Once upon a time at a bar mitzvah in a faraway land—well, Far North Dallas—entertainment maven Todd Fiscus met interior designer Rob Dailey. It was 1993. “At the time, I was working for Brant Laird Antiques,” Dailey says. “I got a call from a friend who said someone was looking for a dancer for a party. He said he told them that I was a really good dancer.” Initially Dailey was wary, but once the age-old question “Are they paying?” was asked and answered, a dancer was born. After donning a turtleneck and black leggings—“It was very Laugh-In,” he says—he climbed into the cage and shook a tail feather. During his break, he sipped a few Kir Royals with Fiscus, who was employed by the Doubletree at the time. It was a magical evening. Not only did a boy become a man, but it was also the start of a great romance.
“On Monday, Todd invited me to lunch,” Dailey says. “He sent me flowers later and a note that said, ‘How about dinner?’”
They’ve been together ever since.
Now some 17 years later, the go-go dancing and Doubletree days are especially hilarious considering the success both have achieved. Fiscus is arguably the preeminent event planner—he’s in demand all over the country. Dailey is a successful interior designer. One of his most high-profile projects was the glamorous update of Tillman’s Roadhouse, which the couple co-owns with Sarah Tillman. “Tillman’s was one of the places we went on date night. We’ve known Sarah for years,” Fiscus says. “One night, we drank too much and bought a restaurant. We tend to do things when they feel good.”
Getting to the Oak Cliff Tillman’s is a breeze—they live a mere five minutes away—and they say they visit the Fort Worth location about once a month. They bought their current home in 2006, and Dailey immediately went to work. “I completely gutted the house,” he says. “And I added a wall and a fireplace.” He combined furniture they had at their previous home with some antiques and added some pieces that he designed. Artwork abounds throughout the house. They credit Talley Dunn and Lisa Brown with helping them make choices, but they have also bought work at the Art Ball as well as on their travels. “We just buy what we’re attracted to,” Fiscus says. “If we like it and think it’s pretty, we’ll buy it.”
The result is a glamorous yet comfortable retreat, which they genuinely need. Work takes both of them out of town fairly often. So when they get to stay home, it’s like being on vacation. “We sit and read the New York Times on the patio,” Fiscus says. “When we have a weekend free, we don’t leave the house.” And they are happy to share their vacation experience with friends. “We created honorary suites. All of our bedrooms are outfitted like a hotel,” Dailey says. “We sit around with our guests in robes and slippers and visit.”
But as lovely as the interiors are, the couple says the true star of the house isn’t actually inside—it’s their backyard. “It’s really funny,” Dailey says. “You know how everyone at the party is usually in the kitchen? At our house, it’s outside.” And, believe it or not—even though they entertain for a living—they love having people over. Fiscus calls their parties casual but says their friends might disagree. “We put out cheese, and they take pictures of it.” Fiscus does the cooking, but as far as cleanup goes, “I do like to have somebody come in and clean the kitchen,” he says. “That’s usually my job,” Dailey says, laughing.
That give-and-take has served them well, but don’t expect success to cause them to move on and up. Life is good in Kessler Park. “Sometimes I go in our front room and I think, ‘This is awfully nice.’ I never thought I would live in this nice of a house,” Fiscus says.
“We’re Oak Cliffers for life,” he continues. “We really love it.”
“I swear to God it’s, like, 5 degrees cooler here, too,” Dailey adds.