Best Chandelier You Can’t Take Home to Mom >>
Ingo Maurer’s fetching new light fixture is so racy that you might want to save it for that high-rise apartment you’re going to buy once the kids are out. The Blushing Zettle’z, runs from PG to R rated, depending on your angle. Constructed of Japanese paper depicting Asian figures in compromising positions, the chandelier is really quite beautiful. Scott+Cooner. 1617 HiLine Dr., Ste. 100. 214-748-9838.
<< Best Outlet
Keeping up with the comings and goings on Wisteria Lane keeps those desperate housewives busy, and keeping up with the ever-changing offerings at Wisteria-At-Home has that same effect on Dallas shoppers and designers. Antiques and decorative items from its delightful catalog, Wisteria, and one-of-a-kind antiques and sample items, discontinued and overstocked, fly out of the humble storefront. With bargains every week and periodic sales, it’s easy to see why. Shopping tip: It’s only open Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wisteria-At-Home. 151 Regal Row Dr., Ste. 116. 214-239-1400.
Best Frame Job >>
Some of the most particular and discerning designers in Dallas go to Mary Beaudry for framing. They trust her eye in choosing frames and delight in the delicacy of her lines on French mats. Because she does everything herself, from chopping molding and cutting glass, to re-finishing frames and making bookbinder paper, there is no issue with quality control. Mary Beaudry Gallery and Frame. 167 Payne St. 214-880-0424.
<< Best Holiday Card
Tucked in the pile of holiday greetings this year was a card from Emily Summers Design Associates, depicting the Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge across the Trinity River. “What better symbol,” it said, “than the bridge to represent and celebrate a year of friendship and connections?” To which we say, brava. The card was not only elegant, but also meaningful and worthy of our vote for “best.”
Best Nursery for Native Plants >>
Surprisingly, local nurseries don’t sell a lot of native trees. The reason? Many native varieties are notoriously slow growers – homeowners often want size (quickly). That’s why we love Four Seasons. Owner Michael Nack doesn’t carry every variety either, but he’ll order just about anything you want. Even better, the nursery will make sure it gets a quality specimen or will ask you to wait until it can. Four Seasons Nursery. 3333 E. University Dr., Denton. 940-566-2172.
<< Best Furniture Consignment Store
On Consignment’s daily shipments of furniture, accessories, and art are so good that it’s become a regular scouting stop for Dallas’ top decorators. We’re not supposed to know this, but it’s also where they take their clients’ furniture when they begin a new project and need to liquidate. Things get snatched up within minutes of landing on the floor, so shop often. On Consignment. 2717 Fairmount St. 214-720-1818.
Best Cake for One >>
Petit Fours Cakes Gourmet describes itself as “Southern Living meets Martha Stewart with a dash of Manhattan,” and this bakery just north of the West Village doesn’t disappoint. Located at the Mondrian high-rise, executive pastry chef Bill Hunter creates delicious little cakes, with such flavors as cinnamon carrot, chocolate toffee obsession, hazelnut frangelico, and peanut butter and ganache. Best of all? They’re only $5 per sweet bite. Petit Fours Cakes Gourmet. 3000 Blackburn Ave., Ste. 180. 214-559-CAKE. www.pfcakes.com.
<< Best Place for a Dog Ban
The Katy Trail – the ever-popular path that currently runs from SMU to the AAC – is a haven for runners, walkers, and bikers. That is, until an off-leash dog plows into an unsuspecting runner, or a biker is fell (and often injured) by the leash. www.katytrail.org.
|Clockwise from top left: 4201 Shenandoah, 4200 Shenandoah, 4145 Shenandoah, 4144 Shenandoah|
The Best Intersection in Town >>
Four original Charles Dilbeck-designed cottages from the ’40s and ’50s grace the four corners at the intersection of Douglas and Shenandoah Avenues in Highland Park. The brick-and-fieldstone homes with clay tile roofs are characterized by interesting angles, turrets, and dormers, much like the old French farmhouses that were Dilbeck’s inspiration. In a neighborhood rife with teardowns and McMansions, these are four examples of great architecture that have endured.
<< Best Eye for Wedgwood
Dallas antiques dealer Earl Buckman has one of the world’s largest collections of Wedgwood for sale, with more than 2,000 pieces, ranging from 1770 to current. Many of them are available for purchase at Lost Antiques, which has a spectacular display. Buckman, who deals in nothing but Wedgwood, is a member of the board of directors for England’s respected Wedgwood International Seminar. Lost Antiques. 1201 N. Industrial Blvd. 214-741-4411.
Best New Reason to Shop in the Design District >>
Allan Knight (in a 38,620-square-foot space) and Ellouise Abbott were the first to call the International on Turtle Creek home. Now others – Carlin & Company, Adele Kerr, and Les Antiques – have moved in, and more are on their way. With large, open showrooms, a central location, ample parking, and Margaux’s, a charming restaurant that serves up Louisiana-inspired cuisine, it’s one-stop shopping for well-designed treasures. International on Turtle Creek. 150 Turtle Creek Blvd. 214-741-5018. www.internationalonturtlecreek.com.
<< Best Bird Guy
What’s the best way to attract gold finches? Fresh thistle. How do you get cardinals to stop in your back yard? Give them plenty of stable places to feed that are low to the ground near shrubs. How do we know all of this? We don’t, which is why we often bother David Hurt, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited on Lovers Lane. From feeders to field guides, cedar waxwings to chickadees, Hurt can teach you how to attract birds to your back yard or how to spot them in theirs. Wild Birds Unlimited. 4314 Lovers Ln. 214-891-9793.
Best Place to Spot a Decorator >>
Designed in soothing greens and whites by Julio Quinones, Uptown’s hottest new restaurant, Salum, buzzes at lunchtime with some of the design industry’s luminaries, including Jan Showers, George Cameron Nash, and Emily Summers. Salum. 4152 Cole Ave., Ste. 103. 214-252-9604.
<< Best Use of Light as Theater
Inside the new Ellouise Abbott showroom, panels of exquisite Fortuny fabrics are treated as art, taking center stage under four large skylights. Bathed in all this natural light, their subtle colors and hand-printed designs emerge gracefully. It’s a far cry from the way we are used to seeing them displayed, with fabric wings crammed together under harsh fluorescent lights. Ellouise Abbott. International Design Center, 150 Turtle Creek Blvd. 214-239-8722.
Best Organic Pest Control >>
Using safe organic products, RID-ALL effectively eliminates bothersome household pests, without the dangers of toxic chemicals. Pioneers in the field, this 50-year-old family business is committed to long-term pest control management, including the control of ants, roaches, spiders, silverfish, and termites. Thorough inspection and customer education are included in the program. RID-ALL Pest Control Inc. 6812 Colfax Dr. 214-340-6969. www.ridall.biz.
<< Best Store That Nobody Gets
The first thing you notice is the white papier-mache buzzard on the roof. This is going to be a different kind of store. Inside Grange Hall, the word decorative takes on a whole new meaning. Owners Rajan Patel and Jeffrey Lee fill the store with tarantulas under glass, rattlesnake necklaces, and antique glass bottles of Victorian specimens in formaldehyde. Stuffed birds and bleached giraffe bones become sculpture, all for an earthy, natural, but refined experience. Grange Hall. 4445 Travis St. 214-443-0600.
Best Finish >>
Shaun Christopher (along with partner Carl McGowan) can paint anything. His faux finishes evoke wood, leather walls, marble columns, and Chinese murals. He glazes and stencils walls for an antique Venetian look, and he imitates Gracie wallpaper and Fortuny fabric panels better than anyone we’ve seen. He does it all with a smile, within budget, and on time. Shaun Christopher. 214-597-9059. www.shaun-christopher.com.
<< Best Birding Haven
Just a short drive away, Cedar Hill State Park boasts more than 200 bird species as neotropical and fall/winter migratory birds stop in to enjoy the more than 1,800 acres. Be sure to spot the cedar waxwing in the fall and the painted bunting, which you can find from May through August. Cedar Hill State Park. 1570 F.M. 1382, Cedar Hill. 972-291-3900.
|<< Best Place to Get an Old Lamp Rewired
Enchanted Lighting’s turnaround time ranges from two hours to two days. Even at those lightning speeds, the cost is incredibly cheap, $20 to $40 on average depending on the lamp. Enchanted Lighting. 6909 Preston Rd. 214-521-9623.
Best Reason Not to Design by Committee >>
We love Northaven United Methodist Church’s socially active, progressive spirit (right on!), but the design of its new $5.2 million, 33,000-square-foot sanctuary and educational wing has left us wondering: Is it a church or a spaceship to heaven? According to church officials, the 550 congregation members “with 600 opinions” love the oculus-topped, kiva-esque octagonal sanctuary. The shape was designed to give music more sustained sound and eliminate reverberation from speech. “It is about what the congregation wanted,” architect James Langford says, “not the architect.” Northaven United Methodist Church. 11211 Preston Rd.
Best Urban Development >>
We’re all for interesting architecture, especially when it’s respectful of its environment or transforms a long neglected neighborhood. Kessler Woods does just that with cool contemporary aplomb. Nestled within the hilly terrain of North Oak Cliff, Kessler Woods boasts mid-century style residences echoing the style of Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler. Designed by local architects Patrick Hammers and Clifford Welch, these homes are not your typical McMansion – many are less than 2,000 square feet. www.kesslerwoodscourt.com.
<< Best Spice Collection
Does that new recipe have you wondering, “what the @#!% is kala jeera?” Don’t worry. Penzeys Spices has you covered in the kitchen. The Wisconsin-based purveyor of all things aromatic opened its Dallas store last year. In addition to its exhaustive selection of spices, rubs, stock bases, and peppers, Penzeys features a savory bunch of specialty spice blends. (And, by the way, kala jeera is an Indian black cumin.) Penzeys Spices. 12835 Preston Rd. 972-392-7777. www.penzeys.com.
Best Provenance >>
Del Saxon has exotic treasures from all over the world and stories to go with them. Why Moroccan tables are made from wrecked ship timbers, and why the Berber tribe’s lost art of embedding decorative silver wires appear in their iron deer sculptures are just a couple of the stories you’ll want to hear. Del Saxon. 1525 B Hi Line Dr. 214-742-6921.
<< Best Cleaning Service
Over the years, Nina Hays Cleaning Services Inc. has catered to builders who have taught them many cleaning tricks, most notably, to be thorough. A hint from co-owners Phil Bounds, Nina Hays, and Ashlee Williamson: Buy replacement bulbs the day before the team comes, and they’ll replace all your spent chandelier bulbs and leave your lights sparkling inside and out. Nina Hayes Cleaning Services Inc. 972-429-2225.
Best Green Carpet Cleaning >>
For chemically sensitive and environmentally conscious homeowners, Kiwi Services has the answer to all of your carpet cleaning needs. This local company uses a nontoxic, citrus-based product that not only does the job, it also dries quickly. Kiwi Services. 3230 Commander Dr., Carrollton. 972-934-1234. www.kiwiservices.com.
<< Best Outdoor Rugs
Eighty-year-old Capel Rugs’ collection of high-tech rugs are durable, beautiful, and inexpensive. At about $150, they’re smart enough to use indoors. Capel Rugs. 4205 McEwen Rd., Ste. 200. 972-852-5000.
Best Stone Yard >>
A trip to Whiz-Q Stone is like a trip to Stonehenge without hopping the pond. Picture a 22-acre labyrinth of stacked flagstone and boulders with a dazzling fossilized discovery around each turn. The Fort Worth stone yard offers more than 200 kinds of natural stone, sand, soil, and gravel, from the common (Oklahoma flagstone) to the obscure (strawberry parfait, anyone?). It’s also one of the best deals in town. Amateur landscapers, take note. Whiz-Q Stone. 4501 E. Loop 820 S., Fort Worth. 817-429-0822. www.whiz-q.com.
<< Best Revamp
Everybody’s favorite place to shop underwent a serious face-lift this past year. With plans to add 114 new stores and restaurants, NorthPark Center is nearly doubling its old square footage. Still to come are La Duni, Barneys New York, and Robb & Stucky, to name a few. NorthPark Center. 214-361-6345. www.northparkcenter.com.
Best New Green Residential Building >>
The Buzz is all about sustainable living, energy efficiency, and creative, environmentally friendly dwelling. Forty-nine condominiums, featuring Green Mountain Wind Energy, rainwater recapture, natural building materials, shaded, open breezeways, and native, maintenance-free Xeriscaping, are emerging a few blocks south of Main Street. Seriously green, developers Will Pinkerton and Zad Roumaya even throw in electric mopeds for zero-energy transportation. The Buzz. 1201 S. Akard St. 214-421-2260. www.liveworkbuzz.com.
<< Best Traffic Cops
It takes a force of nature to get rush hour traffic on Turtle Creek Boulevard to stop, wait patiently, and even smile. Fortunately, nature appears in the form of a gaggle of Canada geese that make their way across the road (at Wycliff Avenue) to the creek each morning and then back to their home near on old mansion during rush hour each evening. Don’t try to go around them – they’ve been known to honk, snap at a bumper, or leave presents on windshields.
Best Sweet Ending >>
It’s a treat enough just shopping at Napa Home: Marc Blackwell tabletop, sumptuous throws, and – one of our favorites – shagreen bowls and tables by R&Y Augousti. It’s no wonder this Oak Lawn boutique has quickly become a hit. But we’re also suckers for a little bribery, and we love owners Randolph Phillips and Julia Elam’s sweet parting gift with each purchase: a delicious candy cane in jubilant springtime colors. It’s just the right touch to ensure repeat visits. Sneaky. Napa Home. 4012 Oak Lawn Ave. 214-520-4880. www.napahometx.com.