(left)The living room is filled with natural light thanks to the adjoining patio. The sofa—designed by Quiñones—is complemented by a coffee table from Donald J. Embree Antiques, James Mont lamps, and a painting by Larry Locke. “He’s a friend,” Quiñones says of the painter. (right) The staircase was one of the first things Quiñones had to address. The pitch was too steep, so he had to redesign the whole thing. “At the end of the day, you don’t want to fall,” he says. He found the artwork on a trip to Provincetown. photography by Nathan Schroder

A Parisian Parlor in Oak Lawn

Designer Juilo Quinones extends an invitation to step into his home.

Julio Quiñones is in the business of transformation. And sometimes he brings his business home. Take his Oak Lawn apartment. It’s changed a lot in the last 18 months. “When I found this place, it was a hot mess, a tickety tack,” the designer says. “The whole place was in shambles. My friend described it as a crack house before we started gutting the whole place.”

But Quiñones was undaunted—he knew that the 950-square-foot space had great potential. He made plans, hired a contractor, and six months later, every single thing in the apartment—from the electrical to the staircase and flooring to the patio—was resurfaced and redone. The place is far from static. Depending on his mood, “I can make the space whatever I want it to be. It’s like watching something grow,” Quiñones says. “I change out stuff all the time. I move on. It’s like fashion.”

(left) The kitchen used to be enclosed before Quiñones knocked down the walls and opened the space to the living room. “Every party I’ve ever been to, everyone’s in the kitchen,” he explains. The cabinets are from IKEA, and the backsplash is tumbled onyx. The bronze crane candlesticks are from Donald J. Embree Antiques, and the 1960s Gio Ponti chandelier is one of two Quiñones has hanging in his apartment. (right) The view from the entry is full of surprises, including the mirrored piece in the kitchen, the Jensen banquette covered in Osborne & Little fabric, and lots of artwork. “I like fun art. If I had serious art and serious furniture—it’s too serious,” Quiñones says. “I’m not a serious guy.” photography by Nathan Schroder

At the moment, Quiñones is feeling a little French. “After I got it done, I turned it into more of a Parisian environment,” he says. He says it’s fun and easy to do—and it doesn’t have to cost a million dollars. His first tip: step away from the toile. Instead, add some cool candlesticks. “The French are known for fabulous candlesticks or any kind of bronze. They are best at bronze doré—they’re fabulous at casting things and making them super unique.” He suggests investing in a gold mirror for a bit of French influence. Look into adding some fringe here and there. He also recommends a trip to Restoration Hardware for good reproductions and a stop by Donald J. Embree Antiques for the real stuff. “They’re known for their French antiques,” he says.

But before forsaking everything inspired by any country other than France, take a sip of Perrier and calm down. Quiñones points out that the French are all about the mix. “That’s just part of the French,” he says. “They like a lot of Italian—not so much English, though—mixed in with French antiques.”

(left) Quiñones designed the mantel in the living room. The candlesticks are from Donald J. Embree Antiques. This is Quiñones’ favorite room in the house. “It’s where I watch television, and I can see the outdoor garden, which is peaceful. I can open the doors, especially at night,” he says. (right) Breakfast—the one meal Quiñones regularly prepares at home—is served in this dining nook. He chose the Osborne & Little fabric for a reason: “I love graphic pattern—a little bit,” he says. He recommends checking in with Richard Hecht for fabulous French finds. “He brings a great shipment back from Paris every summer,” Quiñones says. photography by Nathan Schroder

Taking his interiors from modern to Mediterranean is just one of the joys of homeownership Quiñones is experiencing. He likes to throw parties. (I ask if he serves red wine. His answer: “People can drink red wine. Except at parties.”) In the fall and winter, he treats his guests to fireside fetes. “Even if you have just one or two people, there’s nothing like a real fire, and I love that,” he says. “We’re so used to everything being so artificial, but it’s nice to start a fire, get it going, and then tend to it.”

One thing you won’t find at the party is a homemade menu. As open as the kitchen is to the rest of the apartment, Quiñones prefers to keep things pretty as opposed to practical. “I made meatballs once for a little summer dinner party, but I don’t really cook. But I will cater,” he says. He’s not opposed to the idea of cooking—in fact, he is obsessed with the Food Network. “I like pretending that I can cook. I do appreciate the art of cooking,” he says. (Quiñones is also obsessed with The Real Housewives, but that’s another story.)

(clockwise from top) Another view of the sitting area in the master suite showcases the leather and bronze Jacques Adnet coffee table and the large piece of art that Quiñones found on a trip to New Orleans. “It’s all done with one stamp—it says ‘As Is.’” Quiñones designed the bed in the master bedroom—it’s metal and has a curved back. “It was a little hard to do. I’d never done it before, but I decided to just do it for myself.” The art is by Brian Scott, an Oak Cliff artist. “I liked the colors and the humor. I had to have them. People come in and go, ‘Oh, my God!’ when they see them,” he says. The sitting area boasts a sofa from the Bright Group, McCobb floor lamps, and a Jacques Adnet chair. The painting is by Larry Locke. photography by Nathan Schroder

Although his apartment has the feel of a peaceful and proper parlor, Quiñones is adjusting to big-city living. Oak Lawn can get a little noisy, especially in the early morning hours. “I didn’t realize how loud it was. I have to wear earplugs. The trucks come so early, and they hit you on both sides,” he says. But the positives of the area cancel out the garbage trucks. “I’m five minutes from my office. I can walk to Walgreens and Eatzi’s. I can meet a friend for a drink. Everything is nearby,” he says. “What could be better than that?”