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Brand New Day

Dallas designers and showrooms are branding in a big way with a slew of new coffee table books.
By Peggy Levinson |

These days, branding knows no decorative borders. Interior designers put their names on everything—from chairs to paint to tableware. Think Philippe Starck, Martha Stewart, and Kate Spade. Lifestyle branding has helped create and sustain trends like nothing before.

Check out the newest innovation in branding: Designers and manufacturers are publishing their own coffee table books, and they are proliferating at breakneck speed.

Farrow & Ball’s new book, The Art of Color, devotes a whopping 24 pages to Dallas designer Cathy Kincaid’s work, including a Mediterranean villa and a 1920s Hal Thomson refurbishment, both in Dallas. One of Kincaid’s strengths is her use of color; she creates unity of design by weaving tones throughout an interior. “Farrow & Ball paints are so full of pigment that the colors have a tremendous depth of tone; the same color looks totally different in different rooms,” Kincaid writes. On April 19, Kincaid is autographing books at a reception for Farrow & Ball at the B. Berger showroom in the Dallas Design Center.

Lee Jofa is one of the oldest names in the textile business and has always been the girl next door—attractive, but not glamorous, certainly not exciting. But it’s often the girl next door who surprises you. Lee Jofa has quietly amassed a stellar group of design names such as Barbara Barry, David Easton, and Kelly Wearstler under the shared umbrella with Kravet. Inspired Styles, recently published by Assouline, profiles many of the names that design for Kravet and Lee Jofa, along with a range of topics that inspire them. Suzanne Rheinstein, of the antique and lifestyle store Hollyhock in Los Angeles, was here for a luncheon at the Lee Jofa showroom in February. Her talk, “Beautiful Fabrics for Everyday Living,” detailed how one can live beautifully, every day, with casual, natural fabrics and good antiques. Her inspiration for “Garden Roses,” a best-selling fabric in Dallas, came from using the reverse side of a hand-blocked linen print. She’s also an avid gardener and loves all colors of green.

George Cameron Nash is putting the finishing touches on a 3,500-square-foot “showroom within a showroom” to house furniture, lighting, and accessories by design giant Holly Hunt and all her brands—Christian Liaigre, Studio H, Great Outdoors, and Beyond Borders rugs. Nash hired Bentley Tibbs, previously with the Frank Welch Architectural Group, to design the space, featuring 10-foot ceilings, contrasting with the 20-foot ceilings in the remainder of the showroom. The idea is to make the rooms feel more like you’re in a home. Finished with walnut floors and soft, off-white walls, Nash hired lighting designer Bill Jansing to install the newest, state-of-the-art illumination. Holly Hunt revolutionized the look of contemporary furniture when she brought the French designer Christian Liaigre stateside in 1994. You have only to look at any big box store chain (Crate & Barrel and West Elm come to mind) to see the influence of their look. Hallmarks include straight lines with dark stained oak frames and white upholstery. Hunt expanded her brand to include fabrics, outdoor furniture, and now rugs. Can sheets and china be far behind?

Walter Lee Culp has represented Gregorius Pineo for years but only had one or two pieces on the floor. Now, for the first time in Dallas, at least 60 pieces will be available, with Culp devoting approximately 1,500 square feet to a Gregorius Pineo boutique. Sounds like he’ll need the space because Pineo has come out with 200 new designs, including the Monterrey chest and St. Germain chair. Rene Gregorius and Stephanie Pineo began reproducing special antique pieces that they found in their travels around the world 25 years ago. Production has always been limited to just a few pieces because they use the finest artisans in Los Angeles to hand craft each one. When the line was purchased in 2005 by Kneedler-Fauchere, they were able to increase production, while managing to maintain the fine craftsmanship.

We really can’t talk about branding without mentioning the behemoth of branding: Baker Furniture. With the deep pockets of Kohler backing the company, Baker continues to add the most exciting names in the industry to its stable of designers. Baker is now launching a fantastic collection of furniture and lighting by famed French designer Jacques Garcia, whose decorative stamp can be seen on some of the most prestigious addresses in Paris, including the refurbishment of the Palace of Versailles and many major projects around the world. The collection arrives in Dallas at Baker Knapp & Tubbs in May.     

Write Peggy at [email protected].