1/The Good Life
When developer Scott Rohrman began buying up buildings in Deep Ellum with the intent to revitalize the area, he met with longtime residents, including interior designer Billy Milner, to find out what they wanted from their neighborhood. “I thought about it for a few months,” Milner remembers, “and finally I said, ‘Instead of telling you what we want, why don’t I just do it myself?’” Milner had been itching to open a store ever since he sold his popular Atlanta home accessories shop 15 years ago. This was just the push he needed.
In June, nearly a year after he signed a lease on a Main Street space, he opened the doors to Life of Riley, a home décor and gift shop. In addition to a slew of greeting cards, candles, and private-label food and bath items, the 2,500-square-foot store features a range of furniture and home accessories—some original, some vintage, all with his signature “polished industrial” spin. On a recent visit, we espied a restored metal filing cabinet made modern with a marble top and a leather suitcase-turned-coffee-table courtesy of steel legs and a glass top. Milner also offers custom work via the store and continues his interior design work outside of it.
When barbecue favorite Pecan Lodge opened a few doors down in May, bringing with it swarms of people to a previously overlooked stretch of Deep Ellum, it was just one more stroke of good luck for the man whose friends kid him about his charmed existence. “People would say to me all the time, ‘You live the life of Riley,’” he laughs. 2646 Main St. 214-749-0509. lifeofrileyhome.com
2/Dish It Out
Brandie Gehan’s mother was famous for her dinner parties. Dozens of people would regularly show up to their Austin home to dine—some invited, some not, but all welcome. Inspired by her mother’s love of hosting, Gehan, who now resides in Preston Hollow, left a corporate job to launch B by Brandie, a line of dinnerware, glassware, and flatware. The collection features contemporary china and porcelain in sophisticated, complementary patterns and color palettes that look great mixed and matched. Though the line is not currently sold in stores, it’s available through the B by Brandie website, and Brandie and her team will work with clients near and far to build the perfect place setting. New lines are expected to be released every six months, with plans to expand to include serving pieces, tea cups, and more. 888-330-2732. bbybrandie.com
3/House of Cards
Lily Smith-Kirkley isn’t just the brains behind Lilco Letterpress, a new design and print studio in West Dallas. She’s also the brawn, hand-feeding paper through her 700-pound Vandercook SP-15 letterpress machine, sometimes two or three times to achieve a multi-color, multi-dimensional look. But the end results are worth the effort: Smith-Kirkley’s line of cards are charming and unpretentious. (Why say “thanks” or “happy birthday” when you could say “gracias” or “you ain’t no spring chicken” instead?) If you’re looking for something personalized, she can work with you to design custom stationery, invitations, and the like of any scope or budget. In need of a gift? Smith-Kirkley also produces prints and tea towels with the same aesthetic and sense of humor. 214-213-8013.
Tulsa-based architect Scott Pohlenz has expanded his eponymous showroom to a second location in the Design District’s Decorative Center. The 2,700-square-foot design studio and showroom is the area’s exclusive retailer of Valcucine, an Italian line of eco-friendly kitchen systems that Pohlenz first spotted while on a trip to Paris. Valcucine offers up a multitude of finishes such as acrylic, aluminum, and glass in a jigsaw-puzzle-like arrangement of more than 250,000 components, all of which are 100-percent recyclable. Designers in the showroom assist the client in putting together a completely customized kitchen-cabinetry system with modern design elements. (Our favorite was a fully equipped backsplash with sliding doors that conceal unsightly kitchen equipment.) The plans are sent to Italy and the final product is shipped back to the U.S., where a special team installs the cabinets in the home. While kitchens are the anchor piece at Pohlenz, the showroom also carries indoor and outdoor furniture, bath equipment, closet systems, and accessories from Italian brands including Rimadesio, Toscoquattro, and Fiam. 1617 Hi Line Dr., Ste. 470. 214-484-8371. pohlenzcm.com
One look at Kyle Bunting’s hair-on-hide rugs and poufs, and poof! We immediately fell madly in love with the Texas-based designer. We weren’t alone. David Sutherland has created a grand display for Bunting’s creations—which now includes rugs, wall coverings, pillows, furniture upholstery, and accessories—in Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dania, Florida. But guess who has the biggest display? Dallas. The installation includes custom cubbies that house the pillows and large hangers bearing the different color options so clients can immerse themselves in the many patterns. “It really gives clients more options when looking at his amazing work,” Lainie Kritser of David Sutherland says. “He’s so much more than just rugs. You can pretty much do anything with his hides.” 1025 N. Stemmons Fwy., Ste. 340. 214-742-6501. davidsutherlandshowroom.com
6/To The Letter
We think some things, like stationery and cocktail napkins, are better with a monogram. Fortunately, Ellis Hill owners Kerri Davis and Margretta Wikert agree and are ready to personalize everything from koozies to wine glasses. Tucked away on the second floor of Highland Park Village, above Rag & Bone, the 475-square-foot shop is filled with pretty pieces just waiting for you to initial, as well as ready-to-take-home gifts, baubles, and home accessories. 25 Highland Park Village, Ste. 201. 214-520-6108. ellis-hill.com7/Small Space, Big Style
The tiny Arteriors Too outlet store on Lovers Lane has long been a great resource for scoring deals on parent company Arteriors Home’s sought-after lamps, shades, chandeliers, mirrors, and decorative accessories. Now the discount retail shop has expanded to include the 1,300-square-foot house next door, meaning customers can look forward to even more shopping steals. The new space offers an expanded range of products, as well as more elbow room for perusing the goods. Check out an array of lighting, bar carts, mirrors, and more that are in the current season’s catalogue; some one-off products that didn’t make the cut; and larger furniture pieces like upholstered chairs, bookshelves, entry tables, and desks. Don’t overlook the back house in the parking lot—a hidden gem for chandelier hunting. On a recent shopping trip, we spotted a dozen different styles hanging from the ceiling.Join the mailing list for the inside scoop on special discount days and the annual tent sale. 4811 W. Lovers Ln. 214-352-1920. arteriorstoo.com