern and use them sparingly on chairs and sofas. (And throws should always be neatly folded.)

“Technology is wonderful, but it should be invisible; it should be magic.” Hide wires, cables, and as many of your electronic components as

Mix metals with abandon brass, silver, pewter, gold. When you try to use just one metal or finish in a room, it looks forced.

Add a little bit of chrome to a room to glam things up.

Highlight your art. Home Depot carries high quality brass picture lights that are priced as high as $200 in some catalogs.
Use borders and flanges on draperies and fabrics, not fringe. It’s cleaner and more elegant.

Draperies finish off a room and warm the space.

Custom shades make any lamp look more expensive and important. The shades in a room should be all one color. I’ve even lacquered them the same white as the wall for a uniform effect.

I work with symmetry and pairs – flowers, candle sticks, stacks of books, chairs side by side – but not necessarily matched mates. The symmetry is soothing, but the variety is interesting.

Mix an occasional inexpensive item in with fine pieces and everything looks expensive. For instance, I saw a plastic chandelier that looked like Lucite at Home Depot. When you take it out of its context and put it with fine glass pieces at home, it reads as quality.

Silvered light bulbs give a room a glamorous glow.

Paint everything the same color in your house, especially if you don’t have good architecture. I even paint the sconces the same color as the wall color.

Drape a plain round dining table with sumptuous fabric and top it with glass.

In the bath, use a long drapery panel of polyester silk taffeta instead of a shower curtain, so that even the bathroom looks elegant. Hang the panel at ceiling height.

Fresh flowers are a must.


Julio Quinones’  Favorite Shops 


Beacon Hill
1025 North Stemmons Frwy., Ste. 747.

Buchanan’s Antique & Collector’s Market
Fair Park. Jan 17-18.

Century Modern
2928 Main St.

Corragio Textiles
1025 N. Stemmons Fwy., Ste. 250.

Farzin Rugs and Design
1515 Turtle Creek Blvd.

John Gregory Studio
1201 Slocum St.

Lots of Furniture Warehouse
910 N. Industrial Blvd.

Lula B’s Antique Mall
2004 Greenville Ave. 214-824-2185.

Nick Brock Antiques
2909 N. Henderson Ave.

On Consignment
2717 Fairmount St. 214-720-1818.

Richard Hecht Antiques
2520 Oak Lawn Ave.

Silk Trading Co.
1617 Hi Line Dr., Ste.700.
325 North Park Center.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store
4810 Village Fair Dr.

White Elephant Antiques
1026 N. Industrial Blvd.


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